• Published 16th Sep 2018
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Timberwolves: Guardians of the Everfree - Keystone Gray



A research paper on the timberwolves, exploring their creation, purpose, and their connection to the Everfree Forest.

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4. Vorku Communication, Cerfish Language, by Blackthorn

Vorku Communication, Cerfish Language

By Blackthorn


Mother Life

Vida, morot, beret, destra,
Tempa, temfyu, nai viza krahtt,
Sho-lai grata, kor fror liyt,
Tempo, eva, nai lekai grahtt.
Sa iy va, nousheri neita,
Tem etern, nei vel'ki 'tratat.
Krahtt vivei, sikna iy titha,
Rosotu leka ki'loah sotte.


Intent

The specters of Sombra were born with evil intent, for his was a dark and hungry rage. He wielded no words, only furious emotions; no orders, only monstrous howls. They were made only to serve one delusional master, to absorb the forest's soul, and to end all that we knew.

To contrast this was the intent behind creation of our Guardians: preservational, compassionate... and desperate. Their will is the embodiment of the will of our ancestors, and their spirit is that of those who gave everything that we may live in peace. Through the Vorku, our love for our homeland was made manifest, and it literally consumed Sombra's hate until we were safe once more.

Maintaining our intent is thus important, for it continuously drives our Guardians even today.

Forest soul, known as vel'ki in our tongue, is the food and language of our Guardians, its energy retaining the will of our ancestry. Vel'ki is within all who dwell within the Evavrai: the deer, the wisps, and all other creatures therebetween. As we eat, we take in our history. As we return to the earth at life's end, so too does our own vel'ki. We commit our preservational culture to the historical record of the Evavrai's soul. To this end, we instill our common purpose into the Vorku, always teaching them to protect the ecosystem and all of its precious continuity.

This guiding light of purpose is but one cornerstone of Vorku existence. In puppy youth, Guardians are malleable to suggestion of secondary duties so long as it does not conflict with their first role of safeguarding our forest. Examples include the personal charges of the authors:

Vorku Kahruvel, born of my hooves, patrols the west as I have. If he senses that our Liege has left the safety of Thicket, Kahruvel will return, joining His Majesty's retinue. Kahruvel and his packmates have each adopted my sworn duty, vowing to guard our Kahl's life with their own. As I patrol, Kahruvel's pack will join with our unit, only returning to his own duties when mine are complete.

Vorku Grand of Apex is also influenced by his creator's intent. Grand is known to roam close to the primary roads of the Evavrai, thus offering silent protection to travelers. He will act as a buffer, keeping the travelers on the safe paths with his presence, safeguarding them from dangerous creatures or persuading off less socialized wild Vorku, who may misinterpret mere travelers as trespassers. Due to his close upbringing with Kahruvel, Grand is a member of his pack; as a younger Vorku, he will yield to Kahruvel's guidance.

Vorku Nyx'it, created by Kehl Luna during the Dark War, remains the longest living Vorku known to our kind. She remains forever at watch over the ancient central pony fiefdom, always looming in the shadows of their once great keeps, castles, and villages. Her current pack contains six other graywood Lohvorku, all wild and of varying ages ranging from 12 to 410. Our records show that these Lohvorku were all mothered by Nyx'it herself.

The will of a pack and their parentage is extremely influential upon their temperament. Our intent as creators thus reaches down both near and far, from both our yesteryears and yesterdays, further underscoring the importance of Vorku husbandry.


Pack Communication

As the Evavrai wolves once did, Vorku will gather in packs, and often of three or more. The process by which wild Vorku determine pack members is unknown; it seems as though these connections are made at random. Conversely, hoof-crafted "preternatural" Vorku will often join together in a pack if raised in proximity, as have Grand and Kahruvel.

A pack will travel together, share territory, and patrol the places and objects most important to their goals. They will readily challenge threats to both their ecosystem's integrity and to themselves. Packs move as one and act as one. They will share food equally, assisting one another in bringing down wisp prey sometimes many times their size. When challenging a particularly difficult overgrown wisp, different packs may temporarily band together. This is especially the case when challenging Ursa wisps, which must be regularly culled to prevent too much forest soul from being absorbed.

Vorku may convey information telepathically: when they are in proximity, alerting one Vorku will alert all nearby others, even when line of sight is obstructed. We have observed this in cases where a Vorku spots prey, and the rest of the pack will respond instantaneously to its presence.

For deer or ponies, Vorku will convey their intent through their body language, which is heavily inspired by lupine cues. These include ear and brow motion, tail position and movement, and various vocalizations which resemble barks, yelps, and howls. A growl is used as a traditional threat, and a soft bark may be used to get one's attention. They have also been known to point to draw a deer or pony's attention to an object or location.

To signal other Vorku that are beyond the range of telepathy, they may howl. This is used to communicate the detection of a threat, to route prey, to rally a pack, or to alert others to a great communal feast.


Scaling Power

In times of great need or threat, wild Vorku may fuse to form a Vorku'kahl. In this state, they combine golems, magically bonding as one contiguous being until the threat has concluded. In the wild, these forms have been observed in battle with hydra wisps, or with other overgrown natural wisps that have long escaped standard culling.

