The High Elves are the tall, fair-skinned children of Malin. The majority of them call themselves the mali'aheral, or blessed elf in ancient elven, who believe their heritage makes them the 'highest' of the races. This name later evolved into 'High Elves' in common speech. Many believe the 'High' stands for their proud and obnoxious treatment of all others. The culture of the High Elves is based upon racial purity above all else as they despise interbreeding with other subraces. 'Pure' mali'aheral, or those who are 100% of high elven blood, are referred to as Mali'thill to further distinguish between high elves who are pure and those who are not. Most mali'aheral live within the nation and lands of Haelun'or. Other high elves who are either not regarded as pure or do not belong to Haelun'or are also found throughout the lands of Vailor.
High Elves are especially famed for their pride, their ambitious practice of the sciences and arts, and their acquired skills in magic. It is often assumed that High Elves consider all races beneath them. This is only partially true, as most High Elves are likely to hold impure High Elves in low regard and generally ignore other races.
- 1 Physical Attributes
- 2 Other Attributes
- 3 Culture
- 4 History
- 5 Full Lore
The High Elves are the tallest and longest lived of the Elven subraces; with recorded purebred heights ranging between 5’8” and 6’6”, but generally averaging between two to four inches of six feet in height; with women being slightly shorter on average than men. They are widely known and identified among the various Elven clans by their fairness of skin, the color of which ranges from pale white to a light tan - but often manifesting somewhere in between. Their bright skin is often complimented by soft straight or wavy hair ranging from bright metallic platinums and silvers to golden or flaxen blondes and occasionally light browns. While blue, aqua, and violet eyes are exclusive to the subrace; instances of colors ranging from deep purples to vibrant greens have all been recorded; the one constant being that the eyes seem to shine when exposed to the light due to naturally occurring reflective deposits in the irises stemming from their magical heritage.
High Elven facial features are generally angular and refined - with distinct brows, high cheekbones, and pointed ears ranging from three to five inches in length. Their skin is supple and smooth by nature, soft like silk to the touch and seemingly impervious to the weathering of age. So much so that the age of an adult High Elf cannot be appropriately guessed save by the deposits in their eyes, which becomes noticeable in the sun and moon at fifty and continue to grow at in vibrance at a progressively slower rate until five hundred. They are blessed with heightened immune systems and metabolisms; resulting in both an innate resistance to most diseases, and particularly lightweight bodies - with streamlined and dexterous physiques ranging from ectomorphic to mesomorphic in nature. That is, of course, not to say that there are no heavy or muscular High Elves; or that they are viewed with revulsion - simply that they are not the norm.
Due to the emphasis on logical thought, it is not impossible that some High Elves will be portrayed as cold, emotionally devoid and insensitive. To understand the demeanor of them one cannot approach the undertaking with any trace of a negative disposition for their own part, as this will immediately lead what would otherwise be a neutral happening to the realm of darker emotions and result in an unfavorable judgment; from lack of self-control, to poor interpretation and reasoning. To avoid deriving insult from the words of a High Elf one should consider them in a broader context - in both time and meaning. The other descendant races will have difficulty comprehending some of the actions that are performed due to the different mental time-frame their mortality imposes upon them. It is important to not only account for what a High Elf does, but also the deeper aspect of how that affects the many days that are to come.
The High Elves enjoy the same benefits of a long lifespan as most of the Elves do. The signs of old age set in slower and less distinct than they do in other races. Slight difficulty can be expected when estimating the age of a High Elf. Primarily in the eyes can you see the wisdom, and therefore the age, of the one that stands before you.
See: Curse of the Elves.
The lifestyle of the mali’aheral is summarized in the common phrase “maehr’sae hiylun’ehya”, a creed commonly spoken as a blessing between two interacting High Elves. The closest translation is “progress and health” Progress (maehr’sae) refers to the overall development of wisdom the mali’aheral uphold as their ideal. A fulfilled life should be one filled with knowledge, arts and science. Health (hiylun) is about retaining the purity and continued existence of the High Elven breed while ensuring every mali’aheral can live with dignity (have a proper house, proper clothing, proper education, etc.). It’s highest priority is protecting their own while outlawing any sort of cross breeding within their kin. These concepts become the root of mali’aheral life and law. Mali'aheral are often skilled in finer craftsmanship (like jewelry), strategy, smithing, the sciences, writing and poetry, fine arts and magic. Most High Elves are encouraged to adopt such professions, should they wish to be treated warmly and appreciated by their brethren.
