It does feel a little under-done, but while adding more might the reading more enjoyable I think the idea is fully developed. Extra points for style and the fact that I hate HATE ticks (thus I demonizing theme seems like a natural extension for me).
I agree with Manfred and Checka, this is a useful item for a RPG campaign, I hope I remember to use it. You have here in this write up both a spring board for a plot and an interesting item that could offer player both meta game advantages and roleplaying directions.
Rafting is accepted theory for the spread of many species, New World Monkeys for example. Of course in a fantasy realm you take any natural event and turn the volume up to 11. So you get elephants rafting, of course why not make it a huge fantasy animal?
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Why raft? Without natural predators, elephant populations can be very destructive to the ecosystem, a population which thins its number from time may actually prove to be more stable over the long term. Thus the rafting herds would over take the boom crash herds over many years. But you could make up other reasons...
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I am preparing to put another chapter into this and I think you are right on with every observation except ditching the first person. We have to make a choice with regard to perspective and I reject this idea of non-biased or "factual" perspective. I am writing this for my game world, to make sure that I have the depth there if it comes up, if the players chose to explore it. I think it a great compliment to compare it to the Silmarillion, this is not the story, the players are the story: I will try more stories in the future. Also I think your advice is citadel geared, getting more responses from the citadel, and this is for my game. While you may be right about the Citadel, your advice is not helpful regarding gaming. But I am glad you read it and thanks for the feedback.
"I'm not clear how they fit into the rest of the world, though. What interactions do they have with the rest of the world besides robbing them? We get some idea with the merchants and the military aid."
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The author notes that they will take part in the some of the church activities, they have been promoted to the peerage and that a member of their tribe acted as regeant for a while. But how the various tribes of Parna fit together was one of the over arching themes of the campaign (which is now over). Even the in game author of this write up asserts a view on this topic which he states is contentous. But at the game table we did a lot work on how the various tribes worked together or did not, it was a source of conflict. So good catch, I am very thankful for smart thoughtful readers who leave insightful comments (sincerely) !