It has always been known that songs have power. This is exceptionally true for the magical choirs of Estral. Individually their mages have limited magical prowess, but when their voices sing together with the right harmony and rhythm they can produce incredible magical effects. This combination of magical and acoustical talents is unique to the Estral, ascribed to their esoteric language and song lyrics.
Lord Robertus formed the first choir. The last surviving noble, he was leading his people as refugees as they fled across the desolate western steppe. The neighbouring theocratic kingdom had forced them from their mountain homeland. In an attempt to lift their flagging spirits, Lord Robertus called upon their long tradition of song in times of adversity. Amongst the singers were several mages. The song of mountain and valley was so powerful that it raised a new mountain out of the steppe. Finding the slopes fertile and the climate improved, the mountain, called Mount Harmony, became their new capital. The nation of Estral has rebuilt itself over the last three hundred years into a minor regional power.
The Choir of Martyrs
The war that pushed the Estral from their home took a decade to reach its unfortunate end. Every midwinter, a ceremony is held to honour the conflict’s martyrs and dead heroes. For each martyr a select choir sings a lamentation telling the story of their life and death. The song-spell brings forth the spirit of the hero who teaches a lesson from their life to the audience. It is through this that the Estral have held onto their traditions in their new home. In their remembrance, they maintain their old ways. The lamentations are powerful necromancy and takes a high toll on the singers. Several outsiders have passed comment that such spells are going to attract the attention of something unpleasant.
The Battle Choir
The core and elite of the Estral military, these singers accompany the militia when it goes forth from Mount Harmony. In the last three hundred years, Estral has repeatedly come into conflict with nomadic raiders. These tribes either object to the presence of the mountain on their steppe or see the Estral as a target of theft. At first the Estral struggled as they were a mountain people with no experience in dealing with massed cavalry. Once the battle choir was formed, this changed. Using weather and terrain spells, they can rapidly break up enemy formations and ruin their discipline. Songs of mass healing and haste turn their infantry lines into solid walls of pike and shield. Lord Robertus the 8th is currently pondering a call from Ostana that the Estral militia aid them in their offensive war against the Estral’s old enemy. Court debate rages over whether to choose self defence or revenge.
The language of the Estral is complex, subtle and unique amongst the known spoken languages. Having realised its power, the Estral no longer teach it to outsiders. They instead have learnt several of the common trading tongues and avoid letting outsiders onto the mountain, preferring to deal with them in the merchant’s quarters at the base. The Great Mages College of Sarn covets all magical power. It is widely known amongst the shadow traders that they will pay a princely sum to the person who delivers a translation book. If an Estral could be persuaded to come to Sarn and teach it, they would be richly rewarded. The Lord’s Court is aware of the threat but does not want to restrict the liberties of its people.
Image Credit – Male Choir Concert by Saint Petersburg Theological Academy – CC-BY-ND-2.0