The scientists, artists and scholars are considered to be the most prestigious within a High Elven community. Their publications and submissions within the Arts are their primary way to secure a political office. The High Elves like to run their own schools in order to ensure the spreading of wisdom. One such establishment is the Haelun'or College. Here education is given on various subjects, like literature, arts, sciences, language and even magic. Most educated High Elves spend their time here working on various publications and passing their knowledge upon the budding students that visit the college. These centers of learning are widely famed for the abundant knowledge they possess, but only rarely is an outsider allowed to freely indulge in the entirety of its contents.
The mali'aheral consider it their duty to look after and even police others of their kind. The laws of the Elves dictate that any High Elf of pure blood should be accommodated with a house and job. Homeless or unemployed High Elves are unheard of and reflect badly upon the community as a whole. How each High Elven community takes care of their lower kinsmen differs. The mali'aheral also outlaw the inbreeding of their kin with any of the other races. They look down on non-mali'aheral, with a tendency to be friendlier to other Mali, being the most critical towards the Dwarves and Orcs. A High Elf that produces offspring with anyone but another pure High Elf is considered 'impure' and is exiled from the city. The same fate may befall pure High Elves deemed to have too strong associations with the other races. High Elves in this predicament receive none of the care or assistance from their Council the pure High Elves do.
Mali’aheral are not to be mistaken for obstinate pacifists in any regard, they apply themselves to the study of combat with equal measure to other aspects of learning. Whilst not advocates of battle, they recognize the important place it holds in the reality of the world, along with accepting the fact that establishing something worth fighting for is only a fragment of the grand task; knowing how to defend it, another. The military is integrated into the education system and does not distinguish between soldiers and students; all aspects of study take place within the College, including the arts of war.
The Eternal Library of Haelun’or is known as a center of knowledge across the land. Created in Asulon, this institution has tomes dating back hundreds of years. One can find information on nearly anything within this library, although access is only granted to pure mali’aheral and restricted for all others.
High Elves practice no religion, due to their belief that placing faith in an invisible deity (and as such one that cannot have its motives or intentions explained rationally) would be an illogical thing to do. Believing dogma to be of no use to them or even detrimental to progress and innovation, the word 'religion' itself has a stigma attached to it. However, the extreme adherence High Elves have to their attaining of knowledge and wisdom is of no less intensity than the zeal of those that excessively practice religion.
In chronological order...
- The Silver City (Elcihi'thilln)
- The Tomb
- The Refuge
- The Citadel
The history of the mali’aheral, like all elves, begins in a fiery war which consumed the known world. In ancient times, while the four brothers were young, the archdaemon Iblees rose to power and sought to bend the mortal realm to his desire.
The elves were a distinct race at this time, lithe and pointy eared, but it would be a long time before they developed any characteristic sub-racial features or even the infertility and long life they were known for today. During the great war, the elves were merely the sons and daughters of Malin, and had the features to prove it.
As the war progressed, Iblees attacked on all fronts, isolating the four brothers. Malin and his children were pushed back to a few strongholds on what would become the isles of Axios. Slowly the war turned back into the favour of the elves. Taynei’Hiylu, the green dragon and ward of Malin pushed away much of the archdaemons’ blighted undead army. But Taynei was soon sealed away to prevent any risk of the dragaar being corrupted and turned against the forces of the living.
Enter Larihei, trusted advisor of Malin. A veritable beauty, her skin was pale and smooth, her eyes an azure blue and her hair a gleaming silver- a trait very few elves possessed at the time. Yet beauty did not define her. In peace, she had been a scholar, a teacher and a pioneer of knowledge. In war, she had become a master of espionage. She was not a great warrior, but undeniably, her skill in the silver tongue, her innovations and her information behind enemy lines played a crucial role in Malin’s Children pushing back the Ibleesian horde. The Archdaemon’s forces would be driven off of Axios, and Malin would rejoin his brothers on Aegis to end them for good. Though, at a cost.
“Malin, I curse you with sterility, you and your kin shall forever lack the children they need. May your forest halls forever be silent, and your hearts heavy with sadness.”
The elves had not undergone drastic physical change like the dwarves or the orcs had, but Iblees’ final curse had hit them hard. In the years after the war, many a mother lamented, even took their own life due to having to look into the eyes of their stillborn child. Sorrow ran rampant among the newly long-lived, but infertile elves.
However, Malin, forefather of the elves, pushed on. The war had cost him the lives of many of his people, and of many unborn children in the years to come. But he would bring his kin into a golden age. The elves- now a long-lived yet infertile people, were his to lead.
In this newfound era of peace, on the lands which would become Axios, he would build his kingdom.
Magics of Old Malinor
The isles of Axios, the lands which had one been a fierce battleground against iblees, became Malin’s kingdom. He had chosen this land to become the home of his kin after the children of his brother Krug became too warlike to coexist with, and Urguan’s spawn too greedy to live among.
