History of the Elves of Corwyn

The Elves; or the "Silvar" as they are commonly called, are the oldest, the most regal, and the most mysterious race found on the World of Oris. The origin of the elves is shrouded in mystery, but sages agree that the Silvar folk originated in the Forbidden Continent of Eryn Norvë, many millennia ago.

THE FIRST AGE

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The history of the elvish race began in the First Age, when the elves first landed upon the shores of Corwyn from the distant lands of Eryn Norvë. The ancient elves had traveled across the vast Wyn Myr Ocean in search of a new home, and took the lands of Corwyn as their own.

These ancient elvish pioneers were the Silvar-Elves, (also called Elder-Elves); the ancestors of the modern-day Grey-Elves of Corwyn. The Silvar-Elves expanded their civilization across the continent. The elves called their nation; Ectharë, meaning “paradise.”

The ancient Silvar-Elves were led by Elegheron of the House of Alessarë, who became the first anointed Elven King of Ectharë. At that time, the only other sentient race the elves encountered was the race of dragons.

Some dragons were friendly, others were not; and by the end of the First Age, the race of elves allied itself with all good dragons and made war upon the evil dragons. The conflict was terrible and much of Corwyn was laid waste.

The Evil dragons were led by a fearsome Red Dragon named Calegorax. The War of the Dragons ended in an elvish victory at the Battle of Merizath. During this battle, Calegorax was slain. But as he lay dying, uttered a famous curse that the Silvar-Elves were cursed and would never prosper on Corwyn

THE SECOND AGE


The Silvar-Elves continued to thrive in the Second Age, rebuilding and expanding their nation of Ectharë. They built six magnificent cities of silver and gold: the Elven capitol of Elutheria in the west, the Elven-cities of: Saravôsh in the east, Therakan in the north, Astrakan in the south; as well as the far southern cities of Alarë and Selunë. With the completion of these great cities, Ectharë truly became a wondrous civilization; filled with art, culture, beauty, and grace.

Unfortunately, this time of peace and prosperity was not to last. For in the year, 572/2, a beautiful elven sorceress named Lorynäe Anarivon murdered King Starion Alessarë and attempted to usurp the Eternal Throne. Lorynäe failed in her bid to steal the Throne, but Starion's murder did provoke a thousand-year civil war among the elves, which came to be known as the War of Wrath. The rebellious elves that followed Lorynäe came to be called the Dark-Elves, or Drothë; meaning “those who follow the darkness.” The loyal elves were led by Starion’s son Ismelian Alessarë; who swore to avenge his father’s murder and eradicate all of the Dark-Elves from Corwyn forever.

The Dark-Elves needed legions of slave-soldiers to fight in their war against the Silvar. So, they used their magical powers to spawn a hybrid half-elf race called the Gauth, as well as the monstrous race of Tarks. The War of Wrath was long and bitter; the elven capitol of Elutheria was reduced to rubble in the fighting, and soon after, the great elvish city of Saravôsh was completely obliterated in a horrific magical explosion set off by the Dark-Elves. The explosion destroyed the city, killed King Ismelian, as well as tens of thousands of elves on both sides. The explosion was so intense, it created a huge deep chasm hundreds of miles long called Grôn.

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As the war dragged on, the Silvar-Elves eventually called upon both humans and dwarves to aid them in their fight against the Dark-Elves. Humans answered the call; but the dwarves, angry over earlier slights from the elves, took no part in this war. This refusal has made the elves look upon dwarves with disdain and resulted in a mutual enmity has lasted to this very day.

Eventually, the Silvar-Elves gained the upper hand; led by Ismelian’s son, King Talarion Alessarë. Talarion; known to both his friends and foes as “Brightstar,” was the greatest elvish warrior in history, and won countless battles against the Dark-Elves and their servants. Ultimately, the Dark Elves were defeated at the Battle of Grôn, the remaining Dark-Elves were then driven underground through the very chasm they had created, and their Gauth servants were either killed or banished into the eastern wastelands. Sadly, Talarion himself was slain during this final battle, but he did manage to avenge both his father and grandfather before he fell in battle.

