The most diverse of the Elven sub-races, the Wood Elves, are a people closely tied to nature. They live in the Southern-Central part of the Arcasian continent, in Siramenor. The Wood Elves are also known as the Mali'ame, which means "Elves of the Forest" in the ancient tongue. This is obvious enough, as Wood Elves are happiest within the wilds, and it was in the deepest forests of the ancient world in which their race was born. Their name in the Common tongue- Wood Elves - reflects this.
Wood Elves are known for being mysterious, expressive people, unlike their High Elven cousins who are reserved and proper. Mali'ame excel in naturalistic practices such as hunting, tree-farming, and foraging. The best archers and bowmakers in the world are thought to be Wood Elves.
- 1 Physical Attributes
- 2 Other Attributes
- 3 Culture
- 4 History
- 5 Full Lore
Wood Elves are more easily distinguished from their other Elven cousins by their dark skin, this can range anywhere from olive to cinnamon to a dark brown. Commonly, Wood Elves have either brown, black, or red hair with green, black, or brown eyes. Blonde hair and blue eyes are possible, but indicates mixed heritage with High Elves.
Generally, Wood Elves prefer to wear clothing containing shades of brown, green, or other natural colors, though they are by no means limited to those. As with bodily appearance, the Wood Elven individuality is omnipresent in what they choose to wear. Though functionality of clothing is considered, what is more important to Wood Elves is its feeling and form. It is not uncommon to see Wood Elves adorn very elaborate clothing for special occasions such as marriages, rituals, or gatherings with friends. To a Wood Elf, what you wear is indicative of your state of mind. Wood elven clothing can be of any colour, but almost always reflects an aspect of nature. Yellows and oranges would match the subtle hues of a sunset, for example. Red clothes would match the bloom of a rose, and blue clothing would be deep and dark like the sea.
Many Wood Elves are painted with elaborate, colorful tattoos all over their body. These are called ilmyumier, tribal tattoos, the most prominent of which indicate which Seed that Wood Elf belongs to. Other tattoos display the person's role in society and the Mani they revere, such as healers who bear the Mother's Mark, leaders adorned with Morea's Teeth or teachers inked with Ohowaki's Crest.
A full guide on how to make your Wood Elf look lore appropriate can be found here.
In stature, Wood Elves are generally the shortest among their kin, often shorter than the average human. Rarely does a Wood Elf reach the height of six feet, such that it's a characteristic associated with Wood Elves who have High Elven blood in their lineage. Often they are slim, yet not to the degree of High Elves and generally more physically fit. Wood Elves commonly have a natural gift for speed and agility.
Furthermore, as one would expect from a race of excellent bowyers, the best archers in the world are most often Wood Elves. The bow is the preferred weapon of these Elves as a natural development from their hunting practices, employed in guerilla tactics against foes. In combat, a group of Wood Elves with bows can be deadly, as the nimble nature of the race grants them speed and long years of practice grants them deadly accuracy. Spears are not uncommon however, and many Wood Elves have come to adopt longswords and platemail with the advancement of warfare.
Elves develop similarly to humans for the first two decades, with each races reaching adulthood near the end of this time frame. Once this point is reached, physical advancement for an Elf slows down so much that it seems as if they aren't ageing at all. Elves are not burdened with the curse of mortality that is present in all humans, and as such Elves can reach millennia in age, should they not succumb to mortal wounding first.
See: Curse of the Elves.
Wood Elven culture is built around two pillars, faith and family. Faith is represented with elnarnsae'ame - the Wood Elven religion. Family is represented by the Seeds, tribes of Wood Elves who trace their histories back to their ancient nomadic ancestors, whose culture they emulate.
Faith - Elnarnsae'ame, The Wild Path
The Wild Path is the blend of culture and faith among Wood Elves. Historically referred to as Aspectism, The Wild Path built upon the cultural renaissance of the Dominion of Malin, eventually evolving to develop into a pantheon. It centers around the worship of Nature Gods, the most prominent of which are Cerridwen and Cernunnos. Cerridwen is the gentle Mother of Life, who reflects the divine feminine and fertility, and due to their curse she is the one to whom Wood Elves pray and offer thanks for a healthy pregnancy. Cernunnos is the Father of the Hunt and bringer of death, who reflects the divine masculine, virility, and power. Together they are “the mother and the father," and are sometimes presented as married as a reflection of their duality and its significance in the lives of Elves.