Malin set to building his kingdom. Marvelous cities which would have been alien to the eyes of men and dwarves, great halls hidden deep in the thickest forests, homes which weaved their ways seamlessly into the trees, built perfectly to co-exist with the wild, not replacing it, but becoming a part of it. The greatest settlement of Malinor was on the isle of Malin itself, an island named by the forefathers’ children as well. The city built upon this center isle of Axios was more magnificent than any other, though its name has been lost to time. It was there Malin’s throne lay, in the trunk of the eldest elder tree. It was there he ruled his people from.
Larihei had been bestowed many titles and honours by the Elven Forefather given her role in the bloody war and her part in the foundation of his Kingdom. Yet, she refused them all. Discarding any pomp and ceremony, she quietly returned to the places she loved most. Her laboratory, and her library. Indeed, Larihei dedicated vast amounts of resources and time to accumulating the largest pool of knowledge in all of Old Malinor. Elves would come miles for the chance to browse through the thousands of tomes painstakingly collected and written by the silver elf and her followers. But, only those who brought knowledge of value to the library’s gates in offering would be allowed inside.
Things progressed peacefully for years to come. Yet soon, all would not be well in the ancient Kingdom of the Elves.
Druidism played a heavy role in elven society. Malin himself was said to convene with the Aspects of nature themselves, and leaned heavily on the counsel given to him by the most elder of elven Archdruids. A faction of these Archdruids, the Taynei’Sil, reported the discovery of a new form of magics. Powers harnessed by words alone, imbued with the power of an altar from the realm of the Fae. An altar which granted its user the power to control all with the true name of all things.
Malin approved of this power when it was first presented to him. The war with Iblees was fresh in his memory and fae magics with the power to harness the power of entire ecosystems was an advantage he needed to prevent such a travesty from happening again. Larihei saw it differently. The silver elf saw the potential disaster that artifacts with such power could bring. And thus, she opposed it. Unsuccessfully. Larihei had influence, but not that which matched the venerability of old Malinor’s Archdruids. Her words fell on deaf ears, and her warnings went unheard.
That is, until the forest lashed out.
True names and the power of the Fae were things that mortals were not meant to tamper with. Natural energies beyond what the Aspects saw fit to bestow on the races of elves and men. This was proven true with the Taynei’Sil, attempting to control the Word Altar they’d discovered, set off a chain of events that went out of control, a chain of events they could not undo. The altar went haywire, and a good chunk of the forests on the isle of Malin turned feral. Plantlife overgrowing rapidly, both flora and fauna becoming vicious and man-eating, then rotting into husks on land, and flotsam in the sea.
Malin was horrified, and promptly outlawed the word altars. They would be buried deep beneath the earth in the most isolated of crevices in his Kingdom, wiped from the memories of elven kind. Larihei was not given credit for her warning and foresight. Uncaring as usual, she returned to her library to resume her pursuit of knowledge.
Rise of Larihei
Old Malinor was stagnant.
Tradition and the status quo ruled the day. The elves were content to dwell in their forests, pay respects to the spirit of the wild, and live in peace. But not all were willing to submit themselves to this mundanity.
Larihei and her inner circle had been busy. Deep within the depths of her great library they experimented, away from the public eye. It was this time that she and her followers had become enamoured with the Void. The existence of this plain of existence where all was everything and everything was nothing was not new to the elves. However, its potential was largely unused, as Old Malinorians preferred the familiar powers that the spirits of nature granted.
Within the bowels of the Library, the first true voidal casters emerged among the elves. First the evocations, harnessing the powers of wind, fire, water and air. Then, the alternationists, and the translocationists. The void was powerful. Yet, Larihei was careful. Science and progress was the word of the day. Advancement was incremental. Always controlled, always watched. She was determined not to repeat the mistakes of the Archdruids who’d tampered so carelessly with powers they didn’t understand.
Her efforts would pay off. And within decades, few could match the arcane prowess of her and her supporters. Their innovations brought new modern changes to the elven lifestyle. Enchanted appliances enhanced daily life, translocation made transportation that much easier, and even things as simple as a voidal fireworks show delighted children.
Yet, it made many uneasy.
The forefather himself was among the concerned. The ability to channel power from another realm of existence was sure to have long-term, unproven effects. As such, he placed an official order down for Larihei and her followers to cease and desist.
Larihei had served for centuries under Malin and his Kingdom. She had asked for no praise, nor reward. In return, her counsel had been ignored and her progress had been stifled. Disobeying the orders of her king, she continued, changing only to lead her people deep into caverns beneath the earth to continue their studies.
It was in these caverns that she found something extraordinary.
