House of Vaalor

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House of Vaalor
Crest a golden wyvern on a field of crimson
Jewel blazestar (crimson)
Statement "For honor, pride, and glory."
Founder Aradhul Vaalor
Ruler Qalinor Vaalor

The House of Vaalor have always produced the finest warriors of the Elven race. All Vaalor, male and female, enter the military at a young age, serving for some hundred years. Perhaps because of this, they are the haughtiest of the Elves. They had little tolerance for the lesser peoples of the lands, especially mixed-breeds. They have never suffered the Elven culture or bloodlines to be tainted by others. During the height of the Elven Empire, they chafed under the leadership of the Faendryl, believing the high seat should be theirs.

History

Crestdragon small.jpg

Early Vaalor

The House of Vaalor was among the earliest elven houses to form in the Second Age when the elves first emerged from their ancestral forests. Formally founded in year 210 of the Elven Calendar (48,897 years before Modern Era), the House of Vaalor began as an alliance between the six families that settled on an island upon the Mistydeep River. Ta'Vaalor, the work of the great Aradhul Vaalor, was built more as a fortress than a city. As Ta'Vaalor grew and more elves flocked to join the house, Vaalor society became stratified: the original families became the landed nobility, and others were considered commoners.

Regardless of their heritage, all Vaalor elves were expected to train as soldiers. Aradhul named the Vaalorian army the "Crimson Legion", and full citizenship was restricted to those who served. Military advancement was based on merit (though naturally, the noble scions could afford the best tutors). Each of the noble houses also commanded a militia for their own territories. Successive campaigns led by Aradhul and the Vaalorian Patriarchs that followed him claimed wide swaths of territory for the Elven Empire, giving rise to many lesser landed noble families to administer the new holdings. Lineages were carefully recorded to ensure that those who could trace their bloodline to the city's founding were given the proper deference.

In year 1529 (47,578 years before Modern Era), Zishra Nalfein, head of one of the major noble families, tired of the regimented traditions of the Vaalor court and left with his followers to found his own house at Ta'Nalfein along the southeastern coastline of Elanith. Ta'Nalfein would become the political center of the Elven Empire, drawing those who preferred more social fluidity.

Elven Empire

During the height of the Elven Empire in the Second Age, the Vaalor clashed often with the leadership of the House of Faendryl. The other elven houses mostly deferred to the Faendryl in respect of their mastery of magic, but the Vaalor believed themselves more suited to command. While the Faendryl dedicated themselves to research, the Vaalor continued to expand the reach of the Empire, claiming territories as far west as Darkstone Bay near modern-day Wehnimer's Landing, and often fought brigands from the uncivilized races. On one occasion, a Vaalorian prince was killed by a rebel group known as the "Black Wolves" led by Aramur Forean. The Vaalor sent an army to hunt them down and trapped the Black Wolves in the sea caves, where they eventually died of starvation, and -- according to legend -- became wraiths who haunt those caves to this day.

In the thirtieth millennium of the Empire, news began to arrive of orcs and trolls gathering in great numbers in the Southron Wastes, along with something else never before seen. The barren wastes were of little interest to the elves, however, and those strange rumors were dismissed in the elven courts. When the undead horde of Despana emerged and struck at the Elven Nations, the nobility continued to believe it was not truly a threat. Taki Rassien, the greatest Vaalorian warrior of his time, led his Sabrar knights to the fortress of Shadowguard, determined to stop the undead advance there. The Battle of ShadowGuard lasted less than one day. The undead destroyed the entire garrison, leaving fewer than a score of survivors. The elite Vaalor armies had been lost, along with Taki himself. (Tens of thousands of years later, a journal was recovered detailing what happened on that day.)

The defeat at Shadowguard shocked the houses into cooperation, and together with allies from the other races of Elanthia, the undead were fought to a standstill, then ultimately defeated years later at the Battle of Maelshyve.

The fallout from Maelshyve led to the banishment of the House of Faendryl from the Elven Nations. The next twenty millennia were known as the Age of Chaos. Power struggles consumed what remained of the Elven Empire. The outlying territories rebelled with the Vaalor army absent, too focused on safeguarding their home against the other houses. Piece by piece, the Empire that had extended over all of Elanith fractured and diminished. The Vaalor withdrew inward, maintaining their own small pocket of order and discipline but rarely deigning to venture outside their protected walls. The traditionally hereditary Vaalorian royal succession changed to an elective monarchy selected by a Council of Regents, which in turn consists primarily of members of the original five noble families.

Modern Era

Approximately four thousand years ago, in year 725 of the Modern Era, the burghal gnomes made their first appearance in the Elven Nations. Starting from Ta'Nalfein and quickly spreading to Ta'Vaalor and the rest of the elven cities, Winedotter gnomes integrated easily into elven society, finding employment as household servants to the nobility. Today, many burghal gnomes are settled in an enclave in the tunnels beneath Ta'Vaalor.

A cult of V'tull in the city was actively repressed in the year 2537 by Vaalor authorities after uprisings and no evidence of resurgence has arisen since.

