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The Clanlessby Andrew Theisen
(Companion piece to Alphatia: The Lost Histories)
During a particularly black period of the Sylvan wars, Alphatian mages discovered a new deadly new weapon to use against their foes- the elves themselves. Certain wizards, experimenting with captives, learned the secret of elven use-names. This elvish custom, the adoption of a "use-name" rather than the true name in dealings with outsiders, allows the elves certain defences against mental intrusion. Unfortunately, if an elf's true name is known, he is completely open to outside control. Such was the case with the elvish prisoners captured by the Alphatians. Their tactics were to take as many captives as possible, discern their true names (through ESP and similar spells), and control them, sending them back to enemy lines as spies and saboteurs.
At the time, use-names were in wide custom, due to elvish fears of dealings with outsiders, and thus the Alphatians tactics proved very effective. At the end of the war, the practice was discontinued altogether, save among certain elves, who were shamed by the manipulations the Alphatians put them to. Abandoning true names altogether, these elves have collectively become known as the Clanless. They are the true protectors of the woodlands, both within Shiye-Lawr and outside. They roam the forests singularly, dealing death to all who would despoil nature. Their memory of the events of the Sylvan war are long, and their tolerance for the crimes committed by the wizards of Blackheart very short indeed.
The Ups and Downs of Clanlessness
Those who are Clanless are born that way- at the time of their birth, they are given use-names; they never receive a true name. As a result, they maintain the advantages afforded elves with use-names (immune to Charm and Hold spells). Though a Clanless elf may choose later in life to join a clan (going through the appropriate Ceremony and taking a true name), no elf with a true name may ever later become Clanless.
The Clanless receive a -3 reaction penalty in all dealings with non-Clanless elves- even other elves do not know what to make of these outcasts from elvish society.