At its core, the Wood Elven faith is the belief that no creature or living being is greater than the wild. That it is the duty of all beings to live in harmony with nature and not seek to be better than it or conquer it. Being a race that has always been tied to nature and the wild, it's not hard to understand why this religion, and their Wild Gods are so important to Wood Elves.
Family - The Seeds
A Seed is essentially a tribe, a clan, and a family. The Wood Elven state of Laureh’lin was driven by its Seeds, whose members were in constant friendly competition with one another in displays of hunting prowess, wealth, and glory. One may tell which Seed a Wood Elf belongs to by the ilmyumier upon their skin. The Seed Ilmyumier is often the most prominent of a Wood Elf's cultural tattoos, inked upon a place of significance so that they may be easily identified.
It is a common belief among Wood Elves that the Era of Ancient Seeds was the golden age of the Wood Elven people. In this time, it is said all Wood Elves were pure, living perfectly with nature and unchallenged in their piety to the Aspects. They lived semi-nomadic lives in the deep forests and were said to be able to perform miracles, lost Druidic arts, and cultivate trees soft as silk or hard as steel.
As the Descendants have passed from one continent to the next, Seeds have remained a staple in Wood Elf society and become an important factor in the stability of any nation or settlement. Seeds hold significant influence, as their members form a large proportion of the Mali'ame population and commerce is bolstered by their trades and skills. In modern Irrinor, Seed Chieftans occupied a position on the Council of Roots, as a governing body beneath the Princes.
The best woodworkers in the world are typically Wood Elves. Even weapons like swords and bows, while serving a utility purpose, were made intricately as works of art in Linandria.
Wood Elven painting and sculpture are more naturalistic and often embody the core values of the people. For example, the massive wooden statues of the Aspects which presided over the main gate of Linandria are an example of the patience and prowess of Wood Elven sculptors. This was later revisited in the stone statues of the Aspects watching over the gatehouse of modern Irrinor.
The Druids of Linandria, the Naelurir, were also great artists, weaving nature into wonderful shapes and colors. The very tree canopy of Linandria was thought to be a work of art, shaped and grown by the purposefully. Indeed many Wood Elven settlements are very beautiful and usually make use of the natural landscape to create dwellings and workshops, without intruding upon the existing flora and fauna.
Religion is extremely important to Wood Elves. As stated above, The Wild Path is one of the two main pillars on which Wood Elven culture functions, and nearly all Wood Elves who grow up among their people follow the Path.
Two key deities of elnarnsae'ame are the Aenguls- Cerridwen and Cernunnos. They are considered Gods by Wood Elves and the ultimate caretakers of the sea, the sky, and all that lives. However, the Aspects are not the only figures who occupy the Wood Elven pantheon. The Wild Princes, or Mani are powerful patrons chosen by the Aspects to preside over their animal counterparts, and several particular Mani are revered for their more active role in upholding the Balance of Nature. How one chooses to regard the Aspects and Mani are often based upon the individual, but as the Path has evolved Creeds have risen, which represent certain schools of philosophy and worship among the Wood Elven faith.
First came the Ichor Way, which believed the Aspects to be primal forces of nature, rather than entities capable of intelligent design. Their beliefs focussed on the passion and chaos of nature, and their practices included Thulean Druidism and ritual scarification. The Emerald Way followed, which maintained that the Aspects were the chosen Gods of the Wood Elven people as entities who could speak and feel. Their beliefs center around the indomitable will, prayer and the safeguarding of the Wood Elven people against exterior threats. The Sage Way espoused that the Aspects were both Gods capable of intent and thought, and also primal intangible forces, but the extent of either largely depending upon the individual. Sage Way beliefs teach about finding a Balance in the self, just as there is a Balance of nature. Later, the Sanguine Fire would evolve, with beliefs such as full-heartedness in passions and that one should emulate the Mani and their instincts, for the relevance they hold to the Wood Elven people.
As old Aspectism doctrine reads: The Elves were thrown into this world by another deity (often believed to be the Creator in human canonist faith). They had no knowledge on how to survive and had no place in the natural ecosystem. The Aspects took pity upon this alien race and approached Malin, forefather of all Elves. They gave Malin the gift of intelligence to spread among all his kin, on the promise that all his people worship the Aspects and live with utmost respect of the wilderness.
It is believed by many Wood Elves that Malin was the first Druid, but the validity of this claim is refuted by others.
To this day most Wood Elves worship the Aspects, considering themselves the last true followers of Malin’s teachings. Primary places of worship are found in the form of quiet Groves, or shrines to the Aspects and Mani, with burning braziers in which sacrifices to them are thrown into.