The War of Wrath had many dark legacies. Foremost was the permanent devastation of eastern Corwyn, which was affected by magical fallout called Ashfall; a period of 100 years of complete darkness that poisoned every living plant and creature. Ashfall also caused the "Taint;" a sickness that changed the skin-color of the afflicted elves to either black or very dark gray, and bleached their hair a sickly white

Second, the Gauth race was not destroyed, but only banished. They would return under their greatest leader, a powerful sorcerer named Alokkair; who would continue to wreak havoc on Corwyn for many centuries to come.

The third effect was the Sundering of the elven race, which is described below.

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THE SUNDERING


When the great elven realm of Ectharë collapsed at the end of the Second Age, it broke into three smaller and distinct Elf-realms. In Elvish lore, it is told that when the elvish kingdom of Ectharë was destroyed at the end of the Second Age, the Silvar-Elves divided into three groups that have essentially evolved into three different sub-races of elves known today on Corwyn: the Grey-Elves, the High-Elves, and the Wood-Elves. This event is called "the Sundering."

After Talarion Brightstar's death at the end of the War of Wrath, the three senior surviving leaders of the Silvar-Elves grew apart and eventually divided into three distinct groups.

These three elven leaders were:

Thekarë


The far-northern Elf-realm was called Thekarë, which means "‘Home in the Trees" in the Silvanestri tongue. Over time, the elves who settled here became known today as Wood-Elves, or ‘Thekyr.’ The Wood-Elves had rich brown or black hair, pale tannish skin, and bright eyes of green, blue, or grey. Unlike the western Elf-realm of Wyntharë, and the southern Elf-realm of Melinarë, the northern Elf-realm took upon itself the task of keeping vigil on the East. The Elf-kings of Thekarë solemnly watched the East and their warriors and rangers protected the West from its evil for centuries.

They knew that the curse of the Dark-Elves had stained that land permanently, and that nothing good would ever come from that dreadful region. The Wood-Elves of Thekarë made their capitol the beautiful forest city of Therakan, called the ‘Circle of Trees,’ and the Wood-Elf Kings sat upon the famous Oakheart Throne. The forest that surrounded Thekarë became known as the Silvarwood, and the Wood-Elf culture that thrived was a wonder to behold. In the Third Age, the Wood-Elves also expanded west through the region known today as the Pale and established Malanäe; a small coastal city on the east shores of the Athlan Myr.

From Malanäe, they traded with the men of both Thalar and Amar, as well as dwarves of the north. But their presence was known to Alokkair in the East, and he greatly desired to destroy the Wood-Elves, and remove them as a threat to his domination of the West. Also, Alokkair harbored a deep hatred for the Wood-Elves and wished to avenge his earlier defeat at their hands, at the Battle of Orgorod. Eventually, through a series of wars, the Wood-Elves of Thekarë were greatly weakened and their vigil on the East waned as Alokkair grew strong again behind the Saugreth-Muir.

In 1233/4, Alokkair made his boldest move. Under his direction, a huge orcish army led by a terrible Demon named Vorilax invaded the Silvarwood and completely destroyed the Wood-Elf realm of Thekarë. The elvish city of Therakan was left in ruins and the Wood-Elves were all slain or forced into exile. At this time, the three Silvarils of the Wood-Elves were lost as well, but legend says that the Demon-Lord never found them. The stones were hidden by the Wood-Elves in the secret tomb of Anarion Liëflynne; the last fallen Elven King of Thekarë.

