The Order of the Lantern
The Elves of Nathemar are an ancient and proud people but they are a people divided. A schism has developed among them over how to deal with the growth of the human civilizations. Forewarned of the Cataclysm, they weathered the disaster with their civilization largely intact and for a time spread over large parts of Nathemar. As the humans mutliplied, however, they were slowly pushed back to the great forests of the northwest, unable to cope with the humans’ prolific expansion. Finally, a little over 500 years ago, the Elf Queen Siellenia decided to push back. She decreed that the life of any human found in her domain was forfeit. Her son, Minather, disagreed. He saw the humans (or ‘Indorinir’ – quick ones – as they are called by the elves) as full of potential and begged his mother to relent. She refused and banished Minather along with all his followers to the lands now belonging to the humans. Although they were filled with grief, the Mianthim (as the outcast elves called themselves) began to try to build a life among the humans. They found refuge among a tribe of humans and began to teach them magic, founding the city of Merondor.
Both sides have suffered from the schism – the Siellenim have become paranoid, xenophobic and set in their ways. The eldest have begun to succumb to Ennui. They become more and more detached from the world, entering trance for longer periods of time until they enter a trance and never awake. Siellenia herself is starting to show signs of Ennui and, with her successor exiled, the future of her people is in doubt. Meanwhile the Minathim, separated from their Queen, have started to lose some of their mystical nature. Fewer mages are being born among them and their lifespans have begun to diminish. Minather himself died at the age of 700, unheard of among elf royalty, who have been known to live for 2,000 years.
The only elves that are encountered in human lands are Minathim; few who meet one of the Siellenim live to tell the tale. The Minathim character is a strange mix of sorrow and arrogance. They tend to hold themselves aloof from their human neighbors; some because they see the Indorinir as children, others because they do not wish to become attached to friends who they will have to watch grow old, others still because they resent the great sacrifice that their people have made. Although their long lives and talent with magic means that they are often accorded great status among humans they still feel keenly the loss of their heritage and the beauty and grace of the Elven court.
Some elves do find themselves entranced by what they see as the intense vivacity of humans and the results of such unions are half-elves.
All elves are lovers of beauty and perfection; a common elven proverb translates as ‘perform every action as if it is the last thing you will ever do’. Whatever an elf pursues, be it the arts of war, music, magic or poetry they strive always for grace and elegance. However, they themselves are qutie reserved, some say cold. Their focus on perfection often results in a certain detachment from the world. An elven painter might spend 100 years exquisitely capturing the play of shadows on the forest floor and never appreciate their beauty for himself.