History of the Faendryl
History of the Faendryl is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
The Faendryl Empire: The History of the Faendryl
- 1 The Beginning
- 2 Political Reforms and Geniselle Anaya Faendryl
- 3 The Growth of Faendryl Magic
- 4 The Palestra and the Faendryl Warrior
- 5 The Enchiridion Valentia and Thyrsos Kanigel Faendryl's Demon
- 6 The Laurentiu Faction
- 7 Nikasha Pavanti Faendryl and the Faendryl Time of Decadence
- 8 The Undead War
- 9 Exile
- 10 The Sea Elf War
- 11 New Ta'Faendryl
- 12 Faendryl Religion
- 13 Faendryl Government and Rank
- 14 Faendryl Law
- 15 The Typical Faendryl
After the age of the Drakes and the wars of the Ur-Daemon, after the Arkati established their rule of the land, came the time of the elves.
At one time, all elves were one great civilization as they cowered in the shadow of the Draken rule and fought to survive in the forests. Once that rule was shattered by the mighty Ur-Daemon and the Arkati finished their time with the mortals, however, the cream had floated to the top of the barrel. The elves were ready to leave the forests and split into eight noble Houses to form the greatest empire the world had known, lead by Korthyr Faendryl, Aradhul Vaalor, Zishra Nalfein, Sharyth Ardenai, Bhoreas Ashrim, Callisto Loenthra, Linsandrych Illistim and Tahlad Tsi'shalar.
Tahlad, however, refused. He followed the beliefs of a fanatical cult of elves lead by Noi'sho'rah, prophet of the Arkati, who believed that only by remaining united as one people could they ascend to even greater heights than the Arkati had. The discussion came to a climax when Noi'sho'rah, either in the throes of religious ecstasy or under the influence of a powerful hallucinogenic magic, began to prophesy for those assembled. He foresaw the coming of one so powerful that she would raise the dead to throw against the elves and lay waste to the elven nations, as well as the fall of his own followers. After this grand show he disappeared.
Noi'sho'rah's cult left the forests, lead by Tahlad Tsi'shalar, and later became known as the Dhe'nar. Undaunted by his uncle's desertion, Korthyr Faendryl lead the rest of the elves from their home of ages amid the trees, leaving behind those that are the sylphs, and Sharyth Ardenai's line, who would lead the elven holdings there. Thus, the House of Faendryl was born.
Korthyr took his place as the first Patriarch of the House. Under his guidance, a shining city was built around the Patriarchal Basilica. Two years after the completion of the original borough, Korthyr Faendryl died. He was succeeded by Khalar Andiris Faendryl, his great-nephew and long-time assistant. Khalar completed work on his uncle's city halfway into his time as Patriarch, and for the remaining three centuries ruled in relative peace.
Political Reforms and Geniselle Anaya Faendryl
It was with the coming of Zarish Aeglyn Faendryl that things began to fall apart. Zarish was not as strong as his predecessors, and had not been trained so well to rule. Realizing this, the power seekers took action. Two hundred fifty years into his reign, he was assassinated and replaced by Xethlin Baelras Faendryl. Ta'Faendryl descended into chaos.
The position of Patriarch became the most dangerous in the Lands for approximately the next millenium. Nine Patriarchs were murdered in this timeframe, not one lasting over two hundred years in the power seat. Without strong leadership or respect for authority, the Faendryl instinct for petty games of power took hold, and the government was awash in political nightmare.
This ended with Geniselle Anaya Faendryl, the first of three Matriarchs to exist in dark elven history. She had spent her life watching her father's very clever political maneuvering, and had an intimate understanding of leadership and government. Mustering all her wits, and a small force of her father's troops, she claimed the throne in the Basilica for herself.
Geniselle understood that the Faendryl empire could never be held by a woman. While women were certainly considered equals in power and ability, tradition held that a male must guide the elves, and tradition was a significant binding force. She was not disappointed or offended; this was simply how it was, and how it had ever been. Utilizing her resources, she held the throne and kept the empire stable until her son, Yshryth Silvius Faendryl, could ascend to take the reign.
