History and Language of Dark Elves (lecture)
This lecture was given at the Faendryl Enclave symposium on 8/9/5120. It is a synthesis of many of the documents and in-game locations. It makes some minor embellishments or extrapolations, such as leaning into how GMs have used real-world languages like Gaelic and Old English and Latin. There are a few throwback references to archaic lore, but those are not important. Beyond a certain level of scrutiny the lore is not going to be self-consistent, so the idea of etymology and history of language in the game context is ultimately superficial. But there are established premises along these lines, like the Torre ruins having the ancestor of the human languages, other dialects of languages and so on. This is grouping together "language families" by what a character could see on spec as distantly related.
This was shortly after the Dark Elf restrictions were removed from inns in Ta'Illistim, but before the removal of the papers system in Ta'Vaalor. The gist is the character is arguing the term "dark elves" has a religious dimension in the human languages that mixes with southern racism, and that the term "dark elves" in elven is an ideological condemnation rooted in concepts of chaos, using what is known of the ancient elven languages. This is a way of interpreting the animus against "dark elves", retaining the concept, while separating out the idea that it is inherently racist by making it religious and political.
[Alabaster Spire, Library]
The spacious room is crowned by a high, vaulted ceiling of lapis lazuli tiles traced with silver lines, its intricate patterns echoing those of the mosaic floor. Towering bookcases and armaria line the walls, with champagne silk-covered divans positioned near each. Four pillars, carved to resemble sturdy lor trees, stand guard over the large, rectangular table and velvet-padded chairs in the center of the room. You also see an arboreal alabaster-set archway, a miniature encaustic portrait and a gilded manuscript page.
You see Xorus Kul'shin the Warlock.
He appears to be a Dark Elf.
He is tall and has a gaunt frame. He has scintillating Eye-of-Koar emeralds for eyes and dark skin. He has shoulder length, flowing silver hair. He has a black leather mask contorted into the visage of a vruul over his face and a spider-shaped birthmark on his wrist.
He has old battle scars on his left leg, an old battle scar across his chest, an old battle scar across his back, and old battle scars on his right leg.
He is holding a glass of dry Rhoska-Tor merlot in his right hand and a black vruul-hide tome in his left hand.
He is wearing a shadowy black hood, an ora-chained dark obelisk crystal embellished with an attractive Scalu symbol design, a high-collared black leather coat, a fragrant white lily, a black vruul skin button with a three-lobed burning eye reading, "Obey Xorus", a veniom bound vruul skin weapon harness inlaid with urglaes fangs, a xenium-threaded backpack, some dark double leather, a hammered white gold armcuff, some blackened glaes vambraces, a reticulated silver bracelet, a pair of vaalin-runed black silk casting gloves, a dark glaes band, a twisted black faenor ring, a carmine and jet spidersilk bag, an ebon suede pouch with sunstone-beaded drawstrings, a gold-trimmed xenium scabbard, a pair of loose stygian black leather trousers, a tiny xenium stitched ankle sheath attached with small razern-etched bells, and some ebon vruul leather boots with blackened ora straps.
Xorus says, "I suppose I should begin."
Xorus says, "As you know I am, amongst more exotic things, a philologist. The study of the history of languages and written texts, especially those that are very ancient."
Xorus says, "Those that were written in now dead or extinct languages, or dialects that have become too archaic to understand without effort."
Xorus says, "Tonight I will discuss the term 'dark elves', so-called in Common, and its historical meaning in various languages." (4)
Xorus says, "Which in turn involves speaking on the history that shaped the various languages of the continent."
Xorus says, "I will try to be more brief than the history itself, but I make no promises on this point."
Xorus says, "Since we are holding this lecture in Common, I will begin with the human languages."
Xorus says, "These languages are relatively difficult to learn, having been seriously impacted by the languages of others." (9)
Xorus says, "Common has something like twenty vowel sounds represented by only five vowel characters." (10)
Xorus says, "The imperial 'claymore', for instance, comes from the reiver 'claidhmore'." (11)
Xorus says, "Claidhmore is, unsurprisingly, far more common in the north." (12)
Xorus says, "But this word is from a very different language family." (13)
Xorus says, "There are remnants of the ancestral proto-language of the Kannalan family in the County of Torre, once the western port of the Kannalan Empire, which is quite a bit older than the liturgical language now called 'elder Kannalan'." (7) (14) (15) (16) (17)
Xorus says, "When the Kannalan Empire fell a thousand years ago, we merely called it 'Kannalan', as its 'elder' tongue was that much older."
Xorus wryly says, "This is the folly of letting the mortal races name their own languages."
Xorus says, "It is not like the Kannalan Empire. This was a long time ago."
Xorus says, "When the seas were not as high as they are now, and for that reason, most of the ruins of its coastal settlements are now under water." (143)
Xorus says, "Or rather, the roof itself was made into an astrolabe, built on top of far more ancient carvings."
Xorus says, "To give you a sense of its flavor, on the edge was written 'Sceewian pae sterroan and hit cnaewe se garsecs and saes'."
Xorus says, "This writing is thousands of years old, but is recognizably an ancestor of Kannalan."
Xorus says, "There is also an ancient throne nearby with writing from the same period."
Xorus says, "Now, not all human languages are descended from this language, and certainly not the non-human languages." (22)
Xorus says, "Of the non-human languages, there are other histories outside the main thread of the political drama of the continent, along with their various implicit biases regarding morality." (23)
Xorus says, "But the Aelotoi have unrelated words to represent 'blood traitors', which usually refers to extreme individual selfishness."
Xorus says, "'Dyre elves' to the Aelotoi would speak more to the attitudes of elves toward other elves."
Xorus says, "Dwarves obviously have no issue with darkness, but 'dark elves' are still elves, which is by far the primary consideration for them." (29)
Xorus quotes, "I don't care what them other folks thought. I thank Eonak for them red elves and their demons!"
Ysharra says, "Eonak had precious little to do with it, but..."
Xorus says, "Giantmen and halflings were major influences on the Kannalan language, which makes them inextricable from speaking of the human languages." (31)
Xorus says, "Paradis halflings hold little special contempt for 'dark elves', perhaps because the horror of their ancestors at demonic summoning was blamed on elves in general, and the Faendryl were not regarded as 'dark elves' in that period." (35) (36)
Xorus says, "This is something of a strange grudge for such a short-lived race, considering it happened twenty thousand years ago." (144)
Xorus says, "Orcs and trolls have traditionally spoken whatever was the contemporary common of the west in their own garbled dialects." (40)
Xorus says, "But this reflects the troll tongue of millennia ago. Those words are incomprehensible in troll today."
Xorus says, "The various kinds of goblins speak common as well, but they are much more well spoken than orcs and trolls."
Xorus says, "Goblins are also wont to mock the idea they should be scared of 'dark elves'."
Xorus says, "Whatever tongues these races once spoke are now extinct." (44)
Xorus says, "The struggles for power in the mountains are ill-recorded in the surface empires, and no great effort has ever gone into understanding it when such forces spill over." (45)
Xorus says, "The non-human languages other than the elven languages, in the end, are thus of little interest for the subject of 'dark elves'."
Xorus says, "Which brings us back to the human language families and the extinct language found around River's Rest."
Xorus says, "What the human reivers speak is mostly not from the same language family as the Torre ruins, though the reivers of Luinne Bheinn do have their own dialect of common descended from it." (46)
Xorus says, "It is thought this ancient kingdom in what is now Torre was their ancestral land before the krolvin made reivers of them." (47)
Xorus says, "Most of them travelled the seas to hunt down a terrible primordial 'evil' they had unleashed after the fall of that first kingdom, and eventually established a new kingdom of some kind on a continent far to the southwest." (48)
Xorus says, "When this next kingdom fell to the krolvin and they were scattered, becoming reivers, they must have imported a foreign language family back to Elanith." (152)
Xorus says, "Dubh Brugh has intimations of a 'dark palace' or mound of the fey, which would encode within it mythic echoes of banshees and Despana."
Xorus says, "Dubh is the reiver word for 'darkness', but this is a mythology of the underworld, with its literal darkness."
Xorus says, "This would be the sense of 'dark elves' if they were to say those words in their language."
Xorus says, "The mythical element informing its meaning is otherworldly magic, and 'dark elves' would be those who mastered the bainsidhe queen." (145)
Xorus says, "The religion of their church, holding its own natural sympathy, reflects the much later myth of regaining lost lands."
Xorus says, "This is ultimately a syncretism of fey otherworlds, eternal lands across the western sea, and fierce struggles against the krolvin."
Xorus says, "But reivers embrace 'eye for an eye', making themselves kin to chaos. This is the very antithesis of elven mythos."
Xorus says, "It is a subconscious matter of mythemes and the subtle influence languages have on thoughts."
Xorus says, "The prejudices that shape the prejudices."