Some time in the recent past, an elven sorcerer named Virktoth went mad after the death of his wife and turned to necromancy, raising an army of the undead to invade Ta'Vaalor. He was slain on a hill not far northeast of the city. The area is known today as Virktoth's Hill, and various undead creatures are still drawn to it.

In 5102, the Second Battle of Shadowguard occurred, this time as undead armies of the Dark Alliance assaulted the elven city-states in search of a shard of the Griffin Sword. In this battle, the Vaalor military defeated their undead opponent.

In 5112, King Tyrnian was assassinated by Tiope Ysinia Vaalor, one of the Crimson Legion commanders (it was later discovered that she was under the spell of a powerful lich). Qalinor Falustro Vaalor was chosen as the successor and coronated from his position as Steward in 5113.

Culture

Vaalor is the most populous of the elven houses. Vaalorian society is highly structured and hierarchical. All Vaalor elves are keenly aware of the ranks of both nobility and military, and even slight breaches of etiquette may result in social bans. Lineages are carefully kept in the Hall of Records dating back to the founding, and only those who are born of the House of Vaalor may become citizens. The highest ranks of nobility are reserved for the original founding families. While infrequent, marriages do occur between nobles and commoners (especially as they serve together in the Crimson Legion without distinction of noble rank). Marriages outside the house are not unheard of but typically only made for political alliances. Relationships with non-elves are viewed with deep disapprobation to the point of violence.

Almost every young elf, male or female, serves for a compulsory period of a hundred years in the Crimson Legion, and many continue on to military careers. Citizenship is granted only after service. Elves of other houses as well as non-elves living in Ta'Vaalor may train as auxiliaries but are not given full citizenship. (Other elves may apply for partial citizenship, non-elves may not.)

Like the other elven houses, the Vaalor mainly view the Arkati as honored "patrons" but do not commit to especially devout worship. Kai, God of Physical Strength and Athletic Prowess, is most prominently honored, and tribute is also given to Koar, God of Justice, and Eonak, God of Labor. The lesser spirit Voln is viewed favorably given the Vaalorian history of fighting against the undead, and some female Vaalor warriors align with Leya as well.

Verbs

{verb} set {standard/culture}

Verb First Person Third Person
GIGGLE Just as you are about to giggle you remember that soldiers don't act like schoolgirls. There is no third-person messaging.
SALUTE (holding item) You snap to attention and bring your (item) to your chest in salute. Elf snaps to attention and crisply brings her (item) to her chest in salute.
SALUTE (empty hands) You snap to attention and strike your chest with a closed fist. Elf snaps to attention and crisply strikes her chest with a closed fist.
SALUTE <self> (holding item) You snap to attention and bring your (item) to your chest in salute, practicing your form. Elf snaps to attention and crisply brings her (item) to her chest in salute, practicing her form.
SALUTE <self> (empty hands) You snap to attention and strike your chest with a closed fist, practicing your form. Elf snaps to attention and crisply strikes her chest with a closed fist, practicing her form.
SALUTE <person> (holding item) You snap to attention and bring your (item) to your chest in a display of respect to (target). Elf snaps to attention and crisply brings her (item) to her chest in a display of respect to (target).
SALUTE <person> (empty hands) You snap to attention and strike your chest with a closed fist in a display of respect to (target). Elf snaps to attention and crisply strikes her chest with a closed fist in a display of respect to (target).
SALUTE <creature> (holding item) You snap to attention and bring your (item) to your chest in a honorific display towards (target). May the best warrior win! Elf snaps to attention and brings her (item) to her chest in a honorific display towards (target). May the best warrior win!
SALUTE <creature> (empty hands) You snap to attention and strike your chest with a closed fist in a honorific display towards (target). May the best warrior win! Elf snaps to attention and strikes her chest with a closed fist in a honorific display towards (target). May the best warrior win!
SALUTE <object> (holding target) You snap to attention and crisply raise your (item) in salute. Elf snaps to attention and crisply raises her (item) in salute.
SALUTE <object> (holding item) You snap to attention and bring your (object) to your chest in a display of respect to (target). Elf snaps to attention and brings her (object) to her chest in a display of respect to (target).
SALUTE <object> (empty hands) You snap to attention and strike your chest with a closed fist in a display of respect to (target). Elf snaps to attention and strikes her chest with a closed fist in a display of respect to (target).
SCREAM You bolster your morale with a Vaalor call to arms, belting out in (language), "(random message as noted below)!" Elf belts out in (language), "(random message)!" A look of renewed pride overcomes her expression.
"For Honor, Pride, and Glory!" "Remember Shadowguard!"
"{Elf's family name}!" "For the honor of Noble Qalinor!"
"For the pride of the Vaalor!" "For the glory of the Fortress!"
"Remember the Sabrar!"
TURN You turn in a slow, precise circle, assessing your surroundings from every direction. Elf turns her head in a slow, precise movement, assessing her surroundings.
TURN <self> You turn sharply on your heel, reversing direction with military precision. Elf turns sharply on her heel, reversing direction with military precision.
TURN <person> / <creature> / <object> With military precision, you turn sharply on your heel to face (target). With military precision, her turns sharply on her heel to face (target).


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