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The Elven Clans and Their Migrationsby Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 10
The Elven Clans and their migrations
by Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)
A short treatise on the Elven clans of Mystara, with a history of their migrations, compiled by Thiserstian of Alphatia, magician and scholar of the Imperial University.
History of the elven migrations
This history will use the Thyatian dating system, although elves count the years from the foundation of their clans, or from their settlement in the place where they live, or the Great Rain of Fire, or the fall of the Sylvan Realm.
Thiserstian, in Alpha, Outer World, AY 2009
More than ten years later1, I felt the necessity to revise my work on the elven people of the world, adding all of the information I have discovered in the meantime. These updates and addenda are written in dark red.
Thiserstian, in Jafilia, Hollow World, AY 2020
6000 BC Ordana, the goddess of nature that has created, protected and cared for the elves until now, leaves them free to create their own destiny. The elves found the nation of Evergrun. They have contacts with the halflings and enduks but keep away from the Serpentine Empire2. In Evergrun (the evergreen3) the elves of the land (or Calaquendi, the elves of light) are divided in the first two clans: the Erendyl (Noble sons of the sun, warriors and rangers) and Feadil (Bright spirits, wizards and clerics). Another, completely different clan also exists: the Aquarendi, the elves of the sea, who claim to be the most ancient elves4.
This story, quite a tenet of faith for us elves, seems less and less convincing to me with the passing years. It probably just roughly marks the time in which elves begin to care a bit more for the rest of the world around them.
It is well established among elven scholars, however, that at this time the first clan separation of the land elves occurred, due probably to the development of different philosophies. Therefore it is not incorrect to say that this date could well mark the beginning of modern elven history.
I would like to know more about the history of the Aquarendi before this date, and their origin, but I haven’t any reliable information at the moment.
5500 BC The gold dragons help the enduks and the halflings in their fight against the Serpentine Empire, and help the Oltec humans and the northern dwarves against the Draconic empire. Elves remain outside the conflicts. Two new clans are born: the Grunalf (the green elves, the rangers) who split from the Erendyl, and the Shiye (the grays, the mysterious magicians) who split from the Feadil.
I have found a clue that about this time, or shortly after, some Shiye may already have settled in the area of modern Alphatia and the Isle of Dawn, these elves may be connected to the mysterious Trueflowers5, whose real elven clan name is unknown, and who still inhabit the Isle.
5000 BC The Elves are closely allied with halflings, good dragons and enduks. They found a colony of Evergrun a little further north, in what is called Grunland. The Grunalf elves going to live there begin to call themselves Verdier6. Another clan, the Vyalia7 (children of the air) originates from Feadil and joins the Verdiers in Grunland. Other Grunalf move to the cold south and start calling themselves Wirdyl8 (light of the snow). In Skothar the nation of Thonia is founded.
Sources differ about the existence of the mysterious Vyalia before 1700 BC. Some scholars say they were part of the Verdier, others that they existed already in 5000 BC. The modern Thyatian branch is also divided in six minor clans, while that is not clear for the Traladaran branch.
4500 BC Some Aquarendi come out of the sea and live with the other elves on dry land. Others remain in the sea and spread from Davania to Brun. A clan of elves, the Meriallis9 (travelers), which also originates from the Grunalf, settle in Skothar, just north of Thonia.
I now believe not all the Aquarendi came out of the sea, but just a small part of them.
Even if I originally thought no major elven migrations occurred before 4500 BC, new evidence10 has brought me to consider that some clans may have migrated to Brun and Skothar around 5000 BC or even earlier.
4000 BC The northern province of Thonia, Blackmoor, rebels against the Empire with the support of elves in the area. Shortly afterwards Blackmoor begins studying technomancy. Four clans settle in Brun, in the north, assuming the collective name of Kintanor11. They are the Celebryl (silver light), originating from the Erendyl; the Pelestyr (the defenders), originated from the Feadil; the Porador (people of the land) arising from the Grunalf; and the Gelbalf (elven gems) originating from the Shiye. From the Grunalf in Evergrun the clan Chossum (eternal wind), formed largely by merchants, also originate. From the Feadil come the Alhamil12 clan (sons of destiny).
I recently had fortuitous access to some ancient Belcadiz books, shedding a whole new light on their history! I discovered they originated from the Alhamil around this time, and some of them settled in Brun, probably the modern Savage Coast, and Glantri before the Great Rain of Fire, calling themselves Alvanil13. The Kintanor, the Four Clans of the modern Shadowelves, were probably settled instead in the area of modern Alfheim, hence their claim on the area.
I also originally believed that the Issarthyl, the modern Shattenalfen, originated from the Feadil only after the Great Rain of Fire, and were part of the Second Migration from Grunland. More recent studies on Shadowelf texts, however, has led me to think differently: it seems at least a part of the Issarthyl, calling themselves Loshenalfen14, were already in the area of modern Glantri before the cataclysm.
3500 BC Blackmoor flowers, and even the elves begin to use Technomancy. A clan is formed in Evergrun by elves who love technomancy: the Thinyl15 (bright shades) originating from the Erendyl. The Geffronell16 elves (clouds of the North) originating from Grunalf, migrate to Brun, at a little distance from the four clans. Other Grunalf go to live in Grunland and call themselves the Gellereth17 (those who are reflected in the water).
New evidence I found recently in Wendar history made me think that not only the Geffronell, but the Gellereth too, or at least a part of them, were already in Brun before the Great Rain of Fire18.
3100 BC The Aquarendi19, displeased by the immoderate use of Technomancy, decide to return to the sea. From the Feadil originates the Sheyallia20 (trees of the moon). From the Erendyl originates the Truedyl21 (honest and bright): they leave for Grunland and reject Technomancy. In this time political conflicts have become common among the elves, and Thinyl and Chossum are the dominant clans.
3000 BC The Great Rain of Fire. Elven legends will attribute it to an event that happened in Evergrun shortly before the disaster: the murder of an Erendyl prince by a Thinyl elf. According to tradition, it was the first time that elven blood was shed by another elf. Evergrun becomes cold and uninhabitable, the elves flee to Grunland. In Brun the four clans take refuge underground, the Geffronell instead migrate south. The Meriallis, who according to tradition had become greedy for power and selfish, share the fate of Blackmoor and are annihilated. In the two following centuries the Davanian clans are divided into two parties, one who wants to preserve technomancy, the other that wants to return to the way of nature. Three new clans originate: from the Feadil: the Issarthyl (noble blades of the moon), technomancers; from the Shiye: the Kyrtellar22 (noble warriors), returnists; and from the Erendyl: the Eariel23 (those who are), returnists.
The elven legend to explain the Great Rain of Fire is probably not true. As explained above, I also suspect the Issarthyl are a clan much more ancient than my initial theory. After more research in Shiye books, I’ve also began to doubt the Meriallis were annihilated completely. Legends do exist about reclusive elves24 still alive in the heartlands of Skothar.
2800 BC Led by the Erendyl prince Ilsundal the Returnists leave Grunland and begin the Long Walk. With Ilsundal the Erendyl, Feadil, Chossum, Grunalf, Shiye, Truedyl, Vyalia, Kyrtellar and Eariel depart. In Grunland the Thinyl, Alhamil, Sheyallia, Verdier, Wirdyl, Gellereth and Issarthyl remain.
I have no definitive evidence about the status of the Truedyl, Vyalia, Verdier and Wirdyl, i.e. I do not know for certain if they joined the First or the Second migration. It’s possible that the accounts are unreliable because these clans split, some following Ilsundal, some staying in Grunland. But later they rejoined, and the division was toned down in official histories.
Despite the mythology of Ilsundal leading the elves to the Sylvan Realm, it’s quite clear to me that Ilsundal, at least at the beginning, had no intention whatsoever of going so far to the North. His group apparently tried to settle in Pelatan, failed probably for climatic reasons, then settled among the Hin of Shaerdon for at least two centuries, before being forced to move north to Adakkia around 2600 BC, probably by famine.
