Ealu

The Ealu are the collective eladrin, elven and drow races, considered part of the same “nation” – although the state of their nation is certainly a pale shade of the greatness that was before the coming of the Creeping Darkness. They are graceful, beautiful creatures, each branch a different facet of the Alaviluviar, the Primal Wild, continuing to sparkle brilliantly even in these dark times. Their homeland, the ancient forest known as the Ealubrinald, now lies fallow as an ashen field with the occasional charred, dead monolith breaking the landscape.

Eladrin and elves have the same statistics as their entries in the Player’s Handbook I on pages 38 and 40, respectively, and drow have the same statistics as their entry in Monster Manual I on page 276, with the following exceptions:

  • Languages: Substitute “Quialar” for “Elven”; substitute “Low Daskaenean” for “Common” (all)
  • Drow have the Fey Origin trait that both eladrin and elves have.
  • Drow substitute the name Children of Enkan’azil for Lolthtouched.

The High Court of the Alabaster Rose

At the center of Ealu society is the High Court, the governing council that discusses important matters and decides upon law for the entirety of the People. The Ealu have traditionally been a society without governance, unconcerned with laws and restrictions. However, on matters that affect a good portion of the People, if not the entirety, the High Court convenes. Problems are presented, matters and precedents discussed, and a fair and balanced solution presented to the Ealu People and ratified by the three House representants.

Every facet of Ealu life, or “petal of the rose”, is carefully defined by the noble clans in their fealty to the High Court’s three Houses. For example, the majority of eladrin families and greater clans swear allegiance to the House of Blossoms, although not exclusively; there are some families who feel affinity to the tenets and beliefs presented by the House of Thorns, and an even smaller minority to the House of Leaves. Still, it is almost assuredly an eladrin who represents the House of Blossoms on the High Court, as it is almost exclusively an eladrin who manifests the five tenets of the Blossom.

The House of Blossoms – Eladrin

“…to seek the perfect blossom.”
    – an ancient Ealu phrase, part of the Oath of the Alabaster Rose

It is the birthright of every eladrin to manifest the five petals of the Alabaster Rose: elegance, glamour, magnificence, swordplay, and the arcane. In the House of Blossoms, matters of the flowering rose are paramount. It is the House’s responsibility to discuss matters of beauty and decorum and mastering matters of delicate touch and wizardly might.

To an eladrin, the simple act of doing is not enough; everything worth doing is worth doing with masterful precision and artistry. Crafting a sword is not the simple act of smelting, hammering, folding, and cooling a blade. Every sword prior to this one was inferior, just as every sword after this one must be superior, in both construction and in artistry. Magic, too, is a lifelong act of perfecting an art, in which one’s power and understanding grows with every mastered spell.

In the High Court, the representant of the House of Blossoms is a master artist, be her art something as mundane as dance or as exceptional as sword-sorcery. She is the supreme authority in debates regarding etiquette, loveliness, finesse and perfection. Every action of the House of Blossoms is of elegant perfection; sometimes, much to the chagrin of the other two Houses, this takes more time that is warranted.

The House of Blossoms is the patron-guardian for their diminutive counterparts in wizardry, the elusive Skevneblin gnomes.

The House of Leaves – Elves

“…to follow the sublime trail.”
    – an ancient Ealu phrase, part of the Oath of the Alabaster Rose

Elves are unconcerned with matters of the arcane and unearthly perfection; the forest has its own kind of natural beauty and wonder that is evident to those that know to treat it in kind. To an elf, the natural, primal world is a power unlike that sought by their eladrin and drow cousins. Rather than seeking to master energies of the Astral Sea and its rivers and streams that ebb and flow through the world, children of the House of Leaves seek to be one with natural grace of the forest.

To a member of the House of Leaves, the five aspects of the Alabaster Rose include bowmanship, herbalism, husbandry, spirituality, and trailblazing. These elves of wood and leaf and sinew are creatures grounded in nature, and they need nothing or want nothing of the Astral World. While being skillful is certainly important in order to be masterful of their chosen purview, the elven attitude is simply to “walk with nature” rather than trying to be its controlling master. Truly, those who seek to force their will upon nature find that they are quickly overwhelmed by the intensity of the primal storm.

With respect to the High Court, the representant of the House of Leaves is a master woodsman. He is often the Master Ranger or an Archdruid of the Ealubrinald, although throughout history there have been a few notable wild-warriors or spirit-masters sitting in its seat. Matters of the wild beneath the Sea of Stars are the purview of the Seat of Leaves; problems that can be solved through understanding the whisper of the wind through the trees – or at the very least a well-placed arrow – are the sole responsibility of the elven representant.

The House of Leaves watches over for all children of the forest, but their patron-wards are the Wilden.

The House of Thorns – Drow (Veldrou)

“…and to do that which is unaskable.”
    – an ancient Ealu phrase, part of the Oath of the Alabaster Rose

Before the Creeping Darkness came, there was a name for the People that were of brown hues and an earthy nature: the veldrou. The veldrou clans convened beneath a banner of entangled roots; they were respectable members of Ealu society, it is said, dwelling within the dead husks of ancient trees and finding the hidden places beneath where these monoliths’ living brothers still stood. Originally, it was the Seat of Roots’ mandate to remove that which was unsightly to witness and unseemly to touch; they were masters of punishment, bringers of war, and prowlers of the fringes and hidden places. There were those who served in these dark deeds without question, for they were necessary for the People to grow tall and flower broadly.

