The elves are the ancient caretakers of the world. Older than any other race, they have developed a keen affinity for the land, and put more faith into the gods than most other races. Long ago the elves divided into two distinct cultures the Sylvan and the Dark Elves.
As we gaze into the darkness of the cavern – so do we gaze into the darkness that lurks in our own hearts. We must not deny who we are, for that is where our strength dwells. Drink deep of your darkness. Bear it aloft and cry “Here I stand! Not even the Sky can defy me!”
When the elves took on their covenant to keep watch over Aeryn for the gods, they broke up into three distinct cultures. One race went below the earth, where they embraced the powers of dark gods in order to survive. The Drow are known as the “People Under the Earth” and all things that pass below are known to them. Their grey and purple skin and cold eyes give the impression of overt evil, but the Drow are not inherently so. Whatever their moral ethics, Drow are noted for their sense of honor and cunning. Their king is the last immortal elf in all the world. He rules Cirith Valledor, the last home of the two elven nations. Like their sylvan cousins, the Drow live to about 200 years of age. The oldest members of this race can reach 250. Drow are careful and cunning with a strongly developed code of ethics and personal honor
The under-elves, the shadow-born. The dark elves of Aeryn are as complex as they are ancient – as cunning as they are mysterious. To behold a dark elf is to glimpse the enigmatic and never are their motives completely clear. Even the University of Lorekeepers continues to speculate on the race as a whole.
Many things contribute to this sense of strangeness. While generally held as secretive, it would be more correct to say that dark elves are an extremely private people. The workings of their daily lives – the names of ancestors, even common day-to-day activities are not often spoken of openly. If the surface details of any one dark elf’s life are held close, then certainly the inner workings of their minds – the deep held beliefs and subtle thoughts – are nearly impossible to unravel. Cultural norms are at once beautiful and incredibly intricate, serving to further confound even the most dedicated attempts to unravel them.
Their history is as old as Aeryn itself, but unlike their sylvan cousins, the dark elves hold the written word as taboo – regarding each written symbol as a secret revealed. Thus, the history of the dark elves is as difficult to define as the people themselves – often characterized by large sweeping events. Specifics are carefully guarded by the dark elven Shinji. Certainly, the dark elves are a race steeped in secrets.
As noted, the history of the dark elves is carefully secreted. A few details, however, are generally known. As the Sylvans became the caretakers of the surface, so did the Dark Elves become the caretakers of the underground. There, the dark elves embraced the teachings of the Sh’ddar. It is taught that the Pantheon of Darkness called out to the elven race, selecting the most powerful, cunning, and honorable among them to sacrifice their wings and descend into the deep. Thirteen of the most worthy were touched with the skin of darkness and made into the first Drow. These great leaders guided the rest of the new dark elves into the deep places of the world – there to unlock and protect its ancient secrets.
What the dark elves discovered in their newly claimed underworld would challenge even the most stalwart and powerful among them, and this gave birth to the beautifully complex and rigid society that has survived into present time. As the Sylvans established their great City of Stars, so did the dark elves establish Cirith Valledor in the Weir Wood, with its infinite caverns and passageways into the heart of the earth. The largest and most guarded of these is the Gateway of the Moon. This enormous cave is regarded by most as the primary passage into the underworld. It is said that no creature will pass into any cavern anywhere on Aeryn whose crossing is not noted by the dark elven caretakers of the Gateway. Named for the fortress-like Tsukiko Temple in the dark elven city in which it stands, the Gateway is ever brushed by moonlight. It is thought that the stones which frame the cavern were crafted from Dark Iron- that fabled metal that is said to have come from Sheol herself.
Though the dark elven Empire expands far into the underground, and there are few corridors that are without meaning, the Gateway of the Moon remains a place of noted historical significance. For this is where the first great battle of the Drow Lords was fought as the new dark elven society clashed against the infernal denizens of the deeping world. Primary among these inimical foes was the legendary race known as the Ra-jin. Reputed to have been among the most horrific creatures in history, the origins of the prehistoric Ra-jin are lost to antiquity. Believed to be demons of the ancient world, the Ra-jin once dwelled in every cavern and corridor beneath the earth. It is believed that the great many continent wide tunnels of the Under Realm were originally created by the Ra-jin who sought to destroy Aeryn from within. Into this seething, twisted labyrinth the early dark elves descended, throwing themselves wholly against the threat of the Ra-jin. Starting at the Gateway of the Moon, the dark elves battled the Rajin for long years – expanding their Empire with every passage cleansed of their infernal influence. These“abominations of flesh and fire” were put to the sword and destroyed with all of the cunning and zeal afforded by the Sh’ddar gods through their chosen race: the dark elves.