Image: Elven Migrations
Caption: In purple, the first migration of 3000 BC from Evergrun to Grunland. In Red, Ilsundal’s migration, in Dark Green, Enoreth’s migration. Dates in red refer to Ilsundal’s migration, dates in green to Enoreth’s migration, and dates in purple to all elves or both migrations.
2500 BC Faced with the continuing deterioration of the climatic conditions in Grunland, the other clans, led by Genalleth, king of the Gellereth, depart for the north. This Second Migration soon join with the first one on the northern coast of Davania. Only the Thinyl remain in the south. In the course of a few centuries the advance of the ice will kill them all.
Stories about king Genalleth have wild variations25: one says he did not exist, and the Gellereth directly descend from the elves of Blackmoor26. Another says he was the leader of the second migration, but an unshakeable supporter of technomancy, and Ilsundal killed him for that. Yet another says he was a wise sage that led the second migration, understanding Ilsundal’s wisdom in abandoning technomancy. The most reliable account I found led me to think that Genalleth did lead his people from Evergrun toward Wendar, but before the Great Rain of Fire, and probably Enoreth led the rest of the clan to where he knew others of his clan lived, after the Great Rain of Fire.
If the Issarthyl and the Belcadiz were part of the Second Migration they too probably had relatives in the area of Glantri and meant to go there.
It seems the two migrations met approximately around this time in the area of the modern Adakkian Gulf, but were forced to leave by hostile lizardmen. Some clans, following Enoreth, crossed the sea toward the Serpent Peninsula, while others went with Ilsundal to the area of modern Izonda27.
The myth that the Thinyl all perished has been disproven by Alphatian explorations of Davania28. There is evidence that the N’djatwa (see clan descriptions below) may be descended from them, and other groups of elves apparently still survive in different areas of southern Davania29
2300 BC In Izonda the Kyrtellar stop, driven away by the other elves after they decided to enslave a nation of humans. The others cross the sea, then the Eariel settle in the Arm of the Immortals, the Alhamil stop in the modern Savage Coast, the Vyalia go toward the east, where the nations of Traladara and Thyatis are now, the Sheyallia and the Verdier settle in the south of the Serpent Peninsula. The other clans continue their walk.
I’ve understood from new investigations30 in Alfheim and Shiye history that the Kyrtellar were not driven away, but rather they drove away the other clans, trying to conquer a vast area with violence and magic.
It’s impossible to ascertain which clans were now in the first migrations and which clans were in the second ones. For example, Sheyallia and Verdier31 were supposed to be with the second migration, but there are accounts stating instead that they went with Ilsundal to the Arm of the Immortals. I think the Verdier did go with him, but the Sheyallia followed Enoreth to the Serpent Peninsula. Or there was another forgotten division of the clans, and some Verdier followed Ilsundal while others stayed with Enoreth.
2200 BC Three clans (Issarthyl, Wirdyl and Truedyl) settle in the area of Glantri. The Verdier leave the Serpent Peninsula and settle in what is now Minrothad. The Gellereth settle north east of Glantri and found the nation of Genalleth, the modern nation of Wendar. Just north of their territories they meet the Geffronell.
Oleyan32 was apparently the Verdier leader who guided the Vyalia and the Meditor in the area that at the time was part of the human nation of Taymora.
It’s not clear if a part of the Belcadiz also settled in the area of Glantri at this time. It seems that Ilsundal’s group also crossed the Sind desert to come here, but then they turned back to go to the Sylvan Realm, maybe because the land could not support so many elves. The Truedyl however were probably part of Ilsundal’s group, and they stayed in Glantri.
2100 BC Erendyl, Feadil, Chossum, Grunalf and Shiye arrive in the Sylvan Realm.
It seems that they crossed central Brun before reaching the Sylvan Realms, leaving some small groups of elves along their trail33. To the best of my knowledge, the clans of the second migration stayed in Glantri, but we cannot exclude that some individual Genalleth, or Belcadiz, or elves from any other clan went to the Sylvan Realm too, later leaving it like the others in 800 BC.
1950 BC The Shadowelves explore the surface near present Glantri, but do not meet any other elves, only hostile humans and humanoids.
This bit of shadowelf history34 is probably incorrect. This probably happened to the Shattenalfen. It’s also very unlikely that they did not meet the other clans living in the area at the time.
1800 BC The first Tree of Life is created by Ilsundal in Sylvan Realm. In the centuries following new clans are also formed in the Realm: The Longrunner (the real name of the clan is kept secret) from the Shiye and later the Callarii (noble leaves) from the Grunalf.
1700 BC Cataclysm in the area of modern Glantri. Minrothad detaches from the mainland and becomes a group of islands. The Meditor (those living on islands) separate from the Verdier. The Truedyl take refuge in the modern Five Shires, where they are later joined by halflings fleeing Davania. The halflins baptize the Truedyl: "The Gentle Folk". The Wirdyl flee in the Hollow World. The Issarthyl go underground, and here they meet the four clans of the Shadowelves.
It is possible that the Shattenalfen/Issarthyl and or the Truedyl caused at least partially, this cataclysm by tampering with a strange artifact. Apparently they did this in a desperate attempt to fight the great humanoid invasion of King Loark.
It’s also possible that at this time the Belcadiz who were in Glantri went, temporarily, to the Savage Coast, to return in Glantri at an unknown, later date.
This timeline has become clearer to me in later years, as I was able to talk to many more Hollow World elves than the few I met during my first voyage before the Wrath of the Immortals.
1500 BC The Aquarendi move into the waters of Minrothad, having learned of the existence of Verdier and Meditor in the area.
Some ancient sources35 could indicate that some Aquarendi already lived in the area since more ancient times, even before the Great Rain of Fire.
1420 BC Some Issarthyl become followers of the dark god Atzanteotl, and inspired by him discover the Hollow World. Other Shadowelves conquer the underground city of Aengmor36 from the humans living there.
1300 BC The Great Humanoid Invasion of King Wogar reaches the Savage Coast and the Alhamil are almost exterminated, together with the humans in the area.
1290 BC Aengmor is surrounded by lava and the Shadowelves must abandon it. Many elves survive by burrowing deeper into the earth37.
1100 BC The four clans of the Shadowelves begin to worship the god Rafiel.
1000 BC The Alphatians come to Mystara, the empire of Nithia is powerful in Brun. Another Great Migration of Broken Lands humanoids and Nithian gnolls roams the Known World, in the Five Shires halfings are enslaved by orcs and the Truedyl are brought into the Hollow world by the Immortals. The Vyalia hide in their forest.
900 BC The Gellereth ally themselves closely with the humans in the region, which will lead to the founding of the elven and human nation of Wendar. The Geffronell instead, living further north, are often in conflict with the local humans and humanoids.
800 BC Besieged by hostile humans, the elves of the Sylvan Realm decide leave, led by King Mealiden through the Rainbow Bridge. The Feadil refuse to abandon their homeland and stay. Erendyl, Grunalf, Chossum and Longrunner clans found Alfheim. The Callarii go to Traladara, the Shiye to Alphatia, where they create their own nation. In the following years Mealiden founds a new clan, the Mealidil (those who follow the way of the trees) from which a little later will originate another one, the Red Arrow (secret name)
700 BC The Alhamil elves are divided into western and eastern clans. The eastern elves create a new clan which is called Destreza38 (shades of the stone). This clan mixes with humans and adopt a language similar to the human language of the region.
530 BC The Sheyallia, after a war against the humans of the region, flee from the Serpent peninsula and take refuge under the Plain of Fire.
500 BC Fall of Nithia.
150 BC The Belcadiz Elves (The powerful arms) settle in Glantri after a long migration that took them even briefly to Alfheim. They fled the Savage Coast after religious conflicts with the other elves of clan Destreza.
Probably this was only the last Belcadiz migration, and a relevant part of the clan was already in Glantri for centuries.
0 AC First Emperor of Thyatis crowned. Some small groups of Shiye begin to settle in Norwold.
130 AC The Shadowelves discover the existence of Alfheim and request half of the elven nation. The Alfheim council refuses and diplomatic relations are broken.