The Wood Elves began as a series of nomadic Seeds, tribal groups who roamed the deep forests, worshipping the Aspects and painting themselves with tattoos, it is from these Seeds that modern Wood Elf culture is derived from.
The first true nation of the Wood Elves was of Malinor, upon its dissolution, the Wood Elves lived under the yoke of High Elves until they rebelled and formed the nation of Laureh’lin.
For full wood elven history, see: Laureh'lin.
In chronological order...
- Lin’ame (Fringe)
- Lin’ame (Thales)
The history of the Mali’ame (commonly known as Wood Elves) begins in a baptism of blood and fire. Iblees, the fallen Aengul waged his war on the four brothers and their mortal children. Among the four brothers was Malin, and his children were known as the elves.
Iblees swept across the realm in a torrent of hellfire, tainting lands wherever his army chose to conquer. Malin and his children had become isolated on the lands which would become known as Axios, the land which would later become his kingdom. However, at the time it was a desolate battlefield and a realm beholden to the evil whim of Iblees himself.
Malin, however, had a secret weapon.
Taynei’Hiylu (The green spirit) was a dragonling created by Dragur, the master of dragons. She was little more than a babe when she was found by Malin. The forefather of the elves took her in and nurtured her, and Taynei’Hiylu quickly grew to see the eldest of the four brothers as her father and mentor. Taynei would learn to assume the form of a mortal and mingle among the other of Malin’s children, knowing that if became public knowledge she was a Dragaar, many would try to corrupt her. In her adolescence, Malin had sent her to be tutored by the druids, a new order at the time. During her time with the Drui, Taynei learn the true names of the wild. She learned the Aspects, the aenguls of nature, and adopted their worship. Her purpose became clear: to teach the Druidic wisdom of the Aspects to Malin’s children.
However, this purpose would not come to pass, as Taynei’Hiylu was called upon for a more dire purpose. It was when Malin’s children became cornered by Iblees forces on the land that would become Axios, that Malin himself called upon her to unleash her powers as a Dragaar to drive back the unholy army.
Taynei’Hiylu became the turning point of the war. Her time with the druids had taught her to use the wilds to her command. Droves of the fiercest beasts charged into Iblee’s demon army, the oldest and wisest of elder trees bent at her command, their roots emerging and suffocating the vile invaders. Taynei shone like a beacon on the battlefield, inspiring Malin’s children with strength as they finally drove the last of Iblee’s presence off of Axios.
Malin could finally rejoin his three brothers as they and all their children formed a united front to overpower and seal away Iblees. However, before they could do this, the Archdaemon had a plan to subdue Taynei, who had thwarted his invasion so thoroughly.
The blight that had been spread during her time in battle had taken its toll on the mind of Taynei. The dragon who was sister of the druids and the elves had begun to lose her mind, succumb to the corruption which she had been exposed to, yet fought so hard to eradicate. To further complicate matters, Iblees had sent one of his strongest drakaar to finish the elven dragon for good- Azdromoth.
Azdromoth was known as the god eater, and for good reason. The corrupted dragon hounded Taynei and pursued her across the world. Taynei’s resolve crumbled and she fled, terrified of being corrupted and turned into a tool of evil. The Aspects took pity upon their Druidic servant. The Aenguls of the wild called upon the earth to swallow Taynei deep into the ground, putting her beyond the reach of Iblees and forcing her into a deep sleep.
For centuries after, many believed that was the last they would see of the Druidic dragon of the elves.
Despite the sealing of the Green Spirit, Malin and his three brothers continued to push, and finally were able to seal away Iblees, although at a great 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 an extraordinary pupil, a Dragaar he had considered his daughter. It had cost him the lives of many of his people. 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.
Malin’s Kingdom: The First Malinor
"Malin, may your forests be a sanctuary of peace and your children long lived.”
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. He wished for his realm to be one where the elves lived in harmony with nature. Malin was close to the Aspects, the Aenguls of the wild, and even convened with them from time to time. He wished to pass on the values the Aspects taught him to his children. Thus, his kingdom took shape. He gave the Kingdom no name, yet his children christened it Malinor.
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.
All elves were one during this time. They were fair of skin, but usually dark of hair. Their height was middling, though some could be shorter or taller than the rest. Malin himself was fair-haired, his eyes ever-changing, those closest to him claimed their colour changed depending on his mood. Regardless, the forefather himself was special, but the elves as a whole were more or less homogenous, all the same lithe, sharp-eared beings of long-life who dwelled in their halls and homes so flawlessly woven into nature.
