Lore: Nightfall: Descent of the Dark Elves

A summary of the descent of the dark elves, by Argent Rose initiate Leiara of House Silvareth of Coraithess.

In the lore of the elves, the origins of their race begin with the birth of light and darkness. When Faerie was created, these two powers came together to give birth to a breed of fey as their contribution in the creation of the multiverse. These fey, with delicate, beautiful features of either bright light or deep darkness, helped the flow of magic into the natural environment. For their efforts, they were offered the chance to imbue themselves with the Breath of Life. They accepted, becoming one of the first primanoids of Midrealm, the first elves.

For a long time, the elves of Celesia lived simply, but enjoyed long, fulfilled lives. The Age of Horrors destroyed this way of life. However, in the aftermath, the elves rebuilt, and grew to build great empires all over the world, crafting masterpiece works, and learning deep secrets of magic. However, by this time, the original darkness that helped birth the elves, now more widely known by the name of Noué, had grown both jealous and hungry for the power of her sibling and other powers of influence among the elves.

At the start of the Age of Starlight, the term "dark elf" did not refer to a distinct race of primanoids, but just a generic descriptor of elves with skin complexions ranging from obsidian black to dark blue or purple. These elves live equally among the others of their race, with the main difference being only that they paid greater tribute to Noué as the originator of their people, just as the other elves paid greater tribute to Minué or Firhanna in the same way as part of their cultural history. Noué, in turn, favoured these elves as her personal chosen people.

As such, when Noué began acting against the other powers, these elves would become her first agents in her plans. Although Noué gladly accepted the service and loyalty of other peoples, even light elves, these dark elves, Nui'anthyr, would always be her favourites. This was not just based on her history with these peoples, but unknown to all except the greatest power, Noué always had some form of connection with these elves ever since she gave birth to their fey ancestors, which many attribute the origin of the Nui'anthyr's shadowy complexion.

The Fall, as it would later be known, would start slowly and gradual, unbeknowned by anyone. It started with subtle whispers in the night, a quiet influence of Noué's servants into acts that would ultimately be detrimental to the servants of her enemies. At the time, the dark elves did not even realize how they were gradually becoming more ambitious, ruthless, and merciless. Neither did their foes, until it was too late.

Under Noué's influence, the Nui'anthyr rose to power in many elven empires. The Nouénites benefited greatly with the Aerlonesti's policies of elven superiority and dominance. Emboldened, the Nouénites free to be ruthless and merciless, exploiting who they considered inferior (which was everyone not a dark elf), both in the open and in the shadows, to enrich themselves and increase their power.

When the Broken Song Wars erupted when elves and other people stood up against Aerlonesti tyranny, it was the perfect opportunity for the Nouénites to show their true nature. In the name of Noué, they waged wars of conquest against other peoples, but especially targeted, and were especially cruel, against the other elvish people. The Darklight Wars had begun under the shadow of the Broken Song Wars.

However, Noué's influence was not an ironclad domination. Many dark elves still valued peace, compassion, and friendship. These Nui'anthyr fought alongside their lighter cousins and other peoples against the cruelty of the Nouénites and the Aerlonesti. Other large groups of dark elves would choose varying levels of neutrality in the conflict, depriving Noué of much needed warriors and agents to further her cause.

The Darklight Wars were waged around the world, and lasted for decades. Millions of lives were lost on both sides, and ultimate victory tilted from side to side, but the conflict was ultimately at a stalemate. Frustrated by the situation, but even more enraged as her 'children' who stood against her, Noué devised her ultimate spell.

The Night's Blessing would use Noué's connection to all dark elves on all sides. Through the sacrifice of millions of lives, most of which were other elves, Noué's most powerful priestesses and mages enchanted all dark elves in existence. The blessing granted additional magical powers to all dark elves, at the cost of being more sensitive to sunlight, which suited the Lady of the Night just fine, just another incentive for her chosen to choose darkness. However, the true purpose of the spell was to finally bring all dark elves under Noué's firm control. Finally, her chosen would embrace her love, and obey her. However, the spell would not be completed without opposition.

Noué's enemies acted as soon as they could to prevent Night's Blessing, but they would not succeed in preventing it. Instead, right at the end, they were only able to prevent Noué's complete control. However, in the act of doing so, the magic of the spell, already connected to all dark elves no matter which side they were on, drove all of them mad for a time. Though their senses would return, it would be after a year of bloodshed and betrayal as all dark elves rabidly attacked all who were not of their kind, a time that would be known as the Year of Night's Madness. In an instant, they turned on those they considered to be trustworthy allies, friends, and lovers. When the effects of the spell wore off, these dark elves despaired.

The only silver lining was that the Nui'anthyr war effort was severely hampered during this time. Led by the other elven people, Noué's enemies pushed back the dark elves. Even after they regained their self-control and with their new powers, the dark elves could not turn the tide. Their surviving leaders led what remained of their forces down into the Deep Hollows. The Darklight Wars came to an end.

The Nouénites would form new civilizations in the wild Hollows. Many of the dark elves who originally stood against Noué would also find their way there, driven out by their former allies, or out of shame and despair for their crazed actions, with nothing left for them on the surface. For either factions, the dangers of the Deep Hollows forced them to take desperate actions that never would have been accepted on the surface in order to survive.

The Nightfall was a signficant event of change for Celesia, both above and below the surfce. Above, the Darklight Wars cemented the dominance of the elven and dwarven empires who would grow at the expense of the other devastated peoples of Celesia. Among these empires would be the Aerlonesti Empire, which would go on to cause more great changes in the world. On the surface, the Nui'anthyr as a whole would become boogeyman as tool of fear and a target to rally against for many powers. Below, they would change the political and cultural landscape of the Deep Hollows. The dark elves would survive, and even thrive underneath the surface, becoming a major power and influence.

Noué would not fully enjoy their successes. Although she would remain the prominent power among the dark elves, many became resentful for what they believed to be the cause of their initial suffering when they first descended. These dark elves would turn to other darker powers, such as Zhao-Khan, Orcus, and Xarios among others. Other dark elves have chosen to build their own societies away from others, desiring only to be left alone so they can survive, and thrive in the Deep Hollows.

Finally, there remains a bright spot of hope in this sordid tale. There are still many other dark elves that retain their ideals. These dark elves, many of whom worship Kaï-den, Firhanna, and Minué, seek to reestablish good relations with their former friends and allies, provide safe oasises in the Deep Hollows, and convince other dark elves to abandon their depradations and embrace mercy and compassion. Their quest remains an uphill battle as their cause is hampered by the hostile actions of other dark elves, which reinforces the fear and hatred of them by the surface people. However, hope remains as tales spread of Deep Hollows travelers finding themselves rescued by the odd group of dark elves, and honest trade between more open-minded Nui'anthyr settlements with their neighbours both above and below the surface continue to grow.

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