The Dark Elves are the dusky skinned children of Malin. In ages past they were called the Mali'ker, meaning dark or night Elves, by their High Elven cousins but are known as Dark Elves in common speech.
Physically, Dark Elves are usually slightly taller than Wood Elves and quite a bit shorter than High Elves, averaging about 5'10" to 6'4" with some slightly shorter or slightly taller. Like all Elves, they are lithe and frail compared to other races, weighing in at only 100-160 lbs. However, they are the most muscular elven subrace, making them the best built for combat, particularly in close combat and skirmishes. The one trait that stands out for Dark Elves is their dusky colored skin. This skin tone ranges from a light gray to almost jet-black. Sometimes a slight hint of bluish or violet hue is seen in the skin tone as well. It is noted by some that these skin tones match the night sky or the shadows cast by the deepest forests. Offsetting their dark skin tone is the pale colors seen in the hair of Dark Elves. Commonly seen is pure white, the color of snow, though platinum and silvery highlights are not uncommon. Very pale blonde or copper colored hair are rare and sometimes denote a mixed heritage though not always. Rarely seen hair colors are black and a pale bluish hue. Eye colors are usually blue or violet, as typical among Elves, but red is also commonly seen. In rare cases the eye color of a Dark Elf may include crimson or green. These colors aren't as bright as High Elven eye colors, but rather subdued or pale. Black colored eyes are rare, while brown and yellow are unheard of.
Like all Elves, Dark Elves enjoy the long life of near immortality. And like their cousins, it is hard to tell the age of a Dark Elf except by the look in their eyes as they accrue age, wisdom, and experience.
See: Curse of the Elves.
Dark Elven culture lack the distinctness of High Elven culture due to continued intermingling with their cousins in Malinor. However Dark Elves still maintain some cultural differences from their neighboring Wood Elves and High Elves. While High Elves are reserved and almost dispassionate, Dark Elves are quite the polar opposite. Dark Elves live their lives through passion and expression. This manifests itself in the way they speak and the way they dress. Everything comes from the heart of a Dark Elf. Some note that Dark Elves are closer to Humans in their mannerisms than most Elves, however under close observation one can see that this couldn't be further from the truth. While a Dark Elf may favor action over inaction, they will not act foolishly or brashly. Like all Elves, Dark Elves have centuries of personal experience and a millennium of collective wisdom to aid them in their choices. So while a Human will be quick to fight the good fight against an apparent evil, a Dark Elf will consider their actions carefully before taking part in them. In viewing their brethren, some Dark Elves have been known to show a similar level of racial prejudice to those of the High Elves (who almost all Dark Elves view with particular disdain).
One of the most important aspects of Dark Elven culture is the family. This is displayed through their expression in both where they live and in their dress. As stated above, Dark Elves wear jewelry to denote their accomplishments and their expressions, this is done so not only through the individual but also by their family. Family signets and symbols are commonly worn. Heraldry and family accomplishments also adorn the homes of Dark Elves. A Dark Elf places great weight on the opinions and choices of their family's eldest member. This is usually the parent of the Dark Elf in question but could also be a grandparent or other relative such as an aunt, uncle, or even sibling. Dark Elves try to live up to the standards set by their families and work towards the progress of everyone within the family. Parents are fiercely protective of their children and those under them, though this comes as a double-edged sword as they are also very demanding of their children. In addition, their parents prove to be a deciding factor in their lives even after they become adults socially. It is not uncommon for a parent to urge their child to pursue a certain profession and to take a big part in their education, either instructing the child themselves or handpicking their instructor. Arranged marriages, a practice almost unheard of in Elven culture, can take place among the Dark Elves, though still rarely so. When the practice is performed, it is set up by having the children quite literally grow up together. More often than not, the two child will end up falling in love with each other. Usually the presence of one's parent in a Dark Elf's life lessens once they marry and start their own family. Often, the families simply merge into a larger house with the eldest or wisest at the head.
