Drey Gelvani

….. The children of Gelthena and Kelamin are strong and powerful beings, dark and sinewy, and known as the Drey-Gelvani, or Dark Elves. Kelamin was the gelvani god of Competition, Skill at Arms, and War. In Arvanis it was his duty to protect their paradise from other powerful deities that sought to corrupt their world.
The Drey-Gelvani, like their paternal blood, have a strong accord for the art of war and skill at arms. When the Gelvani were cast down, they took their place upon the northern borders of Mirivia, calling it Shanothyr. It was the Drey-Gelvani who defeated the Orcish armies, and it was they who secured the forests of Mirivia. But, as it has been said, the other elves did not have the appreciation for battle and the intense devotion it takes to master a fighting style. The Dark Elves were always mistrusted and feared. The High Elves particularly were paranoid that the armies their brethren kept were more to keep them in check, than to protect them. Hence, when the Orc Wars were finally over, and peace had seemed to return to the land, the Que-Gelvani sought to disband these gelvani armies. Tension grew between the two cultures, and finally snapped. The Royal Prince of Feldyr-Mar, the greatest Dark Elven city in Shanothyr, was slain in a duel with Tiercelis Calazar, a famous High Elven hero.
The people of Shanothyr threatened war, but instead seceded from Mirivia. The Queen of Mirivia, not wanting war amongst her people grudgingly accepted this.
However, it was not long before tensions grew too great, in Arvanis and in
the Elven Kingdoms. The Dark Elves began to believe the Queen would try to retake their kingdom. The High Elves believed the Dark Elves would make a ply for the throne. In the end their own paranoia led to war. The Que-Gelvani struck into Shanothyr with a small force intent on thwarting battle, but instead it led to an all out assault on Mirivia by the Drey-Gelvani. The battles that ensued left thousands of Gelvani dead, the great city of They-Kithara was razed
and the Dark Elven armies were eventually forced to withdraw. What more, the paradise of Arvanis too shook with the thunder of war, and in the end both Fey-Kalin and Kelamin were destroyed.
The Drey-Gelvani still rule over Shanothyr, but their kingdom is split. Some
have chosen to return to their ancient ways and defend the gelvani race against all opponents
within and out. They mostly worship Tolothar, Kelamin’s most loyal warrior before his downfall.
Others have fallen further from their true beings, seeking revenge for the downfall of their race, conquer Mirivia, and see the end of Gelthena. These Dark Elves mostly worship Crothien, the son of Kelamin and a brute and wicked being. These deities battle for control of their people, and so too the Drey-Gelvani are at odds with each other.
From the chaos of the times, a third deity has arisen to power amongst these people. She is Baelshyn “The Black”, who embodies the rage of the gelvani woman and the plight of Dark Elven
women specifically. Through the chaos that she creates her worshippers hope to bring the downfall of Dark Elven “civilization” and return them to a clan-based society.
In this way she believes she will save the Dark Elven race. Perhaps she is right, though most gelvani gods just believe she is deranged and has no idea what she is doing except creating total havoc.
The Drey-Gelvani are taller than the other bloodlines, save the Sylvan Elves. They are sleek, dark and agile with skin tones ranging from dark tan to almost jet-black. Their hair is
usually dark brown to ash gray and pitch black, but their eyes are brilliant shades of green, blue or silver. A few Dark Elves have been known to have black eyes. Much stronger than most of their kin, and some humans, one might think they would be bulging with muscles; however, like their kin they are incredibly wiry and their muscles are dense and well defined.
Dark Elves prefer lightweight very detailed clothing. They appreciate art like any Gelvani, but their motifs tend to be more focused on weapons and battles. They dye their clothing dark shades of blue, brown, green, purple and red, as well as black. In their forest of Shanothyr this keeps them well camouflaged to foes. However, when at war, the
Drey-Gelvani wear the heaviest armor of all gelvani kind. They tend to wear at the least chain mail, but their elites don the finest sets of Elven Plate made. Their armor can be more elaborate than any made by elves. The more detailed and unique the armor looks, the more prestige it carries. The greatest warriors, and usually the wealthiest, can often wear sets of armor that any other culture would hang on the wall as a masterpiece. Dark Elven weapons can be just as artistic, though they are always sturdy and deadly.
The Dark Elves practice a form of magic not known to many others. It is called Shamora-Kifi, or Magical Flesh. They are particularly fond of body art, and almost all Drey-Gelvani have some form of tattoos. These are almost always complex patterns that have some deeper meaning. Those of their culture who hold great prestige are gifted with enchantments set in the patterns of ink burned into their flesh. Though most have only minor magical powers, some say the greatest of artists can enchant incredible powers upon the canvas of the flesh.
Feyldyr-Mar is the only Dark Elven city. It is an amazing place though, and it could house the entire race. The Drey-Gelvani prefer to use the natural elements to their best advantage. Dense woods encircle the city, a great lake forms its eastern wall, and natural ridges form the treacherous, and only, way to walk into the city. The city itself is much like a Grey-Gelvani city, with massive towers reaching into the skies, great causeways connecting them and large courtyards at their base. However, they do not have nearly as many gardens.
The Drey-Gelvani like metal work, and have many great steel and bronze sculptures about their City. Some are very old and made from copper that has turned a shiny green. Unlike the Grey Elves though, the Drey-Gelvani don’t usually live in their city. Their soldiers train there and have barracks there, but most Dark Elves live in their forest homes.
Drey-Gelvani live in hundreds of small communities throughout their forest that keep in close contact with each other. Because their forest is mostly ancient cedars their homes are built around the base of the trees, using the massive roots that rise from the earth as walls and support. They use magical abilities and an understanding of nature’s ways to forge the growth of the trees to their means. They also use the canopies of the trees, with great platforms and bridges connecting the trees between the mighty limbs. Their villages are often well lit with fairy fires to accommodate for the incredible darkness at night that the dense canopy creates.
Do not doubt the fortifications of these communities though. Dark Elves do not use walls to defend their homes, but instead wit and deception and they depend more on skill and magic.
The Drey-Gelvani are the only Patriarchic Elven Society. They have a King rather than a Queen, even though they are all considered equals. Women fight along side their men, and the men raise the family along side the women. There is no gender difference, but it has just been that a King rules who was passed the crown from a King before him. A queen could just as easily rule. The other Elven races see this as a sign of the true dysfunction of Dark Elven society though, and even within their own people some women are fighting to return them to a Matriarchy.
As one could expect, the Drey-Gelvani have the greatest Elven army to exist. They are all trained from childhood to master the Spear and Bows, and it is required that all serve in the army for at least a decade. Despite their differences with the Que-Gelvani they are still the first line of defense from an invasion by the Ogre Kingdoms. Though their forces are split, it is hoped they will unite do defend the Elven Kingdoms if an army does arrive at their borders.

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