The druids also played a significant role in Malin’s realm. The order was older now and had learned much since the great war with Iblees. They held great respect for Malin, as the elven forefather was known to receive visions and convene from the Aspects from time to time. While Malin himself was not Drui, he too held the Aspects’ wisdom. The druids were welcomed in Malin’s kingdom with open arms as mentors and teachers, ensuring the elves knew how to live in harmony with nature.
Malinor prospered for centuries, enduring wars with the other races, and going through various other hardships. Despite its troubles, the Kingdom lived on, under the guidance of the immortal forefather of the elves.
However, it was when Malin disappeared into obscurity, never to return, that the signs of crumbling first began to show.
((This period would last for quite awhile, Malin’s original kingdom before the elven sub-race schism. Any currently existing event plans revolving around Malin and his first kingdom can happen during this area, before the schisms.))
The Great Elven Schisms
Malin had been the plaster holding the elven race together. Without the guidance of their forefather, the denizens of Malinor quickly began to drift apart.
The Mali’aheral were the first to truly split. In the beginning, of course, they were simply elves like any other, with no physical distinctions. Following their prophet Larihei, they discovered the golden pools and bathed their bodies, purifying themselves. They grew taller, their hair lightened to that of gold and silver, their ears became longer.
The Mali’aheral- blessed ones as they called themselves- saw no need to abide by the values which Malin had taught. Larihei preached isolation, science, logic and wisdom as the key pillars by which life should be led. The maehr’sae hiylun’ehya. Instead of building with wood, weaving their cities seamlessly into the trees as the elves had done while Malin lived, the Mali’aheral built towering stone spires and grand towers that shined of silver. They built these atop old settlements of Malinor, tearing down old forest halls and tree-top homes for their marble manors. They cared not for the old ways and now sought to improve themselves through science and logic.
In truth, the Mali’aheral excelled rapidly and the cities they built over the old forest settlements of Malinor were magnificent. However, they did not cooperate and coexist with nature, they conquered it and melded it to their design. The old elves looked on, appalled as their newly mutated cousins stripped lands bare of the wild to erect their shining cities of cold marble.
The Mali’ker were the next great schism. They were born from the mistake of one- Veluluai. Veluluai was an elf like any other, however, the spirit of curiosity ran deep in her heart. Veluluai had been commissioned to uncover any information of immortals and gods she could, by Malin himself, and set herself to the task with a passion.
Veluluai had heard whispers of older gods, older even than the Aspects or the shamanistic spirits she can come to admire. She ventured off to find them despite warnings not to. Much like curiosity killed the cat, it created the 'ker. Upon being found, the old god, whose name was "Poison", cursed Veluluai and all her followers with insanity. Having lost control of their minds, they attacked and destroyed a nearby elven city.
Horrified, Malin had the newly formed band of Mali’ker exiled, both by the old elves and the newly formed cities of the Mali’aheral. The Mali’ker would form a pact with the moon spirit Luara which abated their insanity, but turned their skin ashen grey. They would battle against their own sanity that the old god "Poison's" curse had put into flux for centuries to come.
And with that, the elven race was split in three.
The Mali’aheral, who had spread far. Their silver towers, marble spires and arcane guild halls had been built over many of the old forest cities that had been constructed when Malin walked the wilds. The Mali’ker, who had retreated into caves and deep valleys, dangerous and unstable as they fought the moon spirit’s curse.
Only a handful of the old elves remained, elves who had not bathed in golden pools or been cursed by the moon, elves whose culture had rapidly dwindling away. In their eyes, they were the last true elves, followers of Malin. The cursed ashen-skinned Mali’ker were beyond aid in their eyes, doomed to feralism. The Mali’aheral no longer held the respect and reverence of nature Malin had taught all his children to have. They did not care for the Aspects, or even Malin himself.
So, seeing nothing left for them in a crumbling and fragmented Kingdom of Malinor, full of elves mutated and lost to their old ways, these last old elves- the Forgotten Folk, made their exodus into forests so deep no descendent had ever step foot in them.
Exodus of the Forgotten Folk
It was Irrin Sirame who led the exodus of the Elves which would become the Mali’ame. She was known as the Elfess of Grass, born a weak, frail child. She had been a warden of the forests, and at one point a Princess of Malinor, a direct underling of Malin himself when he had walked among his people. Irrin Sirame worshipped the Aspects, she worshipped them devoutly in a time when most elves merely respected and revered them. She held herself to Malin and the Aspect’s teachings fiercely, and none were more furious than her when the MKali’aheral and Mali’ker abandoned the old ways.
