A Short History of the Eldar
by Nenya in Dark Ages
My name is Nenya, I am not the same as those of you that are reading this. I am not human, in fact I am more closely related to the fairies you see darting beneath the flower petals then I most likely am to you or your kin. A while ago, however, I was taken from my home, and I awoke in Mileth. I am now an aisling, and that is our single unifying factor. During my time here I have discovered some writings of my people, they are the only things I have besides legends to go on, so I have taken a great interest in reading them. I felt however that it would be wise to put, at least, a basic history of my people in writing for all to see. One problem, though, is that this language is rather foreign to myself, and my writing skills are very poor. For that reason the handwriting you see before you, is not that of my own. I am dictating to my wonderful husband Quidlan, and I wish to thank him before I go any further, thank you Quidlan, may the people of Temuair and all-time remember you for the service you have rendered. What follows is a short history of my people; perhaps it will allow you to understand us a little better.
The Tuatha de Danaan, the Children of Danaan the mother goddess, are known as the sidh. The best known of her children are the Fairies or Fae, but the fae are not the only children, nor the only sidh. There are another people in this land. The Eldar we call ourselves, humans call us the elves. We are closely related to the fae, but stand tall, on average we are taller than our human counterparts. We also lack the wings of the Fae, but that is where most of the dissimilarities end. We tend to be slight of build, but our figures are misleading. Our muscles are as strong as those of any human, and we're often more dexterous and nimble then the most skilled of human thieves. We have absolutely no body hair, except for about one third of the adult males who possess enough facial hair to grow a small beard. Our ears do come to an obvious point, and are easily recognizable. In general we look like larger versions of our fairy cousins. I know this because I myself am Eldar, one of the Keledrid you shall read about below.
Most of this history I have collected from a myriad of writings from previous generations. These few writings that have been found are truly precious things, and I shall not disclose my sources, for fear of repercussions.
After the ages of Grinneal, but before the founding of Hy-Brasyl, Danaan created her children. Among them were the first of the Eldar. They lived gently in the woodlands, and watched the construction of Hy-Brasyl with interest. Closely to it they made their homes, but never once did they attempt to make contact with the other people of the land. No thoughts of evil or darkness penetrated the minds of the Eldar, for they are the children of Danaan, and the bearers of the light.
As the people of Hy-Brasyl began to toy with the power of the elements, they felt the desire to explore. They soon discovered the Eldar, and for the first time the simple people of the woodlands met those of the great city they'd watched since the beginning of their existence. The relationship was cordial, some of the Eldar made frequent trips to Hy-Brasyl, and many friendships were forged.
As the people of Hy-Brasyl changed however, the relationship evolved as well. Several factions targeted the elves. Being different, they were easy to blame for any problems, and soon several were found murdered on the streets of Hy-Brasyl. Afraid of what might happen, the rest withdrew back to their forest dwellings and seclusion from mankind.
The men of Hy-Brasyl had gone too far, however. They had abused the powers of the elements, and their wrath was soon to devour the once glorious city. A great wave came, and the city of Hy-Brasyl was flooded and destroyed. The people of the city were not the only ones effected by the great flood. The woodland homes of the Eldar were drowned in water as well; nearly the entire population was killed in the unnatural waters. Those few remaining fled, and thus occurred the first great disaster of the Eldar, foreshadowing a dark future.
After the destruction of Hy-Brasyl, the few surviving Eldar united with the men of the now shattered city, in trying to survive. They were friends, and had friendly relations for many years, sharing food, beverage, and life in general with one another. The numbers of the Eldar rose steadily, yet they were still nothing compared to their former greatness. They dedicatedly worked the land as farmers, gatherers, and woodsmen for many a year. Then the darkness once more came.
Kings arose among the men, but still none of the Eldar stepped forward to accept the reigns of leadership, their wishes were too innocent and simple to lust for such things as power. The Eldar lived as men, in their villages for long whiles, but they saw constant warfare and violence. Eventually tiring of such things, the Eldar formed their own small kingdom, (a kingdom only in name, for there was no king, merely a council of elders) Naerwain, not far from Finach (now known as Mileth). Naerwain was a place of beauty, and peace. They maintained the arms required for survival, but that was it. Unlike the lands of men, conquest was not on their minds. These were still the children of Danaan, and light is all that they saw. This would unfortanetly, be their downfall.
The kingdom of Finach, eyed Naerwain with an eye of jealousy, and fraudulent arrogance. They constantly harassed the people of the small kingdom, and harried any attempt for Naerwain to establish communications with other villages, or kingdoms. They were not human, there were not warriors, they were merely a target.
The King of Finach organized a small army to stamp out the kingdom; they stormed Naerwain, but at first were repulsed. The brave Eldar fought with elegance, grace, and valor of many a man. The King had not prepared for such stout resistance by any means; he had expected an easy victory.