560 AC The Shadowelves attack Alfheim but are defeated by the combined forces of Alfheim and Darokin. According to tradition, this is the first war between elven nations.
600 AC Finally defeated by humans, the Feadil leave the Sylvan Realm and settle in Alfheim. A small group reaches the Sheyallia under the Plain of Fire. A few remain in the realm under the rule of humans. They will later adopt the name Yezachil39 (lasting dwellings).
700 AC A part of the Erendyl clan moves to Glantri and adopts the name of Erewan40 (noble fruits).
900 AC After long wars against the humans the Geffronell are almost completely exterminated, the Gellereth of Wendar unable to save them.
1006 AC The Shadowelves conquer Alfheim and rename it Aengmor. Feadil, Chossum and Red Arrow clans go to Traladara, Erendyl, Grunalf, Mealidil and Longrunner clans to Wendar41.
1008 AC End of the War of the Wrath of the Immortals and Cataclysm in Alphatia.
1010 AC War in Glantri between Erewan and Belcadiz, due to the infiltration of Shadowelves among the Belcadiz. The war ends with the defeat of the Belcadiz42 (some of whom fled to Aengmor).
The elven clans
I am nearly 500 years old, and I’ve spent most of my life traveling, since I left Alfheish, in the lands of Shiye Lawr, in Alphatia. On these trips I studied all of the elven cultures and nations I met, scattered abroad by the great migration and the fall of the Sylvan Realm. I will start by talking about my clan, the elves of Alphatia, the Shiye.
The list below is by no means exhaustive. Several more clans may exist of which I am not aware, and there are many minor clans43 which are not covered in this list.
Shiye The Alphatian Elves originated from a clan who came to Alfheim with the others after escaping the Sylvan Realm. At the head of this clan was an elf wizard named Eyrindul, an elf who loved the creatures of the forest and did not approve of the religious dictates of the other clans. It was he who led the then Shiye to Alphatia so that they could establish themselves in an enchanted forest impenetrable and unreachable by humanoids and far from humans. Over the centuries, however, the Shiye have always been loyal subjects of the Empire and have learned more tolerance than they had at the beginning. Eyrindul reached immortality, and since then he has been the protector of the nation. Although Shiye Lawr has been the least affected by the war of all the nations of Alphatia, it is also one of the nations in which the feelings of anger and revenge are stronger and more durable, and many young elves enlisted in the Imperial Army after the cataclysm, earning the reputation of fierce and tireless fighters. Shiye elves are always interested in magic and knowledge, and make use of magical powers to a greater extent than other elves. Their realm is closed to non-elves, unless they are people of proven trust and respectful of nature. Obviously the term does not include the fairy people, who instead are numerous and have always been among the Shiye. It is known throughout Alphatia that those entering the realm uninvited will have to suffer an incessant series of jokes, often very scary, until they have decided to leave. Humans of neighboring Alphatian nations consider the forest haunted and they do not set foot in it for any reason. Shiye Elves appear mysterious and proud when dealing with other races and are reluctant to trust outsiders. They also have a reputation for being masters of deception, and it is true that they have no qualms about using any means against their enemies. But this distrust toward outsiders is balanced by a great cohesion within the nation. There have been almost no crimes in Shiye Lawr in its 1,800 years of history, and the Shiye trust each other absolutely. Also, while they are ready to mock and make malicious jokes at the expense of outsiders, among themselves the Shiye love to laugh and feast, and their life is a series of games and parties, in which magic always has a great importance, as the attendance by members of the fairy people attests. However it often happens that the Shiye can be serious and melancholy, with the same emotional variability that also affects members of the fairy people. The Shiye almost always have intense but non-lasting emotional relationships. The Shiye are commonly of tall stature, and have very pale skin and black, or even silver, hair. Their eye colors can be green, golden or purple.
Akalian This clan of elves44, whose name means "Noble Swan", live with members of the fairy people, in the dimension that is at the same time in Mystara and outside it. They are treated here because they often spend much time in our midst, among the Shiye, but they are also well-known by the elves of Alfheim. These Akalian elves are those who did not want to leave the protection of Ordana in 6000 BC and remained with the fairy people. The Akalian have pale skin and black hair, and their eyes are completely black, without pupil or iris. They are also called "Moon Elves" because they love the night more than the day, and are a very magical race. They do not trust non-elves and so very few of them have ever seen an Akalian. In emotional relationships they have all sorts of different behaviors. With strangers they are always serious and cautious, but members of the fairy people say that Akalians have with them great parties full of magic and merriment.
After leaving my country, following the irresistible impulse to travel that captures many Shiye, known to us as "The breath of the Wind", the first "foreign" elves I met were the elves of Alfheim. I remember the wonderful oak forest, so tall and bright, so different from our trees so mysterious and impenetrable, and it seems impossible to me that those oaks have disappeared, dead, and that Alfheim is no longer. But this is a report, and in it there is no place for stories of sadness and pain. The elves of Alfheim, even though they had, and still have, a very strong concept of nation, the nation which they consider the true and only home of the elven people, are divided into very different clans, which I will describe separately.
Before talking about the differences we must first emphasize what unites them, and what makes them one people despite the diversity of the clans. And what they have in common are two ancient kings, who later became immortals. The first is Ilsundal, who led the elves from Evergrun to the Sylvan Realm, and created the first Tree of Life, teaching the elves peace, and reviving their love for the land that the years of evil human magic had suffocated. The second king is Mealiden, the founder of Alfheim, the one who saved the elves from genocide during the fall of the Sylvan Realm, allowing the elves to escape the encirclement of hostile humans thanks to the Rainbow Bridge, and kept their hope alive, carrying a branch of the Tree of Life. Together they manifest the ideals behind the nation of Alfheim: the love for the land and for peace, the union of all the elves, the courage to stand up for what you love. With these intentions Alfheim was born and lived, and although now it has been conquered and destroyed, thanks to these ideals the nation still lives through its people
Erendyl This clan has been for centuries the clan of the King of Alfheim. It is a clan of artists, poets and craftsmen; the Erewan of Glantri originated from them. The Erendyl usually have a tolerant attitude toward other nations and other races, but they are also very traditional in their way of life, and disapprove of hunting, farming and herding. Compared to other elves they are much faster to finish a job, or to finish a song. They have very strong family ties between them and couples usually last a whole elven life, and possibly even beyond. They go to war in orderly and regular armies, and they prefer the open field to guerrilla tactics. They thoroughly enjoy beauty and games, but having precise models of how an elf should behave, even among themselves, they are more serious and less childish than many other elves. They are the elven "nobles" par excellence, or so they are considered. However, the consciousness of their value has not made them particularly arrogant nor xenophobic, unlike other clans. The Erendyl are tall and blond and have blue or green eyes. Their skin is less pale than that of Shiye.
Chossum It is the clan of merchants, the one which most appreciates other races and is more inclined to voyages and adventures. The Chossum would like more contact with other races and have always been opposed to closure and distrust. Many members of the clan have seen the loss of Alfheim as a "well-deserved punishment for our closure to the outside world" and are now much happier than other clans in Traladara, among humans. Despite this however, the Chossum fought for Alfheim and cried for Alfheim like any other clan. The Chossum seem to other elves "hasty like humans", appreciating the richness and novelties in magic and technology, all of which they tend to distribute to the entire clan. In fact, differently from humans, the Chossum are elves and have a very strong social solidarity. Compared with other elves they have a better knowledge of the world, and appear less "innocent" and provincial. Their emotional ties may be lasting or short, there is not a definite trend. Their love of diversity and change is perhaps what characterizes them most. The Chossum are not so tall, have hair from dark blond to brown and green or brown eyes. Their skin tans easily.