Out of all the subraces of Elves, Dark Elves could be considered the most fashionable. Expression is very important to Dark Elves and one of the most favored ways of showing what is on their mind or how they view themselves in the world around them is through their dress. Dark Elves prefer to wear bold colors. These range from darker reds, blacks, dark browns to brighter greens, blues, and purples. They stay away from subdued and natural colors, including pastels, preferring to stand out in their natural environment. The exception of course is when they are trying to remain hidden through the use of camouflage. Dark Elves believe in the natural beauty of their bodies and will wear clothing to accentuate their appearances. Females will show a bit of skin but do not do such in a lewd or provocative manner. The point of fashion is to show their disposition and to express themselves, not to look like a harlot. It is important to note that according to tradition, Elves of all sub-races do not see the showing of skin or nudity as taboo or unusual. However in their wisdom they will keep themselves conservatively covered up around outsiders to respect their traditions and modesty. Many Elves in the modern age no longer view nudity as freely and it is considered more proper to be covered up. Jewelry is also important to Dark Elves. These are excellent ways to show off achievements or status. Commonly worn are signets of a family house or profession, be it rings, brooches, or even piercings. Dark Elves do not have the same reservations about invasive jewelry as their High Elven cousins, but still do so conservatively. The idea is to accentuate the person through these expressions, not entirely eclipse them. With all that said, Dark Elves do not flaunt their wealth and prestige. Though they tend to wear bolder clothes and jewelry than their cousins, they still do so tastefully. Wealth and influence means very little. It is the merit and the accomplishments that means more.
Dark Elves, like all Elves, are fervent patrons of the arts. They prefer lasting masterpieces that will survive the years as they do. Sculptures of fine stone (like marble or granite) or metal are regarded more so than ones made out of more perishable materials such as wood and paintings on canvas. Dark Elves prefer songs, poetry, and theater, as these methods of expression can be handed down throughout the generations and last forever.
Combat and Weapons
Martial arts are the most preferred of Dark Elves, with swordplay and hand-to-hand techniques at the forefront. All Dark Elves are taught swordplay or hand-to-hand combat at a very early age. The idea isn't to make them fierce warriors, but to open their mind and body to expression and discipline. Dark Elves are some of the best craftsman of swords. Their swordsmiths produce the finest folded steel blades with edges that last for a lifetime if well kept. Some of the more expensive Dark Elven blades use carbarum edged steel for strength. Other blades use a steel-gold alloy that makes the blade heavier and sharper but also more prone to losing its edge. The artwork inscribed upon the blades and hilt is also of exquisite quality. The downside is that such blades are hard to commission as they take years and sometimes decades to craft. The swords crafted by Dark Elves resemble a cross between a Rapier and a Longsword, making them versatile in both piercing and slashing attacks, require more finesse to use then strength. It is not uncommon for a Dark Elf to collect such weapons crafted by their kin or other races. Some value a well made weapon highly, no matter what the race of the craftsman as there is no racial discrimination among such artists and craftsmen. However, others think differently about using weapons from foreign places and frown upon the act. Dark Elves are known to prefer the sword over the bow, but archery is not uncommon among them. Living with their cousins in the forests of Malinor, they take to the bow as a means of protecting their homelands. Dark Elven archers are most commonly soldiers or rangers in the Elven military structure whereas a swordsman may simply practice as a hobby.
Dark elves are not expected to adhere to any gods though they are expected to praise and honor their Ancestors. The Ancestors are the spirits of dark elves that have passed on to the Ancestral Plane. Through many forms such as the erection of shrines, offerings, or hallowed words of veneration, a dark elf can honor their Ancestors in a positive way. It's believed that acts of debauchery, kin killing, and other wanton forms of violence or other generally frowned upon acts will see the abuser's spirit barred from the Ancestral Plane. While the Ancestral Plan is reserved for honorable mali'ker, those that are not are simply cast out and left to wander a realm of cold darkness all alone. To the dark elves, family and friends are everything so to come into a realm of solitude for eternity would be a living hell. When a dark elf passes, their body is cremated. The belief here is that the soul of the mali'ker is released and may now ascend to the Ancestral Plane for judgement. Once they arrive, their spirit may be evaluated by the Ancestors and their fate chosen. For a more in-depth analysis, view the Official Belief Thread
A small minority believe that their creation was a result of a union between Malin and the supposed Aengul of the moon, Velulaei. However, this account is hotly disputed and widely regarded as a fairy tale, with many even doubting the existence of a moon Aengul. Some scholars have hypothesised a possible link between this supposed deity and the moon goddess of the Kharajyr, Metztli. However, this link has been widely condemned by both the Kharajyr and Velulaei believers.