The primary General of the dark elves at this time was none other than Nevith Zytherin himself – the Drow lord who would become Emperor of the Under Realm for all the Ages of elves and men. In the end, the dark elves were successful and the Ra-jin were hunted into extinction. While every trace of the foe was destroyed, it is the firmly held belief of the dark elves that the Ra-jin are not altogether lost, and that they endure yet in some lost corner of the Under Realm.
It is taught that should the Vigil of the Deep falter for even a moment, the Ra-jin will surely return. This belief is rather heightened in the current age and there are many who believe that the return of the Ra-jin is an inevitability announced by the dawning of the Scourge. It is the Vigil of the Deep and the threat of the Ra-jin that has motivated many of the historical actions of the dark elves.
The great battle where the dark elves contained the Gargoyles in their home mountains – was instigated by the Vigil. The dark elves saw mortals as creatures who would be susceptible to the great cunning of the infernal Ra-jin. For this reason the dark elves have ever been wary of any attempt by mortals to explore too deeply into the Roots of the World. For there it is said, the Ra-jin quietly bide their time. The dark elves listen endlessly for the stirring of their ancient foe. Thus far, the deep caverns remain silent…
Drow society has a strong sense of tradition, honor, and family. As they gained their dominance over the underground, these virtues helped structure the society for survival and prosperity in the harsh environment. It was also significant in the re-acceptance of their Sylvan cousins when they fled to Cirith Valledor at the onset of the Scourge. Though reconnection with the Sylvans has reintroduced the dark elves to the ways of the Eddar and Woddar faiths, their ancient traditions still lean towards the Sh’ddar.
Among the infinite families, each with their own traditions and hierarchy, there is also the established organization of class-related forces. The Yuudai form the backbone of the dark elven military. Made up almost entirely of Armsmen and Reavers, the Yuudai serve Cirith Valledor as protectors of the dark elven race. Their service and devotion to the Emporer is total, bordering on the fanatic.
The sorcerers, rogues, and those of particular cunning make up the traditional station of the Toru. Their job is to serve households and the nation in information gathering, espionage, and secretive missions for the betterment of their people. They were also utilized in ages past for the small confrontations that sometimes happened between families.
The Nethermancers, and those of other mystical persuasions are afforded an almost scholarly priest-like status as the Shinji. Aside from the keeping and honoring of passed ancestors, their station is to keep lore and knowledge, expanding it ever for the betterment of the people. Many classes have established households for training, or schools, where things are set up much like a family household. These not only train individuals from families who send their children for learning, but also take in orphans or exiles for permanent membership into the organizations. It is not uncommon to have a powerful family with one or many of these distinct classes established in their hierarchy, and even seeing to the planned training of specific sons or daughters to further strengthen the family or the Empire. It is considered an honorable thing to have a son achieve status as a Yuudai, or a daughter as part of the Shinji, though any chosen class or subclass is considered an honor, as long as the individual excels in their class and serves the family and their people.
Drow lifestyle places an emphasis on beauty, perfection, ritual, and respect to those higher in station. Precision and a strong work ethic touches everything from meal preparation to the full mobilization of the entire dark elven race. The selfish desires of the individual are considered nothing compared to the wellness of the family or dark elven nation as a whole. This goes hand in hand with their unfailing role as caretakers of the Under Realm. There is a tradition of wars between powerful families or class organizations, but these are rare and are usually started due to a lack in respect or a gross breech of etiquette from one or more members of a household towards another .Dark elven society allows for this settling of dishonor, but if things escalate too far, the Emperor or families higher up will quickly force an end to the dispute. This usually ends up with an arranged marriage between the two families, or some kind of compensation from the instigator to the defender after a royal judgment of the situation.
Some dark elves eschew their racial traditions and station, and live a life outside the structure of their people. These dark elves are known as the Ronin, and while they are still treated politely, they are usually disowned by their families, organizations, or the Emperor himself. Treated as second class citizens, these dark elves are ostracized for some dishonor that they chose not to seek atonement for, or by simple choice or need to be their own person. Dark elves will have a hard time trusting these individuals, or understanding their willful choice to live in dishonor. For someone to be considered a Ronin is not to be taken lightly, as it goes against the very grain of who the dark elves are. Even still, there are rumorsof entire Ronin households who have completely removed themselves from dark elven society. There is even rumor of rogue factions of class and family households who split from their “mother” houses to seek their own way.
The Thirteen Houses
The Major Houses of Drow are at the top of the Hierarchy of the Drow and sit on the Greater council with the Emperor. The Minor Houses sit on the lower council and speak to the Emperor’s Voice. Occasionally they will sit together with the Greater Council once a year during Syrilisaad.
