On the Merits of Separation (essay)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: An Essay on the Merits of Separation

Author: Lord Shayterit Emeryth

I recently sat in on a lecture given by Lord Joshell at Rone Academy concerning Elven History and Politics. As I sat, listened and watched, I grew fairly dismayed at how how much of the audience (many of whom were of Elven blood!) was ignorant of the benefits derived from formation of the Seven Houses and of the truth of the Faendryl "exile." I write this short document in hopes of enlightening others.

---Lord Shayterit Emeryth, High Scholar


At his lecture, Lord Joshell stated that had the original Elven Nations not followed Korthyr Faendryl's proposal to split into the Seven Houses, that "they would still all be living millennia behind where they are now." This is a bit of an understatement. Had the Elven Nation remained whole, then currently speaking we would all be undead in service to Despana. I'll discuss this statement in more detail later on in this paper.

Back in the days when the Elven bloodlines were all mingled and power was centralized, progress came slowly or not at all. Research into various types of magic or craft-building was done by various individuals and groups, but for the most part nothing was accomplished. This was because the energies of the Elves was wasted in conflicts between bloodlines and bickering among the ruling body of the day. Thus all the Elves' time and energy were spent maintaining things as they were, instead of in moving forward. All this was brought to an end by the brilliant ideas of Korthyr Faendryl.

Based on the suggestions and ideas of Korthyr, the Elven people seperated into seven groups, each lead by a dominant bloodline and made up of lesser bloods with similar specialties and ideals. These groups each took on the name of the dominant bloodline leading them, turning them into the Seven Houses. Each House spread to an area that suited its tastes and began to develop it in the manner they decided was best. Each House was autonomous within its realm, with common laws held between them all. The House of Faendryl quickly became the nominal leaders, and their realm was established as the center of Elven rule. From there a central Council, made up of leaders from each of the Houses, kept the peace between the Houses and made sure all laws passed were just and fair. With this new system of government in place, the Houses were free to pursue the areas of expertise that they wished. Progress was swiftly made as each House went in its own direction, news of innovations in magic, art, and technology passing between the Houses and keeping them all equal. As new generations were born, those that had no aptitude for their Houses specialty, or no wish to practice it, were able to find work and apprenticeship in the cities of the other Houses and thus bring fresh skills and knowledge to their own House. This grand system of rule allowed the Elven Empire to flourish for millennia, and to begin the civilizing of the lesser races. Unfortunately, this system was shattered in time.

As more contact was made with the lesser races, argument once again broke out amonst the Elves. Different factions of the various Houses had their own ideas of how the other races should or shouldn't be treated and whether all this contact was diluting Elven purity. As these arguments took place, tensions began to grow among the Houses. There are rumors, and a little historical proof, that the Vaalor first began to grow jealous of the Faendryl's position of leadership under the influence of human groups wishing to destroy Elven unity and take power for themselves. It was in this time of tension and turmoil that Despana showed up with her army of undead.

When Despana first started to wage her war to gain power over the entire world, she first turned her eyes upon the Elves as they were the single largest threat to her potential rule. And so she struck, before the Elves learned of her ambitions and moved to stop her. In her first strikes she cut into outlying provinces of the Houses. If the first Elven Nation had chosen to stay together and not go on to form the Houses, this first onslaught would have finished the war before it began. At the very least it would have decimated the Elven forces to the point that resistance would have been impossible. By forming the Houses the Elves encouraged expansion, established trade routes (some of which are still earning merchants a profit to this day) and set the fields of magic, military strategy and advanced technology far ahead of anything the other races could dream of.

I'll now devote a little time and space to establishing the truth about the Faendryl "exile" for those that are ignorant of the facts or misunderstand them. After the destruction of Maelshyve the ruling council of the Empire was called together to confront the Faendryl about the magic they had used that had won the day. The charges were brought up by the Vaalor, who had finally succumbed to their jealousy of the Faendryl and used this chance to usurp power for themselves. The Faendryl argued their case, showing proof that their demon summoning did nothing to weaken the veil and that what they had done was the only thing that had saved them all. The Council was divided on the matter, as the Faendryl had always been good and honest leaders in the past. But then the Nalfein shifted the balance of power by siding with the Vaalor. Matters could have stayed like this for some time, as the Faendryl still commanded the respect of most of the Elven peoples. But the Faendryl leaders were wise enough to see that if the council kept going on like this that eventually things would deteriorate into a civil war. Rather than see this happen they voluntarily moved to remove themselves from elven affairs. As everyone knows from history, this did little to stop the deterioration of the elven empire as the remaining Houses didn't trust anyone else but themselves to properly rule in the absence of the Faendryl, and thus fell to bickering among themselves.

Contributor's note:

Taken from the House Chesylcha library, c.1999.