Once the leaders of the Elves, the Faendryl were cast out of the Elven Empire at the end of the Undead War, for crimes the Elves were unwilling to forgive. Ever the leaders in terms of their mastery over magic, the Faendryl had dabbled in demon summoning. All the Elven houses were appalled at the spells the Faendryl had unleashed. They expressed their outrage by exiling the Faendryl to Rhoska-Tor.
Slowly, the Faendryl began to change. Their features became even finer and sharper. Those living in the deepest caverns, those closest to the ruins of Maelshyve, found their skin darkening to a brown or black.
It was some time later that the Faendryl Elves returned from their exile and founded New Ta'Faendryl. However, they would never again be a part of the great Elven Empire.
- Official Documentation: The Faendryl Empire: The History of the Faendryl
The House of Faendryl was one of the first elven houses to form after they emerged from their ancestral forests in eastern Elanith. Korthyr Faendryl, the first Patriarch, led his followers westward to the fertile plains. The city of Ta'Faendryl was built over three centuries, overseen by Korthyr's great-nephew and successor Khalar Andiris Faendryl.
Zarish Aeglyn Faendryl, Patriarch III, was assassinated two hundred and fifty years into his reign, leading to a millennium of political instability until the rule of Geniselle Anaya Faendryl and her son Yshryth Silvius Faendryl. While the position of Patriarch is male by tradition, Geniselle seized power in a coup and is acknowledged historically as the thirteen ruler of the house. Yshryth's first act as Patriarch XIV was to retroactively punish all plots against the Patriarchy by death, starting with his mother.
In the relatively more stable climate that followed, the Faendryl made rapid advancements in magical studies. Major discoveries during this time included:
- Breaching the Veil into other valences, by Elizhabet Mahkra Faendryl
- Demonic summoning, by Thyrsos Kanigel Faendryl (accidentally)
- Implosion, by Qhwinn Laurentiu Faendryl, used to assassinate the Patriarch
Many of the most dangerous advancements were hidden from the rest of the Elven Empire.
As a safeguard against overzealous researchers, the Palestra was established as a school that trained warriors to defend against the extradimensional creatures summoned by sorcerers.
In the thirty-fourth millennium of the Elven Empire, it faced its greatest adversary in Despana. Patriarch XXXIV Unsenis Ignaas Faendryl decided that desperate times called for desperate measures. The full might of Faendryl magic was revealed at the Battle of Maelshyve, as their summoners called forth an army of lesser demons to drive back the undead horde, then caused Maelshyve Keep to implode in upon itself. The war was won, but the other houses were horrified at the spells used, believing them to be reckless and unnecessary. The House of Illistim scholars, led by Laibanniel Illistim, argued that breaching the Veil endangered the world itself and the Ur-Daemon still lurked somewhere beyond. The rest of the elves sided against the Faendryl, exiling them to Rhoska-Tor.
The Faendryl made their new home in the caves beneath Maelshyve. Their knowledge of demonic magic allowed farms to thrive in the barren underground. Proximity to the tears in the Veil and their consumption of foods infused with valential energies caused their physical features to change. They also discovered that a new, distinct language known as "the voice of Rhoska-Tor" was known innately by anyone born there.
After another fifteen millennia, the Faendryl attempted to reclaim their old city through a marriage alliance between Chesylcha Sukari Faendryl and a prince of the House of Ashrim. Chesylcha's ship never arrived, however, and her three sisters each reported seeing a vision where the Ashrim were in league with a Nalfein assassin who had murdered Chesylcha on her way to Ta'Ashrim. In retribution, the Faendryl declared war on the Ashrim. Though the Faendryl fleet was far outclassed and outnumbered, three of their ships managed to land on the Ashrim isles. The Faendryl warmages there worked a more powerful magic than had ever been attempted, destroying the islands and their inhabitants utterly.
The Faendryl were thenceforth known as "dark elves" and would never again be welcome in the Elven Nations.
