Elf-kind has walked the face of Terra for ages so long even most gods cannot remember their birth. Themselves almost godly, the elves stand at a crossroads between the natural forces of reality and the spiritual magic that connects all life. Their culture and beliefs all stem from the one universal Elven thought, that their lives are all equally important, and all more important than the lives of others. Elves are very well suited to the pursuits of magic or artistry, though owing to their long life, they may take up many mantles over the years.
Elven culture is an embodiment of patience. They are not weak or lazy, instead they are cunning tacticians who understand their plans do not ever need to be rushed. Elves do not waste resources on following their base emotions, but will spend a century crafting the perfect plan to strike back at their enemies. Theirs is a vengeance that burns slowly, but forever.
A quirk of this way of thinking is that they rarely discount an option due to emotional attachment or morality. The ends justify the means, and this has caused disaster to visit them many times in their long history. Their distant cousins, the Dark Elves were once Elves themselves, but unlike the Dark Elves the Elves remained true to their ways and road out the Age of Strife to arrive in the Third Age of Tranquility.
Personality and Appearance
Generally speaking Elves are a fair race ranging between 5'6" (1.6m) to 6' (1.8m) in height, though there are exceptions that could go either way. They are fair and generally regarded as beautiful or handsome with pointed ears, and little to no body hair except for eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair. They have a similar pigmentation to humans though their hair and eye color may vary widely. Young Elves in particular are known to have a temperament that lends itself to strong, but fleeting, passions as it takes a perceptibly long time for an Elf to find his or her lot in life. Humans and Dwarves in particular tend to find their nature almost whimsical at times, as the Elves they encounter beyond the borders of Nique Taure are usually wandering young Elves. Despite that they're generally regarded as responsible and trustworthy. This is especially true of their elders.
Elves are well known for their long lifespans. They keep pace with the younger races like the humans, reaching maturity at around 18 years old. Unlike Humans, however, most are not regarded as an adult until they've matured past a century. The oldest of their kind are said to have reached an age of 400 years. Elves do not show signs of dramatic aging as Humans do and many will still have their health well into their twilight years. The only notable difference is that as they age their hair color may gray slightly or begin to darken.
Origins and History
The First Age of Tranquility
The Elves were Mother Amil's most cherished creation, taking what she had learned when she formed the Treekin and honing those abilities such that her children would appreciate her gifts as the Treekin did, but they would not fear disturbing it. During the First Age of Tranquility the first Elves planted the ageless trees that would grow to become Nique Taure. Beneath this bountiful canopy and safely veiled behind a wall of impenetrable mist they would spend the earliest of their days learning of the world of Terra in relative safety. It is said that during the first age, this impenetrable mist even held back the march of time. They learned to share in the bounty of Terra's forests and rivers. They learned to fashion wonderous woodcrafts and homes from the trees, and in time they found ways to reach the bounty hidden deep within the hills and mountains of Terra that they might fashion fine metal work, laced with their budding affinity for magic. Some would learn to bend the elements and through these studies they would know the cycles and whims of Amil, and could move to bring those cycles back into balance if this was required. When Amil felt her children were ready the wall of impenetrable mist fell away and the splendor of Nique Taure became known to the world of Terra. Aralkor bathed it in her light, Barlow sought to sneak beneath the shadows cast by it's many trees, Tsern was reviled at all its order, and Saint Veeda simply looked on what lay before him pleased that they would finally 'know' the passage of time.
Barlow, who had already begun to corrupt the fledging humans would try time and again to reach the Elves. He would fail, but with each successive attempt he would come closer. His creations walked the world at night beyond the mist, and hid away from Aralkor's light during the day. Barlow, however, was clever. Knowing he would eventually reach her children Amil reached an agreement with Tsern. Amil would contest Tsern directly, at times, giving the bored deity a grand game to play. In exchange it was Tsern who bequeathed the Elves with her knowledge of war, and instilled in them a passion they had not known when they explored the world that Amil had given them veiled behind their mists. Their natural dexterity and keen eyesight helped them quickly master the Bow and the Sword and when Barlow's creations wandered too close to their home this time they were not met with spells, but weapons. For a time, he relented, and focused his efforts elsewhere. As the First Age of Tranquility gave way to the Second Age of Tranquility the Elves would learn of the other races. Most notably the Dwarves, and the Humans.