Upon the day of his coronation, Yshryth stood upon the steps of the Basilica and addressed the assembled people with a speech that even today lives strong in Faendryl legend. He spoke quietly yet passionately, his words carrying clearly across the crowd. "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.
"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."
With this proclamation, Yshryth Faendryl ended the internal conflicts of his House. He declared plotting against the Patriarch to be a capital crime. The Patriarch, he stated, was the pinnacle of existence, and to think to destroy the only being capable of guiding the world into civilization and holding it there was a crime not only against the Faendryl, but against all living sentients. He declared a retroactive sentencing of all offenders.
Thus, Yshryth Faendryl's first action as Patriarch was to command his own mother's execution.
The Growth of Faendryl Magic
The more stable political climates and strong leadership allowed the magical community (which encompassed eighty percent of Faendryl society in various forms) to flourish and grow. Great leaps and strides were made in the arcane arts as a wave of learning and experimentation swept through the Elven Empire. Mages and sorcerers took to their laboratories with the brand of enthusiasm usually reserved for followers of Fash'lo'nae.
Yshryth Faendryl's grandson, Thanris Akeleyn Faendryl, Patriarch XVI of House Faendryl, commissioned the Elizhabet Mahkra Faendryl Asylum for the Thaumaturgically Unsettled. The sanitarium was named for his sister, a sorceress of some renoun in the Faendryl empire. It is theorized that she was the first sorcerer to ever breach the Veil into other valences, but her groundbreaking spell cost her her sanity. Seeing a growing trend among the researchers into new forms of spellcasting, Thanris Faendryl had a place for them to be cared for erected and, christening it in honor of his sibling, had her installed as its first guest. Elizhabet never recovered.
The discovery of summoning spells had an unexpected side effect on Faendryl society. While there had always been a small population of warriors in the mostly magical people, these lithe fighters and their skills came into high demand. The energies used to bring creatures from there to here were far from perfected, and either the casting or what it brought often left the caster reeling, easy prey for the target of their summons. The blademasters, unaffected by the energies about them, proved to be lifesavers, and magicians invested large amounts of funding for the services of such protectors.
The Palestra and the Faendryl Warrior
To cater to this need, Ondreian Shamsiel Faendryl, Patriarch XVII, ordered the Palestra founded and staffed with the finest warriors and instructors his people had to offer. Students trained not only in the dance of weapons, but in the theories of magic and the best counters for the creatures summoned by the sorcerers. As each round of graduates finished their instruction, magicians could come and hire them directly from the Palestra for a small fee.
The Enchiridion Valentia and Thyrsos Kanigel Faendryl's Demon
After a time, the list of creatures readily summonable grew considerable. The Basilican sorcerers, headed by Abdullahi Hazalred Faendryl, devised a system of cataloging and tracking each creature and its line, the Faendryl names for the valences, and other important information. In this way, they hoped not only to expand the general knowledge base, but to keep from resummoning the more dangerous of the outworlders. They called their compilation the Enchiridion Valentia. Eidiol Jivanatha Faendryl, Patriarch XX, took their work a step further, not only commending their wisdom and foresight, but making it law that all summoners discovering a new creature must immediately report their find for recording.
Thyrsos Kanigel Faendryl, a sorcerer of little renown and fewer means, was far too clever for his own good. Few of his peers paid any attention to him, and tended to speak around him as if he were not there. He picked up many summoning secrets this way, and with no social calendar, had plenty of time for research and study. Late one evening, as he stared at the remains of his supper and pushed them about his plate (his cook had made asparagus, which he despised), the green vegetable spears fell into a pattern of lines. The lines, in connection with the round plate, inspired a chain of thought that sent him sprinting into his work room, looking for his chalks and powders.
Carefully, he laid out his circle and, drawing power along specific patterns, cast his spell. A brilliant flash of light exploded from a rip in the Veil, pulling with it a huge creature like none the Faendryl had ever seen before. Thyrsos stared completely aghast at what he had done, then frantically ordered the creature back where it had come from. It gave a chilling smile and complied, leaving the sorcerer shaking and dripping with sweat.
Thyrsos said nothing to anyone.
