Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Here, for the first time ever, are my thoughts on Selinar - the whole event took place over 80 years, so this should be easy to fit into a period when Selenica was weak:
The Principality of Selinarby Geoff Gander
In the years following the Elfwars a number of hot-blooded elven youths, angered that their clan leaders had agreed to end hostilities with the humans, took matters into their own hands. They had seen that the so-called war had really been one-sided: the elves could have decimated their human opponents had they wished to do so. To them, the inherent strengths of their people should have translated into a resounding victory against the humans, perhaps even complete subjugation of their opponents and the creation of a mighty elvish empire. They organised themselves, and agitated in favour of adopting a more confrontational stance with Darokin, but were told on no uncertain terms to respect the terms of the treaty.
Decades passed, and the Kingdom of Darokin grew weak. The elven youths watched as new realms arose in the north (some even marched in support of those young nations as sell-swords), and the region became more restive. The time seemed ripe to strike, while the humans were fighting amongst themselves, and secure more territory in order to build the empire of which they dreamed. If they could show what sort of glory could be won, and how the elves would be safer in an even stronger realm buffered by vassal states, they might bring more of their people over to their line of thinking.
The elves ruled out the Streel Plain. It would have been easy to seize a good portion of it, but it was sparsely populated and close to the relatively strong nations of Almarand, Darokin, and Corunglain. They wanted good lands they could control easily, with large numbers of human serfs who would serve them. The city-state of Selenica, relatively isolated as it was, seemed to be an ideal target. The city had never really recovered as a centre of trade and learning after it had been retaken from the Ylari, and it had suffered a good measure of raids from nearby humanoids, independent hill tribes, as well as Ylari from the east. Selenica was also blessed with rich soils, and several prosperous villages.
And so, without the blessing of their clan elders, a band of 150 elves marched on Selenica. It was perhaps a testament to their audacity, and the poor state of the city’s defences, that they managed to catch the defenders by surprise. Two gates were overwhelmed, and before the general alarm had been sounded the elves were already in the midst of the city, attacking their foes with their blades and by magic. Knowing that they might lose if they stood their ground, they marched on the palace and humbled the king and his family. Threatened with death, the king agreed to cede a large portion of Selenica’s borderlands with Alfheim, as well as any towns or villages that lay within. He also gave up his heir and two daughters as hostages, forfeited one-third of the royal treasury, and agreed to pay tribute. The heir was returned after six years, but neither daughter ever returned (they were later wedded to prominent elves). The only other nation of note in the region, Darokin, was too embroiled in conflicts closer to home to take any serious interest in the matter. The duke formally denounced the attack, and demanded the return of the king’s children, but did nothing more.
The only settlement of note in the ceded region was the town of Nemiston. The elves renamed it Nimlaeril, and established it as the capital of their new realm – the Principality of Selinar. They selected Linflas Farstrider, who organised them and led the attack on Selenica, as their prince. He took his lover (who accompanied him on the crusade) as his bride, and began a royal succession. Linflas sent word to Alfheim of his deed, and asked the king to accept Selinar as a new dominion. The king, knowing the political fallout of such an act, refused, but did not censure or condemn Linflas.
The first years of the realm were brutal. The elves demanded that homes suitable to their station be built in the fringes of the nearby Canolbarth Forest, and they drafted their new subjects by the hundreds to do so. Humans were regarded as little more than cattle, and the slightest disobedience was punished severely. Laws were promulgated that forbade humans from owning anything they could not easily carry in one hand, and demanded the use of elvish. But the elves had underestimated their subjects – within ten years they had been forced to put down numerous rebellions, many of which were aided by sympathisers in Selenica. Over time, however, the elves eased their grip on power, and began to cultivate followers among their subjects – those whom they could gently control through gifts and favours. Some of the elves shared what they considered to be harmless knowledge with their favoured servants – nature lore, cantrips, and the like – but others had secretly gone as far as to take lovers. Sometimes, the feeling was reciprocated.
When Prince Linflas’s heir, Daraneth, assumed the throne 60 years after the conquest, the humans of Selinar were better treated, but still servants. Those with skills considered useful by the elves were given greater privileges, and accorded some measure of respect (the elves knew that their grip on power depended on the co-operation of these humans, who increasingly ran the government on a daily basis). Elvish was still considered the language of court and government, but the local dialect was no longer forbidden. Some of the lower-status elves married the higher-caste humans, and their offspring, regardless of appearance, were considered to be elves. This latter group would later form the backbone of the Selinarian army, as the humans could still not be trusted, and the full-blooded elves increasingly preferred their aristocratic lifestyles.
Sharp divisions arose in Selinarian society when Daraneth chose a high-caste human as his bride. Many of those who accompanied Linflas on the original expedition regarded Daraneth as a traitor, and moved north to eastern Alfheim to start anew. This was not the only change initiated by Daraneth. Ten years into his reign he no longer insisted on collecting tribute from Selenica, and he permitted some traffic on the now-overgrown road that connected the city-state with the western lands. Relations with human realms were cool, and Alfheim was neutral. Within his own realm, Daraneth accorded humans the status of freeman – they could no longer be forced to labour except in times of emergency, and they were allowed to serve as soldiers – but they were still regarded as subservient to elves. Many at the time suspected Daraneth’s wife of softening his already (by Selinarian standards) moderate views.
But Daraneth’s reforms could not preserve his realm. In the far west, Darokin and other realms were growing stronger, while Selenica was undergoing a slow recovery of its own, aided in part by the dwarves. People increasingly chafed under the remaining restrictions they faced, and regarded their overlords with increasing disgust, rather than fear. Farmers began to refuse sending their harvests to Nimlaeril, and some of the human soldiers staged revolts, which were put down by their low-caste elvish officers. It soon became apparent that Selinar, dependent on force to hold it together, was falling apart. Some of the remaining hard-liners stormed Daraneth’s residence and accused his wife of undermining the principality. She ordered them to stand down but they refused, killing her. Outraged, Daraneth had the murderers arrested and executed, which touched off a rebellion among many of the remaining elves.
Daraneth, with his young son, rallied the troops and fought a pitched battle. Much of elvish Nimlaeril was destroyed in the conflict. In the ensuing chaos, Selenican agents incited further rebellion among the human soldiers and commoners. The half-caste officers and their families, thought by most to be pawns of the hated elves, were massacred. The Selenican king used the chaos as a pretext for sending in his own troops to restore order on his frontier. Within days the rebellion had ended, and Selenica was once again in control of the region. Daraneth and his most loyal followers fled to Alfheim, where their descendants live to this day.
In the years that followed, the people of Nemiston (as the town was once more named) fought to purge themselves of the memory of 80 years of elvish rule. Those who showed obvious elvish ancestry were ostracised, and anyone who worked for the elves was stripped of their possessions and run out of town. Even today, although the precise details of that time have faded, the people strongly dislike the elves.