Dark Elves

Nor, the Silverweaver, god of night and lord of the silver disc of the moon, was the first guardian to descend to the earth and tell the races of the guardian gods and their duties. But with time, the races forgot his teachings and turned away from the cool master of darkness, seeking instead solitude with the gods of light and the sun. Disappointed and spurned, Nor was quick to side with the renegade Zarach when the gods began to disunite. As a token of gratitude, Zarach created a race for his dark brother, a race that for all times would be devoted to Nor, master of the night. From the pure essence of the elves he formed the most beautiful, perfect and deadly of the dark races, the Norcaine – also known as Dark Elves.
Their spirit is sharp and cold as the light of the full moon, and they are as quick and merciless as the icy nightwind. War is their art, battle their poetry. They live to sow destruction and neither hope nor joy is necessary to give them courage. Perfect tools of death, they show no weakness, despair or fatigue. Their entire days and nights are spent worshipping and praying to Nor, their master, and destroying the light-seeking worms whose gods forced him into exile.
It is their sharp intellect and discipline that makes the Dark Elves so dangerous and that almost decided the War of Six Races for the dark ones. From Urgath they came to Fiara with their brothers in arms, the orcs and trolls. Once the war was over, they stayed and founded the realm of Lar on the nebulous east coast. There, they raised towers of obsidian and forged heavy armor and moonblades, which they would use in uncounted cruel battles against the races of the light.

Assassins are the warriors of the Dracon, one of the three ruling castes in the dark elves’ social hierarchy. Their strenuous training begins at childhood, and more than a few do not survive. A young assassin is robbed of his family and friends and lives a life of hardship and humiliation in the grey schools of the Dracon, learning to kill and hate. Only when this boy has grown into a wrathful man, a weapon whose only purpose is to kill, can he rise through the ranks of the assassins. Assassins are feared on the battlefield, for they are more than mere soldiers, they are merciless executioners, sent to bring the wrath of the god of the night to those who have faith in the light. The perfection with which they have mastered their weapons and the art of war makes them seemingly forget the weight of their armour, and when they swirl through the ranks of their enemies as dancers of death or climb the walls of an enemy fortress silently and unseen, then they are one with their destiny.

The streams of black magic are like the lifeblood of the dark empires of the Norcaine. In towers and temples as magnificent as they are threatening, sorcerers weave the threads of darkness, night for night, day for day, endlessly questing for even more powerful knowledge. Their craft is pain and suffering, destruction and despair; and whenever the armies march against the light, the sorcerers follow, murmuring prayers to weave the net of death with their brothers in arms. They serve the caste of Archon, the most powerful of the ruling castes. And although the sorcerers belong to the lowest and weakest of the schools of magic, they still recognize the strength of their caste, and each of them strives to ascend the ranks of the Archon and lead the fate of a realm. Yet before them lies a long and arduous path before they can rise through the ranks of the schools of magic.

Darkblades are the servants of the Sinistra, masters of weapons and black magic. Their caste is the least powerful, but that fact is based more on tradition than their prowess. They combine the ways of magic and steel in deadly perfection, to honor the Silverweaver and bring about the downfall of the enlightened. Armor and weapons of the Darkblades tremor with the unholy power of their magic. Many a believer in the light has been paralysed with fear at the sight of a Darkblade, whirling in and out of his enemies with cruel precision, voicing a powerful incantation of their magic in a dark voice. If death is an assassin’s craft and a sorcerer’s science, so it is a Darkblade’s religion. Nor has no more devoted servants than these warriors.

Of the black arts, the magic of death is the most powerful on the battlefield and since the beginnings of the dark races, it has been closely interwoven with the fate of the dark elves. In the midst of the armies, Necromancers march into battle, and once their brothers have begun the harvest with their blades, their work begins. They fill the corpses of the fallen with new life, summoning hateful spirits from beyond death and throwing them into battle. Seeing their freshly fallen comrades rise again and charge like a grey wave of destruction in front of the armies of darkness, the heart of many believer in the light turns to stone. Necromancers also belong to the caste of the Archon, and their schools, from which the unholy screams of their servants echo night and day, are often the biggest and most elaborate buildings in a city.