The Second Age of Tranquility
At the dawn of the Second Age of Tranquility Amil's children ventured out from beyond Nique Taure for the first time. In those days they did not often wander further than the great river that divides the northern lands from present day Blacksands. They visited the fledging city of Monteset and came to know the Dwarves a hard working and stoic people whose mastery of the subterranean world and the metals that could be found within was without peer for that age. Still, when they left the protection of their home, traveling days and nights in the wilderness there Barlow was finally able to reach them. In small numbers he whispered words into the keen ears of the Elves, and over time his dissent spread. Some Elves, having traveled the world beyond their borders wished to adventure beyond Nique Taure, moving away from the community centered nature of the Elves for their own pursuits. The schism this created in Elf society inevitably lead to the Age of Strife. At the end of the Second Age of Tranquility, the Elves would come to know the humans. No longer wandering barbarian tribes who roamed the lands to the south, they were building the fledging city of Estvale nestled in the curve of a the mountain range that dotted the southernmost portion of the continent.
The Age of Strife
As the Second Age of Tranquility came to a close Elven society began to fracture. Not accustomed to the conflict that had begun to take root in their society the Elves would spend literal months debating the best path forward for their society. Tempers would flare, as the younger Houses pushed for freedom their elders would not give them. Either all were willing to accept it, or none could. Nique Taure's Council of Elders realized they had lost control when Alamar Fentoris, a promising arcanist was slain by his sister Anlyth. She was banished to an ancient stone fortress on the outskirts of Nique Taure and became the First Warden Commander. As the Age of Strife rolled on, more and more Elves were convicted of crimes and found themselves living on the outskirts of Elven Society as members of the Wardens of Nique Taure. Some would wander to Montest, others Estvale. Some would cross the great river and instead settle in the markets of Blacksands. Slowly the Council of Nique Taure was losing their grasp on their society. Had they taken more time, they surely may have seen that this was Amil's way of maintaining the balance, but even then they were yet 'young'. As the Age of Strife rolled on they became aware of a place of magic and learning being raised from the depths of Terra by a particularly ambitious human named Kalen Eld. This place of learning would come to be known as The Enclave. A solution seemed in reach, and the Elves would send some of their wayward and willful brethren to study alongside the Humans in hopes that this might temper their burning desires. What they could not know is that Kalen Eld had other ideas, and ever outplayed by the King of Shadows, he waited and watched for the hammer to fall.
The Great Calamity
The All Bringer was not a precise craftsman with great care for their materials, the way a tailor may collect and repurpose scraps, and he left residual essence in the void when he shaped The Five. Perhaps the intention was to return later, but whatever the case, that essence was influenced by The Five as it set dormant in the void. This essences began to take on a life of it's own. Some for the benefit of all, and others, for their detriment. Barlow is said to have taken a particular interest in this essence, but when he realized he could not shape it as he pleased, he cast it away. These things became demons and denizens of other planes. Kalen Eld brokered pacts with them for their knowledge. They were of the All Bringers essence. They could surely allow her to circumvent the limitations of her despised humanity. In particular the march of Saint Veeda's time. She had heard Barlow's words. She wanted Barlow's power, and Barlow wanted to bend Amil's children. As the Humans began studying elemental magic in masse with the help of the Elves who had mastered these secrets ages ago, Kalen Eld began setting her plan in motion. A ritual altar was constructed on one of the Enclave's lower levels, and with both Elven and Human students present Kalen Eld invoked an incantation the demons taught her. While Nique Taure's Wardens somehow learned of her plan, they arrived too late to prevent the disaster. Magical waves of energy tore through the bowels of the Enclave trapping many in it's depths. Kalen Eld opened the plains of Terra to the machinations and scheming of demons and creatures from the beyond, and had been outfoxed by Barlow. She had succeeded in surpassing the limits of her humanity, but was sealed within the altar she had built. Her twisted and deformed followers became the first Darklings, and for their own folly in the ritual the Elves present became the Dark Elves. Aralkor, furious at their scheming and the ritual that Kalen had invoked sought to burn these creations from her sunlit world. Were it not for Amil's pleas she would not have stayed her hand. They were cursed with vision that only worked in low light, and without a significant number of years to acclimate they would suffer the wrath of her sun. The Dark Elves would battle Kalen's creations in the depths of the Enclave for months while the Council of Nique Taure, no the city itself, struggled with how to move forward from this terrible loss. A balance must be maintained though, and so Amil gave them their answer. Anlyth Fentoris and Escae Izron were given a vision of a great cavern nestled deep below the surface. This cavern, thick with Barlow's oldest creations, would eventually become Meerdistrin. House Izron was the largest house that had suffered a complete conversion during the Great Calamity. Escae Izron, whose mate Emmentar had been killed during the ritual assumed the mantle of leadership among the converted houses. There is little to no mention of Emmentar Izron in Dark Elven history, as he died while still considered an Elf.