Some would call it destiny. That it was no coincidence she was drawn to it. Some would say that her affinity to the void created a natural connection between her and it, which led her to it. Either way, what Larihei discovered deep under the earth of Old Malinor were none other than the fabled golden pools of old. Intoxicating, addicting and above all else, soothing. Larihei began to bathe.
It took years before she noticed any discernible change.
Soon enough though, she realized she was altering. Her ears grew longer. Her body taller. Her eyes bluer. Her hair, though always had been silver, had begun to gleam. Her followers would notice the same happening to them. Furthermore, their arcane prowess seemed only to increase with exposure to the mysterious cavernous pools.
Bit by bit, and piece by piece, Larihei’s grand library and it's contents were moved into the caves. For now, they were out of the public eye. And with their influence no longer so heavy on the meat of old Malinorian society, Malin cast a blind eye to their goings on. In hindsight, likely a mistake. As the following years would lead to the birth of a race- the Mali’aheral.
As centuries passed, more and more were caught in the allure of the silver maiden living in exile in caves of golden ichor. Rumour spread fast from the forest floor to the high canopies of Malinor. Soon, what began as only a few became many who sought a better life for themselves. Who sought beauty and enhancement, who became estranged with Malin’s traditions and enamoured with the prospect of arcane and scientific power, as well as the hidden knowledge of the world kept from them out of fear. These elves searched far and wide for Larihei’s coven. Many found her. Each one who appeared at the gates of the golden pools, Larihei welcomed, and granted them the right to bathe.
This did not bode well for many. The Elves of old Malinor noticed many of their brothers, sisters and friends returning paler, fairer, and taller. A rift grew between those who bathed and dabbled in the arcane, and those who stuck to the old way. In isolated cases, ethnic violence erupted. The homes of mali’aheral were torched, and in return the followers of Larihei would equal acts of vandalism. Tensions had reached a boiling point. The elven world looked to Malin, the forefather, to put out the flames.
But Malin disappeared.
Larihei knew that now was the time to act, for if she didn’t, bloodshed would come to the elves. For the first time in many years, she emerged publicly out of her caves. Attended by a large contingent of silver haired mages and scholars, she marched right into the center of the heart of Malinor and declared her intent: an exodus of the Thilln.
Almost immediately, all the mali’aheral who had spent the last centuries bathing and perfecting their themselves in the golden pools answered the call. The old kingdom was dead, Malin’s dissapearance was the last straw. They had fulfilled their destiny and followed Larihei’s blessed leadership to achieve the purest form elfkind could achieve. Now it was time to leave, and create an ideal elven nation. One not afraid of progress, of the unknown, of maehr’sae hiylun’ehya.
Larihei led her followers into the frontier of the far west.
On the seaswept cliffs of western Tahn, elCihi’thilln was founded. The Silver City. Capital of the newly christened Haelun’or. The motherland, named in part after the Silver Maiden who had led them to this promised land, Larihei- the mother of all Mali’thilln.
Elcihi’Thilln came to be a jewel that elfkind had never seen before. Its name was apt. Its most notable feature was its skyline. Towering silver spires competed with one another in height as they reached for the sky. Buildings made of crystal with curved roofs shaped like a fairy’s wings. The mali’aheral believed in beauty, and as such their home was carved so delicately you could even assume a gentle breeze could blow it all away. Not so, however, as the greatest arcanists of the silver elves would keep their city protected with powerful wards.
The tallest of spires hosted one of two things. Memorials for honoured dead- usually in the form of murals and busts to which the living could pay their respects, and private collections of knowledge, owned by the most venerated of aristocrats. Indeed, Haelun’or was a meritocracy. Larihei herself stood at the top of the pyramid as the most venerated, a Maheral. Below her were a court of mages, scholars and scientists. Their position and influence within Elcihi’thilln depended in the wealth of knowledge they could offer to the state, and the innovations they provided. During this time, the forefathers of long lasting family lines established themselves- known names such as Sullas, Izalith, Thar, and Acal’aelor. Larihei herself was content to let her court argue and bicker among themselves over who was the most prodigious inventor or greatest mage, intervening occasionally to maintain the peace or give an executive order. She was still more scholar than leader.
To say that ancient mali’aheral society could be chaotic and dysfunctional was something of an understatement. But despite their pride and their feverish desire for advancement and scholarly recognition, an order kept their society together: maehr’sae hiylun’ehya. Health and progress. All silver elves knew that the state must survive in order for their way of life to survive, and that all their powers and innovations must go to the community.
Many ancient historians would deem the centuries following the founding of Elcihi’thilln to be the mali’aheral’s first and only true golden age. They would perhaps be right, as after centuries of flourishing, trouble would soon brew within the picturesque silver towers.
