History of Elvendeep
The long-lived elves have a memory far longer than most of the other peoples of the world, but even their earliest origins are lost in mists of time. The earliest origins of the elves is the realm of myth and conjecture, debated endlessly by scholars both elven and non-elven. The religion of the elves is equally ancient, practiced long before any of Elvendeep's present neighbors ever existed.
Earliest History: Conjecture
(All according to Elvendeepish history, some more ancient accounts are disputed by scholars of other elven nations and other races. The most ancient information is mostly from myth, oral history passed down in tales and song, and a handful of scattered documents. Even for the elves, very few clear records have survived past the last few millennia)
- Elves create the world's first civilization in the heart of the Soranion Woods. The kingdom's name is lost, but its centre is The First City, ruins of which are very scarce but can still be found in Elvendeep. It sustains itself not through farming, but through magic-aided orchards that are nearly impossible to tell from non-cultivated forest. The Deepish commonly call these people the Malchuri, after the river, but this is almost certainly a posthumous name rather than one from the kingdom itself. Some elves retain their tribal lifestyle.
- Although all races have been created, most live like beasts in primitive societies. Dragons are reasonably advanced, but prefer solitude and thus have no civilized knowledge.
- Elves teach dragons and the shrinking population of Primordial Giants the art of writing and simple tools.
200,000 - 100,000 BT
- According to a comparison of partly-translated stone inscriptions, The Third Elder race, the Primordial Giants of Kayern (Modern Outer Arangoth, Ruthmarna, parts of Zul Kiras, and Rondis), die out roughly during this period and are largely forgotten. Most of the inland mountains, said by the tales to be their burial mounds, stand as testament to their existence.
- Elves begin to spread out over the lands of Arangoth and beyond. They shy away from dangerous open places, such as the plains of the west and the deserts of the north. Elven nations or provinces (none are very sure which) are founded in the Great Woods (in what is now Zul Kiras), Keulenestra (in what is now Leturia), Elgar, Songdeep ( in what is now Arangoth), The Symaru (a forest in what is now the plains of Thontaran) and the Rainbow Woods (in what is now Elluria, largely gone). As the 'Deepish tell it (other elves often disagree), elven mariners in hide-hulled boats also find their way to the Red Forest on the Isles of Myst, to the Alesian continent, and to all other landmasses boasting elvish populations. Over time, many wandering elves find their way into the ever-migrating Aran Wood, and develop an amazonian culture in this mystic forest. There are very likely other large elven colonies (for presumably, all elven peoples originated in this migration) but these few are confirmed through common knowledge of the world. It is not known to what extent they were connected, whether by a common King or looser ties.
- Much of these continental elvendoms' histories have not survived, but it is clear that they were nearly unanimously created deep in woods, where elves felt most comfortable, knew how to survive (farming was not known to them), and were protected from a harsh primeval world. Relations with dragons were not always pleasant. Most of these woods had large rivers running through them, and these are what were used for transportation both within the woods and without. It is believed that these are the elves who built the Grand Canal through Aslar, among other mysterious ancient wonders. Only a few tablets and inscriptions survive, however, so even the long memory of the elves can only assume.
- From the material record, Elven civilization flourishes with simple advances in music, art, bronzework, and architecture. It is still far from as advanced as those civilizations of today, however. Unfortunately it is still quite mysterious, as the destructive wars of the majority of the time seem to erased much of the material and traditional record.
- Without the Giants' lands between them, elves and dragons begin to encroach more and more on each other’s territory and begin to war on one another. Inscriptions speak of long and devastating Dragon-Elf wars, often lasting centuries and broken only by temporary peace. Sages believe that magic reaches such heights of power and desperation for advantage during this time that it begins to unlock unholy arts - such as necromancy and demonic conjury. Many of the great forests of the continent shrink severely as a result of these wars. They are also blamed for the small populations of both dragons and elves today, which is thought as the primary reasons for the subsiding of these wars.
