The Faendryl Empire:
The History of the Faendryl
the age of the Drakes and the wars of the Ur-Daemon, after
the Arkati established their rule of the land, came the time
of the elves.
At one time, all elves were one great civilization as they
cowered in the shadow of the Draken rule and fought to survive
in the forests. Once that rule was shattered by the mighty
Ur-Daemon and the Arkati finished their time with the mortals,
however, the cream had floated to the top of the barrel. The
elves were ready to leave the forests and split into eight
noble Houses to form the greatest empire the world had known,
lead by Korthyr Faendryl, Aradhul Vaalor, Zishra Nalfein,
Sharyth Ardenai, Bhoreas Ashrim, Callisto Loenthra, Linsandrych
Illistim and Tahlad Tsi'shalar.
Tahlad, however, refused. He followed the beliefs of a fanatical
cult of elves lead by Noi'sho'rah, prophet of the Arkati,
who believed that only by remaining united as one people could
they ascend to even greater heights than the Arkati had. The
discussion came to a climax when Noi'sho'rah, either in the
throes of religious ecstasy or under the influence of a powerful
hallucinogenic magic, began to prophesy for those assembled.
He foresaw the coming of one so powerful that she would raise
the dead to throw against the elves and lay waste to the elven
nations, as well as the fall of his own followers. After this
grand show he disappeared.
Noi'sho'rah's cult left the forests, lead by Tahlad Tsi'shalar,
and later became known as the Dhe'nar. Undaunted by his uncle's
desertion, Korthyr Faendryl lead the rest of the elves from
their home of ages amid the trees, leaving behind those that
are the sylphs, and Sharyth Ardenai's line, who would lead
the elven holdings there. Thus, the House of Faendryl was
Korthyr took his place as the first Patriarch of the House.
Under his guidance, a shining city was built around the Patriarchal
Basilica. Two years after the completion of the original borough,
Korthyr Faendryl died. He was succeeded by Khalar Andiris
Faendryl, his great-nephew and long-time assistant. Khalar
completed work on his uncle's city halfway into his time as
Patriarch, and for the remaining three centuries ruled in
and Geniselle Anaya Faendryl
was with the coming of Zarish Aeglyn Faendryl that things
began to fall apart. Zarish was not as strong as his predecessors,
and had not been trained so well to rule. Realizing this,
the power seekers took action. Two hundred fifty years into
his reign, he was assassinated and replaced by Xethlin Baelras
Faendryl. Ta'Faendryl descended into chaos.
The position of Patriarch became the most dangerous in the
Lands for approximately the next millenium. Nine Patriarchs
were murdered in this timeframe, not one lasting over two
hundred years in the power seat. Without strong leadership
or respect for authority, the Faendryl instinct for petty
games of power took hold, and the government was awash in
This ended with Geniselle Anaya Faendryl, the first of three
Matriarchs to exist in dark elven history. She had spent her
life watching her father's very clever political maneuvering,
and had an intimate understanding of leadership and government.
Mustering all her wits, and a small force of her father's
troops, she claimed the throne in the Basilica for herself.
Geniselle understood that the Faendryl empire could never
be held by a woman. While women were certainly considered
equals in power and ability, tradition held that a male must
guide the elves, and tradition was a significant binding force.
She was not disappointed or offended; this was simply how
it was, and how it had ever been. Utilizing her resources,
she held the throne and kept the empire stable until her son,
Yshryth Silvius Faendryl, could ascend to take the reign.
Upon the day of his coronation, Yshryth stood upon the steps
of the Basilica and addressed the assembled people with a
speech that even today lives strong in Faendryl legend. He
spoke quietly yet passionately, his words carrying clearly
across the crowd. "The lesser races live in savagery.
It is only with the guidance of our own eternal empire that
they shall ever rise from barbarism to enjoy the benefits
of civilization. Incapable of ruling themselves, they are
rightfully grateful for our benevolence and aid.
"How can we lead them from this darkness if we live
in its shadow? We have forgotten ourselves. It was in unity
that we strode forth from the forests, out from under the
bloodied wings of dragonkind. It is in unity that we shall
reign in peerless supremacy over the troglodytic barbarians
who need our leadership as they need the air to breathe."