House Zytherin – The Royal House of the Emperor. The Emperor is a Drow and the last immortal elf in all the world. He rules Cirith Valledor, the last home of the two elven nations. (This House is not available to players.) Sigil: A waxing crescent moon, a full moon, and waning crescent moon in silver on the eye of peacock feathers on a purple background.
House Xor’larrin – This major house is known for its renown alchemists and sorcerers. Supposedly the empires best Espers are trained from this house. Sigil: Silver Spider on a purple background.
House T’kirr – Known to be one of the most powerful syndicate rogue families in all of Artanna. Sigil: Three silver daggers in a triangle on black.
House Kai-ren – This house is known for its Sh’ddar and Martial Skill. They follow a very strict code, and are a militant family. They are considered by some to be fanatical in their service to the Emperor. Sigil: A silver triskelion made from 3 interlocked hands in the center, one hand purple, one hand red, and one hand silver on a black background.
House Jiang – This house is known for their ships. There are many Reavers in this household that learn to keep ships war ready. Sigil: Red Conch shell on silver background.
House Kageshiki – They an Arcane house. Many are the stewards of the Academy of magic in Cirith Valledor. Sigil: The pronged purple tomoe on a silver background.
House Nuyen – This house is reknown for their patronage of the arts. Many are bards that skilled in instruments, story, dance, and even tea ceremony. They run the Phoenix School for the arts that trains many gifted dark elves. They are known to perform for the royal court during festivals. Sigil: The purple phoenix on a red background.
House Han – They are known for handling diplomacy, especially between the Sylvans and the Dark Elves. Many are known to help handle house disputes as well. They usually are scholars and record keepers. Sigil: White heron on a green background.
House Kuroshi – This is a great house of Nethermancers. They are mainly the keepers of the dead, the catacombs, and are the teachers of funeral rites. If the need is great they also perform séances to ancestors. Sigil: White Chrysanthemum on a gray background.
House Kuang – Sorcerers. Many take up guardianship over the moon gate. The clan elders are also have said to protect the mirror realm. Sigil: A white fox mask with a silver crescent moon on its forehead, purple background.
House Yamamoto – Many are Earth Druids. They are guardians of the deeps. It is said that some of their ancient masters so in tune with the Terrasque, they are capable of Earth Voice. Sigil: Grey mountain on a green background.
House Warrang – They are a martial household. They also train the majority of the Spellswords. They are known to open their doors to any who prove themselves worthy and disciplined enough to train with their family. Sigil: White tiger on a black background.
House Tsukino – This house is made up of scouts, archers, rogues, and wardens. They train the best scouts for emperor’s army. They are known to employ Sylvans Elves. Sigil: Two crossed hawk feathers white and black on a green background.
Never forget that you are star-born. You have inherited the world from the Eddar, and they look to you to keep its ways. In all things you must be vigilant. With the onset of the Scourge, your task is evergreater. You must watch and protect and guide the races of this world as always our people have done. The hope of mortals and gods is with you, you must not fail their sacred trust.
Beautiful, ancient, heroic, the elves are considered by many to be the most enlightened of the mortal races. Once immortal and blessed with the gift of flight, the elves have lost much of their former glory. Their history tells them that they are descended from the gods, and the elves hold true to an ancient vow that places them as caretakers of the world.
In the current Age, the elves have lost their bright city of Cirith Toril and have moved into the forests above the homes of their cousins, the Drow. Sylvans are filled with a preternatural grace and beauty. They live for about 200 years with the oldest living to the age of 250
The sylvan elves are true beacons of hope in a world of strife and despair. Theirs is the culture that began all cultures – theirs is the faith that ignited all faith. With passion and power they have time and again proven their willingness to uphold their ancient role as stewards of Aeryn. They serve the mortal races as steadfast advisors and are eager to provide council to all who ask it of them. The inspiration of poets and bards for ages beyond counting, the elves embody all that is true and noble and beautiful in the world. The magic of the stars from which they were born hovers about them always, and ever do they speak with wisdom and insight. The elves have seen the rise and fall of many ages, and still their love for Aeryn runs deeper than in most others. For the elves know better than any how much one can lose; and every unscarred tree and uncharred blade of grass is as dear as life itself.
The history of the elves is as old as all time. They tell that their people were called out of the stars by the Eddar to dwell on Aeryn when it was young and untouched as new snow. And from the stars the elves did come – winged and shining, to dwell where the Eddar bade them – to protect the young world and guard her mysteries. This was the dawn of time: The Age of Legends.