After Alokkair’s invasion, the Elf-city and the woods around it became a haunted place of dread called Mystwood, in which no Wood-Elf will dare to tread, even today. The few surviving Wood-Elves who escaped the attack upon their homeland migrated southeast to the Ravenwood, and to other scattered woodlands as well. A few even joined with the High-Elves of Melinarë. The symbol of the Wood-Elves of Thekarë was a tree, a shooting star, and three orbs, all in gold, on a dark green field. The Elf-realm of Thekarë encompassed the territory of what is today the Mystwood Forest.

Wyntharë


The far-western Elf-realm was called Wyntharë, which means "‘Home in the West" in the Silvanestri tongue. The elves of Wyntharë were the most reclusive and powerful of the three elven groups. Their mastery of magic knew almost no bounds, and some say it surpassed even the greatest of talents of the Saar and the Council of Sorcerë. These western elves eventually evolved into the Elf-race known today as the Grafyr, or "Grey-Elves" of Corwyn. Their skin was pale, their hair silver or gold, and their eyes were bright amber gold, pale grey, or even a deep violet purple.

The Grey-Elves were the shyest of elvish races and found no joy in even the smallest contact with other races, and had such meetings only rarely. The Grey-Elves that founded Wyntharë were led by the beautiful Queen Ariel Alessarë, who had been a powerful mage in Ectharë. The Grey-Elves built the magnificent Veiled Throne of Wyntharë, although only two elves ever sat upon it.

Little else of their exotic culture is known today, except that the Grey-Elves built a marvelous civilization far in the western Corwyn, with secrets still unknown. Sadly, this wonderful elven civilization was not to last. In the Year 884 of the Third Age, a terrible tragedy befell the Grey-Elves. A powerful earthquake known as the Great Rift tore their realm apart; leaving their cities in ruins and most of their folk dead or horribly injured.

The great elvish cities of Wyntharë: Alarë, Selunë and Wyn Falas, were either consumed by the sea or left in utter ruins. This tragedy caused the Grey-Elves of Wyntharë to become bitter and morose. They began to yearn to return to their ancestral home of Eryn Norvë. Over the centuries that followed, nearly all of the Grey-Elves of Wyntharë left the shores of Corwyn and sailed back west; never to return. The Grey-Elves were led back across the Wyn Myr by King Ajathar Alessarë; who was a descendant of the Elf-kings of Ectharë, and the only son of Queen Ariel.

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Melinarë


The last of the three great Elf-realms that evolved from the First Age elvish civilization of Ectharë was the southern Elf-realm was called Melinarë, which means "‘Highforest" in the Silvanestri tongue. The elves that inhabit the Melinar Forest are called the High-Elves or ‘Melynn,’ and make up the largest and most powerful elvish nation on Corwyn. In fact this woodland realm is sometimes called Highforest by outsiders as a nickname, for its High-Elvish heritage. Few outsiders are allowed within the great forest, and most trade is done along the coasts, or in specific elvish cities located near the fringes of the forest.

The High-Elves are seen by many as arrogant and stubborn, and sometimes even resented by both humans and dwarves. This attitude comes with the great age of elvish society, who naturally sees itself as superior to all other races, as Corwyn was first explored and cultivated by elves alone. The High-Elves of Melinarë are a quiet, introspective folk that love artwork, crafts, reading and writing.

The High-Elves delight in making items of wondrous quality with wood, clay, and metal. Their skills at the creation of weapons are superb, surpassed only by the elvish mastery of armor. It is here that the long kept secret of elvish chain mail is still kept. Elvish armor smiths are true masters of their craft, making suits of elvish chain that give a +1 bonus over all other suits of chain mail made by humans. For a suit to be made to fit another race is very rare indeed and these fine suits can cost thousands of gold pieces, and are only owned by royalty or the wealthiest merchant lords.

The elves live a quite life in harmony with nature deep within their beloved forest. They are not as friendly as the Wood-Elves, and not quite as aloof as their Grey Elf cousin either. Most High-Elves have a love of nature and despise the creatures and dark sorcery of the East. On many occasions they have come forth out of their forest realm to fight alongside the races of men and dwarves against the tyranny of the East.