With this proclamation, Yshryth Faendryl ended the internal
conflicts of his House. He declared plotting against the Patriarch
to be a capital crime. The Patriarch, he stated, was the pinnacle
of existence, and to think to destroy the only being capable
of guiding the world into civilization and holding it there
was a crime not only against the Faendryl, but against all
living sentients. He declared a retroactive sentencing of
Thus, Yshryth Faendryl's first action as Patriarch was to
command his own mother's execution.
The Growth of Faendryl
The more stable political climates and strong leadership
allowed the magical community (which encompassed eighty percent
of Faendryl society in various forms) to flourish and grow.
Great leaps and strides were made in the arcane arts as a
wave of learning and experimentation swept through the Elven
Empire. Mages and sorcerers took to their laboratories with
the brand of enthusiasm usually reserved for followers of
Yshryth Faendryl's grandson, Thanris Akeleyn Faendryl, Patriarch
XVI of House Faendryl, commissioned the Elizhabet Mahkra Faendryl
Asylum for the Thaumaturgically Unsettled. The sanitarium
was named for his sister, a sorceress of some renoun in the
Faendryl empire. It is theorized that she was the first sorcerer
to ever breach the Veil into other valences, but her groundbreaking
spell cost her her sanity. Seeing a growing trend among the
researchers into new forms of spellcasting, Thanris Faendryl
had a place for them to be cared for erected and, christening
it in honor of his sibling, had her installed as its first
guest. Elizhabet never recovered.
The discovery of summoning spells had an unexpected side
effect on Faendryl society. While there had always been a
small population of warriors in the mostly magical people,
these lithe fighters and their skills came into high demand.
The energies used to bring creatures from there to here were
far from perfected, and either the casting or what it brought
often left the caster reeling, easy prey for the target of
their summons. The blademasters, unaffected by the energies
about them, proved to be lifesavers, and magicians invested
large amounts of funding for the services of such protectors.
and the Faendryl Warrior
To cater to this need, Ondreian Shamsiel Faendryl, Patriarch
XVII, ordered the Palestra founded and staffed with the finest
warriors and instructors his people had to offer. Students
trained not only in the dance of weapons, but in the theories
of magic and the best counters for the creatures summoned
by the sorcerers. As each round of graduates finished their
instruction, magicians could come and hire them directly from
the Palestra for a small fee.
The Enchiridion Valentia
and Thyrsos Kanigel Faendryl's Demon
After a time, the list of creatures readily summonable grew
considerable. The Basilican sorcerers, headed by Abdullahi
Hazalred Faendryl, devised a system of cataloging and tracking
each creature and its line, the Faendryl names for the valences,
and other important information. In this way, they hoped not
only to expand the general knowledge base, but to keep from
resummoning the more dangerous of the outworlders. They called
their compilation the Enchiridion Valentia. Eidiol Jivanatha
Faendryl, Patriarch XX, took their work a step further, not
only commending their wisdom and foresight, but making it
law that all summoners discovering a new creature must immediately
report their find for recording.
Thyrsos Kanigel Faendryl, a sorcerer of little renown and
fewer means, was far too clever for his own good. Few of his
peers paid any attention to him, and tended to speak around
him as if he were not there. He picked up many summoning secrets
this way, and with no social calendar, had plenty of time
for research and study. Late one evening, as he stared at
the remains of his supper and pushed them about his plate
(his cook had made asparagus, which he despised), the green
vegetable spears fell into a pattern of lines. The lines,
in connection with the round plate, inspired a chain of thought
that sent him sprinting into his work room, looking for his
chalks and powders.
Carefully, he laid out his circle and, drawing power along
specific patterns, cast his spell. A brilliant flash of light
exploded from a rip in the Veil, pulling with it a huge creature
like none the Faendryl had ever seen before. Thyrsos stared
completely aghast at what he had done, then frantically ordered
the creature back where it had come from. It gave a chilling
smile and complied, leaving the sorcerer shaking and dripping
Thyrsos said nothing to anyone.
Two weeks later, his error became quite apparent, as did
the necessity for researching proper banishment spells before
summoning large extraplanar beings. As Thyrsos finished his
evening tea, the flash of light ripped through his sitting
room, and the creature once again stood before him. Without
a proper circle, magical components, or a coherent thought
in his surprised head, the incanter could do nothing but dive
for cover as the being began to tear his house, his block,
and his borough to bits.
