Official History of Elanthia
In the beginning...there was nothingness.
And then, a tiny spark of tarnished silver light lit the nothing,
blinding it and eventually killing it. Nothingness had been driven
to extinction in a single moment, to be remembered in the songs
of bards and the hearts of melodramatic lovers sure to never love
again. The light shone on, gaining in luster and argent hue, cutting
through the places that the nothingness had cloaked.
Out from under the wings of oblivion drifted small particles of
something-ness. These bits of pieces flowed towards the light, for
while they could not remember a beginning, and could not remember
the fear of not existing, they did know that the light was the catalyst
for everything to come. They drifted to the light, and into the
light. They came together, swirling and tumbling until they were
no longer bits of pieces. They were the light. They were One.
The One looked out over the dead remains of nothing, and reached
out to lift the corpse. Now free, a thousand thousand motes of something-ness
drifted up, floating aimlessly in the void left by the death of
the nothingness. The One shone brightly, and in the shining commanded,
"Come together and Be." The motes found that they knew
obedience, and they came together in six separate but not different
Be-ings. They were not One. They were Many.
The Many turned to the One, unsure and curious. The One shone again,
and stated in the shining, "We are One and we are Many. We
are all that Is, but the nothingness left so much that Is Not. It
is our responsibility to fill the empty spaces." The Many filled
with the purpose of the shining, and it was what they were.
To honor the One who had freed them, they created balls of raging
flames to give off colored light. To represent themselves, they
created other existences to reflect that light and give it purpose
and meaning. The void was no longer void.
The One observed all of existence and shone brightly in approval.
But as the light flowed through the creation, the One saw a corner
that the light did not reach. The One peered deeply into the lightlessness,
and saw another. The Other looked back, and in that gaze the One
saw a diametric opposite. "What are you?" asked the One.
"I am all that you are not," replied the Other, "and
together, we are All."
The Other darkened then, and called together more motes of something-ness
into six separate but not different Beings, although they were
from the six called by the One. The new six joined the Many, and
they too were Many. The Other reached out to the One and said, "The
Many are mine and the Many are yours." And the One reached
out to the Other and said, "Let us make one that is both,
for without balance, All is for naught."
Using the last of the motes of something-ness, the One and the
Other shone and darkened, and called together the last of the Many.
The Grey was different from the rest of the Many, but did not seem
bothered by this. Instead, the Grey stood with the Many, and the
Many accepted the Grey into their fold.
The One pointed down to a ball of blue and green and shone brightly,
and in the shining suggested, "There is a place that is beautiful
and growing. It needs other Beings, ones not like us, but smaller
and more limited, but possessing great capacities." As the
Many nodded, the Grey spoke and said, "It needs Life."
The Many started, but nodded in agreement, for there was not anything
that had been named in such a fashion. The Grey smiled. "The
One and the Other are All. We are Many, and I am Grey. In these
names, we state on many levels what we are, but those that we create
will not be able to comprehend so deeply. They will need a way to
refer to themselves." The One and the Other nodded to themselves.
In the Grey, they had done well.
First sculpted were giant creatures, each different from the other.
In these creatures, the Many invested great power and nearly limitless
intelligence. They looked to the Grey, who said, "You have
created Those Who Rule. It shall be their purpose to watch the different
places in existence."
Next came other giant creatures, not one the same as another. The
Many also gave them great power, and intelligence almost without
end, and looked to the Grey for their purpose. "These shall
be Those Who Oppose. They shall be the opposites of Those Who Rule,
keeping the balance preserved."
Knowing this, the Many made a number of beings, mostly the same
but with different qualities. These beings had power, and intelligence,
and more than that, they had desires. The Grey nodded. "Those
Who Help. In them, Those Who Rule shall find servants and assistants,
and other things that their own greatness will not allow them to
The Many looked down upon the teeming ball of blue and green, alive
but without Life. They looked at each other, and at the One and
the Other, and created tall beings, broad of shoulder and abundant
of muscle. The Grey named them The Skyfinders, for they were closest
to the firmament.
In balance, the Many made some of shorter stature, also broad of
shoulder and filled with a stalwart strength. The Grey called them
The Stoneshapers. The mountains would be their home, and the rocks
would be their livelihood.