- For unknown reasons, possibly relating to the Dragon wars, The First City is abandoned, though a population of tribal Wild Elves stay in the Soranion, continuing to inhabit the forest to this day. No records survive to tell of the Malchuri's last days. Oral history among the elves of the Keulenestra say that the lineage of the ElfKing descends through them, and that Keulenestra was the later capital of a panelven Empire.
- The Elven civilization of Symaru, in what is now Thontaran, is destroyed during the last throes of the Dragon wars. Its surviving inhabitants flee underground using elemental spells. Thus begins the long trek of the pale Symari, who spend thousands of years tunnelling beneath the surface to reach the safety of the west and their fellow elves. They would later join the Confederacy of Elvendeep, and their taste for shallow digging (certainly not as deep as the underdark) would make them the miners of the fair folk and inveterate enemies of the dark elves. The Symari woods of Thontaran never grow back and even today the area is prairie.
- Once the dragon wars begin to subside, some brave elves choose to venture out of their protective forests, both to the south by sea and the north by rint and horse. Those northern-bound would beget the Khalar elves, who are almost indistinguishable from the human Khalars themselves nowadays.
- Dwarves begin to create their own rock-bound civilizations with knowledge of language and organization learned from the elves.
- In the far east and far west, humans invent agriculture and begin to create their own small civilizations, now forgotten. This occurs primarily in the plains of the west (what is now Leturia and Griffon's Aerie), and the east (In what is now Tyranor and Teldanar). Wild humans are found throughout the world, but as the elves hold the midland forests, dwarves and orcs the mountains, and the dragons the far north, there are few other places than open plains for human kingdoms to grow strong.
- Beset by growing populations of goblinoids, humans, dwarves, elves must further face the dark legacy of necromancy in increasingly frequent hordes of undead, and the strikes of the bold dark elves tunnelling up from their subterranean homes.
- To further detriment, the Elven civilization of Elgaria is struck by disaster as their woodland home erupts in darkness and evil - perhaps released by tampering with evil magics. The majority retreat, but some stay, creating the community of Mazewood. Those who leave are known as the Yilcari.
Initially the evil is concentrated on the Black Lagoon, the centre of Elgar and the elven civilization. Later the human Limbri and Akman peoples (ancestors of the Rondissians) would tame much of the surrounding area. Once they were driven off by human migratory patterns in the second millenium Before Tagrana and the majority of the elves had left, the forest regrows as the corrupted mass known today.
- As these dangers increase, a growing philosophy, in the form of a song called The Cirdelaene, takes root among the local elvendoms. This philosophy proposes that all elves return to the forest of their first civilization and form a new nation made up of all the diverse elven peoples. Elves begin bleeding back slowly to the Soranion over time. This is not necessarily a retreat, but a unification movement.
History of Elvendeep
- The fledgling confederacy of Elvendeep is founded by a union of Elven peoples - primarily the Yilcari Elves, the Rainbow Elves, the Symari, and the Soranion wild elf population. The nation is a patchwork of territories, provinces and cities, but the ethnically diverse capital Elfspire is risen up around a tall tower, a wonder of architecture. Elvendeep is a monarchy, but the King or Queen is elected by a Council of 'High' elves (originally the nobility from each of the separate peoples) who must also approve many of the Monarch's decisions. During its early years, Elvendeep is considerably more isolationist than it would later become. (It is at this point that this timeline passes fully from conjecture to recorded history)
- The Order Emissariat is founded in an attempt to better relations between the Wild and Civilized strains of elfkind and utilize both their strengths. The Elite Guard is also formed at this time, but originally serves only as the personal guard of the Elven Monarch. Later it would take on the role of Elfspire's policing force.
- The Rainbow Woods are mostly abandoned. The growth of Southland human kingdoms obliterates the majority of the once great forest. Only a remnant of old growth is left at the source of the Rainbow River, though this is itself a vast forest.