Xorus says, "Dubh is not the mythical sense of 'dark' in the Kannalan language family, and that profoundly impacts their ideals of the world." (146)
Xorus says, "I do not pretend to be a fluent speaker of all languages. That is not necessary for their study."
Xorus says, "It has been centuries since I was last fluent in the Kannalan dialects."
Xorus says, "But this astrolabe in Torre would be roughly translated as 'Look to the stars and it knows the ocean and seas', which makes prodigious sense, because it was found near the coast." (50)
Xorus repeats, "Sceewian pae sterroan and hit cnaewe se garsecs and saes." (7)
Xorus says, "If you listened closely you may have recognized by ear some words as ancestral to Common. Sterroan is 'stars', hit is 'it', and saes is 'seas'."
Xorus says, "Other examples are misleading, such as 'north' meaning 'left', where the cardinal direction 'north' is left of the rising sun." (51)
Xorus says, "But 'dunder' is 'under', 'yfel' is 'evil', and 'and' is 'and'. Even 'bladderwrack' survives as a rare word."
Xorus says, "Yfel, as we will see, is the word that matters. The darkness of stains on the soul."
Xorus says, "Ubl is a close cousin of Yfel. It is unsurprisingly the name of a city just southwest of Tamzyrr." (52)
Xorus says, "The krolvin are certainly 'yfluo'. But they are not, perhaps, 'yfel' or 'ubl'."
Xorus says, "The reivers in their 'lowland' language do have a descendant of 'yfluo'. This impacted various regional accents, typically near the mountains."
Xorus says, "The Barony of Dragach is the most prominent example, and of course, we see some influence on migratory dwarves and giantmen." (53)
Xorus says, "What the reivers say in this tongue is still mostly intelligible if you are fluent in the imperial dialect."
Xorus says, "For example, the lowlander proverb: 'Keep yer ain fish-guts tae yer ain seamaws.'." (54)
Xorus says, "The meaning of this is clear, even if 'gull' is only grasped by context."
Xorus says, "It is their 'highland' language that is utterly foreign. 'A' bhiast as mutha ag ithe na beiste as lugha.'."
Xorus says, "This is a similar proverb in the highlander tongue about how big fishes eat small fishes."
Xorus says, "The highland language is where the word 'claidhmore' originated."
Xorus says, "It means, in the most literal way, 'big sword'." (55)
Xorus glances at Alisaire.
Alisaire smiles pleasantly.
Xorus says, "The terms Kaskara Zahar and Cascade Taehhar were once vernacular ways of saying 'Cascade of Tears'." (56)
Alisaire mildly remarks, "And they make for excellent views from one's patio." (57)
Xorus says, "The Grantok dwarves called it Eonak's Reach. It was built by neither Melgorehn nor Eonak." (148)
Xorus says, "This would have been something like eight thousand years ago. Give or take."
Xorus says, "Those mountains with 'toph' suffixes were once 'toth', which unsurprisingly, is the Seoltang for 'spire' or 'mountain'."
Xorus says, "Sentoph was once known as 'Smatoth', where 'sma' has ultimate roots in the common 'small'."
Juspera mouths, "Forever?"
Xorus says, "There are other vestiges in this region, owing to its historical isolation, including fragments of Old Troll." (63)
Speaking to Juspera, Xorus says, "Only for a few seconds."
Xorus says, "But this was not the only region of the west to be so insulated."
Xorus says, "In the Sea of Fire the pre-Kannalan tribes developed the Tehir dialects, which are more gendered than Common, but it is to a large extent the same language as the imperial dialect only pronounced very differently." (64)
Xorus says, "It is thought that the overlap of closely related Kannalan languages in the south caused most of the inflections to be lost from Common." (65)
Xorus says, "The Tehir were instead isolated for many centuries. Their branch of the language shares idioms, but it has others of its own, or sometimes uses those idioms to the exclusion of other words."
Xorus says, "It is truly an idiom that in the imperial dialect would be pronounced 'shadow moon'. Lornon is sometimes called 'The Shadow' in Common."
Alosaka says, "Lornon was universal, I thought."
Xorus says, "The Tehir superstitions involve its new phase, when it is called the 'dark moon'. This is the mystical conflation of darkness and evil."
Xorus says, "This is consistent with Tehir prejudices against sorcery, which is very much associated with notions of 'darkness'." (69)
Xorus says, "Lornon is truly more of a pale grey because of its clouds. If that bright contrast did not exist, 'shadows' would have no sense to it."
Xorus says, "It is thought to have a dark surface, but this is presumptive, as it is so mist shrouded it is also called 'The Faceless'."
Speaking to Xorus, Xanthium says, "That almost sounds like a line of a poem..."
Xorus says, "Obviously, once a year Lornon turns bloody red, and terrible things happen."
Xorus says, "Yet it is called 'The Dark Moon' rather than 'The Blood Moon'."
Xorus says, "Though it is more like 'sma' as their dialect has a glottal stop where the elongated 'll' would be in the common dialect."
Xorus says, "Notice the similarity with the northern dialect of Seoltang, where 'sma' is pronounced as it would be in Common." (70)
Xorus says, "'The Ivory' is a Common idiom for Liabo as well, but 'Small' for Tilaok is uniquely Tehir."
Xorus says, "In contrast to these human words, Liabo and Lornon are impossibly ancient, and their literal meaning is a matter of speculative reconstruction."
Xorus says, "In my own studies of the Age of Darkness, I would suggest Liabo meant 'smooth' like plaster, while the root of Lornon meant 'lonely'." (71)
Xorus says, "This would have been in a time long before the rise of civilization."
Xorus says, "Bir Mahallah itself, incidentally, is not Tehir. The words must be a survival from the nameless older civilization who built the great black monoliths in the Sea of Fire." (74)
Lylia asks, "'Loorn' in Iruaric, yes? Or is there a glottal stop, lo'orn?"
Speaking to Lylia, Xorus says, "That is my speculation."
Xorus says, "The Doom of Bir Mahallah is blamed on 'dark magic' and represents the core of the Tehir superstitions against 'the dark arts'."
Xorus says, "Quladdim are also superstitious of sorcery, but living in the Wizardwaste, we may concede it is with some reason."
Xorus wryly says, "Now that we have covered the memoirs of my youth, we can speak of those nasty things they used to call me..."
Xanthium flashes a quick grin at Xorus.
Xorus says, "The latter was the primary source of the utopians who fled the collapsing empire and founded the ill-fated Kingdom of Reim." (75)
Xorus says, "Reim was a truly mixed society. Unlike the Kannalan Empire. Which was more of a suspension of oil and water."
Xorus says, "With the dissolution of the Empire there were giantmen invaders upon the remaining squabbling members of the Kannalan trading alliance."
Xorus says, "To be blunt, there were once giantman cities in the west, and this is why they no longer exist." (79)
Xorus says, "The collapse of the empire was very sudden and it happened for a reason."
Xorus says, "The various ogres, hobgoblins, orcs, trolls and so on, had suddenly found it more difficult to pillage inside of the mountains."
Xorus says, "The wider context was thus the shift in balances of power that led to hordes out of the mountains and later giantmen and human clans marauding in the south."
Xorus says, "Indeed, there are some stark similarities between the reiver and giantman cultures, and some of this undoubtedly spilled back to the dwarves."
Xorus says, "These invaders drove the human refugees to settle around the southwestern cities, which then made those independent cities powerful."
Xorus says, "Tamzyrr chief among them. Which would eventually make its language become dominant."
Xorus says, "The sylvan elves of Yuriqen in the far north had, by the time of the late Kannalan Empire, already isolated themselves behind a great barrier. Which has now partly failed in the neighboring Red Forest." (43)
Xorus says, "Admittedly they were sieged by a wandering Faendryl sorcerer they call Myrdanian, so Yuriqen likely now holds similar prejudices as our eastern cousins."
Xorus says, "Age old Veng no longer exists, nor does the northernmost cavern city, Ziristal. The Citadel of the Kingdom of Elanith eventually fell."
Xorus says, "These were the only three cities that had survived the Kannalan Empire."
Xorus says, "The Kingdom of Torre was founded two centuries after the Citadel fell, and was not conquered by Selantha, who was struggling until her death to conquer the Kingdom of Hendor."
Xorus says, "The Kingdom of Torre was not annexed for another century, and the Kingdom of Hendor not until two centuries after Torre."
Xorus says, "River's Rest was built, of course, on the ruins of River's Rest."
Xorus says, "Six hundred years after the fall, these were the final death throes of Kannal."
Xorus asks, "What, then, of Turamzzyr?"
Xorus says, "The expansionism of Tamzyrr had driven the non-human races east into the forests or mountains and north into the Kingdom of Hendor, newly formed under King Thurbon from the union of Lolle and Waterford, which were never themselves cities of the Kannalan Empire." (16) (80)
Xorus says, "Emperor Chaston Kestrel, as you know, made it formal in law. This was a fevered pitch to what was truly a much deeper and older movement."