Lomal and the Altar of Tayl
The meritocracy of ancient Haelun’or could be harsh and unforgiving. As one Lomal Naeri’onn would soon learn. The young mali’aheral was barely past his first century, and like his father before him, aspired to be a powerful arcanist and a scholar, to leave his mark on the maehr’sae hiylun’ehya.
Lomal had trained in the arcane arts, history and sciences from a very young age. He’d proven himself a capable enchanter and become a learned man. Considering himself easily the equal of any other in his field, he sought out to rise up in the ranks of the court of the silver city. Yet, the found the reality to be different than what he’d expected. The Elders and the highest standing advisors and servants of Larihei saw Lomal as little more than a child. Unproven, and worse yet, arrogant to assume he could stand in their shadow.
Frustrated, Lomal returned to his laboratory. As the years went by, he would create more and more outrageous inventions. Each one more desperate than the last to gain him the recognition he needed to rise in Larihei’s court. Each one failed, and after each encounter the elder Scholars looked down upon him, more and more, as a laughing stock.
It was only when his brash experiments led to the death of two that his failures came to a head. What was meant to be an enhanced ward against basic evocations, when presented to the court of advisors, went haywire. Two elders were killed. Accidents like this were rare, and the entirety of Elcihi’thilln was shocked. Larihei herself descended down from her private tower to issue a personal exile upon the young Lomal, for surely such carelessness had no place in the maehr’sae hiylun’ehya.
The young exile left the silver city in disgrace, nursing his smoldering hatred and his wounded pride. His setback had not dampened his drive, only changed his goal. He would learn patience, and in time, take vengeance on Larihei and her pompous followers, who had done nothing but scorn him since the day he was born.
For a year, Lomal wandered, seeking the key to his success. It was on the first day of the Deep Cold, sleuthing through the timeless ancient forests of Malin’s old heartlands, that he found it.
Deep beneath the earth, an ancient altar long hidden away by the elven forefather.
Guarding the forbidden word altar was an ancient Ent. A tree lord, created long ago by druidic followers of Malin to ensure that none would dare attempt reawaken the altar’s cursed power. The fight that ensued was fierce, and perilous. But in the end, the roaring flames of the void, channeled with power that only wounded youth could manage, won the day. The ancient guardian of the wild collapsed in pain, smoldering, then burnt away.
Lomal placed his hands upon the altar, he felt power surging through it. Yet, it was alien to him, beyond his control. The words whispered to him when he connected himself to the stony surface were so familiar, yet alien. In despair, the vengeful young mali’thilln knew that he alone would never have the power to channel the magics of the ancients.
Enter the intervention of the divine.
Daemons were observant and omnipresent beings, always seeking for opportunities to increase their influence in the mortal realm in competition with the many other deities they shared this plain with. One such Daemon was Tayl, a trickster of a deity and one who desired mortals to do his will. As such, he took the form of a ghost and appeared before Lomal. But, not just any ghost- the ghost of the elven forefather himself, Malin.
‘Malin’s Ghost’ shocked Lomal, who appeared stunned beyond belief. But only until the spectral presence explained his desire. Lomal would serve him, the spirit of his people’s king, and in return he would be granted full control over the Word Altar. The power to bend nature to his will. Furthermore, the powers of the word altar would be enhanced.
Not only would he know the true names of flora and fauna, but the altar would also give him the true names of descendents- elves.
Naturally, the prideful youth, desperate for the power he needed to take his revenge, and completely taken in by the deceitful Daemon’s disguise, accepted this devil’s bargain.
Lomal returned to the great gates of Elcihi’thilln. Immediately he was received by a platoon of elite Sillumir, mali’aheral soldiers who guarded the silver city from the many monsters, plagues and savage wood elven seeds which roamed the primal wilds of Ancient Axios.
Lomal knew he had to be smart. His newfound powers made him very formidable, but a full frontal assault upon the silver city was still too much to handle, given the old master scholars and their great magics. No, force was not the way to win. To do that, he would destroy Larihei by manipulating the very system she had created.
Lomal spread his arms before the platoon, and his body began to glow. Ancient elven runes appearing in the forms of wisps of light began to circle around his body. One of the Sillumir gasped, then fell to his knees. His body began to wither, his skin shriveling up like a grape in the sun. He cocooned, and with a last ragged gasp, became a husk. The magic imbued upon Lomal by the word altar that Tayl had altered was fierce, and he now had the capacity to channel it to assume full control over plant, animal, and elf. He knew the true names of all.
Lomal stared down the horrified Sillumir, and made a simple, calm request: Grant me an audience with Larihei.