The last ‘original’ elves made a grand exodus from the cities of Malinor under Irrin’s leadership. There had never been many cities, and what had been there had now been turned into silver spires by the Mali’aheral. The high elves thrived, but the old elves did not. They scattered to the four corners of the world. Many of them settled into the deep forests of south-eastern Tahn in Axios. Some settled in the jungles of the isle of Asul. Some even sailed away to lands beyond the Abyss.
Irrin didn’t wish to form another nation, only to foster the wild spirit of the elves. She let the exodus elves spread across the land. These old elves, now scattered, formed into many different tribes. They became known as Seeds, as those who belonged to them believed they were the kernel that would lead to the returning of all elves. However, the schism of the Mali’ker and Mali’aheral was too great to heal, and the Seeds would never truly bring either subrace back into the fold.
Over time, the old elves of the seed began to transform as well. It is said that the Aspects themselves saw these disparate tribes exile themselves so deep into their wildest forests, yet live with great respect and reverence to their domain. They made the elves of the seeds shorter, stockier to better prowl through the thickets. They turned their skin brown so they may better blend with the trees. The transformation was slow, and gradual. Many Seeds didn't even notice they were changing, but change definitively happened. These newly transformed elves noticed themselves growing more and more at home with nature, and although the Aspects never showed themselves in person, they came to worship the Aenguls of Nature in a way Malin and the original elves never had.
Many druids had made the exodus along with Irrin and her elves. These druids were elves too, deciding to depart from the order to serve as priests, prophets and guides among the newly formed seeds, in what was certain to be a time that would greatly test both their style of life, and their faith.
Thus, the Wood Elves were born. Yet in the early days of the Mali'ame race, as the culture of the Seeds was slowly developing, the Aspects had one final gift.
After centuries of being buried away, the great Druidic dragon was finally re-awoken by the Aspects. Taynei’Hiylu had been ordained to be a protector and guide of elf-kind since her creation, and with the taint of Iblees long gone, she was safe to return.
Taynei first travelled to the cities of the Mali’aheral, imploring that they once more see the Aspect’s way. To return to Malin’s teachings. The Mali’aheral spurned her, for they were thriving in their silver spires, making great advancements of voidal magic and alchemy. She next travelled to the caves and dens of the Mali’ker, but try as she might, the cursed elves were in too much of a battle against their own minds to return to the old way.
Taynei saw no way to mend the schism that had divided elf-kind so thoroughly. Looking upon the rest of Axios, she saw the Mali’ame in their deep forests, worshipping the Aspects, their various Seeds now well established. She resolved that if she could not mend the schism, she could at least be a guide to those who followed the same Aenguls as she.
Taynei was a Druid. The Transcendent Druid. That alone made her a figure of great respect among the various scattered Mali’ame Seeds, as druids had been living among them since the Seeds formation as priests and mentors. On top of that, she had been close to Malin, the forefather. The wood elves had heard stories of her, passed down since the great war with Iblees. She was quickly hailed as the grand prophet of the Mali’ame.
Taynei led two major reforms among the wood elven people.
First, she formed the order of Nealu’ir (Ones who teach). There had already been various druids travelling among the Seeds of course, but the Green Spirit formed them into an organized entity which could teach and guide all Seeds equally. She grew magnificent groves in the center of each forest where the Seeds roamed, and instructed all druids among the seeds to make their homes there. The druids were now accessible to all Seeds, who would travel miles and days to reach their groves to seek advice, healing, or spiritual guidance.
Second, she held the first Omentahu. The Omentahu was a grand meeting of all the Seeds, held at the center of the isle of Malin once every ten years. All the Seeds were expected to attend the Omentahu, which Taynei’Hiylu would preside over. At these meetings, knowledge would be shared and exchanged among seeds, and Druidic sermons to the Aspects would be held. Any disputes or wars that had brewed between Seeds would be settled at an Omentahu by Taynei herself. For a race so scattered and often isolated in thick forests across the entire continent of Axios, the Omentahu was essential to keeping ‘ame culture alive.
Under Taynei’hiylu and the Nealu’ir druids she fostered, the wood elven Seeds lived peacefully. Scattered, yet united by the same guides. However, troubled times brewed ahead.
Era of the Seeds
After Taynei’s reforms was when the era of the seeds truly began. It quickly became a custom among seed chieftains to ink their skin in various patterns and colours to mark themselves as the leader of a Seed. Soon, this practice evolved so all wood elves tattooed themselves, with the design and colour of the tattoo being dependent on the Seed they belonged to. This practice became known as ilmyumier.