Xorus says, "The Edict was never strong in the north, due to the very historical forces that birthed it."
Xorus says, "Elves were once citizens in Hendor and were not as harassed, though Elven spellcasters were treated harshly, owing to rumors of dark magic in the recent fall of Gor'nustre."
Xorus says, "This is a matter of some historical complication. Selantha Anodheles was secretly in a covert alliance with elven bandits to perform raids on other cities."
Xorus says, "While what Selantha was doing was obvious to those of us observing it, such alliances were inconceivable within Turamzzyr."
Xorus says, "This spawned the short-lived 'Kannalan Alliance' in impulsive defiance, the three survivor cities of the old Empire, which were also facing 'humanoid' invasions from the east and north."
Xorus says, "Selantha thus whipped up long standing attitudes about elves in her rivals, who she weakened and conquered, and then consolidated those incited lands into her own human empire."
Xorus says, "When proof of her elven affiliations was discovered after her death, the regent Chaston Kestrel exploited the scandal to seize power, and leveraged those very prejudices to ban property ownership by elves."
Xorus says, "Which in turn concentrated the central power of the imperial throne, as the elves were mostly in the acquired territories, and their properties within those lands were forfeited to the Emperor himself." (80)
Xorus says, "This is typical of the way Turamzzyr conducts its imperialism. It will leverage those lands into submission with trade restrictions, and then imports its own people to replace the locals or make them irrelevant." (81)
Xorus says, "Truthfully, even then the accusation was not believed by the nobility around Tamzyrr, such was the implausibility of the Empress making allies of elven criminals."
Xorus says, "Thus, in a very short amount of time there was a sharp increase in visceral racism against elves, and a sudden exodus of elves from the south."
Xorus says, "Some authors will tell you this was the birth of racism against elves. But that is nonsense. It was fertile soil." (80)
Xorus says, "Thousands of years of hard feelings over past slavery, following three centuries of racial separatism." (75)
Xorus says, "Empress Selantha knew it would work, because those attitudes were deeply rooted."
Xorus says, "Emperor Chaston was killed in the great volcanic eruption of Ysspethos. His successor Immuros halted the formal and overt harassment, but the law stood, and most elves had been displaced to the borderlands."
Xorus says, "The racial prejudice in the south did not distinguish between elven lineages. They were all 'sylvan devils', associated now with banditry, and 'black elven wizardry'." (16)
Xorus says, "It is the irony of their religion that Koar is the great smiter of 'evil' who never does any smiting."
Xorus says, "This is the point. In the Kannalan language family and especially the now dominant Tamzyrr dialect, 'darkness' is a word related to Lornon, which is religiously associated with the demonic and 'dark magic'."
Xorus says, "There is a religious element of 'evil' to 'dark elves' in the common tongue, which is mostly rooted in sorcery and demonic summoning."
Xorus says, "This 'dark magic' is a staining of the soul, and it is a staining of the lands." (16)
Xorus says, "Nevermind that the Southron Wastes are a hundred thousand years old."
Xorus darkly jests, "This is punishment for the Third Elven War. It underscores their ingratitude for our protection, but this is surely lost in translation."
Xorus says, "Now, there is some sense of 'Dark Elven' as a group of people who natively speak the language usually called 'dark elven' in the outlands, but which is instead called 'the voice of Rhoska-Tor' in the southern wastes." (86)
Xorus says, "This is an inborn 'language' or rather a way of vocally signaling, possessed by all elves with ancestry in Rhoska-Tor barring some anomaly, whether or not they are related to each other." (87)
Xorus says, "In some respects it is not a language as ordinarily understood at all. Its meaning is constructed immediately from the phonemes, it is conveyed without prior shared knowledge of 'words'."
Xorus says, "The 'voice' has no resemblance to any other language in the world, and no one has yet identified an origin for it in extrachthonic languages."
Xorus says, "Many a young hotshot linguist has gambled their career and reputation in the quest for it. The everlasting fame it would bring."
Xorus says, "To the extent that a specialist of languages might ever be considered famous."
Xorus says, "In a sense there is a convergent evolution of physiology from exposure to the powers of that wasteland. But there is no such thing as a Dark Elven nationalism."
Xorus says, "Perhaps those descendants of Rhoska-Tor in the diaspora identify as Dark Elves from their experience as a persecuted minority in other lands."
Xorus says, "As well as the lack of a culturally preferred language. Among such elves 'Dark Elven' is usually preferred over Common."
Xorus says, "In Ta'Faendryl and Sharath the phrase is something of an eye roll, or adopted with spiteful or mocking irony, as it is a religious or ideological condemnation."
Xorus says, "The Faendryl language is complex and difficult for other elves to learn in a way that goes beyond ordinary language drift, partly due to the physical changes of our ears and tongues, but partly because many elven words were twisted into having opposite meanings."
Xorus says, "Needless to say, 'dark elves' in the Faendryl tongue has lost its negative meaning, or rather it is reflected back on the accuser."
Xorus says, "In the Faendryl culture-ideology it is our cousins in the east who fragmented civilization. The Age of Chaos."
Xorus says, "That is, the world would become rightly ordered under our leadership, as it was before Despana."
Xorus says, "Dhe'nar-si is in some senses even more distantly related than Sylvan, which has barely changed, ironically making the latter closer to Elven."
Xorus says, "Though some Dhe'nar still speak a stilted ancient dialect that is much closer to archaic elven than what is spoken in Sharath."
Xorus says, "Kris'haresh and all that. You have all heard bits of it."
Alisaire amusedly says, "Or even speak it."
Speaking in Elven, Xorus repeats, "Dark Elves."
Xorus says, "This is translated as 'dark elves' in Common, but meaning is lost in translation. There is historical context and connotation that goes missing."
Xorus says, "In the Age of Darkness the elves were all one people, but ideological differences began to emerge between the bands."
Xorus says, "Those elves who settled in the barren clearings of forest that had been burned away by the great demonic war developed sedentary ways of life, and are said to have been taught how to cultivate crops by Arkati of Liabo." (91)
Xorus says, "It is no accident this was the place of banishment, inspired as it was by the exile of the Arkati." (99)
Xorus says, "By fracturing the gods who had protected the elves from them."
Xorus says, "Other elves kept to a nomadic lifestyle in the forests, holding a holistic view of those once gods, which was in some respects older." (91)
Xorus says, "Though it does not at all resemble the Dhe'nar originalist views on the Arkati. The hierophants do not teach the Way." (100)
Xorus says, "Later the sylvan religion, if you could call it that, became centered on Imaera."
Xorus says, "These were the seeds of ideological rifts that would only grow deeper over thousands of years. There was even a period of the early empire when there was a black market in sylvan slaves." (101) (102)
Xorus says, "The settlement dwelling elves would eventually build great cities, naming themselves in honor of the leaders of prominent movements." (103)
Xorus says, "It is with a certain amount of irony, rarely mentioned in this context, that the increasingly surrounded sylvans actually built their own city named Ithnishmyn." (101)
Xorus says, "It was not as though the sylvankind were off in some distant forest. They were within the Elven Empire, and the Houses were all expanding."
Xorus says, "And Ithnishmyn was resided within for almost ten thousand years."
Xorus says, "The ancient elven word 'sylvisterai' means roughly 'those people who marry the forest', referring to the more conservative cousins, who were deemed culturally backwards." (91)
Xorus says, "The 'sylvisterai', of course, would have disagreed. It was the elves in their 'open-aired cities' who were looked down on for their urban 'vices'." (110)
Xorus says, "This is ultimately the etymological root of the common word 'sylvan'." (111)
Xorus says, "While it is true most sylvans are of the Yuriqen lineage, 'sylvisterai' would be said of the Wyrdeep druids as well, and no one denies that the expatriate population of the west is descended from the House line elves." (112)
Xorus says, "Perhaps the diaspora of Yuriqen descendants consider themselves 'sylvans'. But it is difficult to imagine in Yuriqen they say something other than 'elves', with instead a variation for their urban cousins, though in their own dialect of ancient elven. Which is stationary throughout history like 'the voice of Rhoska-Tor', but for very different reasons." (86) (113) (114)
Xorus says, "There was another ancient elven word, 'draekeche', which is the ultimate ancestor of both the words 'dark' and 'drake' in Common." (115)
Xorus says, "Where 'darkness' in most human tongues is related to Lornon, 'darkness' in elven is related to dragons."
Xorus says, "That is, the human mytheme is theistic 'evil', whereas the elven mytheme is primordial chaos."
Xorus says, "Which translates into Common to the effect of 'From Dusk till Dawn, I stand between Thee and the Darkness'."
Rendena softly says, "Dark is another word for night, and remember dreams happen at night."
