Half-Elves: From Outsiders to Heroes
of Half-Elves NEXT >>
various points throughout history, half-elves have attempted to
band together in order to form their own communities. However, these
attempts have always failed for various reasons and no recognizable
half-elven culture has ever been established. Individual half-elves
rarely have anything in common with each other, and are just as
likely to find grounds for conflict as they are for cooperation.
Because of this, groups attempting to create a township with an
independent culture have been rare exceptions to the norm in the
history of half-elves.
In addition to their lack of status and legal protections, residents
of these colonies usually had other factors stacked against them.
Sometimes marauding humanoids or racist neighbors annihilated the
communities. Often the towns simply died out for lack of numbers
as half-elves have always been an extremely small percentage of
the population. Most frequently, the communities simply began to
blend in with the predominant culture of the area and within a generation
their distinction as a half-elven society was lost. Feagh and Oblone
are two prime examples of historically half-elven townships.
Sometime around the year 2930 a half-elf by the name of Ysandra
Endrenor grew tired of being completely dependent on the good will
of the elves for whom she worked as a washerwoman. Ysandra was the
disavowed daughter of an affluent Nalfein merchant, her mother having
been one of his many servants. With a sense of purpose, Ysandra
began making regular trips through the city of Ta'Nalfein looking
for other half-breeds in similar circumstances who desired to make
a new life for themselves. Eventually she gathered a small group
of approximately twenty half-elves and their families from the city
and surrounding villages. Together they set off northwest, intent
on finding a place for their own settlement.
They eventually found what they considered a suitable spot and
began constructing the town they called Feagh. While all of them
had been familiar with hard work, none of them were truly prepared
for the hardships facing them in building a homeland from scratch.
Most of them were accustomed to the amenities of the city and the
life of a pioneer came as a rude awakening. In addition to the rough
living conditions, they had to face dangers from predatory animals
and the occasional stray orc or troll. The first few years were
harsh and several members of the group died or left to return to
their old lives.
With a great deal of inspirational effort, Feagh was finally completed.
As the lives of the residents settled into normal routines, new
problems arose. Ysandra felt that as initiator of the project, she
should be considered their leader and be given deference in decisions
facing their town. Others felt they were better suited to leadership
and Feagh was plagued with frequent squabbles. (Most of them were
half-Nalfein after all.) Clashing human and elven cultures also
caused problems as arguments emerged over appropriate designs, the
political and social order, child rearing, cuisine, and even the
proper way to set the table when having guests over to dinner.
Word of Feagh spread and other half-elves seeking a life of freedom
from second-class status came to join them, but the population never
grew substantially. Feagh did prosper for a few decades, and had
various successes. However, the town's isolation took its eventual
toll. Approximately two score years after the settlement's founding,
a band of orcs moved into the area and began regular assaults. Circumstances
became dire and most of the citizens of Feagh were either killed
or moved away.
The final blow came when only Ysandra and a few others lingered,
still attempting to live out their dream. An unusually harsh winter
befell the entire eastern portion of the continent and it became
the death knell for Feagh. The bulk of the food stores ran out halfway
through the snows and all but Ysandra and two others died of starvation.
As soon as the first thaw arrived, they returned to Ta'Nalfein to
live out the rest of their days. Until her death, Ysandra could
be found at the local pub, seated next to a warm fire, regaling
the locals with tales of Feagh.
Like many half-elves who had gone before him, Miguel Tyssaryn envisioned
a better life for himself and others like him. Miguel was born and
raised in Ubl, the son of a human fisherman and an elven weaver.
He spent a couple decades of his early adulthood relentlessly searching
for others who wished to help him create a safe haven. He eventually
gathered approximately 30 half-elves, along with their families,
and together they moved west along the coast. In 4749, Miguel and
his following founded the village of Oblone.
While Chaston's Edict prohibited half-elves from owning land or
businesses, nothing prevented their human spouses from doing so
and thus they were able to work around the restrictions. Unlike
Feagh, Oblone did not suffer from the problems associated with extreme
isolation. The group constructing the town had a wide variety of
skills among them, allowing the work to progress relatively smoothly.
Within a score of years, Oblone was a thriving community with a
balance of fishing, farming, and handcrafting providing for the
livelihood of the residents.
As the years passed, more people from the surrounding areas moved
to Oblone and the population grew to an easily sustainable one.
Miguel proved to be a skilled leader and was adept at managing the
various factions within the town. The villagers began to call him
the Patriarch, and the title stuck. As Oblone prospered, regular
trade routes were established with other communities, ultimately
reaching to Ubl itself.
Oblone did not have a completely trouble-free existence. The wars
against the Horned Cabal sometimes came too close for comfort, interrupting
trade and creating periods of population upheaval as people left
to go fight or refugees flooded in. Pirate raids were not unknown
and occasional droughts decimated the local economy. But through
it all, the town persisted and survived.
Oblone is typical of successful communities begun as sanctuaries
for half-elves. While more than half of the original population
was half-elven, within a century the demographics had changed dramatically.
Most immigrants were human and as the population shifted, elven
influence became less and less noticeable. Children of the original
founders mostly married humans, thus elven genetic features and
cultural traditions faded through the generations. In such communities
the disparate life spans of humans and half-elves becomes a harsh
and burdensome reality. After outliving one, two, or even three
spouses and even great grandchildren, it is not unusual for a half-elf
to become withdrawn and either leave or turn into a recluse. The
Patriarch himself left quietly one night after burying his second
wife and was never heard from again.
Today, Oblone outwardly appears like any other town of its size
and geography within the Turamzzyrian Empire. The vast majority
of its inhabitants are human, exhibiting all the trappings of human
culture. Upon closer inspection, some of the residents betray hints
of elven blood, some of the designs of the craftspeople are of elven
influence, and the town tends to be a bit more welcoming to non-humans
in general. But aside from stories of the old days, and the statue
of Miguel Tyssaryn in town square, there is little that is remarkably
half-elven about Oblone.