While all the seeds were bound together by Taynei, the Nealu’ir, and their faith, in truth they diverged quite a bit. This was due to the fact that outside of the Omentahu, there wasn’t much consistent contact between Seeds. Some seeds became excellent hunters, renowned for their spearmen and archers. Some Seeds considered themselves elves of the sea, living along the coasts and conquering violent waves and sharks. But among all the seeds, the most respected where the ones who cultivated Ame’lie.
An Ame’lie was, in essence, a tree farm, but it really was much more than that. Living in deep forests, the Seeds had little room for conventional farming, so they turned to planting and selectively breeding trees. Wood elves during this time could do wondrous things with tree-breeding, producing trees whose trunks were soft and malleable enough to turn into clothing, or hard enough to produce into weaponry. Trees which bloomed fruit like figs, apples and lemons at exorbitant rates were also grown, feeding the elves with a king’s variety of sweet bounty. Ame’lie were grown seamlessly into the forest, and were strictly regulated by the Nealu’ir to ensure they did not grow too large and intrude too much on the natural forest.
The seeds for the most part lived by their own rules, with Taynei and the druids being the only real form of central leadership. Many Seeds were formed during this area by aspiring cheiftains, Seeds who have long since died away, and Seeds whose bloodlines stretch into the common era.
Irrin Sirame, leader of the exodus and the founder of Seed culture roamed from Seed to Seed, belonging to none of them. She was considered a wise-woman and a mentor, welcomed wherever she went.
Beloun - A seed focused on the art of the hunt. The Beloun tattooed their faces with jagged, black patterns which were meant to resemble spears. They were usually black of hair and blue eyed. The Beloun became renowned for their hunting prowess, becoming so successful that the Nealu’ir at one point had to force their Chieftain to migrate his Seed north, as they were dangerously close to hunting the local wild boar into extinction.
Chirr - Another hunting seed. However, the Chirr were savage. They considered themselves the finest warriors of all elf-kind, and their ilmyumier was a blood red streak painted down the eyes. They would kill and scalp any Mali’aheral or Mali’ker who were foolish enough to enter their thick forest territory. The Chirr would occasionally raid other Seeds for food, valuables and slaves. They fought a few skirmishes with the Beloun. Taynei and the Nealu’ir personally intervened to put a stop to this. The Chirr usually had red hair and blue eyes.
Caerme’onn - Caerme’onn was a Seed born from a union of an older Seed whose name is lost to time, and a tribe of elves from far away Aeldin. The Aeldinic elves landed and assimilated, lending their language to the Seed’s new name. Caerme’onn was a well rounded Seed comprised of hunters and Ame’lie tree-farmers. Their first chieftain claimed to have the blood of Irrin Sirame, the leader of the great exodus. But, his claim was largely ignored. The Caerme’onn usually had dark crimson hair and emerald eyes. Their ilmyumier were jagged crimson lines resembling the horns of a stag.
Tahorran - A seed best known for their hawk-like yellow eyes which lends them their name, the Tahorran were a smaller, enigmatic tribe who were rarely seen. They were generally taller than most wood elves, which led them to believe they were the last ‘old elves’, though in truth they were no closer than any other mali’ame. The Tahorran were known to perform huge ceremonies of offering and sacrifice to the Aspects. Some Seeds claimed the Tahorran practised the sacrifice of living elves, but this was never proven.
Nor’ehya - A seafaring seed. The Nor’ehya lived in the south east of the isle of Tahn, by the ocean. With the wood from their Ame’lie, they crafted boats able to cut through the water at the speed of the wind. They hunted great beasts of the waters, sharks, whales and great squid. They were hazel-haired and deep blue eyed. Their ilmyumier tattoos were dark blue and resembled the waves of the waters.
Aureon - The most isolated of seeds, the Aureon were highly Xenophobic. They kept solely to themselves, refusing to interact with even other Seeds (except for at Omentahu), let alone mali’aheral or mali’ker. The Aureon were among the best Ame’lie farmers. It was said that they could grow wood harder than steel, and the fruits from their trees were so sweet that anyone you gave them to would fall in love with you. Their tribal tattoos reflected this, bearing the dark green branching patterns of a tree.
Despite some squabbles and the occasional skirmish, the Seeds lived in relative peace due to the leadership of Taynei’Hiylu. The green spirit and Druidic dragon kept the diverse, Aspect worshipping elves in check.
But this would not last.