- Many elves refuse The Cirdelaene and stay where they are. The small community of Mazewood in Elgar, the Elves of Keulenestra in Vallaria (who are very close, and interrelated to, the noble Igmerinds), the Khalar Elves, and, most notably, the Elves of the Great Woods in the north. Some relationships dim to the point of disdain, such as that of Mazewood with Elvendeep, but those with The Great Woods and Keulenestra are strong.
- Even as elves begin to unify, their ancient enemies the dragons begin to do the same in the far north, the region known as the Salt Desert. A terrible swarm descends and drives the human inhabitants of a northern civilization south after many terrible battles. These humans found Vallaria, a loose collection of city-states further south, where Griffon's Aerie is today, but dragon raids into the south prevent any Vallarian centralization and hound the new nation of Elvendeep.
- Bronze gives way to Steel, but even in elvish histories there are conflicting accounts of its development. Some theories credit the dwarves, others the elves. It is still a bone of contention between the two races, just as bronze is between elves and humans. Common human legend has it that the Igmerinds were the first to use bronze. The elves, of course, insist that their close Igmerind allies simply obtained the ages-old knowledge from them.
1,000 BT to the Founding of Tagrana
- (ca. 720 BT) A great number of Igmerinds and Keulenestra Elves flee east from the influx of Rint-mounted western nomads which had previously destroyed the Igmerind Kingdom. The Keulenestra refugees join Elvendeep. The Igmerinds make a place for themselves in Vallaria, but later many migrate onwards from there due to disagreements. Traditional allies, they are welcome in Elvendeep and live there for a time before moving on to the north, creating the now destroyed kingdom of Beren and other fallen nations. Some move east and interbreed with the primitive Goxal, founding Arangoth. The remnant of this event, and of the later acceptance of Berenite refugees, puts an element of human blood in the Deepish Common Elves and continues a long tradition of tolerance.
- According to custom, Elvendeep banishes a great number of criminals to the far northern desert bowl on the northern side of the Skull Teeth Mountains. A small handful survive the crossing of the treacherous desert and the mountain passes and settle into the Nymrya Vale, founding the tiny and little known elven principality of Nymrya (652 BT). After a fierce war with their exilers, the principality dissipates around 400BT, with some elves moving south to become those bandits in Outer Arangoth known as the Nimm.
- For unknown reasons dragon swarms in the south decline and retreat further north once more. Some legends allege that the unknown cause of unity among the dragons had broken down, and they began to fight among themselves. The losers were presumably either slain or driven away to seek a new domain elsewhere. At least one dragon, the great and ancient Arpharizaud stays to terrorize the populations of the south, including Elvendeep, Beren and Keulenestra. He takes the orcs of the Xaad Mountains as his allies and teaches them terrible magics. These orcs would become the Firestorm clan of Zul Kiras. The Deepish today refer to Arpharizaud as *The* Dragon, seeing few to compare with his ancient kind in today's southlands. (ca. 558 BT)
- Those elves left in the Keulenestra Forest are enslaved by the Leturians, a tailed human people from the north who conquer the remnants of the Igmerind and Mingit Kingdoms. Over the centuries the Keulenestri adopt much of Leturian culture, and come to be known as the Mikeul. Leturia, meanwhile, wars fiercely with Elvendeep for a number of years across the Thunder River, north of Vallaria/Griffon's Aerie.
- Griffons take over Vallaria, an elven ally, and much of Leturia, largely ending the Leturian threat but replacing it with an even deadlier one (312BT). These griffons, who rename their new country Griffon's Aerie, are powerful, intelligent creatures who can shapeshift to human form. Their military is feared and respected throughout the continent. They also war on Elvendeep for centuries, but in their wake the Mikeul gain a sort of independence, though they send Leturia tribute every year.