Trial by Fire: A Schism Forms
They stood in the great silver court. Larihei upon her upon a high seat she loathed to call a throne, and Lomal in the center of the room, staring up at the mother of his people, someone he had once considered larger than life. Everyone who was anyone was watching. The highest standing advisors, the wisest scholars and the greatest mages. All staring down the young high elf with passion in his eyes, who not long ago they had exiled.
Lomal told the truth, as he knew it.
The ghost of Malin had spoken to him. The forefather himself. The King’s Spirit had ascended to godhood, had given him a great power, and bestowed upon him a destiny. That destiny was to bring the high elven people back under the rule of their one true king, the one true ruler of all of elfkind. In return, they would ascend further than they ever had before, achieving physical and mental prowess beyond their dreams.
Larihei and many of the court would immediately dismiss these claims. And thus, Lomal demanded a trial by fire to prove himself.
First, he demanded the great wizards of the Silver Hall examine his body for any arcane wards, charms or any other protections. There were none. In terms of protection, he was entirely bare. Then, he invited the most powerful pyromancers present to summon the hottest voidal flame they could possibly conjure, and insisted they incinerate him to a crisp. And thus, they tried. A great pillar of flame erupted around Lomal, and entirely consumed his body. The flames scorched with such intense heat that even the hardiest of metals could be melted.
Yet when they subsided, Lomal stood there, still as a rock. Unburnt. Unwavering.
He spoke his ultimatum to the stunned crowd. All those who sought to enhance themselves and ascend unto powers previously undreamed of could follow him. He would go to the highest spire in Elcihi’thilln, and await any new followers there. An uproar erupted in the court. Lomal was a criminal, a murderer. He could not get away with his crimes, let alone invite the entire Silver Council to treason.
But then, something extraordinary happened.
Slowly, a few stood. Among them, great sorcerers, researchers and scientists. They emerged from their high perches from which they had once looked down at the young Lomal, and descended down, following him out of the court. Their intention was clear. They would answer the shepherd’s call. Lomal now had a following, one with which he could orchestrate his revenge on Larihei and fulfill his destiny, his influence was growing.
A schism had formed in Elcihi’thilln.
Crimson and Silver
The city was divided. From district to district. Street to street. Tower to tower. Some supported Lomal, who had taken the title of Elannil’Ilum - the guiding light. His followers referred to themselves as Elsil’Parir. The sword of the harbinger. Some stayed true to their Maheral, Larihei, mother of mali’thilln. A great wall was erected in the west wing of the city by Elsil’Parir, where only those loyal to Lomal could enter. There, they conducted their mutations.
The Altar had since been moved into Elcihi’thilln. It was now settled within the top of the high spire that Lomal had turned into his base of operations. Each day, a single elf was chosen to ascend to the top to receive an audience with Lomal. Upon meeting, the Elannil’Ilum would speak the elf’s true name, revealed to him by the cursed magics of the altar imbued with the power of Tayl, bestowing upon them bodily alterations. Some received the power to breath under the water. Some sprouted feathers and learned to glide. Some, like Lomal, learned to resist the hottest of flames.
Larihei’s followers had shored up as well. They prepared their defenses, utilizing the best of their best when it came to voidal masters and enchanters. The lion’s share of Elcihi’thilln still belonged to them, and they were prepared to defend their way of life if need be from these usurpers. Given the circumstance, one would think that a long and bloody war was soon to break out.
Yet, this was not the case.
The nature of the Mali’thilln, whether beset by the power of the word altar or a loyal follower of Larihei, was not warlike. And thus, the conflict stagnated. For years, little happened. At least on the surface of things. Anyone looking deeper could see a war, but not one of swords and battlefields, but one of intrigue and subtle sorcery.
Lines were drawn in the proverbial sand. The families of Acal’Alor, Thar, Sullas and many others threw their support behind Larihei and began seeking to undermine the influence of Lomal. What followed was a constant back and forth of seductions, power-plays, speeches, songs and daring escapades of espionage conducted on both sides, across either side of the great wall which divided elCihi’thilln. Many incidents occured, although only a few were well recorded:
el’lenniel lae kheliyat - The Song that Shattered an Image
Musicians and those who followed the bardic rite were common among the ancient Haelun’orians, who considered music to be one of the patron arts of the maehr’sae hiylun’ehya. However, during the great stand-off between Larihei and Lomal, bards developed a much more sinister role. One such bard was Larebel Ikurnamon, known as the best. A meister of the harp, violin and vocals. Tasked by Larihei herself, she proceeded to pour her best work into composing a melody that would break hearts and bring the most stoic of mali’aheral to tears. More importantly, this song viciously debased and slandered Lomal.
