Archer Lore

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Mine is the Sky,

The Land, the Sea.
Mine are the Moons,
The Stars and the Trees.

On the wind shall I fly,
Bury mine quarrel deep,
For I have no home,

And ne'er shall I sleep."

- Children's rhyme of the Horwathi Nomads, thought to be of Anomani derivation

Long before the rise of the Ten Kingdoms, there lived a nation of Men who claimed no land as their own. Exiled from Ardan, home of the First Men, they wandered over the face of the World, following the winds. These vagabonds were called the Anomani (which means "Wanderers" in the Old Tongue of Ardan), and were universally mistrusted as a nation of half-breed Aelfborn, misfits, tricksters, and horse thieves who had no place in civilized society. Long did they wander, coming into conflict with Elves, Centaurs, and the First Men alike. The Anomani worshipped their own pantheon of Pagan gods and fostered their own unique brand of myth and magic. Save the echoes of a few songs and fables, nothing is known of their culture today. Hunted and persecuted wherever they wandered, by the time Ardan fell the Anomani were all but extinct. Their practices have all been lost; all save one.

The Art is called 'Il Gwailin ab Eyn', or "the Calling of the Winds." While most of the peoples of the world have learned to use bows, it remains an undisputed fact the the Windcallers of the lost Anomani were the greatest Archers the World has ever known, capable of astonishing feats of marksmanship. The Windcaller's Art was born even before they were exiled from Ardan, when the Shining King of that realm held a great archery contest to find who was worthiest to marry his daughter. A dim-witted boy of the Anomani came to the contest, and despite the jeers of the other Warriors, his arrows flew further, faster, and truer than any other. When asked how he had won, the boy replied "the wind just told me to shoot." The Shining Lord was outraged, and declared that the Anomani had used sorcery to win, and exiled them from Ardan, the High Kingdom. The boy kept practicing his bow, however, and the winds kept talking. In their wanderings, the Archers of the Anomani learned that there are spirits of the air, unseen by mortal eyes, whose voices whisper in the wind. An Archer must listen to them, learn their secrets, and win their favor. Their hands will guide your arrow's flight, and their strength will hurl it home.

The Elves wrung the secret of Windcalling from the Anomani through torture, and quickly took the Art as their own. After the fall of Ardan, the Archer's Art was lost to the Sons of Men until the Age of Kings, when Gerriant the White, oldest and most loyal of Cambruin's Champions, joined the court of the High King. Gerriant's great oaken bow, "Dirgeharp," was crafted for him by an Aelfborn Archer of unknown name, who taught the old Champion the secrets of his Art. Gerriant had spent his life mastering the ancient discipline of Windcalling, and taught the practice to many of the High King's warriors before his tragic death on the Day of Woe.

Any peasant may learn how to shoot, but only one man in a hundred can become an Archer, and join our ancient brotherhood. Every Archer must craft his own bow, tuning its string so that will ring like a harp and call the Wind Spirits. An Archer needs a keen eye, along with strength of arm and will. An Archer also needs to learn to calm his heart, to listen for the wind's faint voices. If you have the mettle to harness the wind, you'll learn how to hit a target at a thousand paces, how to loose a dozen shots in a minute, and how to make each arrow fly not only true but fast, striking with the force of lightning.

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