The greatest danger to the survival of the elves as a specie is not necessarily the Shadow’s minions be they orc, demons, or the dead: it is their low birth-rate. Each year many die and only a precious few are born, and what a tragedy it is if the child dies young or is actually born a Forsaken.
In the mangrove swamps of the Miraleen, an old Miransil has been observing the nature outside her small abode for close to three centuries. Mother Cila, as she is known, has broken her back in an almost fatal accident, and while she survived the accident she could never walk again. For some time she stayed in the village of her birth and where she birthed her child, taking upon her the role observing the children, teaching and scolding and comforting when needed. As the years passed the need for quite and solitude grew in her and she asked her family and friends to build her a small hut deeper inland, some way away from the village. The family conceded at long last but on the condition that someone will come to her at least once a day to see to her needs.
After reading most of her books in quite and writing about her own life, as well as stories and observation of an old Miransil on life, she became engrossed in the life and cycle of the creatures and plants just outside her window. The struggle for life just out side her window was fascinating for her.
It was more than a century later that she noticed a decline in the population of the Tree Brok, a small rodent like creature with a strange magical ability that helped it fend of predators. But as the numbers declined, she noticed that several of the tree brok began eating more and from the valithandal root, a rotten looking, bad smelling swamp root. The effect took time to notice, but it was there nonetheless: the population of the tree brok in her back yard slowly built itself up again, but while the numbers increased Cila also noticed a “side effect”… their magical ability was gone. Not completely though, as from time to time she did notice a precious few of the tree brok manifest their signature ability but that was it.
Fascinated, Cila asked one of the children who came to check on her to bring her from the root, and tried to learn its properties with books on herbs and potions and by experimentation. Animals she introduced the root into their diet did show an increase in birth rate, but the young animals were usually weaker than their normal kin, and some had other complications. Asking the hunters to find her some other “magical creatures” she continued her experiments for years and in secret. The results were what she learned to expect: creatures with innate magic-like abilities would have more offsprings but only a small number of them displayed any of its species innate abilities.
The Last Age descended upon Eredane, and to Cila’s mind, lent more urgency to her experiments.
Her goal was to save her race. But in her mind and journals the debate was greater: could the elves survive without their magic?
The valithandal root grows only in the Miraleen swamps. It is a soft black-greenish root with a strong odor of rotting fruits and vegetables. The root increases fertility in any creature who eats from it, but the side effect is the almost total suppression of any innate magical abilities (if any) of the creature’s offspring. Almost because there is still a 1% chance that the offspring’s abilities will not be suppressed. Creatures with no innate magical abilities give birth to weak, often sickly and many times impaired, offsprings.