Feadil When the Sylvan Realm was clearly lost and Mealiden had decided to take away the elves, the Feadil decided to stay. They stayed, pushed further and further into the depths of the forest, for 1400 years. Finally, a human posing as a friend defeated them with treason. Almost all of the clan was exterminated, but the few survivors reunited with their brothers in Alfheim. As is easily understood by their history, the Feadil are virtually paranoid of other races, especially of humans. The only humans who they appreciate and accept are the druids, or others who have demonstrated a sincere love of nature. The Feadil are also a more religious, traditionalist and meditative clan, and appear to others elves as very serious and melancholic. They are incredibly courageous, explaining that nothing they can see and suffer is worse than the fall of the Sylvan Realm. Among them there are many adventurers, but they do not seek adventures and excitement in the world, but rather knowledge of their enemies. Their courage and professionalism make them surprising friends to the dwarves, and this friendship has been strengthened by the recent war, in which some Feadil and dwarves fought side by side against the Shadowelves. Among themselves, the Feadil have strong ties, and prefer to be left to die rather than lose those they love. Of all the clans of Alfheim, the Feadil is the one with the most extensive knowledge of the Tree of Life and clerical magic. The Feadil are tall and pale, have golden hair and very light blue or green eyes.
The Grunalf are the clan that has stronger ties with nature. Their knowledge of trees, fruits and plants is impressive, and so many Grunalf are rangers. They accept the practice of hunting, as a sacred and important event, always choosing the old animals, and never the young. They have strong links with the fairy people, and also with the creatures of the rivers and waters, and are therefore the best sailors and boat builders in Alfheim. They love to live in a simple way, as much as possible in contact with nature. They are serious only when they go hunting or fishing, while at all other times they love to play and joke. It is rare that they form lasting couples, instead they are normally tied in small closely united groups, the hunting bands, where promiscuity is normal. Such a thing was a bit shocking to me, because we Shiye have no lasting bonds but we do have one bond at a time. Towards the outside world and other races they have always maintained an attitude of indifference, but now that they are outside Alfheim they seem to consider the non-elves benevolently. The Grunalf are of low to medium height, they have tanned skin and brown eyes and hair.
Long Runner The real name of the clan, in Elvish, is not revealed to those who are not part of it, nor are the real names of the elves of this clan. The reason is that this is the clan of magicians, where magic is widely used and appreciated (as among the Shiye). The Long Runner do not like humans or other races, and are wary even towards the elves that do not belong to their clan. However they often work with magicians of other clans and races without any problems, which suggests that more than being wary of non-elves they distrust non-magicians. Study is a very important thing for them, which they take very seriously, and they could seem staid and boring to many other elves. They love to dress elegantly, but with natural materials, and also love make-up and jewelry. Among them there are long-term or short relationships, and also freedom of behavior, with no general rule. The reason why Long Runner and Shiye split is precisely the tendency of Shiye to take magic much less seriously, and the hatred of my people for formalism and seriousness. Yet even the Long Runner, under certain festive occasions, let themselves go and are ready to laugh and be joyous as all the other elves. Their parties are, of course, full of magic. The Long Runner are pale and tall, and often have green eyes and red hair.
Mealidil This clan was founded by Mealiden after the escape from the Sylvan Realm, and it considers itself the Alfheimer clan par excellence. It is a traditionalist clan, with many scholars, clerics, historians and bards. The vastness of their libraries is famous among all of the elves, and these libraries were largely saved despite the disaster of war. The Mealidil are basically isolationists, but not particularly xenophobic towards other races. They love to dress in a studied manner that often appears to be dated back to several centuries before. They take very seriously all of their activities, but in the evening they drop a bit of their seriousness and become more cheerful and affable. Their marriages usually last a lifetime, but there are also different behaviors, fully accepted. The Mealidil are of average height, have red blond hair and blue and green eyes.
Red Arrow This clan also keeps its names secret, but it is not a clan of magicians, and is instead a clan of warriors. The clan is an offshoot of the clan Mealidil, detached just before the elves arrived at Alfheim. The Red Arrow have always been defenders of the realm of elves, and consider the Shadowelf invasion a great dishonor. Yet no one can say that they have not done everything possible to fight against it. Now the Red Arrow study the techniques of war of the Shadowelves and plan their revenge. Obviously, their ability with weapons is the most important thing for the members of this clan, who are trained from childhood and go into battle with order and discipline, but are also capable of great mobility. They tend to dress in a simple and practical way. They do not trust the other races but particularly appreciate those who are worthy of honor and courage. To external eyes they appear rather gruff, but among themselves they are very simple and kind. In emotional ties they have unions similar to those of the Grunalf, although there are also cases of exclusive and lasting unions. The Red Arrow are not very tall but are robust, their skin is tanned, and their hair is brown red.
After talking about Alfheim I should speak of the Shadowelves, but I decided to leave them a moment aside because in my recent travels in the alphatian colony of the Hollow World45 I have discovered that there are two different nations of the Shadowelves, very different from each other, one of which lives in the Hollow World. So firstly I will speak of the elves of the surface, and then, through the dark caves and darkest hearts of the elves of the dark, we will get to the Hollow World.
The other elven nations that I had the opportunity to meet are the elves of Minrothad. Theirs is a trading nation, organized in guilds and inhabited by elves, humans, dwarves and halflings. The four races currently coexist quite peacefully, and still share the same philosophy: the pursuit of wealth. The elves are exactly half of the population of Minrothad and are also the largest racial group. They are divided into two clans, however, very different from one another: the Meditor and the Verdier.
The Verdier elves say that they are the original clan which settled in the area in 2200 BC, after leaving the Ilsundal migration. But around 1700 BC, according to the Thyatian calendar, a great cataclysm struck their land, separating it from the mainland and turning it into a series of islands. This did not change the life of the clan too much, although it led to an internal split that produced the Meditor clan. The Verdier inhabit the green island of Alfeisle, or at least live in its wooded interior. They are excellent rangers and have extensive natural and magical knowledge. Being part of a composite nation, however, they are too market-oriented, like the other races of Minrothad, and they export forest products and trade with other nations. This makes them quite tolerant and open, although some are wary of humans and hate werecreatures, because of an epidemic of lycanthropy that struck Minrothad several centuries ago. The Verdier are not too different from the other elves, they love beauty and the forest, but they gave me the impression of being very similar to humans, perhaps because they are more "hasty" and more interested in the wealth of other elven clans. However the social differences between them are minimal and not comparable to those found in human society. Amongst them the Verdier prefer stable and lasting relationships, but there are frequent exceptions. The Verdier have brown hair with almost green tones, green eyes and tanned skin. They are of medium height and slender.
Meditor These elves are a very particular clan made of sailors and navigators. After the cataclysm of 1700 BC, the elves found themselves surrounded by the sea, and some of them began to live in close symbiosis with the sea, giving rise to a new clan, the Meditor. These elves are interested in wealth and trade more than all the elves that I have ever met, and among the clan, although there is a certain degree of social solidarity, there are vast differences in wealth. They are also great lovers of adventure, ships and the sea, and many of them never move away from the coast by more than a half day's journey. They have a close relationship with the sea elves living right in the waters of Minrothad, and some of them also practice piracy on foreign ships. Among them long-term relationships are very rare, and short liaisons are very common, for example, shorter than among the Shiye. They dress in a flashy way, are very fond of festivities and tend to be more playful and cheerful than other elves. The Meditor have dark brown or black hair, very tanned skin, stocky build and blue eyes.
In the waters around Minrothad, along with other peoples such as the merrows and the tritons, also live the sea elves, the Aquarendi. Their existence is kept almost secret by the Meditor and the Verdier to protect the ancient sea elves from human interference.