|Beltaulur||Minor||Partial||Majority Dark Elven|
The Great Descent, The Settlers War, and the First Tas
Elven records regarding the Great Descent and Settlers War were mostly speculation by the Elves who remained on the surface. Only after the return of Noclir Tas, and the surviving Wardens were the Elves able to gain a complete picture of what had occurred during the years that followed the Great Calamity. They learned of Anlyth Fentoris' death while battling alongside House Izron towards the end of the war. In Nique Taure's Council Hall there is a framed document alleged to be the condolences signed in Escae Izron's hand, as the first Mother Superior. During this period most Elves who had been living in Blacksands, Estvale, and Montset migrated home. The Wardens who remained on the surface were given strict orders to treat all but a handful of diplomatic appointees from Estvale and Montset as hostile and in the decade that spanned the Dark Elves Settler's War the Council of Nique Taure disbanded, and the Elves became strict isolationists whose sole interaction with the outside world was skirmishes with Humans who didn't have the sense to avoid their borders, or Barlow's creations who used the ruins of the Enclave to reach the surface. The Nique Taure that Noclir Tas returned to after the Settlers War ended was a very different and hauntingly empty place. It is said that Noclir dragged the Council from their homes and forced them to return to their seats on the Council. He gave a rousing speech regaling their battles beneath the surface, and what had become of their distant cousins the Dark Elves. He told them of a people who did not fall weeping in despair, and the Wardens who fought and died alongside them. Though they carried the heavy burden of a divine curse, they were at their core still Elves. He spoke of his disappointment at the home he returned to, a home they'd fought to protect, and a home Anlyth loved until the day she perished. He told the Council of Nique Taure that he and his fellow Wardens were going to lay Anlyth to rest at their now vacant fortress. He would give them two weeks to do what they should have been doing for a decade. Lastly, that if they did not, he would show them what they learned in the Settlers War. He was, he reminded them, a Warden and a Warden's duty was to defend Nique Taure from any who would threaten it. He made it clear that included the current councilors. So it was that the Elves coined the colloquialism, Tas.
The Return to Tranquility
After the first Tas the Council of Nique Taure quickly resumed their duties and hurriedly dispatched emissaries to Estvale, and Montset. Noclir's words, inspired by Anlyth's deeds, stirred a fire in the Elves that had not been seen in the previous decade the Warden Commanders threats not withstanding. It was many decades before Nique Taure would fully heal from the losses and suffering they endured during the Great Calamity. After they restored Nique Taure to it's former glory the Calamity Council, as they had become known, resigned from their posts as Councilors and appointed new Councilors to guide the Elven people. Noclir Tas, however, would remain Warden Commander until his death from age at 402.
|Original House||Post||Replaced By House|
The newly appointed Council ruled over a reinvigorated Nique Taure with relative ease. In time the damage done during the Great Calamity would heal, and sequential Councils would eventually guide the Elven people into what is now known as the Third Age of Tranquility.