In the present day, most Faendryl live in the city of New Ta'Faendryl, established north of Rhoska-Tor. Korvath Dardanus Faendryl is the thirty-ninth and current Patriarch. There have been some overtures to opening up more trade with the outside world, and an embassy is maintained in Ta'Illistim for the benefit of those who wander the lands of Elanthia, but for the most part the Faendryl prefer to continue their research in isolation.
Most Faendryl are magically inclined by birth. In the early days of the house, while they were still part of the Elven Empire, about eighty percent of the Faendryl population worked with some form of magic. As the modern Faendryl nation engages in very little foreign trade, it has become necessary for more citizens to take up practical occupations, though of course their skills are often augmented by magical means.
Though they delight in the vanquishing of opponents, the typical Faendryl does not especially enjoy the actual process of doing so. It is more likely to be simply a distraction from scholarly pursuits or political machinations. They'll loathe close physical contact with a foe, though again, they are not above any means, really, to meet their ends. Scheming to achieve power, wealth, and prestige is how they'll spend most of their days: manipulating, assassinating, stealing are well within the range of acceptable means. Officially, of course, plotting to murder another Faendryl is considered a form of treason and strictly outlawed -- but accidents happen.
Of the magical disciplines, sorcery is regarded most highly by the Faendryl. While some may choose to specialize in elemental or spiritual magic, it is commonly believed among the Faendryl that sorcery is the perfect binding of the two spheres and should be the true way to understand the fabric of the world. (Mental magic, brought to Elanthia by the Erithi, is a mere afterthought -- at least in public -- and many Faendryl do not even admit it truly exists.)
Sorcerers who work with demonic summoning must, by law, contract with a Palestra-trained warrior (commonly called simply "a Palestra").
- Main article: Palestra
Though an integral part of Faendryl society, it is rare to see a Palestra-trained warrior outside of New Ta'Faendryl. It has been speculated that perhaps this is because the discipline of the Palestra discourages the "renegade" lifestyle that is associated with sorcerers roaming the lands. Nevertheless, Faendryl warriors who are not graduates of the academies (including skilled adventurers!) are occasionally given a chance to prove themselves and earn a place among the ranks.
Palestra graduates may either serve the Faendryl nation or contract privately with a sorcerer for a fixed duration (1-100 years normally). It is not uncommon for a Palestra to serve under many different masters at different points in life.
- The Palestra is not a servant to the master, simply a sworn protector.
- The highest shame on a Palestra is for his master to be destroyed, especially by a demon.
- Palestra are quite magically inclined often learn spells or simply learn to use magic items well.
Past trials for adventurers:
- The Faendryl Empire: The History of the Faendryl
- The Theory of Governance and Social Order
- Path to Palestra
- Elanthian Divination: An Overview of Faendryl Divination Practices
- Ceremony for the Marriage of Faendryl in the Diaspora
- Faendryl Symposium (2015 festival)
- Saved posts
- Palestra saved posts
- Dark Elves Officials folder
- Dark Elf Cultures, on Play.net
- The Faendryl Empire, on Play.net
Behind the Scenes
When GemStone III divorced itself from the licensing for Shadow World and Rolemaster, the world name was changed back to Elanthia and the history had to be written over again from scratch. The central story of this new timeline was the rise and fall of the Faendryl. The exile of the Faendryl to the underworld beneath the wasteland, and their physical transformation becoming darker and more magically powerful, clearly originates in the "faerzress" concept of the Drow and the Underdark in Dungeons & Dragons. The Drow were the genocidal dark elves who lived in underground caverns.
Despana, Tormtor, Dharthiir, Shar, and possibly Breganda were Drow words taken from the Forgotten Realms world setting. In practice the Faendryl were not developed to mirror the Drow, which more closely resemble the later Dhe'nar culture which began as a player group. Southron Wastes, Maelshyve, and Rhoska-Tor appear to be based on archaic languages.
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