Aquarendi The sea elves are tall and willowy, have blue green hair and lighter skin of the same colors. Their history is very ancient and they retain it carefully. Born in the coastal waters of Evergrun, they went to live with the elves of the land during the period of splendor of the realm. But then, realizing the catastrophe that was coming, they returned to the sea. After the Great Rain of Fire they believed they were the only elves left in Mystara, until they discovered the existence of the Meditor and the Verdier and moved to the waters around Minrothad. Now the sea elves have good relations with the elves of Minrothad and other sea creatures, and have virtually no relations with other races of the mainland, with only occasional visitors. As you can guess from the environment in which they live, the Aquarendi live practically naked, unless they have to fight. They love to play and joke with all creatures, and especially with dolphins, whales, turtles and seals. Often they wear ornaments of pearls and coral but otherwise they live very simply. They often have emotional ties that last a lifetime, but the young often have very short relationships and are also promiscuous. They can breathe air very well and are quite capable of walking on land, although they will hardly venture there except to meet their brothers the Meditor. Their society is still very different from that of the Meditor: the Aquarendi have no interest in wealth and are very united and have great solidarity with each other. They also have a very strong sense of religion. They love adventures, but feel nostalgic if they stay away from their homes too long. They have a very long life, which may last up to 5000 years and therefore are even more relaxed and less hasty than land elves. In the waters of Mystara it seems there are other groups of Aquarendi, in the waters of Davania and near Alphatia, but I know little or nothing about these other groups, even though it seems that they are not very different from the Aquarendi of Minrothad, only more isolationist than the ones in Davania and more open towards other races than the ones in Alphatia.
Vyalia This clan is divided into two groups, one who lives to the east, in Thyatis, and one in the west, in Traladara. Both groups are of tall stature, have silvery blond hair and eyes that seem silvery too. Both groups are very interested in poetry and magic, and appear distant, serious and mysterious. Both have strong mental discipline and a sense of great fellowship with nature and with "The Dream of the World" as they like to say. They also have an order of warriors which fights in a trance, and which nonetheless is truly lethal in battle. There are differences between the Eastern Group (Thyatian) and Western group (Traladaran): firstly the easterners have more dealings with the humans around them, and have also served in the Thyatian army when they believed in the cause for which they fought, whereas the westerners love peace, and never attack someone, if not to defend nature. Secondly the easterners tend to be more practical and open, while the westerners more isolationist and dreamers. Both favor the emotional relationships that last a lifetime, and have a strong sense of unity. Unlike other elves they remain focused on their work and devote to it all their energies, even if the westerners tend to be slower. The Vyalia settled in their territories in 2200 BC, after being separated from the Ilsundal migration like the Verdier. The separation between easterners and westerners instead took place just 1,000 years ago.
Callarii This clan lives in Traladara, further west than the western Vyalia, and is very integrated with the local humans. The clan lived with the others in the Sylvan Realm, but they came south just after the creation of Alfheim, following the dream of the priestess who was leading them. The Callarii are of tall stature, have pale skin, blond hair and light blue or, rarely, green eyes. They are a clan that loves horses and rivers, and so are excellent riders and navigators. They are a clan of warriors, and they form the elite unit of the army of Traladara. They have a strong sense of honor and only fight for just causes. The Callarii favor long-term relationships, but often young people have widened emotional bonds as the Grunalf of Alfheim.
After being in Traladara I went to the north, to visit the elven clans of Glantri, of Wendar and Norwold. I began in the powerful realm of magic.
Erewan The clan, which now constitutes a principality in Glantri, was born 300 years ago from the Erendyl of Alfheim, making it the newest clan of the ones I know. They have fair skin, blond hair and green eyes. Their emotional relationships are often long lasting, but they also have short liaisons as the Shiye. They're obviously very interested in magic, and bitter enemies of the humanoids who live close to their borders. They desire to look very sophisticated and noble (even more so than the Erendyl!), and they love art. At the beginning they were part of the principality of Belcadiz, but since they hardly coexisted with them, they founded a new principality. They are defenders of nature to a level close to fanaticism, even though deep down they are less integrated with it than many other elves. They left Alfheim because they had more faith in magic than in Immortals, but now that clerics can enter Glantri again the elven religions are spreading.
Belcadiz These elves have olive skin, black hair and dark eyes. They are also shorter in stature than all the other elves I know. Their language is very similar to the human languages of the Savage Coast. In emotional relationships they tend to behave like humans, with jealousy, betrayal and duels of honor. In fact they are very passionate and proud and easily offended. They have a minimal relationship with nature, while they are very good in metallurgy. They love holidays, luxury and wealth, although they are still more supportive of each other than humans. They fled the Savage Coast to maintain their faith in the Goddess of Love, Valerias, but then they officially abandoned her while living in Glantri. Now that religions are spreading again, the Belcadiz are once again turning toward their former patroness Valerias, but also to Eyrindul (the lord of the Shiye). There are even rumors of infiltrations by Rafiel's followers, some of which were exiled to Aengmor in 1010 AC.
Gellereth After Glantri I went to Wendar, known as Genalleth in elvish, where elves and humans coexist quite peacefully, even if the rulership of the nation is in the hands of the elves, who are the majority. The Elves of Wendar all belong to one clan, and are very adapted to the nature of their cold and snowy land. Their customs are actually quite similar to the humans in the area as they appreciate liquors, fighting and celebrate in a very human way. Throughout their history they have often had to fight with the humans of Denagoth, the nation just north of Wendar. The Gellereth usually have lasting emotional relationships and give much importance to marriage, but there are cases of divorce. They have blond hair, that they often keep very long, pale skin and pale blue and gray eyes. They do not use a lot of magic even if they have many relationships with the fairy people. They worship a group of immortals who are called the Korrigans46.
Geffronell They lived in the area of the Denagoth, but a century ago were defeated and almost exterminated. Now some of them live in Wendar, while others have hidden in the forests of Geffron, initially to conduct a constant guerrilla warfare, but now only to wait for death in their homeland. They too revere the Korrigans and seem to have been the ones who taught their faith to the Gellereth. The Geffronell have very light blond hair, very pale skin and very light blue, green or gray eyes. They have a deep sense of belonging to nature and great courage in battle. Their unions are always exclusive and permanent. The few I have met seemed very serious and sad at the loss of their beloved forest.
The Duneshiye The Shiye of the West are those who over the last thousand years, and especially in the last 500, moved from Alphatia to Norwold. Initially very closed to outsiders, they are now well integrated in the society of the country, where there are even some barons belonging to the elven race. The Duneshiye are tall, have brown hair and dark green or purple eyes. They are less interested in magic than the Alphatian Shiye, and they look a bit too human to us Shiye. They have many relations with the fairy people. Normally they have different emotional relationships throughout their lives, but they usually get married at some point. They have adapted very well to the cold natural environment of the northern lands, and compared to the Alphatian Shiye they have a much more favourable vision of the war. In fact, besides Eyrindul they also they worship the Norse Immortals, such as Wotan and Donar, and especially Frey and Freya, whose religions they took from the inhabitants of Norwold.
After meeting all the elven clans of the Known World I began traveling toward the Savage Coast, but during the trip I met another clan of elves, particularly surprising.
Sheyallia After their escape from the Serpent Peninsula very little was known of this clan, except that they could be hiding in the caves under the Great Plain of Fire, the vast desert that separates Sind from Hule. And just as I was travelling in this desert, a sandstorm separated me from the rest of the caravan, and made me fall into a hole in the ground. I discovered a cave system where I met the Graakhalia. The Graakhalia are a nation of elves and gnolls ... elves and gnolls who live together and cooperate, as strange and incredible as this may seem. A Graakhalian told me how this strange partnership was created: when the Sheyallia arrived in the caves, they found them already inhabited by a clan of gnolls. Initially the two peoples fought or avoided each other, since a full-scale war was counterproductive for both, given the difficulties of survival in the caves. Over the course of a century, however, elves and gnolls learned that cooperation was the best thing for both. Now the two races live together as one people, although obviously they cannot marry and mix. After the fall of the Sylvan Realm there were problems when some Feadil arrived in the caves and fomented new racial hatred, but soon then most xenophobic elements were exiled and life returned to normal in Graakhalia. Now the two peoples live in friendship and everyone speaks the other's language. They share everything they own and they have common customs: both cremate the dead, elves and gnolls share in the rearing of youngsters from both races, and they use the names of the two languages equally. They also have a strict code of honor which requires tolerance of all races and of all individuals who are not immediately hostile. These elves still have characteristics similar to those of other elves, they never rush in their duties and they love to play and joke. These elves are usually monogamous and their relationships are durable. Having previously lived among black skinned Yavdlom men, the Sheyallia now have a bit of their blood. Most of them therefore have brown hair, brown eyes and tanned skin, despite their underground life.