The Third Age of Tranquility
This is the span of time that is generally seen to encompass the resignation of the Calamity Council to the Nique Taure of the modern era. It goes without saying that the Elves still have their disagreements, but in the time since the Age of Strife the Elves have become more attuned to Amil. While they are still a cautious people by their very nature it is quite common for Elves who are young adults to leave Nique Taure and travel the world. Any Elf from Nique Taure is well aware they can simply return to Nique Taure alongside one of their seekers if they should wish to, at least to a certain point. If an Elf has not returned to Nique Taure by the time he or she reaches full adulthood, generally they will not return to settle. Some will return in their twilight years, however, as they may wish to spend their last years in the city of their birth.
Life in Nique Taure
Elves are staunchly communal. They work on concert under the seven Council Houses that comprise the Council of Nique Taure. While a system of bartering is more common amongst Elves in Nique Taure they do recognize coin's importance to the outside world. A purse is allocated to any merchant house who wishes to trade beyond the borders of Nique Taure and whatever they are allocated has a finite limit. That said, contributing additional supplies, manpower, and other materials, to Nique Taures communal coffers would understandably see that limit raised at the discretion of the Council.
While Elven defenses and response to threats are traditionally managed by their Wardens do not be fooled. Elves are long lived, and as such most Elves have spent at least some time in battle. Elves who have reached the settled adult stage of their lives have usually mastered several crafts and trades. They will spend their lives honing, refining, and teaching those techniques to the Elves who wish to follow them without regard for which house an Elf actually belongs to. Some Houses do have a predisposition for certain trades, but unlike their Dark Elven cousins they do not have a caste system that is wholly wed to their Houses. They do not recognize major or minor houses the way that Dark Elves do either.
The Elves have records dating back to the very early days of both Humanity, and the Dwarves, and are preceded by only the Treekin. They are a people who enjoy both a rich oral and written history that is taught to their children from a very young age. They impart these lessons to others, though they are usually cautious not to preach to the other races, and put them into practice themselves so that they can maintain Amil's long sought balance.
The Council of Nique Taure
The Council of Nique Taure is comprised of a maximum of seven seats, though at times it has had as few as three. To prevent tied votes, the Council cannot tolerate an even number of seats as such before one Councilor is permitted to resign their post their final task is to assist in appointing their replacement. In the rare event that an even number of seats is present the required number of seats will abstain from passing judgement. A final provision is that if this cannot be achieved an emergency vote is granted to the Warden Commander who will serve as a tie breaker. The Warden Commander cannot be seated for a vote if all Seven seats on the Council are filled.
The Seven Council Seats are made up of the three Principal Seats who attend to governance, law, and history while the four Supporting seats handle specific tasks within Nique Taure's community.
The Principal Seats
The Dawn Councilor - The Elves of the First Age of Tranquility were given the breath of life as the day dawned, as such the first and 'leading' Councilor is known as the Dawn Councilor. The Dawn Councilor effectively decides the Council's Agenda and is usually appointed from a House gifted in policymaking and statecraft.
The Dusk Councilor - The Elves of the First Age of Tranquility were struck by the resplendent beauty of Amil's world as day gives way to night. Terra in peaceful transition is a wonderous sight. As Dusk falls between Dawn and Twilight so too does the Dusk Councilor fall between the Dawn and Twilight Councilors. The Dusk Councilor generally hails from a House gifted in trade and negotiation, and they serve as a voice to settle heated disputes that erupt between Councilors. They also preside over tribunals put on by the Wardens, acting as a judge for the accused and aid in handing down sentencing. Their final duty is oversight of trade that comes and goes from Nique Taure.
The Twilight Councilor - The Elves of the First Age of Tranquility were awed at the fall of their first Twilight, how the places they visited during the day yielded yet new results when returned to again as Twilight fell. The Twilight Councilor is a keeper of Elven history and lessons. As Day and Night fall over the world of Terra in a continual cycle so too does the Twilight Councilor ply their vast knowledge of history to properly guide their people, and to an extent, other races who may wish to enlist Elven aid. The Twilight Councilor is usually appointed from a House with a great oral or written history of their own, and who can be trusted to use this knowledge properly.