It worked. The tune, titled el’lenniel lae kheliyah (The Melody of His Inner Darkness) was a masterpiece of both prose and verse. It told a tale of Lomal’s failed inventions. His arrogance and his woe. It embellished details of his personal life, sexual habits and alleged degeneracy, and called upon those loyal to the maehr’sae hiylun’ehya to return to the right side of the wall. Many influential archmages and dignitaries under Lomal’s thumb would cross back over, abandoning his cause.
Of course, the poet Larebel would soon be embroiled in a scandal of her own as her affair with a minor of only thirty years was exposed. A female minor. Of course, some reported that a well known illusionist had been skulking about her home days prior to this. An illusionist baring scales on his flesh, the kind that could only be granted to him by Lomal’s word altar…
The Ball of the Century
Lomal had certainly proved his ability to win over a crowd with showmanship. And thus, recovering from the scandal of el’lenniel kae kheliyat, decided he would strike back not with more slander, but with the grandest display of his lavishness and power that he could possibly conjure: a great party.
A grand hall was built for the sake of this upcoming ball. A huge, ornate court embellished with towering spirals and great impressionist statues, designed to gleam in an otherworldly manner in the moonlight. All were given invitations to the great ceremony that was to come. All except Larihei. The Maheral was infuriated, yet her hands were tied. If she ordered her councillors not to attend she would appear petty and overbaring, and perhaps incite open conflict. She had no choice but to watch her own people attend a display of Lomal’s power.
The ball was all it had been marketed to be. It lasted for seven days and seven nights. An endless display of voidal mastery, fireworks of colours that many had never even heard of. Countless displays of the magically altered prowess of those who Lomal had ‘enhanced’ with the word altar’s power. Many of Larihei’s followers were swayed that day, opting to stay on Lomal’s side of the wall and submit themselves to his modification.
The Great Debate That Never Was
Finally, things came to a head.
Trying to bring an end to this conflict once and for all, Larihei called upon Lomal to neutral territory, atop the elCihi’thilln wall itself, for a grand debate. There they would finally meet each other head to head and debate on their views, face to face. The event was made known to all, and on the last day of the deep cold, at the cusp of the turning point, the two met. On top of the wall. Hundreds of thousands of followers from either side attending to support the Maheral, or the Shepherd of the Altar.
Only the debate would never begin.
An arrow inlaid with silver pierced through Larihei’s rib, dangerously close to her heart. She fell off the edge of the wall, into a crowd of her horrified supporters. Pandemonium broke out. Some of Larihei’s faithful would quickly carry off the dying Maheral as the rest would charge the wall, ancient Haelun’ors many mages charging up their spells to bring back the warded surface which divided them from the usurpers of the word altar. Lomal himself had retreated into the safety of his own crowd.
Hundred died on both sides in the ensuing skirmish.
Portal to a New Beginning
Larihei was safe.
Medicine and healing was among the many wondrous advances of the mali’thilln. Yet the question remained, who had shot the Maheral? And why with such a basic and conventional method as an arrow? Many didn’t care. Many wanted vengeance, to end the war with the usurper and his mutants once and for all, and put things back to the way they were.
They did not expect Lomal to make the first strike.
The wards of the great wall had been broken. Scores of mutant elves poured through from Lomal’s section of Elcihi’thilln, finally in their full forms. Screeching like hawks and hissing like snakes, they channeled their almost grotesque modifications and stormed the homes of any influential mali’thilln loyal to Larihei, slaughtering whoever they could find. It caught the loyalists entirely by surprise, and left them reeling.
Larihei ordered a retreat.
The Sillumir fought bravely, stalwart in their defense against the hordes of Lomal and their power infused by the Daemon and the Altar. Street by street, block by block, tower to tower they were slowly driven back. Although many more would have died if not for their brave defense. Eventually, those loyal to Larihei were pushed out of the very city itself. They fled, through the plains of western Tahn and into the deep woods. It was there they sought the counsel of their Maheral.
But Larihei was nowhere to be found.
It seemed the mother of thilln had disappeared into the woods. No voidal tracking could pin her location nor could any other method. She was gone. Well and truly, to the despair of her followers, of whom Lomal’s mutants were quickly encroaching on. So, they continued to flee. Deeper and deeper into the primal and untamed ancient wilderness, until they found something extraordinary.
A gateway to another world.
Erected in the middle of the wild with no explanation as to how it got there, it stood tall. A pillar of marble with a beam of light shooting far into the sky, pulsing with intense magics that none could explain. To Larihei’s followers, the explanation was simple. This was Larihei’s doing. She had not run, she had left this here for her people to escape to a new promised land. And so, they leapt through the portal, thousands upon thousands of elves making a mass exodus. A land they had lived in for millenia, gone in mere moments.