Destreza The elves in the eastern area of the Savage Coast are similar to the Belcadiz of Glantri. They have olive skin and eyes and black hair. Like the Belcadiz, they are very proud and passionate and speak the language of the human baronies in which they live. (The area is called the Baronies of the Guardian, although the baronies are independent and do not respond to a single ruler). They too are talented in metallurgy, they love festivals and duels and have short and passionate relationships; otherwise, their attitudes vary from barony to barony. The Destreza of Torreon are great warriors, they love fighting and appreciate courage, and often are followers of Diulanna. Narvaez's elves are also warriors, worship Ixion or Vanya and many share the strong and rather intolerant religiosity of the barony. The Destreza of Gargoña, Almarrón and Saragón are more interested in magic, poetry, culture and beauty and follow Valerias or the elven Immortals. The Destreza of the city states of the Gulf of Hule, are dominated by Traladaran culture and have absorbed the human culture of the area, so they love adventures, trade, and are fascinated by magic, poetry and songs. All the Destreza elves who live by the sea are also excellent navigators, merchants and sometimes pirates. In combat they use this strange and dangerous invention that is called smokepowder, as the humans in the area also do.
Alhamil The Elves who live in the western half of the Savage Coast mainly inhabit four different countries. The Elves of Robrenn are of medium height, have blond hair and red eyes. Many of them are bards or druids, worship the Mother Goddess of nature and the elven Immortals. They are passionate and brave but they usually have long and stable emotional relationships. The Elves of Eusdria have dark blond hair and blue eyes, many of them are knights and paladins and share the ideals of nobility and courage predominant in the nation. They marry like humans and their unions are durable. The Elves of Bellayne, the nation of rakasta: the cat men, have blonde or brown hair and blue eyes, and appreciate courage and nobility. The Elves of Herath have blond hair and green eyes, believe in an egalitarian and tolerant society and are great magicians. All the Alhamil are very well integrated in human societies, but they keep their elven culture, and the Elvish language, much more than the Destreza. I also believe that the best elven bards of Mystara are the Alhamil. They love the sea and are often good mariners, but not as good as the Destreza.
Yezachil These elves live in a human nation of northern Brun called the Yezchamenid Empire. The empire took its name from the elven clan after defeating the human tribes that caused the fall of the Sylvan Realm. These humans have therefore always been friends of the elves. The Yezachil are the diehards who never left the Realm, and who several times risked total extermination. Being derived from the Feadil, they too are tall and pale, have blonde hair and blue eyes. As the Feadil they are very religious, but even if they worship the elven Immortals, their religion became integrated with that of the humans of the area, and is based on a benevolent Immortal of fire that opposes an evil Immortal of darkness, in a cosmic conflict without end. Even their society is very similar to that of the humans, so that now the Yezachil are very tolerant, but also used to having to deal with bureaucracy and other stupid human inventions, something quite inconceivable for an elf! I have not personally visited the Yezachil, but from what I read and heard they marry with the same ceremony that humans use and their unions are durable. Given the religion they adopted, it seems they are also very experienced in pyromancy. They are also closely allied with the Pegataur ( winged centaurs) living in the empire.
Eariel This clan is the last clan of Brun known to me, and is also one of the most extraordinary and mysterious. The Eariel now call themselves the Ee'aar, a word that means something unknown to me in the language of the fairies of the air. During the Ilsundal migration, in 2300 BC, this clan was separated from the others and settled on the Arm of the Immortals. Here they met the fairies of the air, or rather it was the eponymous heroine of their nation, Aeryl, who met them. Aeryl lived long enough among the fairies to develop magnificent wings, and passed them on to his descendants, so that now all Ee'aar have wings. The clan lives in a realm surrounded by high mountains, friends of the great eagles and the Pegataurs who live among them. They have white wings, blond hair and blue eyes, and are tall and willowy. They do not trust strangers, and the only other nation they consider friendly is the kingdom of Eshu, inhabited by winged minotaurs (who apparently are the original race, while the common minotaurs are a degeneration). I have not visited the kingdom of Aeryl, but from what I've found out it seems that they still revere the elven Immortals, and they are not very different from the other elves in character, although of course they are very close friends of the fairies of the air. They build tall and wonderful towers and they are very united and supportive of each others. In emotional relationships it seems they have several different companions when young, but then they settle for life with one mate.
These are all the clans of Brun, which is currently the continent where almost all elves now live. I do not think that there are other clans on Brun of which I am unaware, but it is possible that there are particularly isolated groups, of which we know nothing. The continent is well known enough, but the central area, home of human and humanoid barbarians, is largely unexplored.
Before going any further it should be noted that no clan of elves dwell in Skothar, at the present state of our knowledge. The Meriallis obviously lived in Skothar, but elven scholars in general think they shared the fate of Blackmoor, as they have done throughout their history, and therefore none of them survived the Great Rain of Fire.
Regarding Davania, of which I will now tell, it was the original home of the elven people, and although now there seems that only a few clans are left, it is possible that in the continent live many other groups of elves that have not been heard from in millenia.
Kyrtellar This group is the best known in Davania, since it left the other elves before the Ilsundal migration crossed the sea. They now live by the north-western coast of Davania, in constant conflict with a neighboring nation of goblins and are hated by all the humans in the region, which these elves use as slaves. I have no direct experience of this clan, and in all honesty I am not sure I want to, but it seems they are very good with magic (which by the way they also used to cause mutations in their human and goblin slaves) and are very proud and aggressive. They have brown hair and brown eyes and in emotional relationships they seem to have many short relationships like the Shiye. In fact, this clan separated from the Shiye, which for us is certainly not a source of pride. Closed in their isolationist and tyrannical country, it seems that these elves are quite decadent. They justify their behavior with the idea that as the humans were the cause of the Great Rain of Fire, they should all be enslaved to prevent them from doing any further damage. Near to them there is also a former colony of dwarves, which obviously does not have friendly relations with the Kyrtellar (who now call themselves the Kwythellar).
Thinyl This clan, as the Meriallis, seems to be completely extinct. The Thinyl are the only clan who remained in Davania, continuing to rely on Technomancy. Their fate is known because Alphatian wizards found the lost city of Thimhallan, apparently the last refuge of this clan. In the city they found the entire population dead and frozen, except for four elves who were closed in glass coffins. Alphatian wizards managed to wake them up, but subsequent incidents with Technomancy resulted in the deaths of the four elves, the last of the Thinyl. Now Thimhallan, which is the place where Serraine, the flying city of gnomes, originated, is the College of Technomancy of the Empire of Alphatia (although this news has not been made public outside the borders of the Empire). In the city there are currently living humans, dwarves and Shiye elves from Alphatia, and two of the three wizards who have rediscovered the city are leading the school. Since then however, much more information has been found on other groups of elves still inhabiting Davania47. It is hard to say at the moment if and how they are related to the ancient Thinyl.
N'djatwa During his travels aboard the famous airship The Princess of Ark, Imperial Admiral Haldemar of Haaken met in the south of Davania, just north of Thimhallan, a society of ogre-elf crossbreeds. These beings, who call themselves N'djatwa, keep human slaves and sometimes eat them. From what I was told by the admiral, and from my knowledge of elven history, I would say that the elves had to be in the area long before the ogres. It seems that they were Thinyl who fled from the irreparable loss of their civilization. Forced to live in a terrible situation, they became wild and cruel. When a tribe of ogres arrived in the area they had no difficulty forming an alliance with them against humans and gnomes. Despite their customs they seem to have a strong and complex society, and the Empire of Alphatia has had some contact with this country (once it was established that they would not attempt to cook Alphatians).