Several hours passed before the thing had been destroyed
and the fires had been put out, at which point Thyrsos (who
had survived by hiding under a table) found himself the center
of attention for the first time in his life. He went over
everything he had done in great detail, sketching out his
circle, the lines of power, and the exact spells he had cast.
At the request of the Basilican sorcerers, he also detailed
what he had done to send it back that fateful first time,
so that it could be avoided in the future. Once the elder
scholars and summoners were positive of each move Thyrsos
had made, the hapless necromancer was taken away and beheaded
for failure to report his discovery immediately.
Demonic summoning was born.
The Laurentiu Faction
Not all incanters in Ta'Faendryl studied summoning. Some,
especially those who could not afford protective companionship,
chose to research other magics, such as protective spells,
bodily damage spells and mental spells. Overspecialization
leads to death, they felt, and while the work of the summoners
was good and necessary, someone needed to round out the magical
knowledge held by their scholars.
The Faendryl capability for nursing a grudge is nearly legendary.
Perhaps the best example of this was the faction lead by Qhwinn
Laurentiu Faendryl. This sect bore ill will towards the current
line of Patriarchs that stemmed from Geniselle Anaya Faendryl's
coup. Notably, that Geniselle had beaten their own candidate
to usurping the Basilica. They had carefully tended this hatred,
allowing it to simmer for generations until Qhwinn brought
it to a boiling point.
For months, Qhwinn had sequestered himself in his laboratory,
working diligently on new spells and incantations. At the
end of his months of research, the entire Laurentiu faction
disappeared for a week, reappearing at dawn standing before
the Basilica. Calling out in a loud voice, Qhwinn demanded
the "false Patriarch" give over his position to
the true guides of the Faendryl. Phorien Endric Faendryl,
Patriarch XXI, refused, and the Basilican guards turned out
to arrest the traitors.
In unison, the Laurentiu faction began to chant, arms raised.
With a sudden movement, they brought their arms down, and
the Basilica collapsed inward onto itself with an earsplitting
thunderclap, killing the Patriarch and Basilican guard, and
injuring most of the Basilican sorcerers, who were trapped
in the subterranean levels by the rubble. Qhwinn raised his
voice again, calling for all of Ta'Faendryl to unify around
Unfortunately for Qhwinn, he got his wish. All of Ta'Faendryl
did indeed turn out around him, but it was to hold him and
his murderous band until the city guard arrived. They were
kept chained in null magic bindings in the deepest basements
of the gaol until the survivors could be excavated and a new
Patriarch could be appointed to hand down their sentence.
Phorien Endric Faendryl, still young and newly ascended to
the power seat, had neither married nor left an heir behind.
His only relative was his sister, Nikasha Pavanti Faendryl.
Thus, in a stroke of supreme irony, the multigeneration grudge
started by a Matriarch ended with the appointing of a Matriarch,
the second in Faendryl history.
Nikasha Pavanti Faendryl
and the Faendryl Time of Decadence
Nikasha was a headstrong woman, quick, intelligent, and determined
to make the best of her situation. She ordered Qhwinn's laboratory
searched and his notes confiscated, for he had not only brought
to light a new magic, but a new way to work it: in concert
with other joined magicians. The Basilican sorcerers would
study these notes and see to it that the processes were made
available to all, for although tragedy had come of the discovery,
all Faendryl should benefit from it.
She then ordered the rubble from the ruined Basilica brought
to the execution square. In the bloodiest show in Faendryl
memory, she had the entire Laurentiu faction beheaded, their
blood pouring over the stones of the destruction they had
wrought. These stones, declared Nikasha, would be used to
repave the square, the blood serving as a reminder to all
who would undertake treason of the wages of their actions.
The Basilican sorcerers enchanted the stones so that the blood
would remain always looking fresh, adding a gruesome effectiveness
to the Matriarch's display.
Nikasha Pavanti Faendryl's Matriarchy proved prosperous for
House Faendryl, as did the reign of her son, Siridian Decianus
Faendryl. For two further Patriarchal reigns, the Faendryl
flourished, the pinnacle of elven society. Until Despana came.