Xorus says, "She was the first of the 'town elves' to begin construction of a major city; or rather what would in time become a city, which was the context of this quote, having only recently built its first library." (104) (118)
Xorus says, "The Faendryl and Vaalor cities did not exist yet. They would not be built for another century." (104)
Xorus says, "Though those were founded with the overt intention of becoming seats of power."
Xorus says, "Linsandrych was still ruling her House at the time of Yshryth Silvius, the fourteenth Faendryl Patriarch, as there was an unstable thousand years of usurpations after the heir of Korthyr." (119)
Xorus says, "Upon his coronation Yshryth gave his famous speech on the 'lesser races' living in 'savagery'."
Xorus says, "Well known are the first words, which I translate here in Common. If you will indulge me for a moment. '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.'." (106)
Xorus says, "This is the ideology of subjugating the non-elven races 'for their own good', which as you will see, was actually an outgrowth of the elven contempt for primordial chaos."
Xorus says, "Slavery is thought to have been provoked by the development of agriculture, thus without sylvan precedent, but this is beyond the scope of our subject."
Xorus says, "This speech is quite possibly also the origin of the royal 'we', which is a rhetorical sleight of hand that is very easily missed."
Xorus says, "The 'eternal empire', as such, did not exist yet. This was in some respects the moment it was founded."
Xorus says, "Less well known are the words that followed. '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'." (107)
Xorus says, "Recall that this speech was given in archaic elven. Not the Elven of today, not the contemporary Faendryl dialect, and certainly not Common."
Xorus says, "In these sentences the words 'darkness' and 'dragonkind' are variations of 'draekeche' in the original wording. They are word plays which do not translate into modern languages." (121)
Xorus says, "There is even reference to providing 'air to breathe', which is now hopelessly out of context, as it was a contrast of elven cities with the forest canopy." (122)
Xorus says, "Where the elves once hid in the shadows from the Great Drakes, and were preyed upon by the shadows of the Ur-Daemon."
Xorus says, "Yshryth was not implying the elves walked out of the forests and built cities. That was not living memory at the time of the foundings."
Xorus says, "His speech was an extended metaphor for the Age of Darkness which would have been understood as such by his contemporaries."
Xorus says, "He was speaking in a context where many Faendryl rulers had recently been overthrown, about once a century on average, and he was condemning bloody fights between factions."
Xorus says, "To make his point in blood Yshryth had his own mother executed for treason. It was outlawing sedition as the eternal law of civilization."
Xorus says, "Eternal law which holds at all times, and always held, allowing one to forever condemn 'darkness'. However ancient."
Xorus says, "Elves are far more likely than others, after all, to actually encounter a dragon during their own lives."
Xorus says, "It is an experience that dispels any illusions one might hold about dragons very quickly."
Xorus says, "While legends of the 'dragons and their spirit buddies' genre are popular religious fiction, they do contain vestiges of truth from ancient oral traditions."
Xorus says, "The elves of the Great Houses tended to hold a dim view of the Lornon Arkati for their own brutality and factionalism." (128)
Xorus says, "Thus, Lornon as a whole is mostly regarded poorly in both the west and east, but for very different reasons."
Xorus says, "In the western mind the faction is the point, while in the eastern mind it is the flaw."
Xorus says, "Lornon in itself is disapproved of rather than condemned. It is not the 'draekeche'."
Xorus says, "The 'abyss' in Common has mythic roots in 'chaos' for a reason."
Xorus says, "Obviously, some of the Lornon set are indeed considered 'draekeche', some even universally." (133)
Xorus says, "The Houses all favor or detest the great spirits according to their own ideologies." (128)
Xorus says, "How alien this is to human theology, where evil gods are still gods."
Xorus says, "That the 'Arkati' are considered a race at all is elven dogma."
Xorus says, "But for all the racial rhetoric in Yshryth's speech, the point of it was barbarians fight amongst themselves, whereas civilization ascends over 'draekeche'." (121)
Xorus says, "He was equating his political rivals with the 'savage' races who were still living in the Age of Darkness."
Xorus says, "And so, he was implying they were not 'truly elven'. They were incapable of ruling themselves."
Xorus says, "They were as the beasts of the field, the slaves and all other such property."
Xorus says, "This is the point. In the Elven descent from the word 'draekeche' are connotations of kinslaying, the ruin of lands, and the descent of all into chaos." (127)
Xorus says, "What, then, are the 'dark elves'? Or the 'elves of darkness', the 'draken elves' or 'dragon elves'? They are the 'draekeche'." (135)
Xorus says, "The Dhe'nar for the blame sometimes given to them for Despana and other reasons, not that anyone truly knows Despana's origins. The Faendryl for the purge of the Ashrim Isle as well as embracing the demonic." (136)
Xorus says, "The less famous exiles of forgotten history as well, who were banished from the Elven Empire, and had no where else to go but the southern wastes." (137)
Xorus says, "It is no coincidence most 'dark elves' in one sense are 'dark elves' in the other. It is tautology or self-fulfilling prophecy."
Xorus says, "Recall that the Faendryl were not declared 'dark elves' until five thousand years ago. They had been in Rhoska-Tor for fifteen thousand years and long since spoke its voice." (86) (89) (90)
Xorus says, "As you can see, it is not an inherently racial concept, racists are merely able to make a 'race' out of it."
Xorus says, "It is an ideological condemnation of backwardness, regression into the Age of Darkness, much more severe than 'sylvisterai'."
Xorus says, "Obviously the Faendryl and Dhe'nar disagree, and we have the full breadth of elven politics."
Xorus says, "That Rhoska-Tor has left its mark was only too accommodating for human 'yfel'."
Xorus says, "But what ultimately matters most is our ideological disagreements, not the sins of the fathers, nor some religious stain born of a dark wasteland."
Xorus concludes, "In the end we should leave the 'no true Reiver' rhetoric to the reivers. Considering they are the ones who actually enjoy fighting between clans." (141)
The following are references to the corresponding game documents or OOC explanatory notes.
 "Timeline of Elanthian History: Ancient History - The Age of Darkness - -50,001 to -100,000" (OOC: first in 2000, updated through 2003)
 "Age of Darkness" - Lecture given by Xorus at the Mist Harbor Library Lectures series on 9/27/5120.
 "Harrowing and Esoteric Archaeology" - Lecture given by Xorus at the Faendryl Enclave Symposium on 7/21/5119.
 "Common" is vestigial from the I.C.E. Age when humans were called "common men" in game mechanics. Common is just modern English and the dominant tongue of the Turamzzyrian Empire. The premise in this lecture is that the phrase "dark elves" would have different value-laden connotations in other languages. That is, Elves do not say "dark elves", as those words are Common. They say analogous words for "dark" and "elves" in the contemporary Elven tongues, and the speaker is arguing that there are different cultural dimensions which make for meaning lost in translation.
 This is an extrapolation. The assumption is that the human language in the southwest dominated and spread north with the expansion of the Turamzzyrian Empire over a millennium. This can be rationalized by noting what the Citadel undead speak is Common, but trying to apply that kind of internal self-consistency logic to creatures in general is likely to lead to paradoxes. The speaker is also being non-commital on how varying the specifically human dialects were in the late Kannalan Empire. It could be that the "human" dialects were already quite similar to each other regardless of latitude, while the "Kannalan" dialects were more Germanic, as explained further below. But the lecture leans into the idea of languages impacted by the very large population migrations in that period.
 The speaker is grouping the southern languages under "Kannalan language family" as a convention. There is no canon term for the language family that includes the various human tongues in the West.
 "Unfinished Smuggler's History of River's Rest: Part II" by Casler Huntington (some time before 2014)
 It is a minor embellishment to assume Kannalan was the dominant language of the Kannalan Empire, which was a multi-racial alliance of city states under the Emperor from Veng. There is a line in the "Unfinished Smuggler's History" that speaks of the language that was once the common language of the continent, and this might be referring to Kannalan, but it does not quite explicitly say it. It is speaking of ancient writing that is either a dialect of Kannalan or an ancestor to the former common tongue of the continent. This has to be taken to mean the common tongue used by the non-elven races.
One might naively argue that the human languages should descend from elven. But this would be ignoring that elves lived in the east until about a thousand years before the Elven Houses began to form, which would mean if humans lived in the west (an assumption) they would have spoken something else, and the documentation actually establishes this human kingdom (in what was much later Torre) was magically separated from the Elves. So while we can certainly argue for an impact of Elven on the human languages, we probably cannot assume they derived from Elven.
 This is an extrapolation based on the relative difficulty of learning English as a second language, which is due to the history of conquest of England by peoples speaking other languages. The Kannalan Empire was made up of races with their own languages, and it was then invaded by barbarians and humanoids out of the mountains.
 Common is just modern English, and this statement is true for English.
 This is an extrapolation. It is leaning on the real-world etymology of claymore in English from Scottish Gaelic, since the reiver areas often make use of Scottish Gaelic.