Two weeks later, his error became quite apparent, as did the necessity for researching proper banishment spells before summoning large extraplanar beings. As Thyrsos finished his evening tea, the flash of light ripped through his sitting room, and the creature once again stood before him. Without a proper circle, magical components, or a coherent thought in his surprised head, the incanter could do nothing but dive for cover as the being began to tear his house, his block, and his borough to bits.
Several hours passed before the thing had been destroyed and the fires had been put out, at which point Thyrsos (who had survived by hiding under a table) found himself the center of attention for the first time in his life. He went over everything he had done in great detail, sketching out his circle, the lines of power, and the exact spells he had cast. At the request of the Basilican sorcerers, he also detailed what he had done to send it back that fateful first time, so that it could be avoided in the future. Once the elder scholars and summoners were positive of each move Thyrsos had made, the hapless necromancer was taken away and beheaded for failure to report his discovery immediately.
Demonic summoning was born.
The Laurentiu Faction
Not all incanters in Ta'Faendryl studied summoning. Some, especially those who could not afford protective companionship, chose to research other magics, such as protective spells, bodily damage spells and mental spells. Overspecialization leads to death, they felt, and while the work of the summoners was good and necessary, someone needed to round out the magical knowledge held by their scholars.
The Faendryl capability for nursing a grudge is nearly legendary. Perhaps the best example of this was the faction lead by Qhwinn Laurentiu Faendryl. This sect bore ill will towards the current line of Patriarchs that stemmed from Geniselle Anaya Faendryl's coup. Notably, that Geniselle had beaten their own candidate to usurping the Basilica. They had carefully tended this hatred, allowing it to simmer for generations until Qhwinn brought it to a boiling point.
For months, Qhwinn had sequestered himself in his laboratory, working diligently on new spells and incantations. At the end of his months of research, the entire Laurentiu faction disappeared for a week, reappearing at dawn standing before the Basilica. Calling out in a loud voice, Qhwinn demanded the "false Patriarch" give over his position to the true guides of the Faendryl. Phorien Endric Faendryl, Patriarch XXI, refused, and the Basilican guards turned out to arrest the traitors.
In unison, the Laurentiu faction began to chant, arms raised. With a sudden movement, they brought their arms down, and the Basilica collapsed inward onto itself with an earsplitting thunderclap, killing the Patriarch and Basilican guard, and injuring most of the Basilican sorcerers, who were trapped in the subterranean levels by the rubble. Qhwinn raised his voice again, calling for all of Ta'Faendryl to unify around him.
Unfortunately for Qhwinn, he got his wish. All of Ta'Faendryl did indeed turn out around him, but it was to hold him and his murderous band until the city guard arrived. They were kept chained in null magic bindings in the deepest basements of the gaol until the survivors could be excavated and a new Patriarch could be appointed to hand down their sentence.
Phorien Endric Faendryl, still young and newly ascended to the power seat, had neither married nor left an heir behind. His only relative was his sister, Nikasha Pavanti Faendryl. Thus, in a stroke of supreme irony, the multigeneration grudge started by a Matriarch ended with the appointing of a Matriarch, the second in Faendryl history.
Nikasha Pavanti Faendryl and the Faendryl Time of Decadence
Nikasha was a headstrong woman, quick, intelligent, and determined to make the best of her situation. She ordered Qhwinn's laboratory searched and his notes confiscated, for he had not only brought to light a new magic, but a new way to work it: in concert with other joined magicians. The Basilican sorcerers would study these notes and see to it that the processes were made available to all, for although tragedy had come of the discovery, all Faendryl should benefit from it.
She then ordered the rubble from the ruined Basilica brought to the execution square. In the bloodiest show in Faendryl memory, she had the entire Laurentiu faction beheaded, their blood pouring over the stones of the destruction they had wrought. These stones, declared Nikasha, would be used to repave the square, the blood serving as a reminder to all who would undertake treason of the wages of their actions. The Basilican sorcerers enchanted the stones so that the blood would remain always looking fresh, adding a gruesome effectiveness to the Matriarch's display.
Nikasha Pavanti Faendryl's Matriarchy proved prosperous for House Faendryl, as did the reign of her son, Siridian Decianus Faendryl. For two further Patriarchal reigns, the Faendryl flourished, the pinnacle of elven society. Until Despana came.