Very few dark elves existed in the land of Aegis. The few that did were associated with Malinor’s military group, The Wardens. Otherwise, not much is to be said of their existence during this time.
Asulon, a land of hope, turned out to be a place of despair for the dark elves. Many dark elves were enslaved by the Mori'Quessir, abused and killed by the race. The dark elves that remained within Malinor continued to do their duties in the military, while a specific dark elf Khel Oussana started to gain notice within elven society. Khel, meaning ‘darkness’, returned after escaping enslavement from the Mori. He was a fierce fighter and exceptional leader within the Malinorian military, proving a name for himself. At the same time a dark elven community grew in the wilderness (Malin's Gorge), created by a group of families that venerated Velulaei (believed to be the Moon Aengul), led by Lord Goroth Klaren. This group and its believers would later clash with those led by Khel Oussana.
Because of the popularity amongst the dark elven populace for Lord Goroth, he was made Steward of the Mali'ker districts on the islands of Elysium and Kalos. Before the disastrous volcanic eruption on Elysium, the dark elves lived in a district buried into the depths of the mountain upon which the Malinorian settlement was built. Later, upon moving to Kalos, the dark elves joined districts with the wood elves.
Dark elves began to rise in Anthos, their population quickly growing while gaining prominent positions in government and earning respect from their elven brethren. Khel Oussana became a Prince of Malinor and sparked a nationalist movement within the dark elves, helped by the failed attempts at establishing a dark elven district by Steward Goroth. Prince Khel, however, noticed many problems within the Malinorian government and soon wished to lead his people from the nation. After being betrayed by fellow council members, namely High Prince Koylat, Prince Khel led his kind out of Malinor and founded the dark elven settlement of Darkhaven with his close friend Kaldo Raven’kor. While in Darkhaven, Khel and Kaldo introduced the concept of ancestral religion to the city. The practice quickly caught on. The worshipers of Velulaei, still led by the same now named Val'Goroth Klaren, were looked down upon because of their tendency to put Velulaei above the ancestors. While no violence occurred, constant political battles took place between the two groups for control of Darkhaven. Over time, the Dark Trinity, the group formed by the worshipers of Velulaei, subsided under Khel’s and Kaldo’s rule.
Khel Oussana suddenly died from unknown causes to the dismay of his people. Kaldo then stepped down from his role as Lord of Darkhaven, giving the Dark Trinity the opportunity to gain power. These families took over Darkhaven. Soon after this the Trinity decided to move their people to the wood elven settlement of Leanniel, abandoning Darkhaven. Here the dark elves lived in a district named Talonii Hollow, which was eventually destroyed when Leanniel was attacked by the Black Scrouge and decimated - the Dark Trinity apparently with it too. Yet again the dark elves were forced to move, this time to the Conclave of Malinor, a government which was cobbled together after the fall of Malinor. Here the dark elves resided with their elven brethren until the discovery of the Fringe.
With the discovery of The Fringe the high elves took their chance at power, creating a strong settlement in the war-ridden lands and offering refuge to the wood elves and dark elves. After a failed attempt by Val'Goroth Klaren to establish refuge for the dark elves within the walls of Haelun'or; the dark elves moved in with the wood elves in a settlement under Haelun’or known as Lin’ame where they were subject to the oppressive ways of the high elves. The dark elves were then forced by high elven leader Sohaer Kalenz Uradir to separate from the wood elves and establish their own district named Ker’lomi. During this tumultuous time a male dark elf named Dak’ir Des’Nox began to arise as a leader of the people. Thus, after gaining enough power within the dark elven community, Dak’ir banished the remnants of the Dark Trinity from power and established himself as the new leader of his people. Soon after he declared the so called 'moon goddess religion' as heresy and the ways of the ancestors became the dominant belief of the dark elves. The rest of the Fringe saw no major events within the dark elves, and the land of Thales saw a similar pattern of stability.