The Skerg stem from the swamps of Urgath. They are simple people that would have certainly answered scholars many questions of their origin, had the Dark Ones not fled to Urgath. As the Dark Races reached their shores, they were welcomed by the scared race as if they were Gods. It didn't take long for them to see through the weakness and simple spirit of the Skerg. While the Orcs and Trolls sent them out to hunt them for sport, the children of Nor found a much more useful fate for these timid creatures. Ever since, the Dark Elves had been breeding and using them as Slaves. They suffer immensly, but their broken minds offer no resistance after generations of submission. The Tar-Skerg are the more clever and powerful subspecies of these enslaved people. They are mostly used for heavy or difficult tasks. The Tar-Skerg are fairly decent craftsmen, known for creating many tools and trinkets for their dark masters.

As if in a trance, they wade through armies of enemies, singing their black prayers and sowing death in the name of their lord. Once the dark anger of a Deathknight has been awakened, only death itself is able to stop these fearsome creatures. Their tradition stems from the War of Six Races, when they were appointed guardians of the Fial Darg, the Princes of Darkness. Still bound by their ancient oath to never falter, they are the pride of the Sinistra. They consider their talent for magic as a gift from the Fial Darg, always positioning themselves in the center of an attack, and always the last ones to stay and defend. An advancing row of Deathknights is known to the races of the light as a dark storm, and it is said that only the finest armor, forged by the best dwarven blacksmiths, is able to withstand the blows of their war hammers.

The caste of the Dracon does not consist solely of whirling assassins, but also the thoughtful tactics and battle in heavy ranks. From this war-hardened caste come most of the great leaders of the dark elven armies. Battlemasters are the heavy fighters of the Dracon, whose clarity of thought and willpower more than compensate the wildness that the butchers of the Sinistra have to their advantage. The Battlemasters are planners and strategists, but also fight on the frontline, experienced warriors who have learned well the wisdom and teachings of their caste. Their equipment is not weighed down by religious frills, being made for one purpose only, and Battlemasters carry the best weapons and armor the smiths of the warrior caste have to offer. They are not only feared warriors, but also well-respected teachers, with their clear-headedness giving the armies of the Norcaine their tactical advantage and stability.

Under the sign of the Silverweaver, they preside over the schools of magic, controlling and manipulating, weaving the threads of destiny as easily as the streams of magic. Warlocks are the most powerful of the Archon, and are surpassed by few in their mastery of the dark arts. They do not often partake in the slaughter on the battlefield, but when they do unleash their dark power into the fight, victory for the dark ones is usually not far. Death flashes as unholy lightning from their fingertips, with row for row of light-believers falling, screaming in agony. When not at war, they lead and control the realms of the Norcaine from their obsidian towers, listening to the nightly whispering of the Silverweaver, who commands them his will.

Faith and devotion empower the Sinistra to acts as heroic as they are cruel. The most cruel punishment of all, however, is reserved for their own, for those who are ordered down the path of the Havoc. The Havoc meld with the powers of darkness are filled by the streams of destructive power and become one with the whispering shadows. Body and spirit wither to a dark image of their former self and unimaginable pain becomes the selected one’s only constant companion. But his existence is now the power of darkness, in all its cruelty. Pain and madness drive him on, bestowing him with supernatural powers and the burning hate to kill thousands. The Sinistra know that the few who are sent down this shadowy path cannot remain in the world of the living for long. Thus they are equipped with the best weapons, and the strongest armor, and placed in the center of the battle when the time of war is nigh. For the believers in the light, the Havoc is like a bad omen, as if the Fial Darg themselves had returned. They are a perfect combination of black magic and merciless fighting abilities.