The Last Five Hundered Years
- 78-82 (After the Founding of Tagrana) The Griffons continue to war on Elvendeep, prompting closer relations with their human neighbours for aid. In the most recent war, King Karos' grand army is finally defeated by an Arangothian-Elvendeepish alliance. Although the elves of the Deep have always had a fondness for their human neighbours, this alliance cements a particular bond between Arangoth and Elvendeep and the two nations have been quite fraternal ever since.
- '109 The new United Clans of Zul Kiras, a terrible collection of orcish clans, destroy Beren, an Igmerind Kingdom, marking the beginning of their destructive influence on the world stage and sending some Berenite refugees south to Elvendeep. Their interbred descendants live there still, as the nation has never had much of a problem with human blood, and the Igmerinds are said to be part elvish from long ago anyway.
- 138 Zul Kiras assaults the Great Woods, driving the 'penultimate' great Elven kingdom to retreat back to the 'Deep. Elvendeep is crowded with the near ultimate manifestation of the Cirdelaene, and its provinces are in disarray as they try to find room for the newcomers.
- 140-159 First Zul Kiran War. Orcs reach within twenty miles of Elfspire. The Mistwood province is annexed to Zul Kiras. The Elven Queen, Allamystrea is slain along with the royal family. Lacking any candidate strong enough to take the Crown without sparking civil war, Elvendeep is thrown into chaos.
Eventually, the nation chooses a temporary Governor to fill the vacant role. Ever after, the ruling high elves have elected a Governor every few years from among their number to serve as ruler (a situation best referred to as an Oligarchy or Regency, as it is a number of high nobles sharing power amongst themselves rather than any sort of democracy). None have thus far attempted to seize power and crown themselves. Many governors over the past few centuries, including such great elves as Sidastriel Frostfall and Arton Mistwood, have been from among those original aspirants to the throne.
The Mikeul secretly send military and magical ‘advisors’ to the aid of Elvendeep, but maintain neutrality, protected as they are behind Leturia's borders. Zul Kiras avoids encroaching on those borders, not wishing to engage in more than one conflict at once.
- 194: Remaining elves in the province of Mistwood successfully revolt and declare it a part of Elvendeep again. Important lessons are learned as to the effectiveness of such guerilla fighting.
- 212: Mistwood once again subjugated to Orcish rule
- 304-305: The plains of Caern are carved into the new province of Outer Arangoth by that nation's Order of the Beady Eye. The rampant banditry in the area, and its desolate nature makes the area unimportant to Elvendeep, its absentee owner. Because they nominally hold title to the area, an indemnity paid by Arangoth smoothes relations and the elves give up the area without much fuss.
- 316-333: Second Zul Kiran War. Great elven victories on the battlefield are not matched by unity on the Council floor. As such, two independent agendas are set forth from two different sections of the government.
The Great Woods are annexed by Elvendeep, and the city of Kadran named Thunderwood. A Deepish Margrave (Marchlord) is appointed in charge of the city and the forest by the 'Imperialist' Councilors. Their belief is that Zul Kiras must be held in an iron grip lest it rise again to threaten the Soranion. The Margrave, however, is hard-pressed to deal with continuous Onyx Viper orcish raids.
Opposed to the occupation of the Great Woods, the new Elven Governor Sidastriel Frostfall and his supporters put forth a strong centralist and isolationist agenda. Elvendeep abandons nearly all traces of the previous provincial divisions, creating instead two territories. The first, the outer 80%, is stripped of all towns and manors and given, in what has been called 'Sidastriel's Gift,' to the various tribes of 'Sorani' wild elves (primarily preDeepish and Great Woods sylvan elves). The inner portion, centred around the sole remaining city of Elfspire, is redivided among the 'Spiri' (Rainbow, Yilcari, Black Woods, Nestri, Symari and soon, Mystonian). The modern way of elvish war, including the Four Columns, mandatory military service, and government control of the economy is formalized. By this point, Deepish culture is becoming more solidly integrated and homogenous, and the concentration in Elfspire speeds this along.