After the move to Athera, a cave system was discovered below the high elven city of Anni’sul, providing a suitable home for the dark elves. While things looked to remain peaceful between the elven subraces, tensions soon rose between the wood and high elves, causing civil war to break out between the two. The dark elves remained neutral in this, not wanting to get involved. Ultimately the high elves were banished from their own city, the wood elves taking over as the rulers. The high elves would not allow this to remain for long, however, and soon schemed over how to retake the city. Amid this time the dark elves began splitting between two sides. A new group named the Laurir’ker formed and started assisting the high elves in their plans to retake the city while Dak’ir stayed out of the war with his followers. Soon enough the high elves struck back with the help of the Laurir’ker and the armies of the Holy Orenian Empire, forcing the wood elves to flee. During the intense battles the dark elves' home was destroyed, giving an opportunity for the Laurir’ker to overtake Dak’ir and claim leadership over the dark elves. Dak’ir promptly moved to the city of Ceru’lin, the newly-constructed wood elven city. Here Dak’ir bid his time, slowly accumulating dark elven followers. Back in the main dark elven populace the Laurir’ker soon became unpopular, ruling with aggressive tactics. Within the next few years numerous events happen. Dak’ir discoverd a hidden cave in the forests south of Haelun’or, while the high elves again waged war against the wood elves, pushing them back into the refuge of the forest. During this Dak’ir founded the dark elven settlement of Ker’nor in the caves, reuniting the dark elven people as the Lauri’ker dissolved.
The dark elves were not completely left out of the war, however; soon Haelun’or pressured the dark elves into an alliance, forcing the dark elves to fight with Haelun’or against the wood elves. As the violence reached its peak between the elves, Oren attempted to intervene and end the war. High elven Sohaer Kalenz Uradir would have none of this, however, and in one of the most shocking events in Athera he assassinated the King of Oren. The many humans of Oren, now furious, forced the three elven cities to become vassals of the Kingdom, and thus Ker’nor became a vassal to Oren. Around this time the destruction of Athera occurred as all of the races fled to Vailor.
In Vailor, the dark elves settled on their own island near the wood elves, naming the island Ker’nor just like their city in Athera. In addition they founded the city of Vivec on the island. Soon after they noticed a nearby volcano to their south, naming it Khel’igne in honour of the great Prince Khel Oussana. During this time a rebel group, the Warhawkes, attempted to overthrow Dak’ir but were soon put down by a coalition of dark, wood, and high elven forces. After these events, Dak’ir was forced to step down due to illness. He then handed the leadership of the dark elves to his brother Arzota Des’Nox and another dark elf named Grimwald.
Without warning, the volcano Khel’igne erupted, forcing the dark elves to flee to the wood elves with haste.
After healing from his sickness, Dak’ir returned and re-assumed control of his people, taking them from their refugee camp to create the city of Ebonglade in the pine forests east of Lareh’lin.
In chronological order...
- Malin's Gorge
- Talonii Hollow
- Ker’lomi (Thales)
- Ker’lomi (Athera)
- Khel Oussana was the long-time leader of the Dark Elves and his spirit is still believed to influence decisions made today. His original name was Dezar, but he changed it to Khel, meaning darkness, after escaping enslavement by the Mori. You can read more about his origins here.
- Despite differing views, the Dark Trinity do worship their ancestors - it simply happens to be that they believe their oldest recorded family member ascended to become an Aengul. This is what caused conflict with the Des'nox and Oussana.
- On a different note, did you know that the Dark Elves have a close relationship with the Wood Elves? You can read more about their allies on the Wood Elves page.
|Human||Heartlander · Highlander · Farfolk · Adunian|
|Elf||Woof Elf · High Elf · Dark Elf · Snow Elf|
|Dwarf||Cave Dwarf · Mountain Dwarf · Forest Dwarf · Dark Dwarf|
|Orc||Olog · Goblin|
|Other||Special||Construct Races · Spectral Races · Undead Races|
|Kharajyr||Kha'Leparda · Kha'Cheetrah · Kha'Pantera · Kha'Tigrasi|
|Hou-Zi||Laobai-Zhu · Fei-Zhu · Hei-Zhu|