As the centuries wore ever on, the winged elves spread out to all the many places of the world. But there were areas that even they could not touch. The caverns beneath the earth and the deepest of forests were closed to them. As true stewards, a group of elves sacrificed their wings and went into the caves and tunnels – there to become the forebears of the mighty drow. A second group also gave up their beloved gift of flight and came to dwell in the forests and hidden glens of the world. These were to be called the Sylvans. Of all the elves in the world, only they retain the ancient mark of starlight upon their brows – a last vestige of a forgotten time when they dwelled among the many and drifting stars.
In their forests, the elves built many sanctuaries, but none has ever been built to rival the splendor of Cirith Toril – The City of Stars. Crowned by Eldrassil, the White Elm, Cirith Toril was a city of unmatched beauty. A silver star fallen from the heavens, Cirith Toril gleamed and shimmered. Moon gates and fountains of starlight bathed the city in waves of pearl and blue. Delicate, crystalline towers rose higher than the tallest of the great Weirwood trees in which they were built. By ancient custom, no tower or building made by elven hands could stand taller than the lowest bows of Eldrassil did hang, but even so, the tallest slender spires rose to dizzying heights. Magic there was in great profusion, and song to soothe the most anxious of hearts.
But Cirith Toril is no more. Long ago destroyed by the forces of demonkind, the City of Stars has become the capital of the Scourge itself – the very heart of demonic power on Aeryn. Everywhere, there are flames and the stench of hell is thick upon the air. The boughs of Eldrassil are all afire, but never do they burn. Rather the limbs of the White Elm are perpetually healed and made anew – so that they might continue to feed the ravenous hellfire. The sky about the City of Fire is wreathed in smoke and soot. The ashes fall in never-ending storms for miles in every direction, blanketing the hinterlands in char. Demons stalk the hidden ruins – preying on those who failed to answer the Final Retreat, and eager to visit their version of the world upon the forces of the Sanctuary.
The elves had no choice but to flee their ancient homeland. Led by Dianwen, the last elven Queen, they came at long last into the Sanctuary, where they rejoined their ancient brothers among the Drow in Cirith Valledor. Here the most ancient of the world’s races must make their final stand, and rise unflinching to the greatest challenge to their sacred vow.
A Culture in Exile
Landless, exiled to the drow forest of Weir Wood, their monarchy extinct, mortal? The sylvan elves have suffered in the Age of Strife in ways that many of the other races cannot even begin to fathom. Their ancient culture is on the brink of extinction and the passing years seem only to lead away from a history that was meant to be ever-lived and ever-bright.
Cirith Valledor is the seat of sylvan culture in exile. They are ruled by the drow king Nevith Zytherin who allows them a high, though not total, degree of autonomy. From the forest of Weir Wood the druidess Yvaine Raghnild has become the recognized leader of the sylvan elves, though tradition demands that she never take the title of Queen. The government is comprised of a loose assemblage of influential leaders known as the Eldaar. Their army, called the Fioran – is the smallest in the Sanctuary, but the traditions that create a Fioran warrior ensure that sylvan interests are well protected.
Accounts of Weir Wood say that it resembles the ancient descriptions of Cirith Toril though of course much smaller in scale. It is a place that seems forever bathed in twilight where faerie lights float through valleys of deep green and blue. While the fonts of Weir Wood cannot rival the great mountain Font of Ashendar, what they lack in size they most certainly make up for in number. Weir Wood exhibits the highest concentration of naturally occurring fonts of any single location currently known within the Sanctuary. This abundance of natural magic has led to the occurrence of many strange and powerful beings in Weir Wood. Cenntaurs, hippogriffs and gorgons; all have been seen at one time or another, and it is widely held that the sylvan court enjoys a flourishing alliance with these exotic denizens of the Astral
Sylvans are almost intrinsically linked to the Eddar. It was – after all – the Pantheon of Light that first brought them into the forests of the world. An overwhelming number of sylvans are Druids, with Crusaders and Healers following closely. (It is important to note that sylvans almost always refer to the goddess Evora as Dianwen.)
However, in Drow ruled Cirith Valledor the precepts of the Sh’ddar are gaining sway and the legendary faith of the elves shines through be they Emissary or Disciple. The number of elven mages has more than doubled since their exile and Sylvan arcanists, ritualists and mystics are some of the most powerful in the land. Martial pursuits are often secondary to arcane or priestly goals. Finally, there are a great many bards among the elves and it is their belief that the God of Song himself taught them the Art when the world was young. So varied and textured is the palette of elvish music that it is often said that “elves are to the bard’s harp what gargoyles are to smith’s hammer.”
