Ancient, mighty, splendorous, and bitter beyond all measure, the Dark Elves are the cursed rebels of old that brought about the collapse of the First Elven Empire thousands of years ago. Exiled to the island of Tash'Lor'ka for rebelling against the Sun God and his Kingdom, the Dark Elves have since become one of the most powerful and influential peoples on all of known Itaire. Ruled by the Three Noble Houses and led by the teachings of the Guiding Spirits, the Children of the Dark, or Durn'hala, stand poised to expand far beyond their home and found a new Elven Empire, forged of shadow and steel.
Telsus rose from the broken stone and thick ash of Mount Tumavori after the devastation of their underground cities when the Sun God, Helusan, was destroyed almost eight hundred years ago.
"Always wear the red of your enemies, the purple of your house, and the silks of your riches, novices, the better to defy the ones who cursed and exiled us." - Sal'zu'han "the Mighty", during his mustering speech in NIY 770.
Situated along the Ky'mil river and built from rare tulmutia wood and magically wrought stone, Tash'lor'ka serves as the administrative heart of the Dark Elf territories and is home to the leaders of the Three Noble Houses. But now, as conflict engulfs Itaire, even the center of Dark Elf power is no longer safe..
Translated to “Place of Refuge”, Tash'lor'ka is a large island along the eastern extremity of the Sunken Ocean and has served as a hotbed of contention ever since its discovery by Elven explorers and colonization by the First Empire. Earlier in its history it served as a minor Elven colony, but was later put to the torch by a brutal incursion of pirates during the first years of the Empire. During the final days of the First Empire, a failed rebellion by Elven aristocrats fled to their last strongholds on the island.
"Strength seen, power perceived" - Dark Elf parable.
"Strong body, sound mind, sharp spear" - Motto of Noble House Jun'selu.
Leaders: The Dark Elf territories are governed by the heads of the Three Noble Houses. There is a fourth, House Syfalin, but they were ostracized a long time ago. While there are especially influential leaders, no single person holds absolute power (or anything close to it). Instead a circle of about half a dozen members from each Noble House gather regularly to pass laws, settle disputes, and otherwise keep things running administratively.
Kalhondar Atish (ah-teesh) - Noble Elector of House Atish'kar - One of the few surviving descendants of the ancient Atish bloodline. His lineage, wealth, and military background serving on the colonial frontier have gained Kalhondar a secure and respected status within Durn'hala society. He is more balanced than his fellow Electors, and believes the Dark Elves must embrace a guarded, but not warlike, future.
Sal'zu'han "the Mighty" - Noble Elector of House Jun'selu - A Noble Elector more at home in the barracks or on the field than at his study or on Palace grounds. Gained his position more by popular acclaim than any real desire on his part. Serves as Frontier General on Nira (the northern continent), where he spends much of his time, and supervises the recruitment and training of the Army in Telsus (the capital).
Loren'lakha - Noble Elector of House Mora'tel - Loren'lakha's wealth and influence are matched only by her beauty. Affluent, young, and pragmatic, she excels in her role as a diplomat. She came to preeminence in NIY 766 while serving as a Kith'tuk cavalry captain, and successfully negotiating the survival of Durn'hala colonies on the mainland after a dispute with the Trolls and Dwarves nearly erupted into full scale war.
Religion: Since abandoning the teachings of the Sun God, the Dark Elves have never formally recognized any other deity. They instead look to the teachings and deeds of their ancestors and other founding figures in their history. The organization that centers around this is known as the "Temple of the Guiding Spirits.” Much of their teachings is compiled in several great tomes written during the first, and most harsh, days of the Dark Elven exile named The Recitation of Spirits.
That said, worship of the other Gods, save for the Sun God, is accepted and indeed, many Dark Elves practice it.
"Old heroes of war and hearth, hear our prayers. Guiding spirits of those now lost to us, give us guidance. We, of lesser mind and smaller worth, ask for your hallowed wisdom." - Excerpt from Recitation of the Spirits, Volume I.
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