The World of Elves
Since time immemorial the race of elves have lived in the ancient and seemingly endless Ardaalvian forest, the gleaming spires of their vast city-states, as hauntingly beautiful as the elves themselves, blending harmoniously with the soaring surrounding forest. In ancient times, these forest bastions flourished as hubs of trade for all of the goodly races. All manner of races lived in the great cities and elves were welcomed around the world as fellow friends and adventurers. The foresight and protections of the elven council ensured that trade inside each elven city-state was peaceful and profitable for all. Great towers of learning sprung up in almost all of the city-states, the greatest of them belonging to the city-state of Caer Gwynthyl. Students and curious visitors from around the world made the trip to Caer Gwynthyl to experience the great libraries and the soaring towers. Students of magic also came, for no other center of learning in the world rivaled the secret and ancient arcane magics that could be plumbed from the vast repository of knowledge stored there.
Ultimately it was the ancient arcane magic texts available that were the elves’ undoing. A great elven wizard uncovered an ancient tome that told of a ritual that would bind each city-state together through the use of teleportation. A great cry went up to perform this ritual so that each of the cities could be gotten to from any other city, a permanent teleportation circle would be placed on the ground floor entrance of each tower of learning in each elven city throughout the Ardaalvian forest. Journeys would take mere moments instead of trackless weeks or sometimes even months. Seraavina of Caer Gwynthyl, the most gifted mage in all of Caer Gwynthyl, was nominated and selected to perform the complicated piece of magic. She began the ritual on a fateful day in mid-summer. At first, everything seemed as it should. As the ritual chant began, small, lavender-hued circles began to appear in each of the city-states, slowly growing and becoming larger. Whether it was a mis-cast spell or if the spell in the ancient tome called “Naarvalian Seerwa” was never the correct spell to begin with, no one really knows. But as the circles became larger and larger, Seraavina gave a cry of alarm as tendrils of flickering purple light started to emerge from the holes. She stopped the casting, but still the holes grew. As she frantically flipped through the book that she was casting from, the tendrils of purple light snaked towards her, their strike as quick as lightning as they impaled themselves into and through the elven mage’s chest and started to pull her towards the open hole. Though the hole was bloodless, the elven woman’s face contorted in agonizing pain as the tendrils began to suck her very life force away. A wordless scream of anguished, soul-deep terror frozen on her lifeless face was the last anyone saw of her as she was dragged into the hole that she had unwittingly created, the tendrils becoming brighter and brighter purple as they pulsed with purple-white energy. More tendrils snaked, like so many hands, towards everyone still alive in the library and began dragging them toward the gaping maw in the middle of the room, to the same unhappy fate…
And so it was across all of the elven city-states, each hole a maw of death and destruction…some kind of gateway to another plane that had not yet been discovered. And when there were no more live bodies within reach, out of the holes emerged terribly evil creatures from another realm. Not one looked like any creature that the elves had ever heard of, though all the monsters shared the same hue of purple on their skin. The demons, or whatever they were, rampaged through the beautiful cities, bringing desecration and madness wherever they went, until the very streets glistened with rivers of elven blood and the stench of death permeated the air like a foul but potent perfume. Untold lives were lost that day and the elves have never recovered to the glory of their former days. Some few from each city managed to escape into the surrounding forests and banded together to form small, nomadic family groups that live on the forest and are wary and sometimes even downright hostile to strangers. The beautiful city-states that once dotted the forest are crumbling to ruin and decay as the forest does it’s best to reclaim them. Though they have lost much learning, including almost all of the arcane arts they once knew, and lost contact with the rest of the races of the world, they have yet retained a sense of dignity and grace, and protect their roaming territories fiercely, though no elves in living memory have ventured into or out of the Ardaalvian Forest since the Great Massacre, as it became known, centuries ago. Instead of the wizardly arts, the elves of the present age have become adept at the use of bows and of living stealthily and soundlessly in the great forests. The descendants of the Vikthryl, as the amethyst monsters came to be called, still roam the forests as well, living testament to that tragic day, though the elves of the present age have learned well the ways of identifying and skirting the Vikthryl’s territory. The elves to this day keep nothing purple on them and are shaken and shy of anything or anybody that bears too much of the color. Though they still remember the glory days of their race, the memories are faded and little is known among the elves of the other races, though they know that they were once there and that not all of them were as vicious or as murderous as the Vikthryl.
Segregated, the elves are content to be apart from men; but they can never forget their history, a history in which all the races of the world were united and living as one. It’s a world far apart from the one that now exists, but a world remembered and hoped to exist once again.