Historically, Sylvans have been regarded as aloof and almost frighteningly mysterious. The ancient Erlish regarded them as emissaries of the Otherworld. The Gargoyles saw them as the last denizens of an older world that had long since gone extinct. Even today there are more than a few Sylvans who illicit this feeling of otherworldliness in those they encounter. Most Sylvans still view the other races as wards. While some hold that the other races are treated like children by the Sylvans, this is generally not the case. Rather Sylvans feel genuinely protective of the other races as though they were younger siblings just setting out on a road they themselves have walked many times. This obligation to guide the other races is often viewed as antiquated and vestigial. Given the current state of the sylvan culture, it is they in the Age of Strife – who seem to rely on the care of others.
The Sylvans are no longer immortal. While once immune to the subtle touch of time, mortality has come at last. The oldest sages of the world are gone – never to return. Beings who saw firsthand the dawning days of the world are no more. Whatever wisdom they may have kept has died alongside them. As of yet, there has surfaced no adequate reason explaining their sudden transience. It is a thing that simply is. This subtle, but powerful change in elven physiology has driven many to madness.
But the elves endure, and have devised many ways to stave off the madness of mortality. Many have interbred with humans creating offspring that are better acclimated to their mortal skins. The child of a sylvan and a human will be born either wholly human or wholly sylvan. However, children conceived in this way seem better equipped to handle the harsh reality of mortal death. They exhibit far less of the almost supernatural “alieness” exhibited by some Sylvans, and are generally regarded as more gregarious and open among the other races.
While there is no doubt that sylvans are now mortal, there are relatively few who have seen a sylvan under the strain of old age. This has something to do with the general lethargy of their aging process, (sylvans live to an average of 250 years with signs of old age apparent only in the last few) but is helped along by something the sylvans refer to as the “longing”. For when a sylvan enters his final life cycle on Aeryn, he begins to exhibit a melancholy detachment from the world. Despondent and somber, sylvans in this state claim to hear the cries of Eldrassil calling out to them from across the world. This feeling intensifies over time and inevitably leads the elf to the sea where he will take a ship into the hinterlands so that he might end his mortal life beneath the boughs of Eldrassil. It is widely believed – though never openly said – that none has ever made it that far.
Culture of the Weird Wood
The Sylvans Elves that spread out among Artanna adopted many of the other cultures letting go of the past. However, In the Weir Wood surrounding Cirith Valledor the older Sylvan Elves cling to their traditions, past from down from their families that fled Cirith Toril long ago. They still hope and dream of the day they will see boughs of the White Elm.
The Sylvans among the Weir Wood live in buildings that are cleverly worked around the natural landscape. They would never clear the forest to build their homes, and believe the harmony with the landscape will bring an inner harmony as well. There are many natural bridges made out of interlocking roots from the great trees, small shops made from the great tree hollows, and forges made out of rock formations. The roads are long and wind precariously throughout the forest to get to the Drow City of Cirth Valledor, but they are beautiful sight to behold.
Sylvans that live in the outskirts of the Weir Wood live in large family yurts bordering the plains. They continue their age old friendship with Erlish, and many wear more Erlish like leathers and furs. The Sylvans closer to the Cirith Valledor, that have the most interaction with the Dark Elves, wear more clothing with the intricately woven silks that one would see adorning a Dark Elf kimono or hanfu. The Majority of Sylvans in the Weir Wood, men or women, wear a long deel or tunic belted with a wide leather belt or sash over pants and boots that may be trimmed with fur during the winter months. The Sylvans value comfort to move through the thick forest with ease. Women will sometimes wear beaded headdresses that can become very ornate for special occasions.
Unlike their Dark Elf brethren, the Sylvan Elves no longer carry the sigil’s of their lost houses. They united under one banner during the exodus, the Ivory banner of the Last Sylvan Elf Queen, Dianwen. It shows a silver star above a sun and crescent moon. Yvaine Ranghild, the recognized leader of the Sylvans now carries this banner. Family is just as important as community among the Sylvans. They will never leave one of their own to fend for themselves if they come upon harsh times.
Many Sylvans carry out ancient Eddar traditions, and they honor the Sky King, Athos, and the Evening Star, Evora. The sky holds great significance because it is the beginning of their race. The Dragon is honored in almost every home regardless of Faith. The Dragon is what gives life and takes it in the cycle, the light and the darkness that world needs to thrive. They do not believe in building churches, but they believe a grove, ancient tree, hollow, or river bend are sacred places of worship known as Mori. Also small shrines are built to various animal spirits. Priests or Priestesses will take up residence near these places to watch over them. Where they see the sky clearly they will gather to pray to Evora or Athos. Sylvans like the Erlish will not bury their dead but will burn them hoping the smoke will carry their souls back into the sky and their ashes spread among ground to nourish the soil at the sacred Mori. The ashes of a family are usually spread at the same Mori and family members will come to honor them during the Nether holiday burning offerings to their ancestors.
