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    Bardic Lore - Secrets of the Elves
    Posted on Thu, September 05, 2002 by Legate
    MerricB writes "Cirrem, the Dreamer-Minstrel, reveals the dark history of the elven race...lore that they would prefer to keep hidden from the rest of the world...

    Author: MerricB

    Bardic Lore - Secrets of the Elves
    by Merric Blackman (

    (Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)

    Every race and every culture on the Flanaess have their secrets; hidden lore that they would prefer no strangers to know. So it is in the Sheldomar Valley, where the memories of Vecna fuel a repressive state to which arcane magic is anathema. And so it is in the Vesve Forest, where once, long ago, a great conflict raged.

    One must understand that the elvenfolk were in ancient times much as they are now. Their philosophy is to see life as it is, and to glory in it without seeking for personal glory. Such are the precepts of their gods, and so they have lived for most of their existence.

    It was the arrival of humanfolk to the Flanaess that brought division to the elves. The ancestors of the Flan were a hardy people, and fascinated the elves with their short lives and quests for personal gain. The elves had lived in peace with another race - the Firbolg giants - and were prepared to do so with the humans as well, for the elves were few in number, and there was plenty of space for them all.

    The Firbolg were not of such a forgiving bent. They attacked the humans, and so began the Firbolg-Flan wars, which culminated in the banishing of the Firbolg to the Barren Mountains, and the retalation of the Firbolg that summoned the Fomorians to the Flanaess. But such matters are outside the scope of this tale. (see Bardic Lore - the Bardic Colleges)

    There were those among the elves whose fascination with the humans grew beyond what was normal for their race, and began to wonder if they themselves could be as the humans - quick, decisive and great in power and might.

    For a short time was formed the Empire of the Elves, ruled by a cruel and merciless master. All the virtues of the elves were twisted into such traits that would terrify us in this more enlightened age. However, under the leadership of the priests of Corellon Larethian, the elves of light rose up and deposed those that had imposed their will upon them.

    Into this civil war came the Demons of the Abyss. The great Vesve Forest, which in those days was greater than it is now - was racked by war. The elves of darkness called upon the lords of the abyss for aid, and they were answered. Fiends and orcs poured into the Forest, and the elves of light were hard pressed.

    Into this conflict came Canaberain, the great leader of the Flan people of the Sheldomar, leading his spearmen against the orcs, and driving them back to the east. The elves of light rallied, and with the support of their gods, drove the remaining elves of dark to the centre of the Vesve.

    There, in one last defiant stand, the wizards of the dark elves called upon the Lords of the Abyss to save them and lay waste their enemies. A great chasm opened in the ground, and a poisonous cloud rolled out. When the survivors of the combined elven and Flan forces returned to the area, they found the chasm gone, and the elves of dark likewise.

    To the Flan people, the civil war was never explained. It became known as the Day of Fiendish Night, and all was blamed on the dark gods of the Abyss. However, the first bonds of friendship had been forged between the Flan people and the elves, and they would endure.

    The elven people were saddened in triumph, and returned to their lives of peace, delight and art. Of the elvish followers of dark, it was though that all had perished. It would be centuries before they learned differently.

    All elves learn this lore, but few indeed reveal it. It was only because I stood with a party of elven protectors as they fought one of the strange descendants of the elves of dark that I was told anything at all; and more I have learnt from sources I will not - dare not! - reveal to you.

    Yes, the dark elves survived, saved by their Demonic patrons, though it seems that in the nature of such demonic beings, their favours have not come without a price. I have heard that the descendants of the dark elves - the drow - have grown strong, and once more seek vengeance on those that drove them from the surface, and we shall learn more of them in the coming days.

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    Re: Bardic Lore - Secrets of the Elves (Score: 1)
    by Anvalian on Tue, February 24, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    There are several other versions of this elven internal conflict. I am one of the Ilythiiri, the so called "drow", but I don't know much more information on this topic for sure. Nor I am certain which version is the true one. Maybe none of them... It's very difficult to separate truth from myth or from political propaganda (darthiir-elven or lolthian). I fled the vault of Urza when I was 91 and since then I have been raised by the druid Tanelorn. This is the story of my people he told me:

    Long time ago the Oerth was invaded by a powerful evil force. Even Tanelorn didn't know what kind of evil it really had been. Maybe Firbolg? Or were the Firbolg only a part if this attack? Or was the threat of extraplanar origin? Anyway, the war was long and the enemy was winning. One by one fell the lands of the elven and human race. At the moment when everything seemed to be lost, an army emerged from the southern jungles. An army of the Ilythiiri, dark skinned elven people, cold and to somebody cruel. Their history was simple and they couldn't have been different. For all the time they have been leading a war for supremacy in the southern forest with an orc nation. For all the time. They were real soldiers in a real army, not only a bunch of home-guards like the other people. The others could fight, yes, but the Ilythiiri were able to lead a war. A cruel and demanding war that crushed the opponent. The Ilythiiri army joined the other races and soon the situation began to change. The newly organized army under the Ilythiiri leadership scored several important successes and the dark fighters were feared by many, friend or foe. They were hard - hard to themselves, hard to their allies. And among other races there began to spread the idea of a rebellion. This was quite dangerous because the war was still raging but as the enemy was becoming weaker, the Ilythiiri supremacy was percieved more and more as wrong. My people didn't see the situation like that. There was a war to be won (as so many before) and everybody and everything just had to serve the cause. The cities of the other nations became strongholds and barracks, the soldiers were used as cannon fodder if it was needed, e.g. for regrouping the more experienced and valuable Ilythiiri forces. It ended as it had to - a rebellion against the Ilythiiri military power broke out and in the final great battle against the enemy the Ilythiiri had to fight two foes - togerther with the original enemy also their former allies. They won the battle against the enemy nevertheless and the war was over but most of them were massacred by their "allies". The same happened in most cities shortly after. The rest of the Ilythiiri army under the leadership of colonel Lolth (or Lloth, as some sources name her) pulled back into the mountains. Pressed hard by the union of the other nations, they found a refugee in the cave system under the mountains. Over the years, the colonel Lolth became the Spider Queen and the Ilythiiri turned from a purely militaristic society towards darker powers. Their settlements in the so called "Underdark" became insular and the whole society succumbed to the spider cult.

    So this is it. I don't say that this story is true. But it is one of the possible versions and one of the least known. When you next time speak of the "evil drow", please, bear in mind, that the Ilythiiri may have saved the world for you and then were swept over by a revolution they didn't want to provoke. And one more thing: I am definitely not a lolthian Ilythiiri. Thank you.

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