Preternatural Vorku golems, those created by deer, are heavier and more contiguous in design. This precludes any merger into a Vorku'kahl, but their increased integrity does permit greater strength and survivability against assailants. Denser construction also yields greater storage of Evavrai vel'ki, making a Vorku'kahl amalgam less necessary; more energy means greater protection or even outright immunity from physical damage, and greater physical power allows a sufficiently charged Vorku great distance, speed, and leaping range.

As an example of the greater armor of crafted golems, preternaturals have braved fires to protect their home. As the spirit is burned out of the forest in flame, the Vorku will overcharge their soul crystal from another region, feeding continuously until they are at full overcharge. Upon completion, their protective enchantments will become visible, and their whole bodies will radiate green energy, shielding them from the heat. They enter the flames, channeling this excess energy into the trees to share their protective enchantments, which extinguishes the flame entirely as it comes into contact with the leaves and bark. Any soul energy dispersed by the flame is drawn back into the Vorku, repurposed continuously until the Vorku must retreat and recuperate.

Despite these protective enchantments, such heroic acts leave some light scorching on the trees and Vorku both. Vorku so scorched are thus honored even more greatly, for they have risked much to preserve our forest's light.


Soulsharing

In the millennium since the war, we have never observed one Vorku devour another in desperation. Instead, if one is starving for energy, another will soulshare to equalize their might. Soulsharing, known as ki-sa'tratat in our tongue (lit: "soul-food sharing"), is the means by which a Vorku shares information, intent, and self with their kin.

Prior to a hunt, Vorku will soulshare each dawn and dusk for approximately two hours. This period, akin to sleep, reduces cognitive divergence in their pack. If two packs are in proximity, they too will share their experiences, spreading their knowledge. If there is a disparity of energy within any member of the pack, this brings them into perfect balance. Every action taken by a Vorku expends energy, but soulsharing mitigates this loss, opening up their souls to the forest itself, their energy freely flowing with the forest around them.

This takes a toll, however. Inevitably, through the course of six to twenty-seven years of adulthood, the individual personality of a Vorku will wane, their demeanor and goals becoming invariably identical to wild Vorku. If the Vorku is created from certain types of naturally enchanted graywoods, this process may even take upwards of a century, for these woods retain forest magic more closely.

In the research committed after the Dark War, it was discovered that a minuscule amount of magical power is traded between a parent and Vorku during the seed phase at wisp feeding. It is theorized that a Vorku's initial personality may be partially derived from this process. While this was at first concerning to our ancestors, no adverse affects have been detected in the millennium since.

Most Vorku only remain in direct companionship with their parent for only three to four years after ascension, roaming away thereafter upon their own initiative. Kahruvel remained in my care for four years. They leave without warning; one day, Kahruvel simply wandered away during a hunt, and he did not return home in the evening. Yet even now, eight years on, he still remembers me well when our paths cross. He has one wild packmate, a stick-and-twig golem who always welcomes me fondly as though I had raised her myself, an example of their shared memories. As their patrol region intersects my own, I may follow their tracks to make contact with their pack. By regularly returning to them, I may delay the speed by which these Vorku forget me, perhaps even for the duration of my lifetime, though the influences we exert upon them will fade without exception.

We do not lament the loss of their self. We deer believe that the eternal soul of the Evavrai vel'ki will remember our teachings in their stead, for all Vorku draw their life from this same source. To us, they are each the emissaries of the forest's will. Long after Kahruvel forgets who I am, an inkling of his upbringing and a trickle of my soul will live on in every Vorku who is born with even a fraction of his energy. In this small way, the customs and culture of the Dierkahl live on with them. They continue to understand our language, and in keeping with the history of their kind, wild packs still donate a fraction of their seeds to the care of village elders.


Cerfish Language

The use of Cerfish (also known as Old Ponish) was common during the initial creation of the Vorku, the language shared between the old pony and deer tribes alike. Despite Vorku understanding of this tongue, they remain incapable of vocalizing it, for they lack the physical and biological faculties required for vocal precision.

We present basic Cerfish terminology in this volume that may protect you from wild Guardians, ones who might otherwise interpret you as a threat or trespasser. If you remember only one thing from this volume, then please remember these words, the Declaration of Peace:

"Nai vlei na vel, plass yor en pas," translated as: "I am a friend of the forest, please pass in peace."

If you truly intend no harm to the woods, this will be sensed. The Vorku will noticeably relax if it accepts your Declaration, and will then move to make physical contact to sense your intent for itself. If your intent is true, your plea will be heard. Remember: in most territories, the Vorku are merely protectors of the forest. If you have fair reason to tread in our woods, if you are a mere traveler, trader, resident, or student, you may receive their permission to continue in the well traveled regions of the Evavrai. However, if one comes to loot, destroy, or otherwise cause harm, our Guardians will recognize their threat and will show no quarter.


Editor's Note: For those interested in learning more about this language, sample translations of all Cerfish text found throughout this volume may be found in the final chapter, Autrar na fi Teikyune. For those who wish to study further, we recommend the complete and unabridged collections of Softspoke's Cerfish-Ponish Dictionary, another text distributed by the Canterlot Royal Press.

Author's Note:

[Vladislav Isaev - Astral Prelude]

Originally, I was going to have my full 250ish word Cerfish dictionary at the end of this chapter, but ultimately decided against it. It would distract too much from the story, I think.

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