The Undead War
The Undead War was a difficult time for the Elven Nations,
the Faendryl included. Eight Patriarchs watched over the conflict
before finally Unsenis Ignaas Faendryl proposed the strike
at Maelshyve. The war was draining the world, and he felt
the end would justify the means, even if it meant revealing
the magics they had kept under cover.
His plan worked, but with it came what the Faendryl had feared
all along. The other Houses could not understand the necessity
of these new magics, the need for discovery and learning even
at the cost of danger. Unsenis Ignaas Faendryl argued for
the remainder of his life, justifying the Faendryl tactics
with little success.
The other Elven Houses used the Patriarch's death to take
control of the Elven Empire for long enough to exile the Faendryl
to Rhoska Tor. Cestimir Xisuthros Faendryl, Patriarch XXXV
pondered his choices carefully before deciding to go along
with the exile. As a new Patriarch, he did not have the morale
levels to win respect or sympathy in the unfriendly court
circles of the other Elven Houses. They would leave their
home, to return to fight another day.
Bitter and angry at the lack of appreciation the other elves
had shown them after the Battle of Demons, the Faendryl took
to the caverns beneath the blasted rubble of Maelshyve. Life
was difficult, as nothing would grow, and what few things
did sprung from the ground twisted, warped, and often hostile.
But not a single elf complained. They were House Faendryl.
Together, they had found the way to pierce the Veil and force
the denizens to do their bidding, and together, they would
survive to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.
Decades passed in the dark of the caverns, and the Faendryl
learned to survive. With the magic from the many mana foci
they coaxed plants from the lifeless soil, sped the growth
of herds of livestock. In the pride of their triumph over
certain death, the obvious twisting of the life they had created
went unnoticed. Each rolton, velnalin and cow was laced with
the energies seeping from the unhealed tear in the Veil. Each
plant grew from magics tainted with the mana of the demons
they continued to summon to plant their crops. They lived
in the caves that honeycombed the area beneath fallen Maelshyve,
and the forces left behind sculpted the Faendryl features
to finer, sharper lines, darker skin, and physically weaker
vessels with greater capacities for magic.
The Sea Elf War
As time passed, the Faendryl began to turn their eyes northward,
towards their ancestral home. They were disgusted with life
belowground, and wanted their shining city. How to regain
it, however, was one of the few things the Faendryl did not
agree on. Some councilled war. Others wished to try a peaceful
solution. Why take by force what you can twist the weaker
into giving you?
The war faction agreed to try it the peaceful way. The peaceful
solution would not work if attempted after a failed war, but
war would certainly do the trick if peace failed. Thus, it
made sense to try peace first. And so when Rythwier Faendryl,
Patriarch XXXVII of House Faendryl, proposed a wedding alliance
between his eldest daughter Chesylcha Sukari Faendryl and
a prince of House Ashrim, he had the full backing of his people.
Chesylcha never made it to her wedding. Stories of her death
are as numerous as the fish in the sea she sailed upon, but
the Faendryl never had a doubt as to what happened. The evening
of her death, Chesylcha's three sisters all fell to their
knees, screaming in pain and holding their heads. When they
were again sensible, each reported seeing the same thing:
an assassin of House Nalfein, there by grace of a secret alliance
between the Nalfein and the Ashrim, slitting their sibling's
The Faendryl were outraged. Those that had councilled war
jumped on Chesylcha's death to once again plead their cause,
and this time, Rythwier listened avidly. They launched a
naval assault against the Ashrim home islands. The Ashrim,
as could be expected, were the best sailors of the elves,
and the Faendryl losses were terrible. But three ships reached
the Ashrim harbors. Faendryl legend says that each of these
ships was protected by the mourning and angry sisters of
Chesylcha, who were powerful magicians and were out for
However the ships survived, they spelled the doom of the
Ashrim. Upon one of the ships were the greatest of the Faendryl
spellcasters. Decades of honing their abilities, as well as
all the rage, bitterness, and humilitation pent up since the
time of the Undead War, made the Faendryl more powerful than
they had ever been before. The sea elves were obliterated,
and Ta'Ashrim was no more.
Typically, the Nalfein claimed no knowledge of any secret
treaty, and were outraged at such an accusation. Taking advantage
of the already anti-Faendryl sentiments felt by the rest of
the elven Houses, they stated that the Faendryl were no longer
true elves, but some dark and perverted facsimile thereof.