Just as with anything that grows upon unclean earth, however, perhaps it was that certain of the veldrou became poisoned in spirit by the dark work that they committed in the name of the People. In time, more and more of them came to revel in their black deeds, and some few believed themselves of stronger stuff than their cousins of blossom and leaf, for they did not shrink back in fear and disgust from those atrocities necessary to see the People flower in their fullest splendor. The roots began to choke themselves.

Those corrupted by darkness betrayed the House of Roots and, in one night, uprooted the entirety of the Alabaster Rose and sent it crashing to the ground. In a murderous rampage, fueled by twisted secrets and forgotten promises, those veldou changed by the Feydark began slaughtering their kin wholesale. Tangled roots strangled in the open air, leaves wilted and browned, and blossom petals fell as dust. As the fetid dark spilled forth from the lairs of the veldou, following after it came something new.

Born from the abscess created by the veldou, those who held fast and true to the ancient responsibilities of “doing that which is unaskable” stepped out from underneath the shadow of death gripping the Alabaster Rose. Skin like night, these unknown Ealu came to the defense of the House of Blossoms and Leaves, fighting with strange blades and terrible poisons. They shouted the name of Enkan’azil, the fallen House of Roots representant, who was betrayed and slain by her own kin in the initial assault. In time, the fetid dark was chased away and defeated, and in the ruins of the House of Roots stood the drow. Shortly thereafter, the drow would form under a new banner, that of the House of Thorns; the Alabaster Rose must be able to defend itself from itself as well as external threats.

The House of Thorns refers to its own interpretation of the Alabaster Rose as the Ebony Rose, a view that is considered heretical by the oldest and most traditional of Ealu. The five petals observed by the drow are assassination, betrayal, purity, secrecy, and sorcery; most if not all of these tenets are viewed with outright rejection by the House of Blossoms, and with keen suspicion by the House of Leaves. And in furthering the mandate of the House, there is no Seat of Thorns upon the council despite a seat remaining open; no drow attends the High Court in an official capacity, and yet, matters of the Ebony Rose are handled with lethal efficiency.

The patron-race of the House of Roots were firbolgs – graceful, earthen fey giants that were as keen diggers beneath the earth as they were trackless upon it. With the fall of the veldou, however, the firbolgs became twisted by the same poison as their guardians, and are now considered fomorians instead. The House of Thorns bears no guardianship over other races; purity and secrecy forbid them from lording over other non-Ealu.

The Ealubrinald

The Ealubrinald is the Quialar word for the Ealu’s homeland, meaning “Woods of the People”. Ages ago, it was a primeval forest that stretched hundreds of miles, laced with enchanted lakes and laughing, bubbling streams. Rose bushes grew wild everywhere, with plentiful avian, deer, and even supernatural flora and fauna living throughout. Arcane and fey magic infused the land as if it were alive, motes of the Alaviluviar floating freely like fireflies. All of the Fair Folk lived in relative harmony with each other here, and the High Court of the Alabaster Rose passed down law from the boughs of the most ancient trees.

Then, the Creeping Darkness came, and the Ealu’s precious woods were consumed by plague, rot, and death. The Houses of Blossoms, Leaves, and Thorns attempted to fight the darkness, but no manner of wizardry or blade or secret could stem the shadowy tide. Those who did not perish from incurable disease or succumb to dark delirium fled in droves, scattering in all directions. Nearly the entirety of the House of Thorns disappeared, taking to the hidden places below that their veldrou ancestors mastered. Of the others, some fell prey to the Shadar-kai and were killed, enslaved, or worse still, converted to the Shadar-kai’s corrupt religion. More still were consumed and twisted by the Creeping Darkness, turned into the very slavering creatures that burned down the Ealubrinald in green necrotic fire.

What is left of the Ealu nation now exists behind the Final Fortress and the Runelain Bulwark. Relegated to a corner of the human King Balhar’s royal forest, the High Court painstakingly rebuilds the legend of their lost homeland, albeit without the assistance of the House of Thorns. In fact, younger Ealu refer to their new woodland home as the Ealubrinald, despite the elders frowning on this practice. Villages of elves and eladrin are scattered throughout Daskaen; elven villages tend to crop up in the rolling, grassy hills beneath the Vanadholme Mountains, and eladrin separatists dwell atop aerie crags far away from the other races.

Enkan’azil

The betrayed representant of the House of Roots became a martyr for the House of Thorns. Those drow that do not prescribe to either the Alabaster or Ebony Rose sometimes find the call to be Enkan’azil’s hand of vengeance. Assassins, avengers, and invokers often forge dark covenants, seeking revenge for the deceit and deception of their dark ancestors, hoping to wash their hands with the blood of the guilty.

Enkan’azil is considered minor deity, not apart of any of the other pantheons in Durm. Only drow can worship her, and she holds domain over Darkness, Fate, and Vengeance. Her commandments are varied, as there are myriad interpretations and cults that have sprung up, but the primary tenet is always to exact terrible revenge against the betrayers of the House of Roots and the corruptors of the Alabaster Rose.

Ealu

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