As shown by my descriptions above, it seems that but a few elves live in Davania in modern times, and those are degenerates. I have some vague indication that there may be elves in the human matriarchy of Pelatan. The area was elven before the cataclysm, and it may be that there are still some elves or that the human population has elven blood. But too little is known of the distant nation to give an answer right now.
In the last year new information has led me to revise the above position. It seems that many groups of elves still survive in Davania, and some uncertain reports from Thimhallan seems to suggest that even the ancient Evergrun still exists!48
The below paragraphs about the Shadowelves and the elves of the Hollow World were written years ago, when I had the chance to reach that hidden land through the world elevator in Aegos. Now that I live in the Hollow World I have come to know the below clans even better but, even if I came to understand their history much better, I have nothing to add to these descriptions.
Shadowelves (the four lost clans) The Shadowelves live in a vast system of underground caves below Alfheim, Darokin and the Broken Lands. Forced to take refuge in the darkness after the Great Rain of Fire, and then again by the Cataclysm of 1700 BC, they come out of their subterranean realm in recent years and conquered Alfheim. They have pale grayish skin, in different shades, white hair and black eyes, and are not very tall. I was able to talk to an Alfheim elf who, several years ago, had managed to infiltrate them as a spy, obviously camouflaged, and he told me about their society. They worship an Immortal named Rafiel, who for them is very important. The religious precepts of Rafiel are law for them, and the Shamans of Rafiel (of which 55% are women) are very powerful in their society. The Shamans worship crystals, which according to tradition contain the souls of the dead, and they do it with powerful magic. According to the Shamans, souls go to the crystals waiting to reincarnate. Religious ceremonies are taken very seriously, but are also a bit sad. The dark elves usually marry for love, and often it is the women who decide. If a spouse dies the other normally remarries. The descent is matrilineal (the children belong to the clan of the mother). Usually they marry with a person who is not of their clan, and this has softened over the centuries the differences between clans, although each clan has its own city. Celebryl is the clan of the government and of the warriors, the Porador the clan of agriculture, the Felestyr the clan of miners and clerics (both have to do with crystals) and the Gelbalf clan of silk, spiders and magic. The Shadowelves have a fairly rigid society, which appreciates work and commitment and despises waste and errors. The lighthearted nature so predominant among surface elves in them manifests itself only during the rare evening festivities. Their dances and their music are very beautiful, but also quite sorrowful. The elves who are more than 800 years old are exiled, and imperfect children are abandoned (Shadowelves are more prolific than surface elves, but often their children have malformations, due to the cataclysm of 1700 BC). They say "Rafiel will lead them", but I think the best place Rafiel can guide them is toward a quick death.
Shattenalfen After hearing about the Shadowelves and after learning what they had done to Alfheim, I thought they inhabited the deepest moral abyss in which elves could go down, deeper than the one reached by the Kyrtellar. But I was wrong. During my travels in the Hollow World I met three clans of elves, and one of these clans is more dark and cruel than the worst of the Shadowelves from the Outside World could ever be. Now they call themselves Shattenalfen, which in their degenerated language means "Elves of darkness" but I know who they once were. They were the Issarthyl, the clan who lived in the area of Glantri and was driven underground by the Cataclysm of 1700 BC. They were a noble people, but during their stay in the dark, desperate and close to death, have been corrupted by the teachings of a dark Immortal, Atzanteotl, which once was one of them. I managed to infiltrate their caves at the risk of my life, and I observed them closely. They also abandon their deformed children (they do have more than the Shadowelves) and exile their elders. They too have a matrilineal descent, but among them the women are more often warriors or mages than clerics. Their religion is not as strong as that of Rafiel among the Shadowelves, but much more despotic. They preach their right to dominate every other race and seek revenge against the races of the surface. They have few clerics and a few wizards, and an architecture similar to that of a human nation of the Hollow World, the Azca, and very different from that of the Shadowelves. They do not give special meaning to crystals. They have a very hierarchical society, and where the Shadowelves cooperate willingly as other elves do, the Shattenalfen give and suffer commands as the humans. Yet I must recognize they have a certain social solidarity, and their society is not competitive: they are too busy hating all other races to hate each other. They love war and massacres, and their parties are decadent, with liquor and excesses. They marry, and their marriages are lasting, but are not particularly faithful. Yet such behavior is accepted and considered normal. The only honorable custom they have is the right of adoption: any elf who applies to be adopted by them, whatever his or her clan is, will be accepted in their society. However he or she will have to marry a Schattenalfen (even if he or she is already married) and will be constantly monitored. In any case, only recently have they had contacts with Shadowelves, and they do not know other clans of elves. The Shattenalfen are of small stature (5.25 feet or less), have pale white skin, white or steel gray hair, blue-gray or, rarely yellow, eyes. They suffer much sunlight to the skin and the eyes, and even though their caves are often lit, they live for most of the time in total darkness (while the Shadowelves normally illuminate every corner with fire or magic).
I want to add a little note, for the humans who will read this report, about the matriarchal customs of the Shadowelves. It might seem that among them women are more important than they are among surface elves, but this is not true. Simply the other societies of surface elves do not need laws to codify basic rules of social coexistence that all normally respect. Therefore they have no laws on matrilineal descent because every elf can choose freely between the clan of the father and the mother without a law to tell him which one to choose, and the assets of the family are distributed more equally. There are clans in which women participate more or less in politics or other fields of activity, but in all societies elven males and females have the same rights and are considered equal, unlike what often happens among the humans. So what you humans might call a "matriarchy" is simply equality between males and females, something that the Shadowelves have encoded within the law and the surface elves practice without a need to codify, but an essential trait of the Elven society in both.
Truedyl (The Gentle Folk) This clan settled in Glantri several centuries ago, but was driven out by the Cataclysm of 1700 BC and moved into the land which is now the Five Shires, the land of halfings. When the great humanoid invasion reached the area, the Truedyl would have certainly been wiped out, but somehow they managed to escape into the Hollow World and save themselves; and here I have met with them. These elves have a complex culture, closely connected to their history. They blame themselves for the cataclysm of 1700 BC, which was caused by a strange artifact they found buried underground. This incident made them feel guilty for a long time, and took away all their joy in life. So they have become very philosophical and fatalistic, and many of them live in a kind of resigned sadness. They love to discuss philosophy and history, and their poems and their music are so beautiful that I was deeply impressed. No other clan of elves, maybe not even the Alhamil or the Erendyl, have so beautiful a poetry. Yet their poetry is always sad and melancholy. They do not care about anything material, or clothes or food or housing. Often they run naked and barefoot because they do not bother to get dressed, eat the fruits of the forest without food preparation, and occasionally sleep in shelters or on beds of leaves and flowers. They live in a beautiful and charming forest, where no animal ever hurts them and the weather is always nice and warm. The trees are full of fruits and so the Truedyl do not have to do any hard work for a living. But despite this, their resigned sadness seems to follow them everywhere. They are unable to feel enthusiasm and are not capable of desire and will. The maximum happiness they can reach is a gentle contentment. They are always calm and quiet, and do not use violence under any circumstances, not even to defend themselves. A goblin could get into their forest, killing them one by one and not encounter any opposition. Yet the Immortals protect them, and the humans who live close to them consider them sacred and defend them from outside intrusion. If someone gets hurt in their forest they treat him and feed him, but it seems that this does not cause them any emotion or excitement. Often they eat the fruit of a tree growing in the forest, which makes them live in a dreamy state for days. Despite all this, recently, as I learned by living with them, things are beginning to change. Many young people who have had contact with the fairy folk, with humans or with Alphatians and are starting to question the system of clan life. This causes a lot of discussion, but still calm discussions. Young elves, for the first time in a long time, want to live in a less subdued state, and even if they do not put in discussion the absolute pacifism of the Truedyl, they are learning to feel happiness and joy and seek fun and games. The change will probably be a long process, but I think it will do well for the Truedyl and allow them to live the life they have at hand, a beautiful life in a beautiful and charming forest, as was the life of all the elves in ancient times, before technomancy and the Great Rain of Fire, and the destruction of Evergrun. The Truedyl are of moderately tall stature, have fair skin with a golden hue, golden hair and green and light purple eyes.
