Creation of the Elves
Author: Lorali’ O’Quinnlin"From the primordial turmoil at the center of the universe sprang the gods full-fledged, full-formed. Each claimed jurisdiction over certain effects, all being equally endowed with the power and force of the cosmos. They cooperated for the first (and the last) time to create the worlds. But some gods used their powers more wisely than their brethren. An early alliance formed among these wiser gods. They knew how to manipulate their power. This gathering of gods, who called themselves the Seldarine (or the Brothers and Sisters of the Wood) imparted their very essence into creation certain aspects of the worlds.
While other gods squabble over jurisdiction and possession of this virtue and that attribute, the Seldarine modified some of the lands, making their worlds lush and green and beautiful. In addition, they created vessels that would one day gold the spirit of the first sentient life to set foot upon these worlds - the race of beings known as Elves. they crafted these vessels with thought and care, and gave them extraordinary beauty. The other gods grew black with jealousy, and they thirsted to imitate the Seldarine. These gods hastily fashioned their own vessels, vying against these created by the Seldarine. But they would not invest the time vital to creating a race, and so their results were flawed - the gods did not care. their creations were nothing like those shaped by the Seldarine. Most were Monsters, creates that would one day gaunt the dreams of Elves. Of all the crude creations, only the vessel reserved for Man held a glimmer of potential, for they would one day have the ability to change the land as would the Elves. The gods of the new races tried too hastily to reproduce a feat that had taken the wiser gods eons. But neither group's constructs would come to life until the historic meeting between Corellon Larethian and Gruumsh, leader of the Anti-Seldarine."
In the subject of elven mythology, the gods have strangely little to say, leaving one to ponder as it may be. The elves believe that their religion is closer to actual history than are the religions of other races. There may be some truth to this belief, since the elves have such long life spans, with memories to match. They have far fewer generations between their creation and the present day. Thus they claim, there has been far less dilution of the truth, unlike the other stories, they state, the elven chronicle is pure.
The countless years that have passed since the beginning of the universe have seen hundreds of generations of elves. By way of comparison, thousands - even millions - of generations of other races have lived and passed into dust during that time. Small wonder, then, that the elves feel their histories have been less tainted through the vagaries of time than those of other races. There are far fewer variations on the creation story in the elf race than in any other. The humans have untold numbers, practically one for each town. The dwarves have several more, and they constantly change them to glorify their race and their tribes over others. Halflings and gnomes, too, have excessive myths, although they are less likely than dwarves to extol their own virtues in such a manner. Likewise the orcs and other evil humanoids all have their favorite stories to comfort them in their dank, smoky caves. Following is a continuation of the elven story, of creation as told by Lorali’ O’Quinnlin, Priestess of Corellon Larethian. While not necessarily an impartial retelling, it does manage to capture the essential ingredients of the elven story of creation.
"When the god Gruumsh saw the creation of the Seldarine, the Elves, he regarded it as an abomination - and he became enraged. For the first time, desire for blood pulsed in a god's veins. Gruumsh prepared to crush the Seldarine, and some gods flocked to his standard while others stood aside. Still more, such as Moradin Soul-Forger and Garl Glittergold, aligned with the Seldarine, for they had - though not in conjunction with the Seldarine - set side areas of the world for their own purposes. When the inflamed Gruumsh attacked Corellon Larethian, the leader of the Seldarine, a mighty battle began: the Godswar. How long it raged over the pristine fields of the planets, no one knows. Each combatant drew great wounds from the spirit and the body of his or her foe. Whole the other contenders fell by the wayside (badly hurt, though not mortally wounded), Gruumsh and Corellon would not break off. Instead, they continued their fierce combat. they traversed the planes, and they splashed the other's blood across the lands.