The elders of Naerwain held council, for now was a grave time. The kingdom would not last through a second assault. Two divisions formed, one in favor of an exodus far from this war torn land, and the other to stay and defend to the last drop of blood. Upon the next sunrise, the first group departed Naerwain, taking one final look at the great glory of the Eldar. A few days later, Naerwain was stormed a second time. The Eldar were slaughtered, every man, woman and child. Not one escaped the massacre.
In the first time in their history, the surviving Eldar had a leader to look upon. The elder Theofin was the primary pusher for exodus, and the main organizer of it. The other elders bowed to his will, and all began to look upon him as their lord. The elves had their king, and he would forever be known among the Eldar as King Theofin the Savior.
The exodus eventually reached the coast. Along the way, however, many of those that had joined it, stopped and moved off to attempt to find a place to live among the wild wilderness of the mainland, even if it meant risking the dangers of human society. Upon reaching the coast, many more, fearing the water, did the same. There were now two groups of the Eldar, those that followed Theofin were hereafter known as the Eledrid (known to man at the time as gray elves), while those that left the exodus were known as the Keledrid (known to man as green, or wood elves).
Theofin and his council were unsure of what to do next. They had vowed to leave mainland Temuair, and human society altogether. They prayed to their goddess Danaan, and within the week she answered. As Theofin watched from a rock high above the sea, he saw a small fleet approaching. Gray ships with white sails, like this world had never seen. As they approached, it could be seen that they were crewed by Angels, with bright cloaks and auras. Theofin gathered his host, and together they boarded the heavenly vessels, and left Temuair and Mileth behind them. The final exodus had begun.
Upon reaching their destination, they found the island of Mann. At this time it was populated only by the wild beasts, no settlements were anywhere on the island. Theofin took it about him, as his task, to create a kingdom for his people to live in safely. He founded the great city of Thaerwain (the connection to the name Naerwain is obvious, and it's thought that in a possible display of arrogance, or perhaps just wishing his name to go down in history, he replaced the first sound of the city, with that of his own name.) Thaerwain was to be built as a fortress above ground, with an entire city beneath it. The Eledrid soon began to carve the rock and stone, and build a mighty fortress upon the surface.
After years and years of toil, the city was complete. Far below the surface, after passing through many a giant door (the girdle of Thaerwain), Theofin took his proper place on the ornate throne constructed for him. Upon sitting in the mighty throne, Theofin looked completely at peace for the first time since he had departed Naerwain, and slowly drifted off in to a sleep from which he would never awake. The mighty king had completed his task, and the future of his people looked to be safe from the ravages of mankind. They would sit far beneath the Earth, and live their lives as they wished. After his passing, a king was appointed by the Council, this practice remained as the method for choosing leadership until the final destruction of Thaerwain.
In the realm of man a great time had passed, and many a foul thing had occurred. The dubhaimed and the fifth element had been discovered. A great war between Danaan and Chadul was just over the horizon. The forces of light were outnumbered, their chances for victory looked dim. Danaan looked to her children, but knew that she could not bring them forth from the sanctuary she had helped them create. She sighed for the world, but knew that her children would at least survive. They were safe.
A little known god, the lord of the wind, Ulmö. It is rumored that he was among the Earth-Sea gods of the Aosda, and his age may rival that of even Ceannlaidir. He had taken little part in the world, but had seen the passing of the Eledrid from Temuair. The wind sweeps across all of the land, and so the lord of the wind sees all. He had watched them build their mighty kingdom, and he alone, besides Danaan, knew of their existence. He knew that they could bring great might to the side of Light, and knew that he must try and bring them forth.
He found a human warrior of relatively great renown, wondering across the beach one evening. Little did the man know that he would go down in the history of the Eldar, as the greatest of mankind to ever exist. Turin was his name, and he thought he heard the wind speaking to him. Turin felt, what to him was an inward yearning, he soon happened upon a cave in that he'd never seen before. Wondering inside he was faced by a marvelous sight, a suit of shimmering armor, and a blade of such fine craftsmanship that he doubted if it had been created by mortal hands. Donning the armor and sword, he found that they fit him perfectly, and as he slid the helmet on to his head, something changed within him.
He heard a divine voice, clear and speaking directly to him. It was the voice of Ulmö, and he told Turin of his mission. Turin now took the task upon him, and gained the title of "Messenger of the Wind" for himself, and his descendants. Upon a small boat he set sail, and with the aid of Ulmö crossed the water in very short time. Guided by the wind Turin found the great city of Thaerwain, something no other mortal being had ever done. As he approached, the guards in the towers spotted the shimmering armor, and a party was sent to see what he was.
As the party surrounded him, he stood proud and tall. He demanded in an assured voice to see the king. The Guards, unsure of what to do, led him back to the fortress above the city. They led him in the courtyard, where the Captain of the Guard, the greatest warrior and one of the most respected members of the society, confronted him. Asking what he was doing here, Turin replied simply.