Garthon’s Great War of Unity
“Greetings, my children.” began Garthon in a soothing voice. “I trust you are enjoying the feast?” The Seed members all nodded. The Archdruid smiled. “It is good to see such a flourishing Seed in this era of distrust and war. It was not always this way, you know. Once the Elves were all united under one Elf. Malin. I am one of the few to remember him, you know. People speak of him now in a reverence that was well earned.” Caeldir raised an eyebrow. He wondered what the Archdruid was getting at.
Garthon was an Archdruid. He was part of an elite core, an elder druid who had been appointed by the Green Dragon herself to be the spearhead of the Nealu’ir. But Garthon’s mind was not like that of a normal druid. While he kept up appearances and played the part of the nature protecting, balance upholding Archdrui he was, his real thoughts were of power and unity. He was an old elf, and thus remembered the great schisms. He knew better than most that all elves had once been one, and that they had been bound together by their King- Malin.
In his eyes, it was time for a new king. He met Taynei in secret in a forest clearing lost to time. It was there he appealed and pleaded to her to give him the power to conquer all the elves. The mali’ker and mali’aheral have scorned the old way, Malin’s way long enough! He claimed. Taynei would have no part in it. She had long ago accepted that the high and dark elves had chosen their path, whether or not she agreed with it.
Not only did the Green Dragon shoot down Garthon’s plea for power, she had him stripped of his Archdruid rank. She attempted to unattune him, but Garthon fought back. Trees, branches, vines and roots whipped against one another as the two druids fought. Garthon could not hope to over-power a dragaar, but he managed to escape before Taynei could subdue him and Unattune him from his powers.
In dismay that someone with as much power as an Archdruid was going to try to wage a war, Taynei immediately called an emergency Omentahu. She pleaded for all the Seeds gathered to swear their loyalty to her, to not fall for Garthon, whatever methods he would use to win their loyalty. For Garthon would bring nothing but death and destruction upon all elves.
During this, Garthon himself had been busy. He had been searching in the deepest forests, searching for something ancient and dangerous. After months of searching, and avoiding the druids Taynei had sent to kill him, he found it. A word altar.
A word altar was an ancient piece of magic which allowed one to enslave nature to one’s command. Their usage, along with the ancient elven tongue which was tied to them, had been banned by Malin himself while all elves were one sub-race, and his kingdom lived. Garthon was one of the few who still remembered they existed, and knew where to find them. The powers of the word altar far exceeded the power of any druid, as druids had to work with nature. Garthon now controlled it.
With the power of the altar at his disposal, all the wilds were Garthon’s to command. He went to several Seeds, blackmailing them to join his army. Join, and I overflow your Ame’lie with fruit, bring all the game to your forests for your hunts. Refuse, and I make your trees wither and your animals die. Some seeds joined Garthon because they felt they had no choice. Some joined because they genuinely shared Garthon’s goal- they wished to conquer the Mali’ker and Mali’aheral and make the elves whole.
Yet, many resisted. Many Seeds bore arms with Taynei’Hiylu, and prepared to defend their homes and their freedom against this Draoi usurper who sought to claim a title which only Malin could ever bare.
The war raged for a decade and ravaged the forests which the Seeds had grown to love so much. Brother turned on brother and father on son as Seeds were torn apart from the inside, forced to pick a side. Garthon, the great uniter and wielder of an ancient power, or a tyrant seeking nothing but destruction, forcing nature to his will?
The final battle happened on the eve of the Era of the Seeds, on the center of the isle of Malin. Two armies of wood elves faced each other across a forested battlefield. Beloun, Chirr and other Seeds stood with Garthon. Nor’ehya, Aureon, Tahorran and Caerme’onn stood with Taynei’Hiylu. The fought, and wood elven blood was spilt for days. The trees were enslaved to Garthons command, who used them to swallow up the Taynei’s warriors. Taynei entered the fray in her full Dragaar form, fighting against Garthon’s hold on the wild, channelling the power of the Aspects.
The tide of the battle turned. The warriors fighting for Taynei began routing those fighting for Garthon. Garthon retreated into the deep woods. By then the battle was over. Taynei appeared before her warriors and ordered them to spare all survivors of the enemy. No more elven blood would be spilt.
Then, she pursued Garthon into the woods.
She found him in a clearing, licking his wounds. Garthon saw her, and muttered bindings in the ancient tongue, ready to call nature to his whim once more to make a final stand. But, Taynei did not prepare to fight back. She morphed herself back to her elven form and spread her arms out.