Wyrdil These elves live in the cold mountains of the north of the Hollow world. They too lived in Glantri before the cataclysm of 1700 BC, and fled for their lives under the ground up to the Hollow World. These elves often live in caves dug into the rock against the cold, but spend a lot of time outdoors. They are excellent hunters and brave warriors, and are often dressed in heavy fur. They love parties and banquets, with a slightly un-elven love for very strong spirits, and spend much time in friendly matches on the snow. They follow the Norse Immortals, Frey and Freya in particular, and their religiosity tends to be very practical and lived with joy and lightness. Male children are educated by the father and the daughters by their mother. Males usually excel in the use of the spear and women in archery, so women usually hunt, with males having only a supporting function. They are very strong-willed but like to joke, often at the expense of foreigners, with whom, however, they are also very hospitable, if the visitor accepts their jokes without taking offense. Among them it happens that children are born with deformities, and usually these children are killed. They consider this a hard necessity so as to prevent the spreading of the mutations of the cataclysm. Now there are many who oppose this practice, however, and defy it openly, and no one dares to attack them for this, so maybe it will eventually disappear. Although they are always cheerful, the Wirdyl are a tough and hardened clan, which is not afraid of any difficulties. They are very robust for elves, and rather tall of stature. They are pale and have blond or red hair and blue or green eyes. They often live with only one companion but in their youth they often have more mates, even more than one at a time.
And so ends my brief description of the elves of Mystara. I am not sure, of course, that I have really described all the clans of our world, but I've told everything I know about the clans that I have encountered in my long journeys. If I have more news I will send, as soon as possible, new annotations to the Imperial University.
(All below chronologies may differ from mine in several dates and details)
The Unofficial Timeline of Mystara by Daniel Boese
Elven Migrations, by Shawn Stanley
Wendar-Denagoth Timeline by Marco Dalmonte and Shawn Stanley
Elven Timeline, by Christopher Cherrington
Elven Migrations, by Sheldon Morris
Elven Migrations, by Havard
Elves post the Great Rain of Fire, by John Calvin
1The original version of this article was written by me more than ten years ago, using limited canon and fanon resources. The parts in dark red were added now and inspired by more recent fanon resources and discussion about the history of the Elves, such as this thread and this one at The Piazza.
3In brackets the meaning of the elven terms in Thyatian, when known.
5No indication exists in canon or fanon, as far as I know, of elves in Alphatia before 800 BC, but I find it a bit odd that so many clans roamed Brun and Skothar but not Alphatia. Maybe some Shiye went there, and that’s the true reason why Eyrindul chose the area. The Trueflowers instead are mentioned in M5, more details here.
6The elves of Minrothad. Gaz9 doesn’t specify when the clan was born, but says they were already shipbuilders in the ancient elven homeland.
8The Wirdyl would be the ancestors of Icevale Elves of the Hollow World, see also the previous issue of Threshold. Note that LoZompatore in his Map of Evergrun and Jennifer Guerra in her list of Elven Clans have a lot more clans in pre-cataclysmic Davania.
9I probably invented this clan just messing with the name of Menander Ithamis, Lord of the Northern Elves in DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor. Havard also lists the Genander, Cumasti and Westryn, elven clans which I believe were introduced in the Blackmoor d20 Campaign Setting. They could all be derived from the Meriallis, or Genander could be the real name of the Meriallis. Cumasti and Westryn locations are depicted in this map at the Comeback Inn (Blackmoor forum).
10In my article “New Blackmoor 3050 BC” in Threshold issue #2, I imagined that the ancestors of Shadowelves, Belcadiz, Shattenhalfen, Genalleth and Geffronell could have been in the area of the Known World well before the Great Rain of Fire. See individual notes about the clans.
11An elven word which should simply mean ‘a group of four’.
12Ancestor of the Savage Coast and Belcadiz elves, which should have a common origin due to the supposed similarities in culture and language. Jennifer Guerra here used the word Alhambra for the clan, but I decided to change it to Alhamil as the original name should have been a little more ‘elven’.
13The origin of the Belcadiz is not explained in Gaz3. Gaz5 has only a small phrase hinting they could have been part of the second migration from Grunland. Several fan theories about them are here, here, here and here. In Threshold issue #2 I decided to place them in Brun since before the Great Rain of Fire, but such a choice is not supported by canon sources.
14I used this theory in Threshold issue #2, after comparing Gaz13 with the Hollow World boxed set: while the latter seems to indicate the Shattenalfen were part of the second migration, the first one led me to think that the “Glantrian” Shadowelves who returned to the surface in 1950 BC and later settled Aengmor/Oenkmar were the Shattenalfen. This topic has been also discussed on The Piazza here, here and here. Also, the German name of the Shattenalfen provides a possible link with the humans of Glantri and the High Thonians of ancient Blackmoor.
16I originally used this timeline by Marco Dalmonte and Shawn Stanley about the Geffronell arriving in Brun around this time. Other fanon sources may differ, as far as I know the origin of the Geffronell was never explained in canon, as they are only hinted in X11.
17I invented this clan name for the elves of Wendar to keep the name Genalleth for the elven name of the King detailed below and the nation of Wendar.
18The Poor Wizard’s Almanac says in the Wendar entry that some elves went “near Blackmoor” before The Great Rain of Fire. As Blackmoor was placed in Skothar according to the Hollow World boxed set, I’ve decided to assume this refer to New Blackmoor, i.e. the colony founded were the modern Known World now is.
19The Aquarendi migrations after this time are detailed here by LoZompatore. According to the Hollow World boxed set migration map however some Aquarendi also lived in the area of the modern Known World, or in the seas near to it.
20The elves of Graakhalia introduced in Voyages of the Princess Ark and detailed also in Champions of Mystara.
21They are the Gentle Folk now in the Hollow World, their clan name appears in the HW boxed set.
25As far as I know, no canon source says that the Genalleth were part of the second migration, as only the Belcadiz are mentioned as part of it in Gaz 5. Some fanon sources say the Genalleth were already in Wendar (here), others that they came from the south (here and here), so I’ve decided both ideas should be true.
27Gaz 5 The Elves of Alfheim and the Hollow World Boxed Set migration map have two quite different migration routes for the Elves. In Gaz 5 the Elves go from Grunland to Pelatan, to Brasol, to Izonda, to the Immortal Arm, to Savage Coast, Sind and Glantri, then to the Midlands and the Sylvan Realm. In the HW boxed set migration map the Elves go from Grunland to Shaerdon (land of the Halfling) to Adakkia, to the Serpent Peninsula, where they split to the Sylvan Realm and the Known World. I have tried to use both sources in my migration map.
29More information on these elves were published in Threshold issue #5.
30See Threshold issue #5 for a history of Northwestern Davania.
31Champions of Mystara, as reported here by Christopher Cherrington, places both Meditor and Verdier in the Serpent Peninsula with the Sheyallia, at least for a short time. Gaz9 instead seems to imply they were with Ilsundal and left him only when his group left the Savage Coast to head toward Glantri.
33Check The Midland Elves article by Joseph Setorius in this issue of Threshold.
34Mentioned in Gaz13.
35The Hollow World boxed set migration map.
37Supposedly these elves were the Shattenalfen.
40Date mentioned in Gaz5 The Elves of Alfheim.
42I think this event was completely my invention and doesn’t appear in canon or fanon.
43About the minor clans of Mystara, see also LoZompatore compiled informations about the Trees of Life here. More about elves in the Vault of Pandius is here. About Alfheim’s minor clans, see also this thread on The Piazza.
45Thirsestian here refers to the Alphatian Neatharum that could be reached through the Aegos elevator, see the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set.
46I elaborated a bit on the history of these Immortals in my article on New Blackmoor, 3050 BC, in Threshold issue #5. More information (and different theories) may also be found here and here and here in the Vaults of Pandius.
47See Threshold issue #5 for more information.
48As note above.