"I am here to see your king, take me too him." The Captain stood silent for a minute; the silence grew ever awkward. Turin added, "I have a message meant for his ears." The Captainís will was broken, and he lead Turin down through the Girdle of Thaerwain, and in to the city square inside the glorious city. Here a huge crowd gathered to see the strange manling before them, and the king came with his full entourage.
As the King waited, expecting Turin to bow, Turin merely stood there before him, and asked if he truly was the King of Thaerwain. The King surprised by the human's knowledge of even the name of the city, was stunned for a moment, before replying that he in full truth was Lanthrial the King and Lord of Thaerwain, and the Eldar. At this moment Turin began to look as if he rose above all of those of the crowd in stature, and grace. He spoke with a voice, not all his own, and the divine words came forth with commanding force. He delivered the message, and the King listened with surprise and awe. Turin was given fine quarters in which to rest, while the King and the council discussed the future. If they set out to join the battle, their existence would be revealed, but if they stayed the world could easily be destroyed.
The King was soon swayed, however, by the powerful words of Turin. He began preparations to send the forces of Thaerwain to aid Danaan in the great battle to come. They set sail once again across the mighty waves, and arrived in time to join the battle. The shimmering blades and armor of the Eldar, with their banners held high aloft, were a glorious sight indeed. With the added weight of this mighty force, Danaan managed to overcome Chadul within three days. The Eldar had played an important part, in this, the most important battle in the history of Temuair.
The Eldar soon retreated back to Thaerwain, but their existence was now common knowledge, as their feats were well known to the people of the land. The lord Tenes and the pact of Anaman saw Thaerwain as the symbol of Danaan, and as something that must be destroyed. They sent expedition after expedition; each one was repulsed before it could breach even the surface fortifications, let alone the walls of the girdle within the Earth.
Then came Ainmeal, a worshiper of Danaan. The Eldar soon began communication with Lord Ainmeal, and assisted him in all ways they could. Among his forces, there were numbers of Eldar, sent even while Thaerwain was under siege. His glory was theirs. During the reign of Ainmeal, and his son, relations between humans and elves were unparalleled in history. Eldar could walk freely among men, and were respected as allies and friends. Then came the evil once again, in the shape of the first empress.
She was determined to rid the world of the Eldar, for she saw them as symbol of the light, and as something other then human. She set about to crush Thaerwain, with whatever it took. Assault after assault was repulsed, never once were the fortifications breached. Then it came.. the dubhaimed.
The Empress called forth all of her power, dying during the ritual as her life force was slowly drained. The sky over Thaerwain turned black, and great clouds hid it from view. The Dubhaimed came forth from a portal torn in the cloud wall. In quantities never before seen they rained down upon Earth. They broke through the fortifications, and overcame even the most valiant of the Eldar defenders. The girdle was pierced, and the city ransacked. The populace was slaughtered, and the glory of the Eldar destroyed, nearly overnight. It is believed, by those that know of the Eldar's history, that what we know today as Castle Dubhaim, was in fact once the great Elven city of Thaerwain, we are not certain if this is the case though.
A few are rumored to have survived, tainted by the darkness. They became the drow (dark-elves to mankind), and kept the tradition of life under the Earth. It is believed that they founded another city, beneath the Earth, but it is doubtful that anything that compared with Thaerwain shall ever exist again.
The Empress did not only fight the Eldar's existence, she fought any knowledge of their existence. While she was in power, a program destroying all written knowledge of their presence was created, and it was made illegal to speak of them at all, a crime punishable by loss of one's tongue. To write about them, meant losing one's hands, it was indeed a dark time for one of the greatest cultures in history.
Her successors continued this program, and it has been very successful. We are unsure now of whether or not the current line of Loures' Royalty continues this policy, for we do not know if they truly know that the Eldar ever existed. We do know, however, that at least one group remains which actively hunts what few Eldar remain, and search constantly for the drow city rumored to exist.
The Eldar that do still exist are almost certainly of the Keledrid, for many of them disappeared in to the woods to never be seen by human eyes again. It is known that they were hunted during most of Temuair's history, for they did not communicate with the men of the land, and where considered to be savage forest animals that would steal your cattle, or food store given the chance.
A small number of the Keledrid did flee far south of Temuair, and have made their home there. It is from these people that I myself come. The humans of the land are far more savage then those of even Loures. We are hunted by roving bands of humans, and goblins, for what reasons we are unsure. I will tell you from my first hand experience, it is truly an awful thing. Unfortanetly such terror does not escape even Mileth. One eve while sleeping in the quiet woodlands I was ambushed and nearly killed, because of my heritage. It has only heightened my sense of awareness, and reawakened the possibility that Loures is still attempting to purge the land of my people.