“I will not kill you. Enough elven blood has been spilt. Please, surrender yourself and you will be treated fairly by your brothers and sisters. We must always find a peaceful way.” Garthon’s heart had become cold as ice, devoid of love. Taynei’s words of forgiveness meant nothing of him. In mere seconds, the earth opened up and began to swallow the Druidic dragon, much like it had when the Aspects first sealed her away so long ago. But now it was not Aenguls locking her away to protect her, it was a vengeful, powerful Draoi with an ancient magic that rivalled the power of the Aspects themselves.
Taynei spoke no words as Garthon uttered the binding in the ancient tongue which would seal her away from her people, only looked at him with sorrow and betrayal. Despite his actions, he had been one of her people. One of her children. A child she could not turn from a dark path. Thinking these thoughts of failure, she succumbed to her earthy prison.
Garthon recuperated, and prepared to find his forces and regroup. Some of his warriors still lived, and now with Taynei sealed away, nothing rivalled his power. He could usually assume control of the rebel Seeds. He began to walk…
An arrow pierced through through his back, penetrating his heart. It caught him completely off-guard. The last thing the tyrant usurper Garthon saw before his death was the lithe figure of Irrin Sirame standing before him, bow in hand.
Irrin, paragon of the wood elves, rushed to where Taynei had been swallowed up, collapsing to her knees and breaking down in tears. Taynei had been like a mother to her. She knew the bindings Garthon had put in place with the power of the word altar could not be undone. At least not by her, or any druid. It would require the Aspects themselves to intervene, but the Aenguls seemed to have no interest in freeing the Dragaar.
Perhaps the Mali’ame had forsaken themselves in the eyes of the Aspects. Perhaps their war, and Garthon’s usurpation of nature had condemned them. In any case, the Aspects would not bring back Taynei’Hiylu. Perhaps a time would come, when the elves once more learned to live among themselves in peace, and in harmony with nature, that the Aspects would re-awaken the Druidic dragon.
The war ended before Garthon could spread his terror to the Mali’aheral and Mali’ker. Only wood elven blood was spilt.
End of an Era: A New Malinor
Taynei’Hiylu was gone.
Irrin Sirame had exiled herself into isolation in grief, for she believed her gods had abandoned her. No Seed could find her. No Seed disrespected her enough to try.
The plaster which held the Wood Elven culture of the Seeds together for a millennia was now rapidly dwindling away.
It was on this backdrop that a final Omentahu was called.
The Seed chieftains and Druids gathered. For the first time, without Taynei’Hiylu presiding over the conference. There was great somberness at the gathering. Seeds from both sides of the war agreed that it was only because the Wood Elves lived so scattered and far apart from one another that Garthon had been able to turn them against themselves, one seed at a time. So, a pact was made.
The Seeds be abolished. No more could the wood elves be divided by tribes. The Wood Elves would perform a great migration away from the lands of Axios, lands whose deep forests had been torn by the war, ravaged by Garthon’s word altar. They would sail far away, to the lands which would become Aegis. There, they would create a city. A city of homes woven into the trees and great forest halls, just like they had been back in Malin’s first Kingdom.
When they reached Aegis, they founded this city. They named it Laurelin, land of the noble. It was capital to a nation, a new nation. It shared the same name as Malin’s Kingdom, but it had no king, only Princes. This Princedom would be Malinor.
With the likes of Taynei and Irrin gone, the wood elves slowly lost their ties to the Aspects, and worship of the wild Aenguls slowly died away. Seed culture also evaporated, obsolete, as all elves lived in the same city. High and Dark elves, now with their own long histories and cultures, would move to Laurelin and assimilate with the wood elves, mixing their bloodlines.
For awhile, it seemed to be the end of the culture for good.
But, nothing truly is gone forever.
Reviewed by LM: ~~~~
- The capital city of Vailor was named after the first city of the Elves, Laurelin.
- The Wood Elves are tolerable of other races unlike their High Elven cousins and typically have a mutually respectful relationship with Dark Elves.
- Many Wood Elves died in the Malinorian Crusades by the Order of the White Rose. You can read more about the order here.
- Due to their historically semi-nomadic culture and lack of agriculture, Wood Elves tend to uphold a paleo diet. Some are even intolerant of dairy.
- A Wood Elf named Phaedrus founded the Principality of Laureh'lin by overthrowing the High Elven government of Haelun'or under Sohaer Kalenz, he would later go on to become the first non-Orc Rex of the Orcish race.
- For a guide on making new wood elf character you can click here.
- For help on Elvish names, click here.