 This is a subjective assertion by the speaker. Claidhmore is an unusual spelling used in GemStone for the weapon. In principle in the Turamzzyrian Empire, away from the reiver (i.e. Gaelic) influence, the dominant spelling should be the English "claymore". It is an embellishment leveraged off that being a mostly inaccessible region of the world map.
 This is extrapolating from the fact that English is mostly a Germanic language and Gaelic is part of the Celtic language family.
 "Worship in the Turamzzyrian Empire: In the South" (OOC: some time before 2015)
 "Travels in the Wizardwaste" Magister Roediker Veswind; 5078 Modern Era (OOC: actually 2019)
 "History of the Turamzzyrian Empire: Timeline" - Deinirius Antroydes Sage, M. H. S., of the Lost Tower Nydds; 5100 Modern Era
 It is a minor embellishment to assume that the phrase "elder Kannalan" in the timeline document from 2000, in the context of the Wizardwaste being named Ba'Lathon (which was formed six hundred years ago in 4565 Modern Era), carries forward into the liturgical form of Kannalan spoken in the Barony of Trauntor in the documents from 2015-ish and 2019. The speaker is over 1,000 years old and remembers Kannalan as it was spoken during the time of the Kannalan Empire. This is extrapolating based on the real-world distinction between ecclesiastical, classical, and vulgar Latin.
 The Unfinished Smuggler's document and the throne with the same language outside River's Rest both use the same language to refer to this very ancient ancestor of Kannalan and the human languages. GM Scribes lightly mangled a dialect of Old English in writing them when he was Human Guru. "Yfluo" is used here when the Wessex dialect of Old English would be "Yfel". This is a minor embellishment that extrapolates the use of lowland Scots in the reiver area, which descends from the Northumbrian dialect, to imply that the reiver ancestors of Torre spoke a slightly different dialect than those further south, and that Common arose from language collision like the Mercian dialect of Old English did following the Viking and Norman conquests and thus becoming Middle English.
 The time scale of this ancient language is framed in the Unfinished Smuggler's document as deep into the Age of Chaos, and perhaps even before the Undead War, during the Elven Empire of the Second Age. There is no documentation referring to Elven records of what lesser races spoke in the western territories in that period. The assumption used is that the human languages developed out of this separately from elven after the Undead War.
 "History of Elanthia: III. B. Aftermath of the Undead War - the Age of Chaos" - Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore; 5100 Modern Era (OOC: actually 1995)
 The next half dozen lines all come from the Unfinished Smuggler's document.
 This is extrapolating from the fact that Old English is a Germanic language, very similar to Old German and Old Norse, and that the game has cases of words descended from (or outright using) Latin, romance languages, as well as Celtic languages. The reiver areas with the Gaelic were made around 1997, long before the documents associating their very distant ancestors with the Torre region.
 There is very little development of lore from the point of view of "humanoid", non-dwarven races out of the mountains, and limited information for the history of wars between races within the mountains. The speaker is recognizing in an IC way that the history documents are ethnocentric, written from the point of view of the surface civilizations, and treat the "barbaric" races as random hostile forces.
 "Krolgeh Language" (2004)
 "The Aelotian Language: A Treatise - Liraquin Fyrsah of the Mrae’ni Clan, contributions by Ladies Nayolan, Asenora, Viiolet, and Traiva (OOC: Player Wordsmith project prior to 2015. Gives meaning to NPC sentences from Aelotoi release event in late 2003 shortly before the GemStone IV conversion, though it is unclear if it is consistent with the original GM meanings of the words.)
 Krolgeh and Aelotian are word-part substitution languages requiring a glossary, even though mechanically Half-Krolvin and Aelotoi speak them without using these glossaries. Similar awkwardness exists with Tehir, except that language is a cipher. Erithian does not have a glossary document, but a few words have translations. The speaker does not address Erithian for this reason and whether they descended from elves of this continent. He mostly ignores Gnomish. It is unclear when exactly the various language mechanics were introduced. Krolvin, Aelotian, Gnomish, and Erithian were probably introduced with the races in late 2003 with GemStone IV. Aelotoi initially spoke "broken" Common. The cultural languages such as Faendryl, Dhe'nar, and Tehir seem to have been implemented mechanically later, perhaps around 2008, though culture registration itself first began in May 2002. There was a period between 2002 and 2003 where Dark Elves could no longer speak the Elven language.
 "A Brief History of the Aelotoi" - Drawn from the Journals of Gwennelen Mea'reth Illistim; 5103 Modern Era
 This is extrapolating off the racial trading bonuses/penalties in dwarven settlements being the same for the various kinds of elves, though interestingly this seems to be more severe for dark elves in Khazar's Hold, which is the interface route for the west side of the DragonSpine Mountains.
 The extended passage showing appreciation for the Faendryl and their demons was given in a museum display piece in the Wehnimer's Landing museum around 2000. It is captured on the page for Rhak Toram. This is extrapolating somewhat with the conjecture that for dwarves "elves are elves."
 This is a minor embellishment of assuming the Kannalan language, which is taken to implicitly be the common tongue of its period, was impacted by the races making up the Kannalan Empire who have their own geographically dispersed racial languages. In principle it makes no sense that Paradis Halflings of Icemule, for example, speak the same Halfling language as their eastern relatives after 20,000 years of separation. But beyond a certain level of scrutiny the lore is not going to be coherent.
 There is no mention in the documentation of the attitudes between the Grot'Karesh and Faendryl. The giantmen clans were defined around 2001, and the Faendryl Armata was defined about a decade later in the socio-political document, whose official form was released in 2015. This is extrapolating based on the Maelshyve watching focus of the Grot'Karesh and the guardian patrol activity of the Patriarch's Order of the Guardians of the City. It is conceivable that they could be indifferent to each other, or that the opposite could be true, with friction existing between them over Maelshyve.
 This is another extrapolation based on the racial penalties chart for trading, where Icemule was founded by Paradis halflings. Icemule was released in later 1996, and the Halfling documentation was half a decade later, so this is really a retcon. The speaker's point about dark elves is that the Nalfein labeled the Faendryl that 15,000 years later after the Dark Elf-Sea Elf war.
 Demonic summoning has long been legal in Icemule Trace, and the town allows the Sorcerer Guild to be located within the town walls.
 Orcspeak and Trollspeak are cipher languages made around 1998, effectively just the way orcs and trolls pronounce the languages they are speaking, rather than actual languages themselves. Orcs can be understood as speaking Common with only a little effort, while trolls speak everything backwards and it is more garbled. Since this would be recognizable to characters, they should arguably be the called orc/troll accents or dialects, not their own languages.
 In contemporary Trollspeak "turtle egg" would actually be "grg' 'lartr'rrut", while "rhee v'reshka" out of trollish is "akhserev eehr", which is incomprehensible gibberish. The next line is extrapolating from this to say the trolls of the region over a thousand years ago were speaking a different language than they do today. The inconsistency is necessary for the conceit, since "grg' 'lartr'rrut" sounds nothing like "River's Rest", but it is unclear if the implication is intentional.
 "Incomplete History of River's Rest: Turtle Egg Island" (2003)
 "History of the Sylvan Elves: Chapter Eleven - The Final Forest, ca. -2985 to present" (2003) (Note: By "Grimswarm" the speaker only means those monster races, not the contemporary horde alliance fought by the Guardians of Sunfist.)
 This is extrapolating from the non-presence of languages for them in the game or documentation that are not merely forms of Common. Goblins mock Dark Elf characters by saying they're so scared and laughing.
 This is interpreting the lore gap as ethnocentrism by the surface empires, whose documentation does not give insight into the motives or history of those forces.
 Luinne Bheinn is from around 1997 and their ancient Torre roots is from material made over a decade later. This is referring to the lowland Scots words used in the reiver settlement, which is a Germanic language descended from Northumbrian English, moreso than the Scottish accent they use when speaking Common. It is an extrapolation based on assuming internal consistency for their history. The speaker is assuming this language family originated on some other continent and the reivers imported it back to Elanith with them, and then the several Celtic languages present in northwest Elanith areas can be hand-waved as having evolved from this common root. There are multiple cases of Irish and Welsh, such as Castle Anwyn, used within the game as well as the Scottish Gaelic.
This kind of reasoning can only be pushed so far, or else we would need in-character origins of languages like French and Latin and so on, since there are many English words originating in them. It is similarly absurd to try to define (as people have sometimes tried to do) a European equivalent time period for Elanthia based on, say, the presence of castle terminology originating in French from a certain century. GemStone is ultimately a pastiche and not a historical period setting. Though Scribes used Old English, a West Germanic language, we are effectively assuming the whole Germanic language branch. There is a reasonable argument that the Greek/Latin influences in Common should be interpreted as having come from the elves given its heavy use in the Faendryl documentation.
 This is the implication when combining the "Unfinished Smuggler's History of River's Rest" and "Of Krolvin and Reivers" documents. The Casler Huntington storyline was between 2007 and 2010.