Elegant beings of sweeping form and musical voice followed. The
Many endowed them with powerful minds but a serious nature to better
utilize their mental acuity. They were called The Graceful, for
in each aspect of their being, a profound delicacy could be found.
Their opposite came in a tiny package with bright eyes and a happy
smile. Good humor and sweet nature were their hallmarks, and thus
the Grey named them The Merry. Happiness would follow in their wakes,
bringing existence a much needed levity.
The Many looked at their creations and nodded, feeling that now
Life was complete. The Grey called bits of Life together, sculpting
beings that were neither tall nor short, thick nor thin. They were
not as strong as the Skyfinders, nor were they as beautiful as the
Graceful. Instead, they were some of each of the strengths of the
other creations. The Grey called them The Median, for in them was
the essence of balance.
Life would grow bored and stagnate without challenges, and to that
end, the Many created creatures of varying shapes and sizes. Some
would regenerate their flesh if wounded, others would overwhelm
with massive size, others would present challenges only guessed
at. The Contenders were born, and given the purpose of granting
opposition that Life might flourish.
Mental challenges were not overlooked by the Many. Creatures of
scale, creatures of feather, creatures of all and neither, all massive
in size and intelligence came into being, there to stimulate the
mind. More importantly, they would feed the dreams and imagination,
for nothing else was like them. They were called The Unique.
The whole of this new intelligent Life, the Grey called Potential.
The One and the Other looked upon it, and the One shone in approval.
But the Other pointed into the corner of existence where the light
did not reach. The One stared deeply into it, and knew that Something
was there, but could not see what It might be. "What is It?"
asked the One.
"It is The Mystery," said the Other. "It is that
which cannot be known. From that will come things no one, not even
we, will expect. It is that which will ensure that our creation
will grow as it deems that it should, without our interference."
The One nodded, for the Mystery was a good thing. And when Those
Who Rule sought to destroy Potential, it was to the Mystery that
the One pointed when the Many sought to stop them. "Although
this was not the purpose originally seen for them, we must watch
and see. Just as we, All, did not stop you or step in as you spun
creation into being, you must not step in as creation takes its
own direction, outside of your whims."
When Those Who Help stepped in, stopping the destruction of Potential,
the Many nodded, and they understood. The Mystery was indeed a good
The One, the Other, the Many and the Grey stepped back and watched
I. The Age of the Drakes (100,000+
"Of the first age, little is known,
save for one thing -- the dragons ruled all Elanthia. There are
no written records of this time, but paintings on the walls of caves,
carvings on petrified trees and glyphs found in the Southron Wastes
all convey the same desperate messages, of flight, fear, and starvation.
Above all, the mighty wings and claws of dragonkind."
- Linsandrych Illistim, First Master
of Lore, House Illistim
I. A. The Rule of Dragonkind
From the dawn of time, none challenged the dragons. Intelligent,
savage, and with powers beyond what men now name as gods, the drakes
called all of Elanthia their own. The lesser races huddled in caves,
hid in the deepest forests, or wandered as nomads. The drakes did
not permit civilizations other than their own. So it had always
been, and so it would remain.
It was only the intervention of the drake's servants, the Arkati,
that allowed the lesser races to survive at all. As old a race as
the drakes themselves, the humanoid Arkati were lesser in both powers
and numbers. But they aided the drakes, and in return, the drakes
suffered the lesser races to live.
I. B. The Ur-Daemon
All this ended with the coming of the Ur-Daemons. Now believed to
be extra- dimensional intelligent creatures, the Ur-Daemons somehow
opened a portal to Elanthia approximately 100,000 years ago. They
fed on mana, both that contained in the land's natural mana foci
and that bound around all life.
There are no real records of the titanic battles fought between
the Ur-Daemons and the dragons. Given the nature of the antagonists,
it is doubtful that any histories could convey the scale of such
a war. It seems to have lasted for at least several generations,
as such were counted by our own ancestors, a span of at least a
thousand years. In the end, the Ur-Daemons were driven back, making
a final stand before the portal leading back to their own dimension.
This final battle blasted the landscape for hundreds of miles, leaving
it barren and lifeless.