The Spiderbrood
Ever since Nor, the god of night, had received the race of the dark elves as a present from his ally Zarach, he had thirsted to create his own creature. He knew he would never succeed in creating his own race and thus he decided to give his dark children an ally to fight at their side, who would sow fear and doubt into the hearts of everyone opposing them. Thus, year after year, he demanded the most beautiful of maidens from his loyal subjects as a sacrifice and then carried those away to his silver-spun home, there to weave their body and soul together with his essence. Thus he created the pale Spiderbrood, half woman and half spider, but wholly filled with Nor’s evil and cold hatred. Still do the dark elves sacrifice their daughters to this gruesome ritual and receive the bond with Nor’s poisonous brood in return, who drives into the rows of the armies of the Light with a hiss, to drink from their blood. Even though the dark deity has been driven from EO, his misbegotten children still dwell there, waiting in the pale silver light of the moon for their father, whom they pray to with husky voices reaching into the barren night. The breath of these creatures is filled with desperation, constantly longing for death and blood. Their cold malice stuns their foes, for they are their nightmares come to life which Nor had instilled into the heads of the races on the darkest nights. The brood is quick and deadly, none can escape this relentless hunter. As she was born out of the darkest of magic, she is practically immune to it. Only the madness inside of her makes her vulnerable, for her spirit may fall prey to Mental magic.

Harbringer of Chaos
In addition to the powers of Black Magic, the dark elves also research into other, more destructive powers. The magic of chaos is one of these, a virtually uncontrollable power that crushes everything it comes into contact with. The harbingers of chaos of the dark elves are trained in the schools of destruction to become proficient magicians who have learnt to channel and wield the powers of chaos. Chaos is difficult to control which is why the harbingers of chaos can only use their magic against solid buildings.

These evil creatures are attracted to black magic like a moth to a candle. Their favorite dwellings are the towers of great witches which are seeped in the dark powers of their creators. It is thus only natural that these creatures soon gather in swarms in every settlement of the dark elves. The Norcaine have learned to benefit from the low but all the more evil intelligence of these vampires. Many dark elves believe that these creatures are the blessed ones of the God of Night Nor, sent out to serve the Norcaine. ¸

The Crimson Empire

The cult of the Crimson Empire goes back to the dark elves' city of Shal'Dun, one of the big cities in the south of Urgath. The city had hardly recovered from the Convocation when, during the aftershock, a huge mountain rose, spewing forth fire and finally destroying the city. Among the surviving dark elves there were some who believed this was a sign of Zarach, and that they were his chosen ones.

These are the only ones of the Norcaine who have left Nor's paths of darkness and carry the fiery destructive rage of Zarach into the world. However, not all amongst them worship fire, and thus there is a continuous battle raging among their ranks.

Legions of the Burning City
Consecrated in the flames of Zarach, the armies of Shal'Dun have given themselves over to the fire and its destructive power. They obtain their red armor from the forges of the City of the Sun, and their weapons have been blessed with fire by the priests of Zarach. They have dedicated their lives and their blood to the god of destruction, yet, unlike the Orcs, they do not turn into raging hordes but maintain the strict discipline that makes the Dark Elves strong. They are the pride and the symbol of the Crimson Empire.

Gladiators of Elyn Muin
Since the days of the Six Nations' War, the Dark Elves have followed the tradition of the three castes that each of their villages, however small, is divided into. Similarly, tradition has it that these castes are continuously striving for dominance over the Norcaine, and frequently it's one person's word against another's, and one person's honor against another's. Whenever a fight has become too fierce for an arbitrator to settle it, the Council calls to Elyn Muin, the ritual duel in the circle of drums. In the majority of cases, however, it is not those involved in the fight who will step into the circle but the best fighters of their caste, who have been chosen for this purpose only. These are the gladiators of the Norcaine. But Shal’Dun is not only suffering through the fight between the castes: even the relations between the priests of Nor and Zarach are haunted by conflict and envy. Thus the city burns not only with the fires of Zarach, but is aflame with the mutual hatred of the Norcaine, and the drums of Elyn Muin can be heard day and night.

