Doves of Merrimont

The white doves of Merrimont have been part of the city since its inception, a hundred years after the Chaos War.  Even the templar Lyndon noted that the doves there were extraordinary, as they communicated to him through telepathic powers.  Many see the doves as the city’s eternal guardians, but no one has been able to decipher what exactly they’re protecting.  It is thought, by the humans, that the doves are protecting riches beyond imagining.  However, the doves rarely communicate to humans, preferring the elves who moved into the Merrimont region in 460 ACW.  

Telepathic powers are found in some animals but not exclusively in particular species.  In other words, not all doves have telepathy but the doves in Merrimont do.  The doves seem to congregate around the city’s main and largest archway, the Dovial Arch.  Superstition over the Arch circulate from bird droppings landing on citizens passing under the archway.  It has been noted that anyone who is pooped on is doomed to die within a year’s time. Because of these deaths, many in Merrimont are fearful of the doves and believe they may have powers beyond telepathy.  In 721 ACW, an elven mason was utterly convinced the doves were evil and needed to be killed.  The stone mason managed to shoot down seven doves before he was arrested and later executed for bearing weapons and using deadly force within the city (elves were not allowed to have or use weapons within Merrimont until the Farm and Riot Act of 772 ACW).

During many of the wars, such as the 10th War of Damir where Merrimont was put in siege by the orcs led by the warlord Phumbaas, the doves served as scouts and messengers for the elves.  The doves only seem to speak to a select number of elves, including certain elven nobles.  Many elves try to tap into the secrets of the doves by feeding them or cooing at them, but typically the doves fly away when such obvious bribery is offered.  It is rumored that the doves were friends with Kalliste, the blind seer, and that it was they who gave her the prophecy about the Slayer.  Kalliste never mentions the doves at all in any of her works, but the rumors continue to circulate.

In elven lore, doves were the favorite animal of Troix, the Angel of Valor.  It has been passed down from legend that Troix had a special relationship with doves, and they would speak to her and no other.  In her battles, Troix used the doves to spy on enemy outposts and armies, relaying the size and readiness of the opposing army.  When Troix was killed in battle, abandoned by her allies, it is said the doves dispersed and were never heard of again.

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The Dovial Arch

Near the entrance into Merrimont is the Dovial Arch, a massive archway made of thick ivory that stands over a hundred feet high, seventy feet deep and almost two hundred feet in width.  It is a landmark and symbol of Merrimont that has stood the test of time since before the city was even established.  The arch is named appropriately after the large gathering of doves that perch themselves atop the structure and nest beneath its bow. 

The Dovial Arch has a lot of superstition surrounding it.  Anyone who walks under it and is hit by dove droppings is destined to die within a year’s time.  So far, every account of someone getting pooped on involved the victim’s untimely death that year.  This has led to some superstitious people to walk around the arch, even if it means walking through hedges or on flowers or in muddy grass.  Others (usually youth) dare each other to stand underneath the archway, tempting fate to see if the doves poop on them. 

The doves themselves are special, as they are not ordinary doves.  They are Merrimont’s watch and messengers.  The doves of Merrimont have telepathic abilities, permitting them to speak to anyone through thoughts.  The doves have been known to play games and perch on the shoulders of two lovers, telling each one what their lover is thinking of them.  They are also used in war time as messengers and scouts, even.  Yet no one seems to command the doves; they tend to choose who and when they’ll help.  Many feel they are loyal to Merrimont, though not necessarily to the elves

No one knows who built the Dovial Arch.  The elves claim that it was present when they settled the Merrimont region in 460 ACW.  This suggests that the elves built the city of Merrimont around the Arch.  If the elves did not build it, then it is assumed that the humans who pre-date the elves did, but no one can find any evidence of this.  Many argue against the human-built theory because none of the other structures the humans of Damir have built even somewhat resemble the Dovial Arch.  The ivory used in its construction is uncommonly tough.  It is impossible to chip and hasn’t a crack in it.  Such ivory has been known to have been found near Blood Coast, on the Ivory Peninsula, but that’s hundreds of leagues away.  Which brings up another paradox: if the ivory came from the Ivory Peninsula how did it get to Damir before international trade had begun in 643 ACW if the Arch existed before the elves settled there in 460 ACW?  It remains a mystery and a wonder.