The drakes had won, but they had also lost. Most of their number
had been slain in the conflict, and many others had been driven
mad by an emotion none had known before - fear. Drake rule was shattered
Though lesser in number and weaker than their ancient brethren,
the few dragons that survive today have not lost their appetites,
and are still the most powerful and feared creatures on Elanthia.
I. C. The Coming of the Arkati (100,000 years
The land recovered slowly from the war. The Arkati worked to heal
it. Long the dragon's servants, they had themselves learned how
to manipulate mana. With most of the dragons dead, insane, or hiding,
certain of the Arkati began to mold the land and its lesser races
into their own likenesses. They who had been servants now played
the part of master. These Arkati are those whom we today call gods.
It is said that, in these early days, they walked the land as teachers,
leaders, and guides. Imaera took the people of the forests, and
taught them to be one with the land. Eonak showed the folk of the
stone how to mine riches from the mountains. Oleani adopted the
smaller folk of the valleys, instilling in them a joy for life and
a special gift for growing things.
Others of the Arkati chose not individual races, but seasons,
emotions, or tasks to be their own. Kai accepted warriors of all
Lumnis embodied wisdom and learning. Ronan controlled the night,
the time of dreams, while Phoen's was the warm sun of summer.
chose the autumn, while Lorminstra reigned over winter, the season
of death. The raging seas were Charl's domain. Jastev's followers
celebrated visual arts, and developed a gift of prophecy, while
his twin Cholen became the god of festivals and performing arts.
Tonis, remarkable for his speed and determination, became the messenger
of the gods. Over all of them ruled Koar, with a firm but gentle
Not all of the Arkati chose to help rebuild the land. Some had
a different vision. Without the dragons controlling them, they began
to strive against the others. Eorgina, Goddess of the dark, became
their leader. Aligned with her were Ivas, mistress of seduction,
Fash'lo'nae, master of the arcane arts, Andelas the Cat, whose joy
is others' pain, and V'tull, the dark warrior. Also joined with
Eorgina were Sheru, bringer of terror and nightmares, Mularos, who
twists love to control and destroy, and Luukos, he who feeds on
The two groups grew further apart, as it was clear each regarded
the land in a different light. Koar's faction saw it as a trust
which had befallen them, the lesser races as children to be taught.
The others saw the land as a stage for their own desires, its inhabitants
as playthings, food, or worse.
Strangely enough, the Arkati never came into open conflict. Some
say that neither side trusted its strength to win the day. Others
believe they simply await the appointed time.
II. Second Age, The Elven Empire
(50,000 - 20,000 years ago)
Under the Arkati's tutelage, all the lesser races developed their
own civilizations. But none has ever matched the great empire of
the Elves. The most magically adept of the races, they saw themselves
as the natural heirs to dragonkind. The Elves quickly spread from
the deep forests in which they had always lived, staking claim to
much of the known world.
II. A. The Seven Noble Houses of the Elves
"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."
-Yshryth Faendryl, XIV Patriarch,
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.
Ta'Faendryl, built by Korthyr Faendryl's
line, was the capital city of the empire. Though all the houses
were theoretically equal, most acknowledged the Faendryl as the
natural leaders of the race, though some did so more grudgingly
than others. No other house had mastered both spirit and elemental
magic as well as had the Faendryl Elves.
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. They also chafed under the leadership of the Faendryl,
believing the high seat should be theirs.
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.
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 closeness and 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 bowmasters.
Bhoreas Ashrim's line took to the sea. None could match their skill
with elemental magic, especially that of wind and water. They were
said to have achieved control over the weather. They used this skill
to master the waves, and they used their mighty city of Ta'Ashrim
as a base for trading with some and raiding others. Coastal dwellers
of the other races came to fear the warships of the "Sea Elves,"
as they were known. Though perhaps the haughtiest of all the elven
houses, the Ashrim had little to do with elven politics - they considered
the sea their kingdom, and cared little for the concerns of those
Callisto Loenthra's house is one of craftsman, artists, poets and
bards. Ta'Loenthra is generally acknowledged as the center of elven
culture, especially by the Loenthra. 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."
Ta'Illistim was founded by Linsandrych Illistim, the greatest scholar
in elven history. 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.