The Supporting Seats
The Water Councilor - This Councilor is responsible for securing and maintaining any Elven ships that come and go from Nique Taure, as well as assessing the well being of it's coasts, waterways, water sources, and fisheries. They are usually appointed from a House with a background in maritime trade, fishing, or more commonly a House with a lineage in Aquamancy.
The Earth Councilor - This Councilor is responsible for the well being and maintenance of Elven farmlands, forests, mines, and lastly their territorial borders. Of the supporting seats they spend more time in talks with the Wardens than any other supporting seat. They are usually appointed from a House who has strong ties to Amil's Clergy, or practices Geomancy. In the absence of the principal seats, the Earth Councilor is also capable of granting property to other Elves, which is maintained by payment of taxes.
The Air Councilor - The Air Councilor is responsible for maintaining and managing the Warden intelligence network and coordinating their movements with the Warden Commander. Despite the implication, this seat is not normally held by an Aeromancer. Generally Aeromancers are considered whimsical, if a bit temperamental, as Elves and so they are not generally well suited to running an information network. Instead this seat is often held by a House with a lineage in spycraft and espionage.
The Fire Councilor - The Fire Councilor is tasked with overseeing Elven weapon stockpiles and general readiness in the event that a war has to be fought. They keep a detailed report of all Elven stockpiles at holdfasts and outposts spread throughout Elven lands, which are generally patrolled and accounted for by Warden Seekers.
|Miraric||Saelethil Miraric||Dawn Councilor|
|Pahice||Arel Pahice||Dusk Councilor|
|Raloyarus||Elauthin Raloyarus||Twilight Councilor|
|Naetumal||Elion Naetumal||Water Councilor|
|Valroris||Goren Valroris||Earth Councilor|
|Pageiros||Cohnal Pageiros||Air Councilor|
|Virleth||Keryth Virleth||Fire Councilor|
Tas - Named for the second Warden Commander Noclir Tas, the Tas is the right of any Elf, even those from The House of Elsewhere, to gather the citizens of Nique Taure and make a public speech. It is never invoked lightly, and could lead to penalties for Elven Houses. Those from the House of Elsewhere may even be barred from entering Nique Taure if their Tas is not well received.
The House of Elsewhere - An Elven colloquialism meant to refer to Elves who weren't born in Nique Taure. Like the Dark Elf term Upworlder, it is considered extremely offensive depending on it's context when directed toward an Elf who was born in Nique Taure. It became famous after a derogatory song, The House of Elsewhere, was performed by an Elven Bard Troupe from Blacksands who invoked a Tas in order to sing it to the whole of Nique Taure. It was their first, and only, visit to their ancestral home. It can also be interchanged with Elsewhere, Elsewheres, or Elsewherer depending on the context.
The Wandering - Young Adult Elves can choose to undertake the Wandering when they come of age. They are free to leave Nique Taure for several decades in order to determine if they truly wish to remain. Word is often sent to their families through the Warden Seekers who wander the realm, and of course they are permitted to accompany any passing Warden back to Nique Taure. The Elves who undertake the Wandering are sometimes referred to as Wayward Elves.
The Wardens of Nique Taure - The Wardens of Nique Taure serve as Nique Taure's guards, spys, escorts, and scouts. They have a rich history steeped in heroic tradition and valorous deeds and despite their sometimes sorted pasts since their inception during the Age of Strife the Wardens have time and again proven their loyalty to Nique Taure.
Nique Taure is largely non-factional. The Wayward Elves who sometimes choose not to return to Nique Taure saw to the end of their factional days. Other than exiled criminals, any other Elf is free to leave if they wish to.
Life Outside Nique Taure
The House of Elsewhere - Elves born outside Nique Taure, those who choose to leave Nique Taure, or those who are banished into exile are all considered members of the House of Elsewhere. Generally speaking Elves are relatively well received anywhere they wish to go in the surface world. Exposure to the Upworlder Dark Elves is about as close to their idea of Meerdistrin as most will ever get. However, it is possible some have gone there. As the Dark Elves would suffer in Aralkor's lighted realm Amil would maintain balance by ensuring Elves would not find peace in Meerdistrin's dark tunnels.