 "Of Krolvin and Reivers" (OOC: prior to 2015)
 This is translating the place names out of Scottish Gaelic into English, and leaning into Gaelic and English being part of separate language families. The following lines embellish by leaning into Celtic fey folklore, which is where banshees (bainsidhe) originated, and various fey spirits are mentioned in the game such as in Shadow Valley and around Castle Anwyn. The reiver religion is encoded in the church building of their settlement and the much later "Of Krolvin and Reivers" document. The land pirate concept and the word "reiver" obviously come from the historical "border reivers" of warring clans on the Scotland-England border around the 15th century.
 This section is translating the Old English words into modern English. Bladderwrack exists on the Coastal Cliffs, which dates back to 1991. But it is not self-consciously Old English, it is local flora for the Landing region in its I.C.E. Age source book. It is just being used here as an example of a word that has not changed. Pre-existing examples such as this have no true continuity with the ancient Torre premise 10 or 20 years later.
 This is a real-world conjectured etymological origin of "north" out of the proto-Germanic roots.
 This is an extrapolation on the strong similarity of Old English with other Germanic languages of that period, where "ubel" meant "bad" and so essentially the same thing. The speaker is assuming a common linguistic root of "ubl" and "yfel" in the southwestern region. Ubl as a place name seems to be retconned from the I.C.E. Age, where Ubl does not obviously replace a Shadow World term, and might have been self-consciously used as archaic language in 1990. This is explored in Research:The Graveyard in the context of the death mechanics.
 This is an in-character recognition and rationalization of why the game has a few different "Scottish" cultures and races. The speaker's theory is that the highland reivers influenced the giantmen during the Kannalan Empire (or vice versa), which then spilled over to the dwarves after the Sunfist Compact (e.g. McKyren's Folly). The Barony of Dragach is an especially Scottish part of the Turamzzyrian Empire near the DragonSpine Mountains.
 This is a minor embellishment. These are real-world Scottish and Scottish Gaelic proverbs, they do not actually exist in the game itself.
 Feithidmor is similar in this way, but like banaltra, these words are instead Irish.
 These alternative names for the Cascade of Tears appear in a room on the trail between Solhaven and Wehnimer's Landing. While these might have self-consciously leaned on real-world etymology into Old High German roots for "tears", and perhaps vulgar Latin for "cascade", the trail was released in late 1998 and so greatly pre-dates the Old English premise introduced by GM Scribes. Interpreting it this way for self-consistency is an extrapolation. The northernmost Kannalan city of Ziristal was apparently at similar latitude as Vornavis, combining the Wildwood story in the Turamzzyrian History timeline from 2000 with the Ebon Gate backstory ( "Of Crows and Journals" from 2007 ) for Velathae in the Barony of Riverwood.
 Alisaire's private property is located in the ruins of Vorn Ahvis.
 There have been in-game story developments about the Dwarves of Talador, such as the events involving Baron Lerep Hochstib dating back to the 1990s, as well Wehnimer's Landing storylines under GM Kenstrom such as Eyes of the Dawn (2016) and Witchful Thinking (2019). Doggoroth Keep was built in the time of the Kingdom of Hendor.
 The bust of Telimnar was a very short-lived object when the Solhaven trail opened in late 1998. It was taken away by shadows.
 Melgorehn's Reach is often used as a plot device in Wehnimer's Landing storylines by GM Kenstrom. However, the Melgorehn's Reach story is from the early I.C.E. Age when it was made by GM Bardon, and there is no official De-I.C.E.'d version of it. The Grantok dwarves are a Shadow World clan which are undefined in the Elanthia world setting, though the form of their name may have influenced the names later given to the Dwarven clans in 2002. Since the story for the Reach, originally called Iorak's Reach, is set in the Shadow World timeline and the calendar years are equivalent (365 Earth days), the speaker is using the premise that the mountain is somewhere around 8,000 years old. But this is relying on archaic documentation. The dead language of Vesknot is mentioned in the game, but has no definition anywhere, including the I.C.E. source books.
 This is archaic lore as Seoltang is an I.C.E. Age language. When the mountains were named with "-toth" suffixes, this argument was literally correct. They were changed to "-toph" forms in the De-I.C.E., but there is no explanation for their names in the modern world setting. This is just borrowing the original meaning of the suffix from the archaic documentation. "Smastan" is an example of a word constructed out of Seoltang that was not De-I.C.E.'d, which is constructed out of Seoltang word-parts but is specific to GemStone and thus not itself a copyrighted term.
 This is referring to the I.C.E. Age troll language, and not the Trollspeak developed by GM Aephir. It was used in the Landing region in a few places. It is archaic but technically it still exists.
 The Tehir language in the documentation ( "Life and Being in the Sea of Fire" ) is a slightly complicated cipher of English. Since this is something a character could recognize by studying it, the speaker is interpreting Tehir as a distant dialect of Common (even though it's too artificial to be a dialect), since it's effectively just a very different way of pronouncing English with its own cultural idioms. The cipher is broken down at Research:Tehir Language. This cipher language was developed before the mechanic for speaking Tehir as a culture language was introduced. It allows someone to construct new words in Tehir by following the rules. This sentence refers to "Tehir dialects" to skirt around being both a fictional constructed language and a mechanic that sweeps it under the rug.
 This is a minor embellishment. Since the proto-language is Old English, and Common is modern English, it is borrowing the reason modern English is not a gendered language. When the Vikings invaded England, the Old Norse and Old English languages collided, and being so similar, the inflections were wiped out from the populations speaking with each other. It is reasonable to assume something similar happened in the fall of the Kannalan Empire to "barbarians."
 "Elanthian Moons" (2002)
 "Orders of the Turamzzyrian Empire: The Sand Snakes" - Lord Brieson Cassle, Adjudicator of the Hall of Mages; 5115 Modern Era
 "Life and Being in the Sea of Fire" (OOC: Released in 2008)
 This is purely coincidental and extrapolating. Seoltang is an (archaic) pidgin language where the word-parts are often contractions of English words. "Small" becomes "Sma" when cconverted out of Tehir because the Tehir dialect does not have support for the equivalent of "ll" in Common.
 This is an embellishment. It is assuming the De-I.C.E.'d term "Liabo" was based on that word in Greek/Latin, and that the De-I.C.E.'d term "Lornon" was based on "loorn" from the archaic I.C.E. language of Iruaric, where the latter is motivated by the "lo'nae" in Fash'lo'nae bein Iruaric for "spirit of the past". These are purely guesses. The speaker is not giving an in-character motivation for suggesting it.
 "History of Elanthia: I. The Age of the Drakes (100,000+ years ago?)" - Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore; 5100 Modern Era (OOC: actually 1995)
 While "Bir" could be "Ring" in the Tehir cipher, "Mahallah" is gibberish. This is extrapolated by the speaker to assume the word originates in the prior civilization from its ruins. The Sea of Fire originated arbitrarily in the first map of northwest Elanith by GM Banthis in 1996, which was pieced together with imagery of Australia, and was a fiery coloration on that map. The Tehir and Sea of Fire (along with the term Bir Mahallah) were left as an undeveloped plot hook by GM Warden in the Turamzzyrian timeline document. Players developed their own Tehir cultures, and the Tehir culture document and cipher language were written later, so Mahallah does not mean anything in it because it is older. The Common elongated "ll" sound also is not supported in the Tehir cipher, which is another reason to interpret the word as foreign.
 "History of Reim" (2016)
 "History of the Guardians of Sunfist" (OOC: prior to 2015)
 "Timeline of Elanthian History: 3999-3000" (2000)
 "History of Elanthia: IV. B. Dwarven-Giantman War (2,000 years ago) - Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore; 5100 Modern Era (OOC: actually 1995)
 This is the speaker's perspective and not stated in documentation. The "Timeline of Elanthian History" document dates the Giantman-Dwarven War, followed by their alliance, to just a couple of decades before hordes suddenly start flooding out of the mountains into the Kannalan Empire. The Highmen tribe in particular are a common link to the Kannalan kingdom of Dunemire in that period. The theory is that it suddenly became easier to raid the Kannalan Empire than whatever was being done previously in the mountains as a result of the new Sunfist pact. This is reasonable but an extrapolation from cross-referencing the timelines.
 "The Empire's Expatriates: The Elves of the Wyrdeep" (OOC: Player Wordsmith document, prior to 2015.)
 "Worship in the Turamzzyrian Empire: Kannalan Crescent" (OOC: some time before 2015)
 The phrase "who once lived on Lornon" comes from "Gods of Elanthia: Introduction to the Arkati". (OOC: This version of the gods document dates back to roughly 1998 or 1999.)