Assassins of the Moon Priests
Though the destiny of the Crimson Empire is mostly controlled by the priests of Zarach, the priests of Nor have not left Shal’Dun. They abhor those self-styled lords of the fire who trample on the traditions and the one true belief of the Norcaine. No longer powerful enough to stand up to the legions of fire, the priests of the night are secretly hatching plans and forging weapons to overthrow the cursed priests of fire. The troops of the City of the Moon where the priests of Nor are still in power tend to step back and leave the front rows to the Legions of the Fire, preferring to kill deliberately and secretly. But not only the enemies of the Crimson Empire …

The Pact

The heart of the Pact consists of the Dark Elves, the people of the nightgod Nor, known as the Norcaine. The culture of the Norcaine has always been shaped by the fight between the two largest castes, the warriors of the Dracon and the sorcerers of the Archons. While the warriors are striving for an honourable life in the fight against the Light, the Archons are recklessly striving for power.
This striving made the current High Archon Toth Lar forge the bond with the Shadows with the help of his mother Sorvina. He gave a part of the power of life of his people to the Shadows and in return got the invisible Assassins who slaughtered his antagonists in the caste of the warriors within just a very short time. The honour of the Norcaine died along with these warriors.
But the Dark Elves have been dragged out of their paralysis that was caused by this inner conflict and now they are ready for new campaigns.
The new allies of the Norcaine, the Shadows, are invisible in their normal form and only become visible when they want to or when their lethal blow hits its target. It is known that they came to Eo from another world, but nobody really knows their goals and plans.
The gargoyles are no real members of the Pact. They are bloodthirsty demons from the inner centre of the world that have been given a form by magic. Grateful for their new bodies and happy to quench their blood thirst at last they throw themselves into battles for their masters. Sorvina’s knowledge as an alchemist of the Silver Hand enabled her to join these creatures into the army of the Pact.

The Skerg have been the slaves of the Norcaine since the conquest of Urgath by the Dark Ones. Their culture and their desire for freedom have been destroyed by centuries of torture and slavery. Meanwhile, their only purpose in life is to erect more and more new obsidian buildings for their relentless masters. The Pact covers the conquered countries with these buildings.

Without the warriors of the Dracon it was the task of the smaller caste of the Sinistra to train melee combat fighters for the future armies of the Dark Elves. Without the master smeltery of the warrio' caste and facing the heavily equipped armies of the humans and dwarves, the Sinistra only saw one way. They trained these quick and nimble fighters who in a dance of blood and steel send their heavily armed enemies to the ground with whirling blows of their blades.

The influence of the alchemist Sorvina has caused other females to join the armies of the Pact. The women of the Dark Elves have always had a better connection to black magic and only the strict traditions forbade them to use this talent. The sorceresses of the Pact command the destructive form of magic in perfection and they lacerate the flesh of their enemy with dark streams of black magic.

Death Knight
Before the Convocation, the Death Knights of the Sinistra were the archenemies of the Paladins of the Light. Quite often both parties would forget orders and battle plans, when they met on the battle field. Through friends and enemies with thundering hooves they would crash into one another again and again until one side was completely destroyed. As elite of the Dark Elves Sorvina has assigned the Death Knights a special place in the hierarchy of the Pact army. Only a fool would trust an ally unconditionally, and that is why Sorvina teaches the Death Knights a spell that helps them to drag the Shadows out of their invisibility, in case they should turn against the Pact.

Similar to the sorceresses the necromancers too have been called to the ranks of the Pact because of their talent for black magic. In the onyx temples of the Dark Elves they study all the forms of resurrection and command over the undead. For nights on end, you can hear their whispering songs and when they finally leave the temple, they have almost become undead themselves, dedicated to destroying the peace of the enemies of the Pact even after their death.

Hidden in the eternal night underneath the mountains of Eo the offspring of the Silverweaver, the nightgod, are still alive even after the banishment of their master. In the great Silver Halls, the Dark Elves weave long conjurations and call the offspring of their master from their cold hideouts to go to war for the Pact. In battle, the Arachnis first spit poison on their victims to then jump with their claws at their weakened prey.