History of the Elvish Nation

The history of the Southern Kingdoms really begins with the history of the Fae. Most of what the human and other kingdoms and civilizations know about history, art, literature, science, and culture was created by the Fae. Though they may be in something of a decline, no one can ever deny their powerful influence over the course of history.  Or, for that matter, the matters of the current day.

Fae history is as long as the lives of the people. This, of course, is a short way of stating that they have been here since Shaintar's beginning. Fae legend speaks of Faelakar ("the True Blooded,") born of the essans-vold (Font of Essence) and traveling through the Veil to emerge “between the arms of Shanais and Targon.” This early record is inscribed on a white stone pillar, formed of a material not seen anywhere else in Shaintar. The pillar is encircled by nine stately trees close to the banks of Lake Shaintar – right between the Shanais and Targon Rivers.

Much of what we know of the early Fae, from 5000 B.C. to 3570 B.C., comes from the scrolls written by the poet/druid/historian E'lara R'eva (a truly fascinating font of living history once one can overcome the sense of being utterly overpowered by her perplexing poetic speech and writings). E'lara wrote of early wanderings of nine great etrans (clans) that strode the lands of Shaintar.

The sojourn of the Nine strode in tune with the ever-changing leaves as they discovered the beauties in the song of the land. Once the land sang the song of many ages, the Nine found they could not bear to leave. And so assembled as One and Many at the Ring of Nine Maidens found at Eldara. 

- E'lara R'eva 4183 B.C.

Nine Fae etrans journeyed back to Eldara and there they chose Ebiasaph Elfric as their Quo-unais. Ebiasaph created the very foundations that lead to the Golden Age of the Fae, generally accepted as having begun around 3500 B.C..

Two surviving maps of this age show a vast and sprawling Fae Nation that stretched out from the Black Mountains to the tips of the Everwall and back down to the peninsula of the Freelands. All facets of art, culture, society, law, and economics now found throughout Shaintar sprang forth from the empire of the elves during this Age.

Yet, for all the wealth of wisdom and enrichment that the Fae brought to Shaintar, it was not enough to defeat a coming Darkness that would tarnish the Golden Age. In 2500 B.C., Vainar, one of the Faelakar, who took on the responsibilities of the Soulfinder, became horribly corrupted as he tried to purify the Nether region of Corelisia. The tarnish to the gold of the age began with his fall.

A war of ideals erupted in Faelakar and Eldakar (“the Old Blooded”) society, as those who chose to remain true to the original principles held by the Soulfinder - wishing to guide and counsel the other races – found themselves opposed by those who chose to follow Vainar's corrupted path and seek to dominate by conquest and iron rule. Eventually the rift between the two sides grew so great that, by 2400 B.C., a great many followed Vainar's guidance and traveled into the shadowed lands of Shaya'Nor. The original Nine great etrans were reduced to four. The remaining Faelakar and Eldakar leaders focused inward, seeking to keep their society and culture from collapsing, and the guidance of other races and regions fell by the wayside.

Without this guidance, many races and cultures struck out on their own, some for good, some for ill. Unification of society and purpose was lost. The end result was that the empire of the Fae shrank tremendously to something only slightly larger than it is today.

As time passed, Quo-unias Ebiasaph Elfric realized an even greater danger as he saw the forces of Flame and Darkness grow ever stronger. Greatly disturbed, Ebiasaph called for an Accord of the Fae in 2098 B.C. to decide a course of action to stop the corruption and rending of Shaintar. By 2100 B.C., Ebiasaph had gathered hundreds of elven sorcerers, many of them Faelakar, in the physical and mystical center of Shaintar. There, they attempted to actually summon forth the Ascended, who they felt had remained too distant and uninvolved in the troubles that plagued the Fae.

Sadly, Vainar had knowledge of this gathering: his network of spies and agents had, in fact, manipulated things to encourage this act of hubris and audacity. At the crucial moment in the ritual, Vainar's minions struck. The result was a magical cataclysm that destroyed Ebiasaph, all the sorcerers, thousands of attending elves, and a large portion of the land. A vast inner sear was created, and it and the island in the center are now collectively called Og'm Drakar, a place forever charged with powerful, mystical, and dangerous energies.

Following the cataclysm, the Fae of Shaintar were greatly diminished. Many that remained were scattered throughout the lands of Shaintar, alone or in small groups. A few continued to try and guide the other races, but as Vainar's and Ceynara's powers continued to grow on the face of Shaintar, there was little they could do to stem the tide of Darkness and Flame.

The War of Fire erupted in 1500 B.C., engulfing the land as Ceynara opened the 7 Great Cauldrons. Along with the other races, the Fae fought simply to survive. For three centuries, the War of Fire ravaged Shaintar, and many on the side of Life were lost. It was only once the chosen avatars of Illiana, Dranak, and Zavonis were either captured or slain that the Ascended chose to walk the lands of Shaintar in physical form. They captured Ceynara and cast her and Uldor back into Hell, thus ending the War in 1200 B.C.

The end of a war generally signals a period of restoration and rebuilding. This failed to occur, however, in the aftermath of the War of Fire. The time period from 1200 to 1000 B.C. was marked by many minor wars over land, leadership, and resources, all in great demand following the devastation of the battle between the Ascended and the rulers of Hell. The infrastructure of Fae civilization collapsed and fell into ruin during this time.

At the Gather of the Eye in 1000 B.C., the Ascended urged all the races of Shaintar to cease the warring between them. They declared that peace must reign if any on Shaintar were to survive and rebuild. The Ascended had reached a binding resolution with Vainar and Ceynara, declaring that no greater being would again have so great a direct influence over Shaintar: all races would now stand on their own, with only guidance and blessings to come from those outside of Shaintar. The Gather of the Eye heralded a new Age of Peace, and many Fae received the calling of the Paths. The first druids, taught by the Ascended themselves, emerged from forests, mountains, sky, and sea to help with the rebuilding of the damage done to the lands of Shaintar.