 This is referring to "the Blameless" extremists of the Church of Koar, who committed half-elven genocide under Prelate Chaston Griffin in the Eyes of the Dawn storyline of 2016, which results in the annihilation of Talador forming the Bleaklands. Koar did not intervene in the matter. Emperor Aurmont Anodheles has stated he wishes to eliminate Chaston's Edict, instituted by Emperor Chaston Kestrel eight hundred years ago, as a result of what happened which is in excess of Aurmont's Edict.
 "The Languages of the Dark Elves" (2008)
 One of the GMs for Dark Elves in the late 2000s once said in a meeting that "Dark Elven" is a way of signaling rather than a language, but the documentation makes it clear it must be vocal, even if it is physically infeasible for other races to speak it or fully hear it. The limitation is often overlooked. The next line is an embellishment to conceptualize how it is possible to have a natively in-born language without a learned vocabulary or universally shared conceptual knowledge. The meaning would have to be constructed on the fly from the signal, so that Dark Elves would inherently be able to understand each other.
 "History of the Dhe'nar: III. Rhoska-Tor (50,000 to 45,000 years ago)" (OOC: Official version was released in 2002, unofficial version dates back to the late 1990s.)
 "History of Elanthia: IV. A. The Dark Elf - Sea Elf War (5,000 years ago)" - Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore; 5100 Modern Era (OOC: actually 1995)
 "The Faendryl Empire: The History of the Faendryl" (2002)
 The point about using the fey spirits is strictly speaking an extrapolation, but it was explictly true in the I.C.E Age lore, where the woodland fey were under Iloura and the water fey were under Shaal. While it is not explicitly stated in documentation, GM Stump posted in 1996 that Arkati which become less powerful over time became spirits of the surrounding environment (e.g. the sky), and it is explicitly stated in the Eorgina document that some of the Arkati gradually became weaker. The fey likely fall under this category, but their lore is not explicitly defined. The speaker has an in-game published Wyil book arguing that the malevolent fey, such as the Ilvari, were corrupted by dark power polluting their environment and become reflections of their influences, which was true in the I.C.E. Age (e.g. violent sea nymphs) and analogous to Arkati spheres of influence.
 This is a subjective interpretation by the speaker, it is not explicitly stated in documentation. Demonic summoning is illegal in the Elven Nations and the Sorcerer Guild in Ta'Illistim was forced out of the city by a Lumnis order, after a Faendryl was executed for accidentally unleashing abyran'ra in the city in a misguided attempt to show the Illistim that the magic was safe when properly handled. The speaker's thesis is that the taboo on the demonic stems back to the corruption and destruction of the lands, rather than a merely religious association with the Ur-Daemon.
 "History of Elanthia: III. B. Aftermath of the Undead War - the Age of Chaos" - Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore; 5100 Modern Era (OOC: actually 1995)
 This is a minor embellishment. It is not stated anywhere explicitly that the Faendryl exile was inspired by the Arkati exile, and the story actually pre-dates the introduction of the premise that the Arkati were exiled to the moons by the Drakes.
 The hierophants of the Sylvans stem from the base "History of Elanthia" document from right after the De-I.C.E. happening. The Dhe'nar were created by a group of players who played dark elves in the context of the I.C.E. Age documentation. Their history document was not canonized until 2002, but most of their culture material is still unofficial. The expanded Sylvan history was released in 2003, and does not resemble the Noi'sho'rah doctrines. The "Timeline of Elanthian History" document, created in 2000 and updated through 2003, places the Dhe'nar departure two thousand years after the last of the Houses formed, which was long after the Elves had left the forests and very long since they were unified with the Sylvan population. The Dhe'nar and Faendryl histories of 2002, released almost simultaneously, are inconsistent with the timeline in that Korthyr would have been dead long before the Dhe'nar departure happened. This is not inherently a problem since the Dhe'nar history is framed as unreliable narration through cataclysms and strictly oral history. The release of the Sylvan expanded history shows they were still in the forests in the middle of the Elven Empire for several thousand years after the Dhe'nar left.
 The Ta'Illistim Monarchs document ( "Linsandrych's Legacy: A Detailed Examination of the Dynastic Argent Mirrors and Their Contributions to Illistimi Society With Notes On Selected Post-Lanenreat Figures" ), dated 5110 but seemingly released several yeas later, can be back calculated to determine the sylvans left Ithnishmyn during the reign of the Argent Mirror Atilsaah Illistim.
 This emergence of the Houses from existing towns and movements, then consolidating into cities, is stated explicitly in the Sylvan history document. Strictly speaking the city founding dates are, arguably, not always equivalent with the House founding. The notion that they were really named after prominent leaders, as opposed to purely sudden founding events, is not explicitly stated in documentation but has been said as having been the original intent by GM Lyredaen.
 "Timeline of Elanthian History: The Second Age - The Elven Empire -20,001 to -50,000" (OOC: this part from 2003)
 "History of Elanthia: II. A. The Seven Noble Houses of the Elves" - Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore; 5100 Modern Era (OOC: actually 1995)
 "History of the Dhe'nar: I. The Beginning (80,000 - 55,000 years ago)" (OOC: Official version from 2002, unofficial version from late 1990s)
 "The Faendryl Empire: The History of the Faendryl - The Beginning" (2002) (Note: This is cited as an example of the speaker disputing the IC author of the text for myth making. There are various aspects of this document as well that probably need to be treated as unreliable narration because of consistency issues.)
 This is a minor embellishment. It is the obvious implication that the Common word "sylvan" descended out of this, but the document only mentions the "sylvan designation" was born from it. The speaker's thesis is that this term has a cultural dimension that basically means "woodland rubes", and this meaning is not exclusive to the Yuriqen line of Sylvan elves.
 Wyrdeep "wild" elven druids have appeared in Wehnimer's Landing storylines by GM Kenstrom. This is a group led by a man named Briarstorm, who set up the energy barrier surrounding the Deadfall forest in the southern Upper Trollfang near Zeltoph.
 The Sylvan language has barely changed in over 50,000 years due to the knowledge channeling ability of their hierophants. The Dark Elven language is instead something Dark Elves are inherently capable whenever and wherever they are from, suggesting it must in some way be an ahistorical form of communication.
 "Draekeche" was introduced in the Vishmiir event in 2002, and appears on the glaesine orbs possessed by characters from that time period. It is the archaic elven language sometimes used in story events in the early 2000s. The vocabulary for this language has never been made available to players, and according to GM Voraviel, was maintained by GM Aelsidhe.
 This argument is only an extrapolation from the Aelotian glossary. It is not necessarily correct. There is a broken historical record for the Aelotoi, so the speaker would acknowledge this is a speculative etymology.
 The Linsandrych Illistim quote is from the Vishmiir event in 2002. It was written by GM Lyredaen.
 "Linsandrych's Legacy: A Detailed Examination of the Dynastic Argent Mirrors and Their Contributions to Illistimi Society With Notes On Selected Post-Lanenreat Figures" - Hiraani Gael Illistim, Chief Scholar of House Illistim; 5110 Modern Era (OOC: This was seemingly released several years later.)
 This is an extrapolation based on cross referencing the "History of the Faendryl" (2002) and "Timeline of Elanthian History" (2000-2003) documents. Korthyr Faendryl is implied to have died relatively early, when only the first borough of Ta'Faendryl had been completed. The next dozen Patriarchs were rapid compared to the time scale of city foundings in the timeline document. Back calculating the much later Illistim monarchs document and converting between the calendars shows Yshryth Faendryl must have been coronated while Lindsandrych Illistim was still ruling House Illistim.
 This is an extrapolation that estimates the period of Faendryl political instability was simultaneous with the Vaalor-Nalfein schism.
 The Faendryl history document was released later in 2002 than the Vishmiir event, but it was likely written before hand and without coordination. While this contemporary speech argument is logically valid in the in-character reference frame, it is very unlikely this interpretation was intended by GM Varevice.
 Similarly, this is cross-referencing with the Sylvan history document, which was not released until 2003. The interpretation may be valid in the context of later development but is surely not the original intent.
 "Wyvern" (2019)
 "Orders of the Turamzzyrian Empire: The Imperial Drakes" - Lord Brieson Cassle, Adjudicator of the Hall of Mages; 5115 Modern Era
 This is a subjective assertion by the speaker. It is extrapolating off the dark way the dragons are described by Linsandrych Illistim in the "History of Elanthia" document and the "Draekeche" word for "darkness."
 "Origins of Ronan and Sheru" (2015)
 The importance of the elven unity theme exists in the Faendryl and Dhe'nar history documents, in addition to no longer considering the Faendryl to be "true elves" after the destruction of Ta'Ashrim. This is extrapolating that theme as a cultural universal for elves dating back to the Age of Darkness.