The Undead War
The Undead War was a difficult time for the Elven Nations, the Faendryl included. Eight Patriarchs watched over the conflict before finally Unsenis Ignaas Faendryl proposed the strike at Maelshyve. The war was draining the world, and he felt the end would justify the means, even if it meant revealing the magics they had kept under cover.
His plan worked, but with it came what the Faendryl had feared all along. The other Houses could not understand the necessity of these new magics, the need for discovery and learning even at the cost of danger. Unsenis Ignaas Faendryl argued for the remainder of his life, justifying the Faendryl tactics with little success.
The other Elven Houses used the Patriarch's death to take control of the Elven Empire for long enough to exile the Faendryl to Rhoska Tor. Cestimir Xisuthros Faendryl, Patriarch XXXV pondered his choices carefully before deciding to go along with the exile. As a new Patriarch, he did not have the morale levels to win respect or sympathy in the unfriendly court circles of the other Elven Houses. They would leave their home, to return to fight another day.
Bitter and angry at the lack of appreciation the other elves had shown them after the Battle of Demons, the Faendryl took to the caverns beneath the blasted rubble of Maelshyve. Life was difficult, as nothing would grow, and what few things did sprung from the ground twisted, warped, and often hostile. But not a single elf complained. They were House Faendryl. Together, they had found the way to pierce the Veil and force the denizens to do their bidding, and together, they would survive to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.
Decades passed in the dark of the caverns, and the Faendryl learned to survive. With the magic from the many mana foci they coaxed plants from the lifeless soil, sped the growth of herds of livestock. In the pride of their triumph over certain death, the obvious twisting of the life they had created went unnoticed. Each rolton, velnalin and cow was laced with the energies seeping from the unhealed tear in the Veil. Each plant grew from magics tainted with the mana of the demons they continued to summon to plant their crops. They lived in the caves that honeycombed the area beneath fallen Maelshyve, and the forces left behind sculpted the Faendryl features to finer, sharper lines, darker skin, and physically weaker vessels with greater capacities for magic.
The Sea Elf War
As time passed, the Faendryl began to turn their eyes northward, towards their ancestral home. They were disgusted with life belowground, and wanted their shining city. How to regain it, however, was one of the few things the Faendryl did not agree on. Some councilled war. Others wished to try a peaceful solution. Why take by force what you can twist the weaker into giving you?
The war faction agreed to try it the peaceful way. The peaceful solution would not work if attempted after a failed war, but war would certainly do the trick if peace failed. Thus, it made sense to try peace first. And so when Rythwier Faendryl, Patriarch XXXVII of House Faendryl, proposed a wedding alliance between his eldest daughter Chesylcha Sukari Faendryl and a prince of House Ashrim, he had the full backing of his people.
Chesylcha never made it to her wedding. Stories of her death are as numerous as the fish in the sea she sailed upon, but the Faendryl never had a doubt as to what happened. The evening of her death, Chesylcha's three sisters all fell to their knees, screaming in pain and holding their heads. When they were again sensible, each reported seeing the same thing: an assassin of House Nalfein, there by grace of a secret alliance between the Nalfein and the Ashrim, slitting their sibling's throat.
The Faendryl were outraged. Those that had councilled war jumped on Chesylcha's death to once again plead their cause, and this time, Rythwier listened avidly. They launched a naval assault against the Ashrim home islands. The Ashrim, as could be expected, were the best sailors of the elves, and the Faendryl losses were terrible. But three ships reached the Ashrim harbors. Faendryl legend says that each of these ships was protected by the mourning and angry sisters of Chesylcha, who were powerful magicians and were out for Ashrim blood.
However the ships survived, they spelled the doom of the Ashrim. Upon one of the ships were the greatest of the Faendryl spellcasters. Decades of honing their abilities, as well as all the rage, bitterness, and humilitation pent up since the time of the Undead War, made the Faendryl more powerful than they had ever been before. The sea elves were obliterated, and Ta'Ashrim was no more.