The other Houses echoed those words, and since that time,
the Faendryl were known as Dark Elves.
At that point, the Faendryl gave up hopes of regaining their
old home and empire. Either from bitterness or wisdom, they
realized that to go back would be to be constantly reminded
of what was and what could never be again. They turned their
backs on the elves and the city they had built and moved north
of Rhoska-Tor, although not far, to build their new city.
The outside world has seen little of the Faendryl since,
save those who have left citing a desire to research or a
disagreement with politics. The dark elves chose to close
most trade avenues, leaving only those things necessary for
life and comfort. Isolationists for the most part, the Faendryl
allow very few outsiders into their city, and all attempts
at invasion have been rebuffed with prejudice. They prefer
to research their magic and live their lives for the time
without outside interference. Of late, however, discussion
has been heard in opening New Ta'Faendryl to the world once
The Faendryl are a nation of atheists. Unlike most Elven
societies, they chose no patron Arkati to pay respect to,
as they are perfectly aware that the Arkati are not gods at
all. Rumors that they worship the Ur-Daemon, demons, or Marlu
are also false. The dark elves summon such beings, so it makes
little sense that they would worship something they seek to
The closest thing to a patron the Faendryl have is Fash'lo'nae,
whom they regard as wise and creative in his methods of discovery,
even if he is a bit overblown. If they venerate anything,
it is their Patriarch, whom they believe will guide them to
ever-greater heights in power and knowledge. Interestingly,
one of Elanith's pantheon of demigods was a Faendryl before
the split into the separate Houses, proving to the nation
as a whole that god-like power can be achieved through personal
Faendryl clerics are a bit of an enigma. Most clergy in other
societies worship other gods, having their holy powers granted
by such beings. The Faendryl priests do not consider themselves
followers of any deity, most claiming that they work their
magic like any sorcerer or empath might. The power to turn
the Undead, they explain, comes from having learned to manipulate
the energies around Rhoska Tor, as that was where the Undead
were first created, and the power over life and death is an
elementary exercise of will and magery.
Some Elven scholars theorize that the Faendryl clerics are
indeed granted powers by gods or demibeings who do so in secret,
that the Faendryl may continue their egotistical claims and
be more easily controlled. The Faendryl, however, discount
this as the weak-minded drivel spawned by an unambitious brain.
The Faendryl are a Patriarchy, chosen by blood and the occasional
coup. The Patriarch has absolute power in Ta'Faendryl, and
his word is law. His duty is the advancement and well-being
of the Faendryl as a whole, as well as daily Faendryl life,
if he chooses that level of involvement. No Faendryl will
go against the will of the Patriarch, and only the worst traitors
plot his overthrow. He is beyond politics.
Beneath the Patriarch is the Basilican Magistrate. This position
can be held by either male or female (and it is often held
by one of the wives of the Patriarch, should she be politically
inclined). The Basilican Magistrate has the duty of overseeing
day to day Faendryl life, seeing to it that the lesser nobles
do their jobs appropriately, that the political squabbling
does not endanger the society, and hearing the pleas of the
Archchancellors. While the Basilican Magistrate is not completely
removed from politics, it is a position subject to less scheming
and maneuvering than others. It is considered extremely bad
form, and a variety of political suicide, to plot against
or overthrow the Basilican Magistrate should it be one of
the Patriarch's wives.
Next in rank are the Archchancellors. There is one for each
borough of the city, as well as for trade, arts, magic, and
warrior classes. They are in charge of overseeing their specific
borough or skill set, keeping them running smoothly and in
prime condition. The lead Basilican Sorcerer and Prefect of
the Palestra are both ranked as Archchancellors. This is where
the true political maneuvering, plotting, and scheming begin.
Below the Archchancellors are the Chancellors. These are
specialists, speakers for their fields, factions, and interest
groups. They keep the Archchancellors informed, plead their
own agendas, and care for the very minor things involved in
their interests. These positions are the targets of much political
maneuvering, and occupants change as frequently as whims.