The Weir Wood is vast resource to the needs of Dark Elves and Sylvans. Many alchemists seek out the rare components it can provide. There are also a few Shaman in the Weir Wood, also known as the medicine and women of the Sylvans, that practice ancient herbal remedies to balance the inner elements of their patients. They believe their can feel a person’s inner elements after years of meditation and practice. When they are out of balance they prescribe various treatments from physical activities, herbal teas, or meditations. Even the Dark Elves are known to travel the forest and seek them out for their healing. Grandmothers are known to chastise their grandchildren with quips of them being too fiery or too get the air out of their head.
Many Sylvans are astute hunters with their bow. Most do not kill more than what is needed for food leather goods for the family or community. They do not clear land to farm either, and gather food as it comes into season naturally, checking on these patches and caring for them as if they were their own. The Sylvans that live on the edge of the Weir Wood near the Plains have taken up some harvesting and will purchase some farm animals from the Erlish.
Sylvans unlike their Dark Elf brethren seek harmony and peace above all. Young Sylvans find themselves usually filled with a sense of wanderlust, and their parents are very patient having already fulfilled their wanderlust. Families will gather for large evening meals and share stories of their younger adventures, imparting knowledge to the youth from hunting trips that may have taken them to the base of the mountains, or the plains.
The Fioran Army is made up of various groups of Eddar, Martial, and Woddar alike. They are adept at handling almost any threat that would reach the borders of the Weir Wood. They prize themselves at being able to protect and guard their people and welcomed guests traveling through the wood. Sylvan escorts are some of the most prized mercenaries for hire for traveling nobles. They will have no qualms dying to protect their charge.
The Call Home
On the evening of the 25th of Dragonfall, the year 519, elves and humans all across Artanna were roused from sleep and drawn to the edge of the seas. A song floated across the water that only they could hear. They felt the call in their hearts that could not be denied even by the most stalwart mind. The song pulled them into the saltwater. When their skin met the water, it began change and shimmer. Small patches of skin began to change to a light blue and scales appeared. The song pulled them deeper and they choked for but a moment when the air left their lungs. The saltwater no longer burned their eyes, and they could move and breathe as if they were on land. They make their way deeper into the ocean to the source of the song. The changed people were lead to the remnants of an underwater palace. The Merrow met their lost land-dwelling children and taught them the story and songs of their people. They were taught about the sea. How to swim and fight in the water, and how to use the traditional spear. The Merrowkin were called home.
The Merrow History
Long ago before there were mortals, the Elves tended to the sea, the land, and the deeps of the earth. They lived in balance and harmony with the natural world. The Sea Elves called themselves, the Merrow, and for thousands of years they kept careful watch over vast oceans. They heard of the wars waged between Gods, magical creatures, and the destruction wrought upon the land. When the Dragons fell from the Sky many fell into the water. The Merrow were horrified to learn what had happened to the land above. When the Aelfwar raged between the Sylvans and the Dark Elves they became even more protective overturning ships that came to close to their sacred places and the palace. They would do what the Gods had asked of them, and protect the seas from this influence and imbalance. However, only one Dark Elf was capable of making their way to the palace of the Sea Elves, and he persuaded the Queen to let him live. During this time only the Merrow women were left on Aeryn. The men were watching over the brood of Leviathan and Tempest on the plane of water known as Lemuria. Queen Aliasara broke her oath to Athos by allowing this dark elf through the portal. She was cursed and the Gate to Lemuria was closed locking away the brood and the Merrow Men. The Merrow women also found themselves cursed never to give birth to another Merrow child. Their children carrying their blood line would only be the race of their land dweller fathers, either human or elf. The Merrow Queen, Aliasara, was locked in a curse for thousands of years. A few years ago the Prophecy Nation, Iargail, released her from the curse. While she was locked away the
Court of Sirens ruled in her stead. They held to tradition and did not declare another Queen, but they blamed her curse on her softness for the landwalkers. Some of the Court considered the Landwalkers a source of destruction. They lost the old ways, the ways of balance, and they were to blame for the terror upon the land. Landwalkers, the dryskins, or the dirt eaters as they might call them caused the Feral Wars, and Unleashed the Scourge. The Court did not see the corruption among them, and the Second Feral War began brewing in the sea. The Animal Lord Kraken, and the Elemental Wyrm, Leviathan, laid claim over the sacred Proving in order to reach the prophecy nation. The Dragon wanted the balance restored to the seas that had become teeming with changers wreaking havoc upon all. The changers sought wanton destruction of the land dwellers. They possessed the ability to change from Merrow into monstrous crabs and sharks. The people of Iargail were successful. They found the source of the curse affecting the Merrow in the hands of the ritualist coven, The Coven of the Iron Anchor. They were using a tooth of Ferren to create corrupted objects. Iargail destroyed the corruption, and the changers were freed from the Black Wolf madness. They were free once again to keep the balance as they saw fit. With the balance restored with the help of the Land Dwellers the Court trusted the Queen once more. They began the work to reopen the Gate of Lemuria.
