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Elven Cultures

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The Elven Empire was centered on the Seven Cities, each built by and named for one of the seven noble houses. Each of these lines had risen to leadership of the Elven peoples. Even today, most Elves swear varying degrees of allegiance to one or the other.

Only five houses remain of true elves. House of Ashrim was lost at sea. House of Faendryl, once leaders among the elves, was cast out and its members eventually became dark elves.

The remaining Elven Houses are:

House of Vaalor
(The Elves of Ta'Vaalor)

Ta'Vaalor, the work of the great Aradhul Vaalor, is more a fortress than a city. The Vaalor have always produced the finest warriors of the Elven race. All Vaalor, male and female, enter the military at a young age, serving for some hundred years. Perhaps because of this, they are the haughtiest of the Elves. They had little tolerance for the lesser peoples of the lands, especially mixed-breeds. They have never suffered the Elven culture or bloodlines to be tainted by others. During the height of the Elven Empire, they chafed under the leadership of the Faendryl, believing the high seat should be theirs.

House of Nalfein
(The Elves of Ta'Nalfein)

The line of Zishra Nalfein founded Ta'Nalfein, which has always been a center of Elven politics. The Nalfein are fairly adept at everything, but they have always been the masters of stealth, whether in the field or the council chambers. Their politics are particularly ruthless, as they let little stand between themselves and their desires. The Nalfein are also apt to take up the life of a wandering merchant, traveling the world to trade in both goods and information.

House of Ardenai
(The Elves of Ta'Ardenai)

Sharyth Ardenai was the matriarch of Ta'Ardenai, and her line remained closest of the houses to their roots in the deep forests. Though they dwell in towns and cities, they retain a love for the land exceeded only by the Sylvankind. They tend to be less haughty than members of the other houses, and have less of an imperial bent. They are typically appointed as emissaries to other races. They are, however, capable warriors at need. All Ardenai grow up to revere the hunt, and few can match their bow-masters.

House of Loenthra
(The Elves of Ta'Loenthra)

Callisto Loenthra's house is one of craftsman, artists, poets and bards. Ta'Loenthra is generally acknowledged as the center of Elven culture. Though some do leave the Elven lands to ply their trades as merchants or wandering bards, most Loenthra consider the lesser races too barbaric for their company. An old Loenthra saying describes performing to an unappreciative audience as "casting pearls before Dwarves."

House of Illistim
(The Elves of Ta'Illistim)

Linsandrych Illistim, the greatest scholar in Elven history, founded Ta'Illistim. Her house has continued that tradition, and none can match the knowledge of the Illistim Masters of Lore. They are also extremely adept at the working of magical rituals, and the greatest artifacts produced by the Elves came from the House of Illistim's laboratories. Though many Illistim choose a life of seclusion and study, some others travel the world in search of knowledge, both old and new.

See also: Elf Guide, Elven Dogma & Theology, History of Elanthia, Illistim Culture, Ta'Vaalor's Guardian Keep, Military Structure of Ta'Vaalor

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