Finally, there are the magnates. These are the most minor
of minor functionaries, whose duties entail whatever it is
that they feel they should be doing. More a nuisance than
any real use to Faendryl government, most of their power is
self-perceived. It is jokingly said among the Archchancellors
that everyone in Ta'Faendryl is a magnate of one thing or
Faendryl are an eminently civilized people. They have to
be, or else they would have politicked, schemed, maneuvered,
backstabbed and blasted their way into extinction long ago.
By enacting a strict legal code coupled with corporal punishment,
they maintain a high societal behavioral standard and keep
chaos to a minimum.
There are several capital crimes in Ta'Faendryl. The first,
of course, is treason, or crimes against the state. To plot
against the well being of your Patriarch, your leadership,
your city or your bretheren (for all in Ta'Faendryl are of
House Faendryl, and thus are all family) is considered the
worst of things one can do. Also included in capital crimes
are murder and failure to report a never-before-summoned creature
to the Enchiridion Valentia. The method of death is by guillotine.
Murder is something of a special case among the Faendryl.
Because all dark elves are family, and plotting against your
bretheren is a form of treason, murder is completely disallowed.
An exception is made, however, for legal duels in prescribed
areas over approved-of topics, such as dishonor, insult, and
a host of other minor infractions. Given the political nature
of the society, bureaucratic assassination is a common means
of removing a competitor, but it is not legal. Instead, ruses
from elaborate "mishaps" to a common knife in the
back and shoddy coverup take these situations into the realm
of accidental death, which can hardly be outlawed.
Other infractions are met with stiff penalties. Theft commonly
is punished by removal of one or both hands, or the eyes.
Assault brings about a whipping, while assault with a deadly
weapon leads to flaying. Common minor crimes are generally
punishable by removal of the feet or tongue.
The Typical Faendryl
The following is a look at a stereotypical Faendryl. Just
as with any other race, dark elves vary greatly in outlook,
opinion and lifestyle, but these basic tenets are observed
by most members of the Faendryl society.
Mharcuis Virajith Faendryl is, like most common Faendryl,
a sorcerer. He has three names, denoting given name, family
line, and the fact that he is Faendryl. All Faendryl have
three names for ease of determining heritage and differences
in those with the same given name (after all, there is a Mharcuis
Roahnn Faendryl two boroughs over). No dark elf wants to be
without his proper surname.
As with most sorcerers and summoners, Mharcuis goes nowhere
without his escort, Nacterre Wilderic Faendryl. Nacterre was
trained at the Palestra, where Mharcuis was able to employ
his services (for what Mharcuis considers an exorbitant rate).
As much as Nacterre's services cost, however, it has been
worth it, as twice the warrior has saved Mharcuis' life. Some
of the better-to-do sorcerers have several escorts, but Mharcuis
can afford only the one.
Mharcuis lives in a small but elegant home furnished with
many fine things. He has a small house staff consisting of
a laundrywoman and a cook who do not live with him, but instead
come to his home in the morning and leave to go to their own
homes in the evening. It is a source of small discomfort that
Mharcuis Roahnn Faendryl also has a cleaning maid.
To call Mharcuis arrogant, by Faendryl standards, would be
mildly amusing. By the standards of the world outside Ta'Faendryl,
however, it would be wholly appropriate. Like most dark elves,
Mharcuis has a casual sense of arrogance and pride that would
set most people's nerves on edge. He is, after all, Faendryl,
and Faendryl are, of course, the pinnacle of civilization,
knowledge, and power. Of course he is better than the rest.
He would be a good conversationalist for most, he has a wide
knowledge base that would make him engaging, but non-Faendryl
would likely find themselves gritting their teeth at his offhanded
Today, Mharcuis is a bit overweening even for his own kind.
He is quite pleased with himself, for last night he summoned
something that he had never before seen. He is quite certain
that no one else has seen it either, and so off to the Basilica
he goes to double-check. Should no one else have summoned
one before, he shall enter his findings (and his name) into
the Enchiridion Valentia. With Nacterre beside him (Nacterre,
for the record, hates it when his charge is in this kind of
mood, and finds him positively insufferable), he goes off
to check the records.
Much to Mharcuis' dismay, the creature was recently summoned
by another sorcerer, and noted in the Enchiridion Valentia.
Infuriatingly, it was Mharcuis Roahnn Faendryl that did the
summoning. Mharcuis does not see Nacterre smirking as they
leave the Basilica.