The Song of the Sirens
The Merrow are lovers of beauty and art that is reminiscent of nature. They consider song the highest form of art. The Depths of the ocean were quiet except for the song of the creatures that lived within it. No song like this was found in the stars and on the land. The silence of the sea was vast and they began to sing inspired by nature. The God Yvair, who died facing the Scourge, took notice of the song and descended into the sea. He taught the race how to use the true power song, and they became powerful bards.
Kraken is the animal lord of the deeps. The only other Animal Lord he cares to speak to is Falcon. For falcon’s creatures sored over the seas and hunted. They had a true understanding and relationship much like brood wyrms Leviathan and Tempest. Kraken always kept the teachings of the balance, the original teachings of Faolan and Ferren. When Ferren went mad and called to the animal lords, Kraken did not stir. Ferren was his father but not his master. Some of the creatures of the seas went to listen to Ferren. Crab was angry from being constantly trapped, and Shark angry for having their food taken and being hunted. Kraken understood his father’s plight did not stop them. The balance must be kept, and the landwalking namers had overstepped their bounds. They had caused the madness of Ferren and nature would take its course to find a way to bring the balance back. Kraken’s wardens do now follow the path of any other Animal Lords, because the only Kraken wardens in the world have ben Merrow. Since the Kraken is not a pack hunter, he makes his own decisions, and can take care of himself. This does not make Kraken black wolf. He may not need a pack of his kind, but he has the greatest understanding of how each sea creature has a unique and important role to play in the cycle of life in the water. Like the ocean has a vast diversity of creatures and cephalopods he has an array of skill sets for each rank of his totems.
The Court of Sirens
The Merrow never lost their immortality unlike their Sylvan and Dark Elf brethren. Even before Queen Alisara was cursed they watched over their respective places in the seas. Their children would carry their traits in their blood line. They would be able to tell by the color of scales on their blue skin what blood line they were from. Bloodlines occasionally crossed before the loss of Lemuria. Some traveled with the migrations of the creatures to watch over them. Some felt the call of the currents to new places when too many resided in an area. They respected the domain of each court member, and each domain was taken care of with the deepest respect to maintain its natural state.
- Aliasara, Queen of the Merrow – She has no children with any humans or elves, because she was cursed for thousands of years. She was only recently freed for a few years before passing.
- Melodia, Siren of the Shallows – Some of her family have bright or shimmering blue on light blue merrow skin. Her family are aggressive Merrow that like the shallows, and some have learned sailor songs. They are the Merrow of Coves, lagoons, reefs, and other shallows. They had a penchant for running ships a ground and tricking drunk sailors to fall off the docks and drown. They have some arcane ability as well in the arcane classes. They watch the fonts under water as the Enchanted. Many are not only water druids, but earth druids as well. They have a history of sneaking off with good alcohol and keeping a secret collection of human things like shiny objects. They love a good voice and including bawdy sailor songs. Some have grown to enjoy some of the landwellers and their customs.
- Ophelia, Siren of the Waves – Some of her family have white and blue scales. Some also have a white whisp like pattern. Her family has singing bards and dancing bards as well. They love the movement of the waves. They have enjoyed watching ships being tossed by tidal waves and great storms. As the waves rise up they will dance among the crests to feel the air and rain. They have been known to be air druids as well. They have sometimes claimed areas where they can watch the waves crash against high rocky cliffs and meet Zephyr, true air elementals.
- Helena, Siren of the Tides – Some of her family have purple hued scales on light blue skin. Many are sorcerers both Espers and Shades that feel the pull of Sheol. They have enjoyed luring people to sea caves and drowning them. Many of her family have watched over sacred caves in the sea. They are extremely well suited for stealth and the shadows. They say in the still pools of water Helena can scry. They enjoy personal items that seem to catch the moon light. They have had a long history with the dark elves in the sea surrounding Cirith Valledor. They have worked with land dwellers in the past because of Syrilith’s will to fight the Scourge.
- Ligiea, Siren of the Currents – Some of her family have dark blue scales on her light blue Merrow skin. Some also have stripe like patterns. They have a history of throwing ships off course to be wrecked in whirlpools. They watch over the creatures that move through the currents and can speak with them. Their most beloved creatures have been whales. Her family has had a great many wardens watching over the migration of sea creatures. Her family was the most aware of the loss of sea life from the coming of the Scourge. They have a very close connection with Kraken. They have a penchant for playing instrumental music from flutes or pipes in kelp forests. They are curious and have made relationships with land dwellers that have knowledge of the land animals, but many fishermen have felt their wrath.