Sadly, the Age of Peace was shattered three centuries later, first by deception, then war. Vainar's hordes came sweeping out of Shaya'Nor to spread like disease across the land even as the first Thirteen Necrolords strode forth from the Nether to rule Shaintar. From 700 B.C. to 175 B.C., Fae history is marked by war, pestilence, plague, and famine during what came to be called the Age of Darkness. Most Fae and other races were pushed back into the peninsula now known as the Freelands. The  refugees defended that area against Vainar's Hordes from 600 B.C. to the end of the Age of Darkness in 300 B.C., when the Ascended violated their own decree to once again come to Shaintar to battle the Darkness.

The Fae population was decimated in 300 B.C. by the plague known as Vainar's Curse, unleashed as a final act of spite when he was chased from the field of battle. As with the curse of black iron, the Fae were especially susceptible to this pandemic: It is estimated that only 7,000 to 11,000 Fae survived. By 175 B.C., Cyria Eridor and E'lara R'eva combined their magic and druidic skills and developed a cure that stopped the spread of Vainar's plague.

When Landra, Vainar's sister, was raised as the new Soulfinder, the occasion was heralded as the dawn of the Age of Hope. At the same time, the Quo-Unias, Azhurin Eridor, declared the Fae Nation reborn and marked the new age with a new calendar. Eldara was once again established as the center of the Fae Nation, and the process of rebuilding began.

The dilemma of how to rebuild a Fae population bordering on extinction was solved by an unusual romance. Solange Elswyth, a Faelakar, took the Life-Bond (a druidic ceremony that joins the two minds, two hearts, and two souls as One) when she married her beloved Zemos Al'astur, a human. Their union produced the twins, Tallas and Tegan, in 45 A.C., and Kor in 49 A.C. As word of their children spread, the Quo-unias removed the taboo from interracial marriage. He also forbade any other Life-Bond unions to occur, as that any Fae doing so invariably died shortly after their human mate passed. Not surprisingly, many Fae chose to ignore this decree, sowing the seeds of a cultural schism that resonates today.

Interracial marriage and mating between elves and humans did succeed in tremendously boosting the Fae population. The majority of the offspring were considered Fae, though their differences from the original bloodlines caused them to be called Alakar (“new-blooded” or “hope-born,” depending on whom you asked). A much smaller number were far too human, and were generally absorbed back into human families, while a very small number fit neither description and were called M'adukar (“weak-blooded;” see Korindia's Core Foundations for more on this). By 400 A.C. the population of Fae had fairly exploded to roughly 60,000.

By 500 A.C., the growth of the Fae population and the re-discovery of many lost developments and arts led many scholars to declare a “Second Golden Age of the Fae.” Their domain spread though the whole of the forest of Landra'Feya and deep into the region now known as the Wildlands, as well as west into what is now the Malakar Dominion. Prosperity and relative peace in the region allowed Fae civilization to flourish and thrive once more. Since 500 A.C., there have been only three major external events that truly challenged the integrity and survival of the Fae culture and society.

The first event was the rise of the Kal Empire in 1724 A.C. As the Great Exodus began to happen, the Fae Nation took it upon itself to act as guardian against the forces of Nether and the Abyss. They sent an armed delegation to Jolokas ki Grilnas to petition for a peaceful solution in 1736 A.C.; they were assaulted for their troubles. At the Battle at Barrinor, many thousands of Alakar died. The Fae once again stepped in to thwart the evil of the Kal Empire at the Battle of Aralon.

Cyria Eridor, the famous Fae sorceress, realized that all of the lands south of the Empire were in grave danger if the humans did not find a strong leader to follow and unite under. She ventured out to select such an individual in 2391 A.C. Vol Al'Daya received the support of the Elven nation when he proved himself to be a true leader of men, and the Kingdom of Galea was born. It stood alongside the Kingdom of Olara as a stronghold against the expansion of the evil Kal Empire.

The second challenging event was The Dragon War in 2216 A.C. Not only were dragons unleashed upon Shaintar, but Ceynara once again opened the the Cauldrons and joined forces with the Dragonlords. Faced with a war against two powerful forces joined together, the Fae Nation was determined not to see another cataclysm equivalent to the War of Flame. Mustering up the Dwarven Clanhomes, Olara, Galea, Dregordia and the Freelands, they mounted a unified attack against the forces of evil. Many battles were won and lost over the course of the Dragon War. It was not until the Dragonlords arrogantly attacked Shaya'Nor that Vainar and Kal Emperor Harkor agreed to Quo-Unias Azhurin's request to join forces with the free peoples at Og'm Drakar. 2234 A.C. marked the end of the Dragon War as the magical ritual to banish dragons was successfully performed.

The last event was The Betrayal War in 3021 A.C., when the avatars of Shaintar's longtime foes nearly succeeded in destroying it. Fortunately, the war was quickly ended in just over a year, though not without tremendous losses suffered by the Fae. The Elvish Nation sent many of its armies north alongside Olarans to defend the Southern Kingdoms against the united forces of Flame and Darkness. The combined forces of the Kal Empire and the Hordes from Shaya'Nor were nearly enough to obliterate the defenders, but their own hatred and distrust of each other led to the inevitable betrayal that won the day for the Southern Kingdoms.

Now, on the eve of Ceynara's waking and in the shadow of Vainar's possible return, the Fae face possibly the most dangerous opponent they've ever known to threaten their culture and history: Themselves.

- Jonkeph Skein, Shaintar: Yesteryears and Today