Typically, the Nalfein claimed no knowledge of any secret treaty, and were outraged at such an accusation. Taking advantage of the already anti-Faendryl sentiments felt by the rest of the elven Houses, they stated that the Faendryl were no longer true elves, but some dark and perverted facsimile thereof. The other Houses echoed those words, and since that time, the Faendryl were known as Dark Elves.
At that point, the Faendryl gave up hopes of regaining their old home and empire. Either from bitterness or wisdom, they realized that to go back would be to be constantly reminded of what was and what could never be again. They turned their backs on the elves and the city they had built and moved north of Rhoska-Tor, although not far, to build their new city.
The outside world has seen little of the Faendryl since, save those who have left citing a desire to research or a disagreement with politics. The dark elves chose to close most trade avenues, leaving only those things necessary for life and comfort. Isolationists for the most part, the Faendryl allow very few outsiders into their city, and all attempts at invasion have been rebuffed with prejudice. They prefer to research their magic and live their lives for the time without outside interference. Of late, however, discussion has been heard in opening New Ta'Faendryl to the world once again.
The Faendryl are a nation of atheists. Unlike most Elven societies, they chose no patron Arkati to pay respect to, as they are perfectly aware that the Arkati are not gods at all. Rumors that they worship the Ur-Daemon, demons, or Marlu are also false. The dark elves summon such beings, so it makes little sense that they would worship something they seek to control.
The closest thing to a patron the Faendryl have is Fash'lo'nae, whom they regard as wise and creative in his methods of discovery, even if he is a bit overblown. If they venerate anything, it is their Patriarch, whom they believe will guide them to ever-greater heights in power and knowledge. Interestingly, one of Elanith's pantheon of demigods was a Faendryl before the split into the separate Houses, proving to the nation as a whole that god-like power can be achieved through personal initiative.
Faendryl clerics are a bit of an enigma. Most clergy in other societies worship other gods, having their holy powers granted by such beings. The Faendryl priests do not consider themselves followers of any deity, most claiming that they work their magic like any sorcerer or empath might. The power to turn the Undead, they explain, comes from having learned to manipulate the energies around Rhoska Tor, as that was where the Undead were first created, and the power over life and death is an elementary exercise of will and magery.
Some Elven scholars theorize that the Faendryl clerics are indeed granted powers by gods or demibeings who do so in secret, that the Faendryl may continue their egotistical claims and be more easily controlled. The Faendryl, however, discount this as the weak-minded drivel spawned by an unambitious brain.
Faendryl Government and Rank
The Faendryl are a Patriarchy, chosen by blood and the occasional coup. The Patriarch has absolute power in Ta'Faendryl, and his word is law. His duty is the advancement and well-being of the Faendryl as a whole, as well as daily Faendryl life, if he chooses that level of involvement. No Faendryl will go against the will of the Patriarch, and only the worst traitors plot his overthrow. He is beyond politics.
Beneath the Patriarch is the Basilican Magistrate. This position can be held by either male or female (and it is often held by one of the wives of the Patriarch, should she be politically inclined). The Basilican Magistrate has the duty of overseeing day to day Faendryl life, seeing to it that the lesser nobles do their jobs appropriately, that the political squabbling does not endanger the society, and hearing the pleas of the Archchancellors. While the Basilican Magistrate is not completely removed from politics, it is a position subject to less scheming and maneuvering than others. It is considered extremely bad form, and a variety of political suicide, to plot against or overthrow the Basilican Magistrate should it be one of the Patriarch's wives.
Next in rank are the Archchancellors. There is one for each borough of the city, as well as for trade, arts, magic, and warrior classes. They are in charge of overseeing their specific borough or skill set, keeping them running smoothly and in prime condition. The lead Basilican Sorcerer and Prefect of the Palestra are both ranked as Archchancellors. This is where the true political maneuvering, plotting, and scheming begin.
Below the Archchancellors are the Chancellors. These are specialists, speakers for their fields, factions, and interest groups. They keep the Archchancellors informed, plead their own agendas, and care for the very minor things involved in their interests. These positions are the targets of much political maneuvering, and occupants change as frequently as whims.