- Diantha, Siren of the Depths – Her family’s scales are black on darker blue skin. Some of her family have a second set of eyes. They are mysterious, stealthy, cold, and very strong. Many are Master Armsmen, and Druids of Leviathan. The crushing waters of the deeps do not affect them because of their great strength. The Merrow of the depths are the most alien of the Merrow in demeanor and appearance. They would rarely take interest in a land dweller. If they did it was because of well-made armor, weapons, and a fighter that is strong. They are skilled not only in strength but tactical knowledge as well. Diantha’s line cares the least about the land dwellers and found it shameful to have children with them. It is said they have eaten land dwellers that have proven to be enemies. They believe in changers keeping the land dwellers in check. However, they believe in the ancient traditions of keeping the balance even more.
- Melaina, Siren of the Twilight Waters – Some of her family have silver scales on light blue skin. The Twilight Waters is the great expanse of blue teeming with life between the depths and the surface. They have long been the mediators between the shallow realms and the deeps. They mediated between the court members when dealing with land dwellers. They held the most sway on the court when Queen Aliasara was trapped under her curse. Melaina was Crown Regent and the kingdom of the Merrow maintained balance until her forced corruption. Her family also have keen minds for investigating any matters that affected the balance. Melaina was forced into becoming changer when she was cursed by the Iron Anchor after her sister disappeared from an investigation. However, like many of her family her stalwart mind kept her from letting the madness overtake her. They also have a penchant to gather pearls and shells during their travels. A few of the family members learned the ability to create magical shells to carry voices from far off places from the Naiad Merlana.
The Siren Lords
Just as King Marinus ruled with Queen Aliasara, the Siren Lords once ruled the oceans on Aeryn with their respective counterparts. The Lords shared the same traits as the Siren families including keeping their immortality. However, after thousands of years in Lemuria they have changed. They have no children on Aeryn. Only time will tell how they will react to their Merrowkin children, and how the land dwellers have handled the scourge. After being freed they have had a short reunion with the Court of Sirens on Tir Isis. They have kept their distance from the Merrowkin and returned to Lemuria.
The End of the Merrow Queen
The last story told to the Merrowkin is how the Merrow were reunited. Iargail, the Nation of Prophecy, had believed in the vision of Queen Aliasara and reuniting her people. They worked long and hard for many years to finally find her lost crown and scepter. They kept it safe from the coven of the Iron Anchor who coveted its power over the seas. They raised the palace from the sea floor off the coast of Daventry and made their way through the crumbling remnants to find the lost portal stones and Gate to Lemuria. The pirate Captain Draga, known as the Demon Sea Dragon, caught wind of what was at stake. The once human captain sailed her demon fleet to Iargail. Her demon influenced compatriots that were still mortal had infiltrated other pirate ships, and even the Coven of the Iron Anchor. They were not prepared for the destruction that was wrought. Almost the entire coven was destroyed in a single night. The city of Daventry was soon under the fire of Captain Draga. Many citizens had to be evacuated or face death at the hands of demons. Mayor Adriana and the Crusaders of the Order of the Anchor sent word to Prince Serrick Nevarre. They devised a plan with the nation of Iargail, the T’kirr, and the Order of the Anchor to reach the gate of Lemuria before the demons would corrupt it. The citizens who kept their oath to Athos were able to activate the portal. The Queen sang to open the portal, and with the help of Iman, another Gate Keeper, she was able to reach the portal in Lemuria. The Merrow King, her portal twin, was on the other side with Merrow Lords opening the gate in Lemuria. She felt the crushing waters pushing through the portal and realized the coming surge would release destructive tidal waves. She beseeched Athos once more and made an oath promising her immortality in exchange for the release of Forge. Her oath was heard and granted. The elemental energy from Lemuria and Forge turned into a raging cyclone reaching the sea floor. The last element needed came from the Declaration of Earth by the vate, Isis. The druids guided the people to create a unique labyrinth to safely release the power of the declaration. A new volcanic isle was formed with the gate and the portal. The sacred druid isle of Forge was renamed the Tir Isis. The fading Queen Alisara began to sing her final song with the last of her power to call the Merrowkin home. Her court joined her voice to carry it to the surface sacrificing much of their own power. The song continued for entire moon until all of the Merrowkin had reached the palace. Each left with gift of the sea from the Merrow to remember their blood line. The last song they heard was the lament sung for the passing of the Queen.