When Lomal and his mutants arrived upon the scene, they found the portal dead. Deactivated. Larihei, and what was left of the pure, untarnished Mali’thilln were gone from this world. Yet, some had stayed. A scant few, the bravest of battlemages and Sillumir warriors, determined to leave their family and friends behind forever, for one purpose- to enact revenge. They called themselves the Vihai.
For Lomal, it seemed he had everything he wanted.
Elcihi’thilln was in ruins, devastated by the fighting. Larihei and her court were gone. He had won. And now he had all the power in the world. Or, so he thought. A devil’s bargain is one that never ends well, and as such, the very one who struck it with him reappeared. This time, with no disguise. Tayl manifested before Lomal, who ever since his victory had spent all his days up in his tower with his beloved word altar, never eating or sleeping. The Daemon revealed himself for who he truly was, and now that he had fulfilled his end of the bargain, he demanded to reap his end of the agreement. Lomal was to submit himself.
What had once been a youthful, ambitious mali’thilln with passion in his eyes was now a husk. The altar had given him the power to change himself, and others, but had torn out his soul. He was no longer the elf he was. But what he had not forgotten was his pride. He had all the power in the world. He owed this Daemon nothing. He was Lomal, the shepherd of the thilln. He was destiny. He was wrong.
Tayl realized the defiance of the arrogant mortal he had struck a bargain with, and made his choice. The power he imbued into the word altar was erased away. Lomal’s connection to it severed. And with that, the Daemon left the mortal plane to let all Lomal had built crumble. Without the daemon’s power infused into the altar, the mutated elves who had depended on it lost control of their minds. Some turned on others, going feral. Some simply isolated themselves deeply and descended into madness.
Thus, the Vihai struck.
They poured back into the city that had once been theirs. They blasted the mutants on the streets where they saw them raving like madmen. They snuck into the homes where they hid, and slit their throats. They purged the land clean, and when their job was done, they left. It is unknown if they were ever capable of rejoining their brothers and sisters through the portal they’d escaped through.
Lomal himself was never found. His fate remains unknown to this day.
The Paths are Split
For those who’d made the mass exodus through the dimensional portal, all was not well. A disturbance had ripped through the connection, and the mali’aheral flying through the space between worlds were torn in two. It is unknown why this happened. Some claim that the magics Larihei had used to prepare the portal for her people had failed her. Some claimed that a malicious Daemon had interfered. Whatever the cause, the result was the same.
Half of the mali’thilln rematerialized in a strange new world, an untamed world.
Half of the mali’thilln were thrown violently unto the beaches of Aegis. A land familiar to their forefather Malin.
Larihei herself was in neither. She was nowhere to be found.
Those who landed in Aegis would consolidate themselves and travel far. For years they wandered as nationless refugees, until they came upon Laurelin. Laurelin was a city built in the style of the elves of old, capital of a nation named after the first Kingdom of the forefather himself, Malinor. These wayward high elves would be welcomed into Laurelin, and find for themselves a new life there. They would lend their philosophy and magics into the culture of the new Malinor, and in time, merge and assimilate.
Those who landed in the other, strange and wild land would remain closer to their heritage. They soon came to realize they were pioneers in this world. They would erect a new city, and christen it Elcihi’thilln, just like the old one they had lost in old Axios. These mali’thilln remained true to Larihei’s memory. They remembered the horrors of Lomal and the word altar, and enforced the maehr’sae hiylun’ehya fervently. Enforcing strict purity of body and mind.
Centuries later, their civilization would collapse. No one knows how or why, but it was likely fated as destiny. For when the Elves of Aegis fled from their homes following Iblees’ resurrection, they came to this land. A land they called Asulon. And they found nothing but silver ruins.
It was then that the Aegisian high elves, the descendents of those few mali’thilln that had been separated from their kin during their escape from the portal many years ago, rediscovered their ancestral culture and way of life. They would inhabit the ruins of their ill-fated kin that they’d been separated from. After so long, the mali’aheral were back.
For silver will rise and silver will fall, but nothing is gone forever.
Reviewed by LM: ~~~~
- The High Elves are also called the mali'aheral, which is their name in ancient elven.
- What few know is that the golden pools were rediscovered in Anthos albeit they were much less potent than before and offered no change to the body when bathed in them. What is known even to almost none is that the reason for the second appearance of these golden pools is because the spot in which they were found was atop a forgotten temple to the goddess Aeriel so the waters weren't golden but in fact blessed.
- The failed city Fi'Ceru was named after a past city in Asulon, Ceru, which was pivotal in the Haelun'or Schism.
- On a different note, did you know: Lin’evaral was destroyed by earthquakes in Anthos? Find out more here: Lin'evaral
|Human||Heartlander · Highlander · Farfolk · Adunian|
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