- For other uses, see elf.
Elves or Sylvan Elves and less known as Wood Elves are a humanoid magical race that lives on Ashan. They primarily populate the Forest Kingdom of Irollan. The Elves are known for their archery, hunting, tracking skills and their longevity, capable of living for hundreds of years. They worship the Dragon of Earth, Sylanna giving them a natural affinity for earth magic. Elves are considered the most graceful and serene of all races. They enjoy staring at natural places and restoring destroyed wastelands to green utopias.
Elven history is long and ancient and it has been said that they are the ones who first answered the call against the first Demon Invasion during the Wars of Fire. After the demons defeat and banishment to Sheogh due to the sacrifice of Sar-Elam, the elves retreated to their forests, to heal the damage done to their land.
Birth of the dark elves Edit
A few years before the Second Eclipse, his head turned by a band of flatterers, High King Arniel decided that elf power was too decentralized, and that the traditional way of electing the supreme ruler (through a vision shared by the Druids) was unreliable. His solution was simple, to usurp the powers of the local elf kings, strip the Druids of their authority, and make his own title hereditary. Among the various rebels that clashed with him, the most tragically famous was Queen Tuidhana. The conflict between Arniel and Tuidhana escalated into open war and turned even more complicated when the knights of Emperor Liam of the Holy Falcon Empire took advantage of the situation to seize Tuidhana's land of Tarlad, thus beginning the bitter remembered War of the Bitter Ashes. Under attack form the imperial armires, Tuidhana appealed to Arniel for aid. Unfortunately, Arneil rejected her plea stating that "she stands alone, let her fight alone". Arniel only took action when the Empire starting getting further in the forests of Irollan but paid no head to Tuidana's people. This rejection and the High Kings disregard for her people ultimately forced the desperate Tuidhana to make a dark pact with the mysterious Faceless, which they accepted for a price. The price being they abandon Sylanna and convert to the worship of the Faceless' god; Malassa, Dragon Goddess of Darkness. With her new powers of Dark Magic, Tuidhana reaffirmed her kingdoms independence but forever splinted the once singular elven people into two different and embittered societies. Peace was finally recognized and reparations were made, albeit grudgingly.
Uneasy Peace Edit
A tense peace existed, which was called the "Peace of New Spring", for twenty years, yet tensions remained dangerously high between Irollan and the new dark elves. That peace was destroyed when Brythigga, the Mother of Trees and home of the original royal dwelling, was burned to the ground, leaving a blackened scar on the earth where nothing would ever grow again. High King Arniel was caught inside the conflagration and was burned alive. The dark elves were blamed for the heinous act and were forced to leave their forest dwellings and guided by the Faceless, fled underground near the Dwarven border. Tuidhana died as a martyr in her former lands when she attempted to defend it against the vengeful Sylvan armies. In truth, the Dark Elves were not responsible for Brythigga's destruction but was in fact a Demon who framed the Dark Elves. The new High King, Vaniel, in his regret for blaming Tuidhana's people, sent missives to the Dark Elves and offered them to return. Unfortunately, the dark elves angerly rejected them, unable to forgive.
Since then, most elves of both kingdoms remain suspicious of each other, sometimes attacking each other on sight. It would be decades later before a relation of any kind would be made.
A Part of Ashan Edit
The place where Brythigga had stood was stricken from the maps, and now no Elf will go there. Another Mother of Trees has been consecrated, hidden deep within the forests, but no Elf will speak of her to outsiders for whatever reason. Centuries have passed, fighinting alongside the other nations, namely the Holy Empire and the Wizards of the Silver Cities, against the Demons during the Third and Fourth Eclipse, but tensions remain high between the Elves and Tuidhana’s people, who have made a new nation underground, Ygg-Chall, The Dark Below. The current High King, Alaron, is now slowly re-establishing stronger ties with the other nations, namely in trade and alliances against the more dangerous and disciplined Demons of Kha-Beleth .
By the time of the Holy Griffin Empire, the Elves of Irollan have taken a more active role in the world of Ashan, yet maintain their ancient ways.
Society and Culture Edit
The Elves of Irollon are graceful and patient souls who live in close harmony with the earth and are are in tune with the Dragon of Earth. Her deliberate nature and ancient wisdom are reflected in their approach to life and worship. Distrustful of machinery and cities, they keep to their ancient ways and ally with others only rarely. It must be emphasized that Elven lands are not safe. Wild animals, the natural terrain, and the Elves themselves all pose formidable hazards for the incautious traveller.
There are four major cities within the Elven realm, each serving as a seasonal capital for the King and his court. The capital changes at the solstices and equinoxes, and each city subtly tries to outdo the others. Syris Thalla (“New Green”) is the spring capital, located in the west. Syris Vaniel (“Golden Sun”) is the southern and summer capital. Syris Lothran (“Bloodleaf”) is the fall capital, and is located in the east, close to the Empire's border. Syris Wynna (“White Wind”) is the northern capital, and it rules in winter. The changing of the capital is a major event in the Elven calendar, and the procession of the royal court from city to city is said to be a magnificent sight to behold.
In the political circle of the elves, there is a King of the Elves, and there are many other Kings below him. The High-King rules from the central court, and once he is chosen his word is law. The process of choosing a King falls to the druids, who fast and endure the sweat lodge until all are given a vision of who the new ruler should be. The decision has to be unanimous, and the druids will stay in the sweat lodge without eating for as long as it takes, this however forever changed when Arniel became High King. The High King rules for life, which for Elves, is a very long time indeed. Around him circulates a court of soothsayers, druids, warriors, musicians, ladies in waiting, poets, jesters, sons of lesser Kings and the like, a whirlwind of chaos that somehow manages to be surprisingly efficient, especially compared to the Imperial court of the Holy Empire. Intrigues within the Elven court are less deadly than they are elegant - Elves do not like to kill other Elves. Rather, they will work to humiliate, exile and otherwise bring low their rivals. Enmities can last hundreds of years, for Elves do not forget slights, do not forgive easily, and they guard their honor fiercely.