Finally, there are the magnates. These are the most minor of minor functionaries, whose duties entail whatever it is that they feel they should be doing. More a nuisance than any real use to Faendryl government, most of their power is self-perceived. It is jokingly said among the Archchancellors that everyone in Ta'Faendryl is a magnate of one thing or another.
Faendryl are an eminently civilized people. They have to be, or else they would have politicked, schemed, maneuvered, backstabbed and blasted their way into extinction long ago. By enacting a strict legal code coupled with corporal punishment, they maintain a high societal behavioral standard and keep chaos to a minimum.
There are several capital crimes in Ta'Faendryl. The first, of course, is treason, or crimes against the state. To plot against the well being of your Patriarch, your leadership, your city or your bretheren (for all in Ta'Faendryl are of House Faendryl, and thus are all family) is considered the worst of things one can do. Also included in capital crimes are murder and failure to report a never-before-summoned creature to the Enchiridion Valentia. The method of death is by guillotine.
Murder is something of a special case among the Faendryl. Because all dark elves are family, and plotting against your bretheren is a form of treason, murder is completely disallowed. An exception is made, however, for legal duels in prescribed areas over approved-of topics, such as dishonor, insult, and a host of other minor infractions. Given the political nature of the society, bureaucratic assassination is a common means of removing a competitor, but it is not legal. Instead, ruses from elaborate "mishaps" to a common knife in the back and shoddy coverup take these situations into the realm of accidental death, which can hardly be outlawed.
Other infractions are met with stiff penalties. Theft commonly is punished by removal of one or both hands, or the eyes. Assault brings about a whipping, while assault with a deadly weapon leads to flaying. Common minor crimes are generally punishable by removal of the feet or tongue.
The Typical Faendryl
The following is a look at a stereotypical Faendryl. Just as with any other race, dark elves vary greatly in outlook, opinion and lifestyle, but these basic tenets are observed by most members of the Faendryl society.
Mharcuis Virajith Faendryl is, like most common Faendryl, a sorcerer. He has three names, denoting given name, family line, and the fact that he is Faendryl. All Faendryl have three names for ease of determining heritage and differences in those with the same given name (after all, there is a Mharcuis Roahnn Faendryl two boroughs over). No dark elf wants to be without his proper surname.
As with most sorcerers and summoners, Mharcuis goes nowhere without his escort, Nacterre Wilderic Faendryl. Nacterre was trained at the Palestra, where Mharcuis was able to employ his services (for what Mharcuis considers an exorbitant rate). As much as Nacterre's services cost, however, it has been worth it, as twice the warrior has saved Mharcuis' life. Some of the better-to-do sorcerers have several escorts, but Mharcuis can afford only the one.
Mharcuis lives in a small but elegant home furnished with many fine things. He has a small house staff consisting of a laundrywoman and a cook who do not live with him, but instead come to his home in the morning and leave to go to their own homes in the evening. It is a source of small discomfort that Mharcuis Roahnn Faendryl also has a cleaning maid.
To call Mharcuis arrogant, by Faendryl standards, would be mildly amusing. By the standards of the world outside Ta'Faendryl, however, it would be wholly appropriate. Like most dark elves, Mharcuis has a casual sense of arrogance and pride that would set most people's nerves on edge. He is, after all, Faendryl, and Faendryl are, of course, the pinnacle of civilization, knowledge, and power. Of course he is better than the rest. He would be a good conversationalist for most, he has a wide knowledge base that would make him engaging, but non-Faendryl would likely find themselves gritting their teeth at his offhanded hauteur.
Today, Mharcuis is a bit overweening even for his own kind. He is quite pleased with himself, for last night he summoned something that he had never before seen. He is quite certain that no one else has seen it either, and so off to the Basilica he goes to double-check. Should no one else have summoned one before, he shall enter his findings (and his name) into the Enchiridion Valentia. With Nacterre beside him (Nacterre, for the record, hates it when his charge is in this kind of mood, and finds him positively insufferable), he goes off to check the records.
Much to Mharcuis' dismay, the creature was recently summoned by another sorcerer, and noted in the Enchiridion Valentia. Infuriatingly, it was Mharcuis Roahnn Faendryl that did the summoning. Mharcuis does not see Nacterre smirking as they leave the Basilica.