- 341-408: During this period, many Mystonian Elves migrate to Elvendeep, joining the Confederacy. A war between the Mystonian elves and human invaders, led by Thalanthus Nypin, ends in 341 with the elves ceding much of their lands to the humans. Many refugees without homes in the reduced elven domain, as well as those bitter over the surrender find their way North across the sea to the Soranion. Elvendeep maintains strong ties to those left on the Isles, and many there take up the Deepish religion.
- 380-387: Third Zul Kiran War. Boundaries returned to original positions. The Deepish Margrave is slain and Thunderwood overrun. Elvendeep's Isolationist stance is confirmed and the Imperialists defeated politically. Sidastriel’s approach to war proves successful in holding off the Zul Kirans from reaching the inner provinces.
- 441-459: Fourth Zul Kiran War. Once again, boundaries remain as they were at the beginning and both nations are severely weakened. Elven fear at another war will become a strong political force in the near future.
- 454-469: In the last few years of the war, the battle-weary High elves choose as governor Arton Mistwood, a staunch liberal, hoping for a change in their fortunes. Not only is Arton married to a human, but in his House is a half-dark elf, his niece Laerdra. Both Arton and his wife, the Arangothian griffon-rider Sora Mistwood are decorated war heroes, but the controversial Governor's changes offend the more conservative High Elves to the extent that he is assassinated. His reforms, however, seem to be supported by the majority of the Noble elves and after a short hiatus, another proponent of change is chosen.
- 469: Topaz Silverbow, former denizen of Drache and officer of its Royal Guard, becomes Governor of Elvendeep on an even more radically liberal platform. With great support in the Elite Guard and a number of Councilors, he overcomes the opposition of the more cautious members of the High Council. His reforms embroil the nation in controversy, starting with his decision to begin to settle 'reformed' dark elvish refugees in Elvendeep.
- 470: Elvendeep breaks out in its first Civil War, as rogue generals attempt to secede. A peace is negotiated only to allow Elvendeep to participate in the 470 International Grubball championships for the honour of the nation as a whole. Silverbow does not cease his radical policies, and the peace doesn't last.
- 471: In a move thought to result from fears of the startlingly quick revival of Zul Kiras and its aggressive moves on the international scene, Governor Topaz Silverbow makes his second highly controversial decision. The former Arangothian citizen negotiates Elvendeep's entry into Arangoth as a Crown Protectorate, giving up its sovereignty in exchange for guaranteed support should another war begin. Arlok has governed with a very light hand ever since, but even today the move is still debated fiercely in the Councils and unpopular among the commoners.
The Second Elvendeepish Civil War begins soon afterwards. Its roots are traced to the unresolved issues of the first: Governor Silverbow's controversial acceptance of dark elvish refugees; and in his placing the nation under the sovereignty of Arangoth. Rogue Deepish Council members ally with the discontent Generals and take the capital and sole city, Elfspire. Both sides accuse the other of being aided by drow. Many Drache-based elves return to their homeland to fight. Asking their new sovereign Arlok not to interfere with his province's troubles, the liberal Silverbow/Mistwood faction, representing the chosen government, is eventually victorious after months of warfare. Governor Topaz Silverbow resigns afterwards. Dark elves are popularly blamed for inciting the war for their own ends.
- 472: Under a new, more moderate Governor, some of Silverbow's changes are quietly swept under the rug. Though Silverbow is not despised outright (some still call him Dark-elf friend, and the phrase 'The Follies of Silverbow' is growing more common), dark elves are once again forbidden from entering the Soranion. Rumours stir that the secession of Elvendeep from Arangoth is on this new Governor's agenda. Others say he plans to request a summit to gain Leturian, Griffon and Khalar aid should a Fifth Zul Kiran war break out.
- 487-present: With the Leptatarna defeat in the Arangothian Civil War Elvendeep ceased to be a protectorate state of Arangoth, and is now a sovereign nation unto its own.
- Before the founding of Tagrana, the point at which the Arangothian calendar begins.