War for Tirstario
Elves in Malachant, as in all other settings, com in many sizes, shapes, colors and alignments. We will approach a bit of elven history and psychology in this page. Elven History recognizes three main separations of the Elven people, as described below.
First Separation – Origins “Nowadays, we are elves and humans, and dwarves and gnomes, and High Elf and Drow, and tall and short, and good and evil. But in the beginning, in the dawn of the World, we were all equal and the Gods made us all in the same place: the vast blue sea.” ~ Oisin, Elven bard
The legends of creation claim the Gods began their work in the sea, because it is where all Life eventually sprang from. The Elves think no different. In the beginning, they say, all Elves were a people of the sea, and their species was first to conquer it, and eventually leave it.
The first Separation recognized by Elven History happens when some Elves wish to take to the land and live in it, and some choose to remain true to their birthplace, and keep to the sea. Its is also known as the only peaceful separation between Elves in their History. As the legend goes, the ones who remained at sea would eventually dive down to become Deep Sea Elves. Coastal Elves, the transition between sea and land, have two sets of lungs and can breathe both water and air. These would be descendants from the first colonizers of the land, standing behind to keep their outposts safe while others went forth and explored.
Nowadays, aquatic elves are a rare kind. Coastal Elves suffered long the problem of slavery, being easy victims to slave ships in the Southern Isles. Tensions between humans and Coastal Elves have also shortened their numbers. Although they are a common sight in coastal areas, where they trade with surface folk, few know where a community itself can be found. Deep Sea Elves, on the other hand, are rarer than mermaids in sailors’ tales. The sole evidence they still exist is when a body of one of their own washes up on the shores, or is caught in fishing nets, already mauled by fish. It is believed these would be hunters or loners who have died closer to the surface, and as such are dragged in by tides or caught by passing ships. It has been many centuries since someone saw a live Deep Sea Elf.
Second Separation – Drow and Elves “The Gods created the Elves. And then the Elves made the Drow.” ~ Feiniz, Drow sssassin
The tale of how Elves and the Drow were severed from each other in Malachant is as unreliable as everywhere else. It depends greatly on whom you ask. Elves hold true the tale that it was the Drow who first decided to move away from their cousins to practice their dark arts, and then turned back to strike at them, after which – and only after which – they were driven down to the underside of the land. Drow, however, claim the Elves were the ones to strike first, namely High Elves, who persecuted and murdered those who were “un-elven” by their standards. The refugees of this persecution sought refuge in the innards of the Earth, and were taken in by their Spider goddess. This tale is backed up by the fact High Elves frown still upon those who have ideas, behavior or an alignment that is not compatible with the rest of their species.
History shows that at one point, High Elves began to aspire to all that they could become. In doing this, they asked of their people to deny the gods other than Good, to dispose of magic that could be used for ill purpose, and to keep their bloodlines pure by avoiding inter-species marriages. That this led into an open persecution to those who did not comply, there are no records. It should be noted that most Wild Elves merely shrugged at this concept, and remained mainly Neutral. History also shows that at one point, elves were at heavy war with each other, militias of renegades battling their cousins for territory and a right to freely worship whatever Gods they desired. Who struck first, History forgot to record.
The Drow were originally called “dark elves”, after which, in a hurry to tell them away from their own species, the Elves severed them from their own language, and began to call them Drow. The term “dark elf” is still applied to some of the worst renegades of the elven kind. As for the Drow themselves, although some patrols of them were found in Heasi’s surface from time to time, they have vanished completely in these days. It is not overly uncommon to see Wanted posters for some in Central Malachant, however. Those who have left the Underdak chapter of Malachant to live in the surface for any reason often take to the larger towns, where there is plenty of search for their skills in delivering death and practicing forbidden magic.
Third Separation – Fellyn and Heasi “We do not condemn out kinsmen for looking after their safety and hiding. But they should not condemn our will to stand up for what was ours either. When Fellyn ran from the war, we ran into it. When they hushed their young so they wouldn’t call attention, we taught our own to shout out their outrage.” ~ Selspar Tyrnea-Timmorn, Speaker of Heasi
Elves originally inhabited the West, and were attacked by two human nations hungry for territory in the Great Wars. This is the main reason why they have cut relationships with human realms ever since the signing of the peace treaty between them. Caught between two human nations striving to gain terrain on each other – Malachant on the North and East and Orchant in the West – the Elves would pick a side to fight for and give away their lands, or be conquered by both sides.
The first to suffer the effects of the conflict were the Wild Elves. Many tribes were attacked with steel when they had little more to defend themselves with than wooden spears and bow and arrow. Several tribes disappeared, their members dead, sold into slavery or joining larger tribes for strength of number. The Elves stood their ground strongly in the Southern and Northern regions – Fellyn and Heasi, respectively – but they could not keep the middle territory. Many battles between Orchant and Malachant were fought in once Elven territory, between both areas.
Having lost connection with each other, the two areas took a different approach to the raging war. Fellyn closed upon itself, the rangers that patrol the woods killing anyone and everyone who dared cross the border, and using their knowledge of arcane arts to ward away intruders. Bunked in the forests, the Elves refused to be further harmed by the conflict, and managed to kept their frontiers from further change. The Fellyn borders defended by Elves during the Great Wars is the very same that exists nowadays.
Heasi, on the other hand, refused to close up and ignore what was going on. They organized and fought back both sides of the human conflict, crushing the weakest side (Orchant) and keeping Malachant at bay for many years. Their borders changed often, as they lost and regained land to the invading forces. More harmed by the realm of Orchant, which had been first to attack the area between Heasi and Fellyn, the Elves signed peace with Malachant two years prior to war’s end, in 436. The document, known as Lay of Arms Treaty, marks the only Elven intervention in the war for one of the sides. Heasi Elves accepted to fight Orchant side by side with Malachant, provided they could keep whatever ground they gained on them. So was done, and by war’s end, so did the Heasi Elves close their borders and began picking up the pieces of their shattered communities.
It is relevant to mention that both Fellyn and Heasi are mixed communities of High Elves and Tree Elves. However, Heasi has a higher percentage of Tree Elves, and because they isolated themselves so soon in the conflict and from then on, Fellyn is made of mainly High Elves, who attempted to keep to their heritage as much as possible. Still, so many years after the war has ended, the effects of both attitudes can be easily perceived. While Fellyn trades very reluctantly with human realms and will not deal with them more than strictly necessary, Heasi keeps commerce lines with Malachant to this day, and most half-breeds of Heasi come from happy families rather than atrocities committed by humans.
As for Wild Elves, they have taken to Orchant and to more perilous climates – namely, the Free Lands, a desert Orchant claims but that is little more than a vast wasteland few would venture to cross, let alone live in – in search of peace. They have proven true to their fame of overcoming difficulties through unity. In 601, Orchant officially gave the Free Lands to the Wild Elves, as a way of making peace with them for the crimes committed in the war. The Wild Elves did not dignify the gesture with an answer, although they hold no grudges to present day humans. Wild Elves are all too aware that their original foes have died many centuries ago, and that holding a grudge to their descendants would only mean keeping an old wound open further than necessary.