Relations With Other Races
Elves freely wander the surface realms, and are welcome in most places they visit. As has happened before Elves participating in the Wandering can cause problems in places they visit, but outside of Montset this is generally not viewed as a reflection on all of Elf kind.
Elves, who tend to take a long time to accomplish things from a human perspective, do not always get on well with Humans. They see humans as hurried, often chaotic, and endlessly rushing to accomplish their tasks. They are well aware of their abridged lifespan by comparison though, so while this behavior often frustrates them most polite Elves will overlook it even if they are somewhat haughty about it. The Elves see great potential in humanity, but they would never entirely overlook the Great Calamity, even if it wasn't solely the fault of Humanity.
The Dwarves of Montset tend to view the Elves as whimsical sometimes distant beings where the Elves see a citadel full of stubborn and sometimes petty workhorses, even if the Elves do admire their work ethic, dedication, and craft. Dwarves do not often see the world of Terra in gray. Things are distinctly right, or wrong, and while this may seem comparable to the balance that Amil would have her children maintain Dwarven priorities often do not align with the balance. While the Elves do generally get along with the Dwarves there are times where they end up mediating disputes between the Humans and the Dwarves as an intermediary. Whenever the evidence should put the Elves on the side of the Humans, Montset often lodges formal protests.
Amil's first children, the Treekin, enjoy a home in Nique Taure if they wish it. Some more curious Treekin have even served on Nique Taure's Council in ages past. The Elves are one of the few races with enough time and patience to truly appreciate all the Treekin can offer. Elves, even young ones, will often treat Treekin with the reverence these honored elders deserve. The Treekin are old and wise, even older than Elves, and a great many secrets have been shared between these two races, held in trust by the bond with their mother. Should any race desire a fight with the Treekin it would almost certainly mean battling the Elves as well.
Most Elves distrust Darklings, given their history. They represent nearly everything the Elves are taught to distance themselves from. They are a cautionary tale given that the Dark Elves made their choice once, and none have done so again, but the continued presence of Darklings in Terra means that humans commit the same taboo as the Eld family regularly enough that these twisted creatures are still wandering Terra. Some Elves may treat Darklings with outright hostility, at best they would ignore them, but only members of the House of Elsewhere would regard them with anything resembling sympathy.
The Elves remain wary of the Orks, as they do not have a history with them like the Dark Elves do. They are, however, smart enough to understand that the Orks who hail from their strongholds outside Meerdistrin and Those Without Words are vastly different. While it is, at present, unlikely you would find an Ork welcomed with open arms in Nique Taure, the Wardens would not run them off outright. Those from The House of Elsewhere would have varied opinions of Orks dependent upon their upbringing. Elves raised in Blacksands may be familiar with them.
On Dark Elves
The Elves of the Third Age of Tranquility do not share the same ache and loss as those Elves who lived and died during the Age of Strife. They know the history, they see the similarities, but the emotional attachment does not exist for many. While their is a line of communication open between The Council of Nique Taure and House Superior most Elves tend to regard Dark Elves as enjoying the longevity of Elves coupled with some of the undesirable qualities of Humans. While some deference is given to the Dark Elves by the Wardens of Nique Taure, they are not the Wardens of Noclir Tas' era who fought and died to take Meerdistin, and many have not seen their distant cousins in battle. Ultimately they regard the Dark Elves with the same passing disinterest they're given. If the storied Moonlit Fray does take place, none among the Warden ranks will speak of it, and the Dark Elves are likely to be even more tight lipped.
Rolling an Elf
This is to help players plan their Elf Character. Keep in mind that what is on this table is just a suggested chart you can follow if you are having some trouble planning your character. If you have questions you can definitely reach out to staff. We're happy to help, take suggestions, and answer any question we didn't answer on this page.
|(pick a name)||Male||N||N||N||Fighter from Nique Taure|
|N/A||Female||Y||Y||Y||Mage Warden from Blacksands|
|(pick a name)||Male||Y||N||Y||Rouge Warden from Nique Taure|
|N/A||Male||N||Y||N||Merchant Elf Born in Estvale|
|(pick a name)||Female||N||N||Y||Female Elf Rogue exiled from Nique Taure|