History and Culture
The first elves grew from the Seeds of Life, scattered from the pod which the Goddess of Names shook from the sky, pushing the howling devils into the earth and burning the sinful beasts. From the ashes of the wicked bore all the creatures of the world.
These elves gathered in Jade Pavilion, formed the first courts and built the Ancestor Tree, and began the Lotus Era – living in perfect peaceful co-existence with the Million Things for eons. In this age the grandmother language of the elves was formed, and the first words of power.
The first year was recorded upon the discovery of the River of Mortality, which Inka – the court poet – was tricked into drinking from. Finding the flavor irresistible and burning with passions, he brought it back to the Heavenly Court. Not satisfied with drinking from a vessel, a great expedition was formed to visit this river of unearthly sweetness.
The devils of Urthan were overjoyed in their success, rose from the waters, and tore apart the now-mortal elves which bathed and drank along the banks.
For a hundred years and a day, the battle along the river continued.
Thus began the Ruby Era. Those devils entombed in the earth had made their way back to the surface, and warred with the remaining mortal elves and immortal brethren. The waves of devils carried buckets with them, seducing other creatures to drink. The elves had been driven from their homes among the trees and split in many directions, forced to flee and fortify in the mountains, disappear into the jungles, hide within the hills, and camp in far-away plains. The discovery of the dragons – Xomu of the Clouds (Gold), Oylu of the Jungles (Green), Yokui of the Sands (Brass), Dolunghi (Red), and Aamak (Silver) of the Frosts – shifted the tides by mixing in dragon magics with the already present – though diluted – elven magic, but this would be the last age of a united elven race.
The Amber Era was one of great upheaval and chaos. With the fractured elven peoples, at war in unfamiliar lands, with the thread of immortality nearly gone, most legends tell of great people making terrible sacrifices to stay alive, keep their communities safe, and entomb the powerful demons back into the earth. Dragons, due to their powerful nature, became rulers de facto – and the first dragon-blood sorcerers their proxies. Those smaller pockets of elves joined together to form larger groups, those being sheltered by the dragons. Eventually, powerful sorcerers came to rule these people – the first Dragon Chieftains of the elven clans.
The Jet Era saw the diminished involvement of the dragons, as their bargains fulfilled they retreated back to their homes. The demons had now been largely defeated and driven from the various clan holdings, the last of which was entombed in a giant sphere of jet – marking the start of a new Dynasty. This was a time of reconstruction, temperance, and law. A number of legends from this era are heroes not made from battles, but from civil duty, compassion, and righteousness. At this point, the naming convention changes from Era to Dynasty.
The First Dynasty began with the meeting of roads between the Shen and Hanxa clans, and followed with the creation of a network of roads to reach the other clan lands of Daoli and Xi (now Fu Bei).
The Second Dynasty brought the construction of the pillars of Heaven, dedicating prayers to the first great leaders and to the fading first gods. This age was brought the Shining Mandate of the Sages – and the Council of Heaven, the life and death of Guahuaram the Serene, and the reclamation of the Emerald Steppes. Oylu, the last earth dragon of the Yi court, took flight during this dynasty and promised to return at the end of the Fifth – when her wisdom would be needed most.
The Third Dynasty took a turn for the worse, as the great houses were cursed by the powerful White Hare Cult. With the help of the human tribe to the south, an army of undead helped the corrupted court of Sayan spread north into the steppes – nearly capturing the second pillar. In anger, the gods showed their displeasure through immense storms, earthquakes, and – lastly – a volcanic eruption which ripped apart the army’s lines.
The Fourth Dynasty was marked by the arrival of the gnomes, whom became fast friends and allies to the elven rulers. With their architectural and engineering prowess, the elven kingdoms flourished greater than ever before, sailing ships improved to form a formidable navy, and the creation of the Tajin River. In honor of their contribution, the gnome Queen Imfea was immortalized into Cloud Mountain. Also during this period, the first half-elf was given full legal rights within all kingdoms – although certain religious rituals and sites are still off-limits.
You are now in the Fifth Dynasty, which has been marked by the chiming of the first pillar of Heaven – a portent of great change and upheaval.