II. B. The Sylvankind
Sylvankind spring from the same roots as the Elves, but they
chose a different path. As the Elves moved from their forests
to build the Seven Cities, some stayed behind. These are the
The Sylvankind care little for the world outside their forests.
For them, the forests are the world. They retain a closeness to
the land which approaches unity. A keen-eyed traveler can always
tell when he approaches a forest of the Sylvankind, for the plants
and trees appear both more lush and more dangerous. Few enter such
a forest without the permission of its masters, and fewer still
Within these forests, the Sylvankind have built great hanging tree-cities.
Some of their dwellings have hundreds of rooms, as they have grown
over thousands of years. The race is ruled by a council of Hierophants,
each of whom serves for his or her entire adult life. There is little
for them to rule on, however, as the Sylvankind are generally of
Few Sylvankind leave their forest homes. There is simply
little to interest most sylvankind "out there".
Of course, there are some who feel the call to travel, whether
out of curiosity, ambition, or an understanding that events
outside the forests can threaten what lies within.
II. C. The Dwarves
The Dwarves also founded an empire, though one more limited in scope.
They did not challenge elven control of the land, for the Dwarves
were more interested in what was underneath it. They made their
home in the mountains. There, they found gold, silver, mithril and
other materials. The vast underground cities of the Dwarves were,
however, little known to other races, for the Dwarves allowed few
to enter and see their riches.
The Dwarves were split into many clans, each dwelling in a range
of hills or mountains. Ruling over all was the line of Khazi Khazar,
who founded the greatest of the dwarven holdings, the city of Kalaza.
His line served as the dwarven Overking for thousands of years.
Little is known of most of these years, as the Dwarves do not offer
their history freely. Most of this history, however, involves their
never-ending war with the other mountain-dwellers, the orcs. The
Dwarves have been battling orcs, and their larger thralls, the trolls,
Though most Dwarves remain in their clans, a fair number do travel
the world. Dwarves are, by necessity, accomplished traders, bartering
the riches of their underground kingdoms for food, cloth, and the
like. They are also the world's best weapon and armorsmiths, surpassing
even the skills of the Illistim Elves.
II. D. The Humans
The lot of the Humans was a treacherous one in this age. The Elves
ruled the land, and they would permit no others to settle its more
fertile areas. The Vaalor, in particular, have always gone out of
their way to make life difficult for Humans. Most Humans lived a
nomadic life, barely sustaining themselves in the barren lands they
were permitted. Others served as slaves, beggars or thieves within
the shadows of the great elven cities.
Not all Humans accepted their lot as thralls. Some rebelled. Many
so-called rebels were little more than outlaws, more brigands than
freedom fighters. Some few, however, actually achieved minor victories.
The Black Wolves were one such group. Led by the wizard Aramur Forean,
once a student of the Illistim himself, they actually drove the
Elves out of the area around what is now called Wehnimer's Landing.
After one of their raids killed a young Vaalor prince, however,
the Elves hunted the Black Wolves down. The Humans vanished into
a series of caverns near the sea, and they were never heard from
II. E. The Giantmen
The Giantmen developed a tribal society in the northern lands. These
semi-nomadic tribes followed their herds' migrations, spending all
but the winter season in warfare with each other. For there is nothing
a Giantman likes more than battle. These were, fortunately, limited
wars. The tribes sought to best each other, seeking glory and joy,
not to destroy other tribes. For while two tribes might be at war
this season, they might be allies in the next.
Some Giantmen have always traveled the world, generally in search
of a good fight. Many have made a life as a mercenary, and they
can be found wherever there is the clash of steel and the cry of
II. D. Halflings
Halfling society has changed little since the third age. By then,
they had developed a peaceful, agrarian society. The Elves did not
consider them a threat, and therefore left them to their own devices.
This was fine with the Halflings, who neither share nor understand
the other races' ambitions to plunder the land. After all, soldiering
is the sort of nonsense which could make one late for supper.
Halfling villages are each governed by a democratically elected
mayor. Each village is independent, as there is no need for any
higher form of government. Halflings themselves tend to stay in
their villages, for few can bear to leave their families. However,
they are also an extremely inquisitive people, so some do travel
the world in search of adventure.