There are those who say that the Elves’ entire language, known as Monlin, the Song of the Earth, is music. That may be the case, but the Elves themselves claim to be partial to poetry. The more extemporaneously it’s composed, the better, and the Elf who can rip off a sestina on the fly wins a great deal of renown from his fellows. All Elves have two names, the one they use with outsiders and the one they use among themselves. The outsider name is generally descriptive and in the common tongue. The true name is in Elven, and is more or less unpronounceable by anyone except an Elf.
Dryads have a respected place in Elven society, as they were once dying elves who requested to be entombed inside the living trunk of a Treant. Months later, the spirit of the Elf then returns to Ashan as a forest spirit known as a Dryad. The Dryads can sing trees into shape to create tools, weapons and even buildings for their Elven relatives. A chorus of Dryads can form an ancient tree into the foundations of an Elven city. As such the elves share a close and symbolic relationship to the Treants and Dryads.
During times of war, Elven armies are composed of a fluid array of smaller units, all of which seem to instinctively know what the army as a whole needs to do. In truth, Elves hate a stand-up fight and prefer guerrilla tactics. The swiftest runners and best archers are scouts and skirmishers, reporting back to the nobles who command each unit. Usually Elves will screen their main force with a line of skirmishers who will serve to draw opponents into traps, where they can be pounded with arrows from three sides. The archers and Hunters of Irollan are said to be the most precise and skilled in all of Ashan. Their legendary Blade Dancers are especially skilled as there are several forms of Battle Dance. Mastering one of them is already a great achievement. Dryads have a unique spot in the elven armies, as the Oak Dryads are stronger and more resistant than other types of Dryads, making them great assets in times of war. Overall, the Elves believe the more confusion they can sow with arrow fire and long range spells, the better, gaining ground means nothing to them – in a fight they concentrate on picking enemy army apart.
The main body of the army is more heavily armed and armored. Elven cavalry is mostly light cavalry, again designed for speed and maneuverability over shocking power. Riders will fire arrows or throw spears from horseback, eschewing heavier weapons like lances.
The Elves also have a sizable navy. Their riverboats are fast and light, with tall rigging to allow room for plenty of archers. These ships also have narrow construction, to make them more difficult to board and to use enemies’ numbers against them. On the ocean, the pattern is repeated.
Few Elves like sailing beyond sight of land, but those who do range far and wide as both traders and pirates. Though there are those who fall in love with the sea, worshiping Shalassa, Dragon Goddess of Water, becoming known as the Sea Elves.
To the Sylvan Elves, their core belief is:“Live and let live… within the Harmony”. Feel the living world, all around you. All thingsare a part of it, both the foulest and the fairest. Together we are the threads that make up the fabric of existence.
The Elves of Irollan worship the slow and deliberate Dragon Goddess of Earth, Sylanna. As such they have a strong affinity for earth magic and maintain a strong connection to the forests and animals of their realm. As such, they view the forests and living things as their responsibilities, and do not shrink from punishing those who defile them. The priesthood of Sylanna are the respected Druids, who are granted control over the various powers of nature. Druid Elders don't actually slay a stag to make their coifs, a dying stag will seek a Druid of his choice and offer him his hide to use as he or she sees fit. It is considered a great honour to receive such a gift.
Originally before the Second Eclipse, the Druids were the ones who chose who would become the new High King of the Elves, which was done by enduring the sweatlodge until they they gained a shared vision. However after the rise High King Arniel, the tradition no longer exists as he made his title hereditary, but Druid Elders today remain the pillars of Elven society and spirituality.
The Green and Emerald Dragons also have a special place in Elven spirituality. As they are the Avatars of Sylanna, they are the Guardians of Earth and Nature, and will defend the forest with all their might when the Elven war horns start singing among the trees. As such, the Elves greatly respect the Earth Dragons.
While the elves of Irollan tend to keep to themselves they have made relations to the other nations of Ashan.
Their most prominent external relation is the Holy Empire, being trade partners and fighting alongside each other against the Demons. In the old times, the elves taught the denizens of the Empire how to forge and use Starsilver, which was an act of friendship. Though relations have taken a sour turn since the War of The Bitter Ashes, as the ambitions of Liam attacked Irollan and the resulting conflict created the Dark Elves. Relations seemed to have improved since the Third and Fourth Eclipse, as commerce has increased between the two nations and they fought together against the more disciplined Demons of Kha-Beleth.
The Wizards of the Seven Cities, later the Silver Cities, have few relations with Irollan other than fighting together against the Demons. A similar relation exists with the Nagas of the Lotus Empire and the Dwarves of Grimheim, most likely due to the vast distance between the two civilizations with the former and due to a sense of suspicion for outsiders with the latter.
The Sylvan Elves' most volatile relation is with their shadow marked cousins, the Dark Elves. The Dark Elves have a burning hatred for the forests who they believed betrayed them, now they attack their former brethren on sight. In turn, some of the elves of Irollan show an intense dislike and suspicion to the Dark Elves for abandoning Sylanna for Malassa. Though both Sylvan Elves and Dark Elves have attempted to make peace, both don't seem quick to forgive each other.