 "Elven Dogma and Theology" (2001)
 "History of Elanthia: I. C. The Coming of the Arkati (100,000 years ago?)" -- Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore; 5100 Modern Era (OOC: actually 1995)
 "History of Luukos" - From the Compendium of Elven Legend; Compiled and archived by Ytrhyn Siv'aendas of House Illistim, condensed into the modern legend by Larelle Aiv'thyline of House Loenthra. (2004)
 "Gods of Elanthia: Koar, King of the Gods" (OOC: There was an earlier version of this document from 1996 or 1997, where the Koar section is almost unchanged, but the "Introduction to the Arkati" section did not exist yet.)
 "Illistim Culture: Part III - Part III. Societies and Social Groups" - Haethera Illuvassas Illistim; 5109, Modern Era
 This is a minor embellishment in that the cultural significance of "draekeche" is a supposition by the speaker. The lecture is appealing to etymological authority, but it is not possible to do real etymology in this context, as these are artificial game languages.
 "Elementals - The Children of the Planes: Chapter 6: Great Elementals" - Lords Ulithian Feras and Isymir Ril-Galad; 5102 Modern Era
 "Dark Elves" were named in the De-I.C.E. (late 1995) following some lobbying, as High Elves were originally going to become Gnomes. "Draekeche" was not defined until 2002, so this interpretation would have to be considered a retcon.
 The Dhe'nar history document, dating back to when it was an unofficial player group in the late 1990s, suggests the Book of Tormtor was written by the Dhe'nar and left behind in Rhoska-Tor. They placed themselves in the jungles beyond the southern wastes. The only reference to this location at the time was the "History of Elanthia" document saying Despana was believed to have come from those jungles. When the Dhe'nar were canonized it thus made a strong implication, because of recontextualization, that Despana was thought by some elves at the time to have been Dhe'nar. Whether she actually was or not. This is then extrapolating that the reason the Dhe'nar are considered "dark elves", when the Faendryl were not labeled as such until the Ashrim genocide 15,000 years after their exile, might logically be because of Despana guilt by association.
 This is a minor embellishment. It is most likely true for the Elven Empire period, and there is some evidence for it being true today, even aside from the Faendryl and Dhe'nar. The Horned Cabal, the parasitic collectors, the NPCs such as Vlashandra who go to the Southron Wastes for nefarious purposes, and so on.
 This is established in a museum display piece in Museum Alerreth in Ta'Illistim rather than documentation.
 This is referring to the racism mechanics in Ta'Vaalor. The lecture was given not long after a controversy on the forums about removing unnecessary problematic elements of the game such as mechanical racism. Ta'Vaalor became more racist and xenophobic under later development, especially the papers system and the NPC reaction messages, which the Elven Nations creators have said was not their intent.
 This is referring to something called the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.
 This is a much later retcon by GM Scribes. The Huntress was invented by a group of players around 1996, at least partly out of dislike for the name change of "Hrassk" to "Arachne" (the I.C.E. Age god of the Spider Temple near the Landing), where the Huntress supposed to be a better replacement for Hrassk.
 The Citadel backstory and events are retcons. The Citadel itself is an I.C.E. Age city that was called Quellburn, and would have been located straight north of Blototh (Modern: Glatoph) on the High Plateau, and south of the Seolfar Strake (Modern: Lysierian Hills). The High Plateau is not represented on image maps, though it can be seen in a few places in the game still, and the Citadel was moved from whatever its original purpose was to the River's Rest release in 1996. The ravine by the council chambers would actually have the Colewaether (Modern: Locksmehr) river below, though this river is inconsistently located in two different parts of the region map in the I.C.E. source book.
 The sea level change over the millennia is explicitly stated in the "Unfinished Smuggler's History of River's Rest" document.
 There is a weird loresong on an item that shows an old halfling, from that time originally, trying to get revenge on the contemporary Ardenai king. This makes no sense chronologically.
 Celtic languages are notorious for words being pronounced differently from how the letters would be said in English. "Bainsidhe" is actually pronounced like "banshee" in English. Bainsidhe were invasion creatures sometimes in the late 1990s, such as in Castle Anwyn and on Teras Isle. The ordinary banshee creature dates back to the late I.C.E. Age and pre-dates the Despana story. It was the most powerful undead creature in the game at the time the "History of Elanthia" document was written.
 Assertions of this kind are subjective interpretations by the speaker. It is the thesis of the lecture and not something stated by documentation.
 The word "Elanith" has historical ambiguity. The I.C.E. Age continent was Jaiman, and was De-I.C.E.'d as Jontara. "Elanith" initially replaced the word "Quellbourne", which is only the northwest corner of the continent. However, when the continent was being mapped out for new world setting, "Elanith" became the continent itself. The word "Jontara" was still present in a few places and was much later retconned to refer to the main continent plus the surrounding land masses. Meanwhile the Citadel that was Quellburn, another word that became "Elanith", represents a now fallen "Kingdom of Elanith" around River's Rest in what became the Kingdom of Torre and later the County of Torre in the Turamzzyrian Empire. Using the phrase "western Elanith" here is a play on words, because it is true in this last sense as well.
 This is why "Lake Eonak" is next to it. The clue for the Order of Voln step is still worded in a way that only makes sense if you know the mountain was originally named Iorak's Reach.
 The smastan berry bush is located near Zeltoph, at the entrance to Ye Oddity Workshop, the private workshop of the player character Lord Odds. Smastan berries only exist in GemStone, they do not come from I.C.E. source books. The "Elanthian Flora Guide/Low Brush and Bushes" released in 2002, strictly speaking a retcon, makes an oblique reference to this one bush acting atypically for its species.
 Giantmen in the I.C.E. Age were called "high men", as opposed to "common men", and the language mechanic used to give the I.C.E. race terms when toggling languages. There is a "Highmen" tribe as of the "Giantkin History" from around 2001, and it was later established that these were the ones who ruled what is now the Bourth region, which suggests Fasthr k'Tafali and his followers - the Order of Vult, now Voln, is from the I.C.E. Age - were "high men" after all. But this is probably a serendipitous accident. Regardless, the Kingdom of Dunemire was ruled by "manor lords", and Fasthr k'Tafali was a manor lord. It is not absolutely clear what "Kannalan Empire" was before the De-I.C.E., but it was most likely "Lankan Empire", whose landed aristocracy were the nobility of the theocracy of Klysus (Modern: Luukos). The intent of the Order of Vult backstory is unclear, as it seems to willfully contradict Shadow World canon on several points (such as the year 1300), but it has a very different meaning in its archaic context.
 The Chroniclers are only a lore stub in the "Timeline of Elanthian History" (2000), and might actually refer to the Order of Lorekeepers (late 1990s when the world setting was much less defined), which is ancient but whose backstory documentation fits only dubiously with later documentation. The city of Nantu exists in no other document or map, though it is used by a clerk in Moot Hall, and may have been an inconsistent De-I.C.E. of the word Nomikos. The "Lorekeepers" are a group mentioned in the Ta'Illistim monarchs document from 2010 involving one of the earliest Illistim rulers.
 This assumption that the Celtic language family is a foreign import is not necessarily correct. The Celtic and Germanic languages are both Indo-European languages, and one might argue these ostensibly northern languages are indigenous to the continent, merely separated from the language represented in the Torre ruins further back in the Second Age or perhaps the Age of Darkness. Similarly, there is very little world system lore at the present time to establish historical population migrations between continents, which would be relevant for constraining how distantly related (or insulated) peoples on other continents are from our own continent. It could be simultaneously true that the two languages are related in the deep past and that it was imported back into Elanith later.
 It is more literally translated as "she reaped the high king", with some light mangling of Old English. This is a slightly awkward consistency issue, because it is supposed to be the Citadel dialect of Kannalan from a millennium ago, but Casler Huntington is unable to translate the Torre ruins which is in actuality the same real-world language basis. This is arguably accounted for by his speculating that the more ancient writing is a dialect of Kannalan, but may be "the ancestor of the language that once was the common tongue of Elanith." Either way, it establishes in the subtext that their dialect of Kannalan is descended from it, even though you have to extrapolate to assume as much.
 The migration of Ziristal refugees to the Wildwood is part of the Turamzzyrian Empire timeline released in 2000. The trail to Solhaven was opened in late 1998, so this might have to be regarded as a retcon since the room painting pre-dates the document, as well as an extrapolation given the much later framing of Kannalan in terms of Old English and therefore Germanic languages. It is possible the room painters were making those names arbitrarily. Other spots released around the Solhaven expansion, most notably the Foggy Valley areas, were designed using other foreign languages such as Latin.
As a matter of retcon, the "History of Fash'lo'nae" document from 2008 suggests Augustin Vespertinae was probably elven (and that the vesperti were made by experimenting on elves), since it says he traveled west across DragonSpine. (For what it is worth this would have been before the Zul Logoth trail was opened by the Elven monarchs.) Consistent with the recognition that the Faendryl documentation is heavy in Latin and Greek, this could be hand-wave interpreted as an Elven influence on the foggy valley cultists and sorcerers. Though Bonespear was a dwarf and his partner was a human.