As night drew near, the powers of Gruumsh strengthened, while those of Corellon waned. All seemed lost for the Seldarine. Tears from the moon landed on Corellon's upturned, stricken face, and they mingled freely with his blood. Then Corellon looked to his companions - and it was there he found fortitude. He drew back his sword and, with one fearful blow, clove out the orb of Gruumsh (who became known as Gruumsh One-Eye.) The god howled in pain, black ichor spewing from the wound. Gruumsh turned and fled to the netherworld. There he nursed his hate, seeking forever after ways to shape the enemies of the Seldarine. And the greatest of his creations, made in the burning heat of rage and the blackness of his blood, was the Orcs. That is why, to this day, the Orcs and the Elves are such bitter enemies. From the beginning, even before their creation, the very essences of their gods strove against one another. With Gruumsh defeat, the Seldarine and their allies continued with their works. The Seldarine gathered the moon's tears and the blood shed by Corellon in that great battle, placed these into the vessels they had created, and infused them with their own spirit. Each god imparted virtue into his or her creation, feeding and nurturing the newly formed race. Thus were the Elves born from the blood of Corellon Larethian, mixed with with the soil of the world, blessed with the tears of the moon, and given their nearness to divinity. The other gods saw this example and set about infusing life into their own sadly misshapen vessels, with varied results. Alas, all other races were but sad imitations of the Elves."
The tale of the Godswar explains some of the elven traits, both physical and metal. Being formed of the blood of the god Corellon Larethian accounts for why elves possess such long lifespans. Tears from the moon provide a rationale for the elves' ethereal beauty - a beauty that often led the lesser races to think of elves as gods. The soil of the earth explains the connection all elves feel with the land. To the elves, their legends provide some measure of assurance that they play a grand role in the scheme of things. Study of elven legends explains why elves are so certain of their rightful place in life, and why they rarely worry about afflictions that would be crises for lesser beings. Other elven myths provide different insights into the elf character. Following is an accounting from Sarathos-Telanith, which sheds further light on elf history - specifically, the times that were responsible for initial fragmenting of the elf nation: the Elfwar."After the Godswar, the deities divided the world among themselves so that their creations could prosper and grow. The Seldarine chose the forests for their children, the Elves, but secretly encouraged them to spread as they would. The other gods did likewise, and the races fought for land: the hatred introduced by Gruumsh the Cursed One had spread to the mortal species. The Elves were, at this time, all one people. There were variations, but these were individual, rather than any sort of societal rift. All differences were a matter of personal inclination, and the Elves lived in harmony with one another.
There were those who lusted for power, and those would could not bear to live within the confining walls of a city. Others were rabidly xenophobic, wanting to bar outsiders from the Elflands, keeping away the taint of those "unfavored by the gods." Still others, more moderate in most things, were scorned by their brothers or even despised. Each Elf thought the he knew best, and each tried to impose his views on his brother. Evil flourished in this atmosphere of distrust and dissent. the great Elf cities of old deteriorated, and the Spider Queen Lolth gained a foothold on the hearts of many Elves. They used her to gain greater power and influence, and her evil ways led them even further astray. These Elves practiced dark magic and forbidden lore to make themselves mighty, and they turned from the light they had loved so much. The tension grew unbearable. The Elves who had embraced the teachings of Lolth marched into the cities and slaughtered their brethren. The first attack came under cover of darkness, and the other Elves could not mount a defense. But they had seen the dark time to come, and they had readied themselves for war. Their preparations were not in vain. They returned fire.
The Elfwar raged for decades, neither side gaining victory. Thousands of Elves perished on both sides, and the number of wounded grew ever higher. The Elves of Lolth took the name Drow to signify their new allegiance, and they took the cities they had captured as their homes. They massed for the final battle, and Lolth covered the land in loathsome clouds of black to strike fear in the hearts of mortal Elves. The Drow were prepared to win - but then the gods themselves intervened. Corellon Larethian and his companions struck deep into the heart of Drow territory. Long and hard they fought, seeking the evil in that land. Finally, Corellon Larethian came upon the dread Spider Queen, and he attacked. Magic flared and spat; blood merged in rivulets. Then Corellon struck Lolth a telling blow, driving her deep into the earth. With her defeat, the haze over the battlefield lifted, allowing the bright light of the sun to bathe the land in its healing ways.
The Drow turned their faces away from the sun's purification, preferring instead their fallen goddess. They consciously chose the shadows over light, and Corellon decreed that such treachery would forever show upon their faces. It is for this reason that the skin of Drow is dark. Corellon forced the evil Elves into the rift where he had banished Lolth the Spider. After the last Drow was driven underground, he and his fellow gods abandoned the Elves to their own devices, preferring instead the plane of Arvanador." The rifts and turmoil created by the Elfwar have permanently scarred the elf psyche. Although many factions were appalled at the breaking away of the drow, some could not contain their discontent. Several such groups chose to strike own on their own, and event called the Fractioning. Thus, the division of elves, begun by the drow, continued. The elven race divided into the grey elves, who had chosen the mountains as their home; the sylvan elves, who had returned to the forests of their birth; and the high elves, who chose to remain in the elven cities and be the keepers of the elven way of life. Still more sought farther afield, roaming the oceans, the arctic wastes, and the skies above. In time, these elven nations grew further apart, each coming to develop special characteristics. The grey elves became ever more aloof, while the sylvan elves grew as wild as the forests. The explorers adapted themselves to new lands, regardless of where they settled. Still others continued to roam, leading a nomadic life. These nomadic elves encountered the other races that had been so haphazardly scattered about the world. The elves were often a source of legend to the dwarves, humans, gnomes and halflings. Initial contact was relatively peaceful, particularly with gnomes and halflings. However, suspicions remained, and tensions grew, particularly between elves and dwarves. None are truly sure of the reason behind the war with the dwarves. Some claim the dispute was a territorial matter, while others hold it was a difference in ideologies. Of course, both elves and dwarves name the other as instigator. Whatever the cause, they fought brutal, butter wars for many years. They have since reconciled to a degree, but there has never been total trust between the two races. The first elven contact with humans has been lost to the mists of time. Since the elves were figures out of human myth, the humans were more inclined to hold them in awe. This attitude has carried over even unto the present day, and the elves remain enigmas to humans. Although elves and humans have not gone to full-scale war with one another, there have been a number of small clashes. Many of these are over human encroachment into the forests and their heavy-handed techniques for logging. These elves take exception to the death of virgin forest. Further, some humans, out of greed and jealousy, have taken advantage of the elves' trust to slay and destroy them. Thus, elves have come to mistrust humans as well; many have withdrawn beyond human ken. While some remain in the lands known to humans, more have returned to the fabled Elflands. The elves are a proud people. They see the unbridled thirsts in the human races; that, coupled with their amazing fecundity, make them a serious threat to all that the elves originally accomplished. The elves watch the humans, and there is fear in their hearts. Obviously, the sea elves do not lightly leave the sanctuary of their oceans. The harsh environment of the land would discourage any sea elf who foolishly wished to leave the soothing waves. This does not mean that the sea elves have no dealings with those who breathe air. Any elves (excepting drow) are welcome to visit the land of the sea elves, and they will be greeted royally. Trade delegations are common between land and sea elves, although it is usually the land elves who must travel, for they have magics more suited for the foreign element of water. Sea elves commonly travel with elves ships, defending those aboard from attacks beneath the waves. Since they are accomplished at scuttling the ships of evil humans and humanoids, aquatic elves are feared by pirates and those who would prey on elven craft.
Aquatic elves often consort with dolphins and hippocampi, and the latter are bred as mounts. Dolphins and sea elves are usually on the best of terms and easily befriend one another. They serve each other's needs, giving mutual protection and aid. Aquatic elf society consists mainly of those sea elves who dwell in a five-mile area. There is a titular king or queen to whom they pay homage, but he has no real power over daily life. Sea elves live as they please, coming together under a ruler only in times of undersea emergency or great trouble for the world in general. The lords and ladies of the ocean cities do little other than escort visitors and conduct the trade that aquatic elves find so enjoyable. The rest of the populations consists of artists, hunters, and farmers, all concerned with making survival possible and life pleasant for the rest of the community.
These elves have cities of living coral, supplemented with glittering crystal domes. Their undersea paradise is marked by sea elf farmers tending schools of fish; it is also marked by the peace one can find beneath the waves. The wash of blue and green dappled light has inspired above sea artists for years - and will no doubt continue to do so.
Created by Faelinn Shadowmoon (Leanne Micciche) at 04-28-08 09:12 AM
Last Modified by Faelinn Shadowmoon (Leanne Micciche) at 04-28-08 09:12 AM
Last Modified by Faelinn Shadowmoon (Leanne Micciche) at 04-28-08 09:12 AM