“I will tell you that which is mine to speak of and make you aware of whom could share what information I cannot. The oldest information I have is also beyond my time, so I speak only hearsay rather than of personal recollection. I ask you to keep such in mind should some of what I know later prove inaccurate.”
~Myzra sat back, politely accepting a glass of water which had been offered before continuing.~
“Long ago, all of the elven nations were a single blood line known as the High Elves. They were true immortals whom could return to the circle again and again until they simply chose to die. They could be killed by magic and certain creatures, but would never die of natural causes. Their civilization spanned the very planes themselves. But their downfall was because of 2 key events. The loss of their hearts, and the loss of their lands. The High Elves were ruled by their beloved crown princess. She was said to be beautiful beyond reason, wise beyond imagination, and powerful beyond comprehension. She was betrothed to a prince equally handsome, noble and powerful. They ruled in peace for many years until the betrayal. The High Prince of the Unseelie court murdered the Princess through a subtle poison that bound her spirit, making it appear that she had simply not chosen to return from the circle. The Prince took this as the ultimate rejection, thinking that she had chosen death over their marriage. Bound by his grief, he was tricked into entering a portal to be bound to the realm of nightmares for over 1,000 years. He would later be released by the heroes of Lairroth, but that is a tale best told by those who participated in such. I only know that he disappeared into another realm seeking vengeance for his beloved.
Without their beloved rulers, the High Elven nation fell into despair. It was then that they were attacked by a great evil which their warriors were unable to destroy. The exact nature of the evil has been lost over time. Rumor claims that it may have been Demons, Yuan-ti, Titans, or even Fallen men. Ultimately, this force was able to defeat the High Elves. The few that remained after the slaughter retreated across the plains. The remaining elves would eventually split off into the 4 modern races. It was the Asurkians who first developed the markings different from their ancestry with the gray about their eyes.
For many decades, the other races of elves appeared identical to the non elvish races, only to be told apart by those of elven blood. It was due to this fact that the Elentari and Knockmilna decided to differentiate themselves from the Xelaque rather than be mistaken for such, though others claim it was the Xelaque who asked the other races to differentiate themselves. My people have always been thought of as haughty even by the standards of elves. So it was that at the time just before the plagues, only the Xelaque remained true in appearance to the High Elves of old, but like all elven nations, much weaker than their predecessors.
As I was but a child during the time of the plagues, I have little true recollection of the event itself other than flashes of memory that became images of nightmare in my young mind. Like all of my people, I underwent the ritual of the Cleansing and the migration to the world below. When we left the world above to found the Under Realm, it was then that the hierarchy of the Xelaque was first established as it currently stands. To the best of my knowledge, it was at that time when Families became officially recognized as Houses and cities were ruled by a council of the most powerful Houses in each cities. In the city where I spent my childhood they chose a Matriarchy in particular. Sappers created grand estates from the stalagmites and stalagtites which were then inhabited by the various Houses, each more fantastical than the last. We developed a system of time keeping known simply as cycles where we lacked the reference of the sun.
How the Xelaque of Terath came to be is not my tale to tell, but the old ones such as Malla Talandar or Ni’voren may speak of such things should they care to share such. In the area beneath the cities of the Xelaque, the Under Deep, a new enemy arose. Unlike the Troglodytes, this enemy was elusive and did not directly compete with my kind for territory. Their desires remained largely unknown to us, yet they plagued the patrols within the outer tunnels of our cities. Until now, I had never personally seen one such as Greylight, but I recognized him as a war slave of Those Who Remain Unseen from rumors. The Xelaque of Terath refer to the enemy as “Shadows”. Where such was able to be contained within the Under Realm before the migration to Haven, my people saw no need to speak of such to the other races. Our dealings are our own and in all honesty, had they not actively become a threat to those of North Watchtower Keep I would not speak of them outside of my own race. However, I have been instructed to warn those whom I trust.”
~Myzra glanced around, brooding darkly as she gave a menacing look to those with whom she was unfamiliar.~
“Keveras Lorakythe, as he now chooses to be known, is one I met in Haven one year past during the civil war of Haven. Where Sir Galena remained mostly with those of the Telgahfian Order, I sought what alliances I could. As this was prior to the emergence of my Warlock abilities, Keveras was invaluable in assisting my continued survival. Once order had been re-established, he returned to his home. When he and I came upon one another once more at the recent Winter Festival in Haven, he bore the mark of one who’s house had been decimated and he was what we call Shebali. In the common tongue it a Houseless rogue. As I learned long ago within Port Valor that those of the more adventurous ilk tend to be collect those of outcast origins, I thought to invite him to join our ranks. Within the Under Realm those who survive of a fallen house are hunted, but I did not believe he would be followed to such a remote location. I was unaware that the marking upon his face, which I helped him to conceal, was magical in nature or I would have taken further precautions against such.
Those who were here at the time of the attack are well aware of what transpired. What remains unknown is what came to pass after Faylah and I joined Malla Talandar and the other Xelaque in journeying below. We traveled in silence, as is the custom of our own. Malla Talandar provided illumination for our journey. Within the Under Realm, sound travels much differently. It echoes and can be heard at a great distance. We compensated for such in communicating silently when at all possible. The areas with which many of you are already familiar had been defiled. There were markings of blood and the traps were no longer in place. When we reached what had once been Malla Talandar’s Halls, the amount of blood and defilement increased. We altered our formation and sent scouts ahead and behind as we continued forward. When we stopped, those with whom Faylah and I traveled offered us food and we rested for a time. We conversed among ourselves and some shared personal information of themselves. I spoke to them of what I recalled from the time shortly after the plagues, how I came to know Dedric Saya’rtias Starks and a bit of my child. They spoke of their homes and other details that were personal in nature. We then took a period of rest.
We entered a cycle of travel. Perhaps 5 or 6 hours of traveling, a short stop to take food and a period of rest. We continued in such for at least one full cycle, perhaps more. We were quite travel worn when Malla Talandar ceased our progression. Spells of Arcane magic were cast upon us and we were instructed to remain in place while Malla Talandar instructed our guide, Marishna, to gather us to her. She made use of an item of personal property belonging to Malla Talandar as we were encompassed within a Sphere of Eternity. Malla Talandar himself and those who had scouted beyond cast the magic of invisibility and ventured beyond us. We remained in the sphere for a time, perhaps thirty to forty five minutes, when the tunnel was filled with flame. Our guide released the Sphere of Eternity and we ran forward to join our comrades. The area was well illuminated by many torches. What had been an expanse of wall now held what appeared to be a shattered gate lying in pieces across the cavern floor. Malla Talandar was engaged in combat with perhaps eighteen of the Dirt Dwarves. When a dozen of their numbers had been dispatched, the remaining six of them fled through the opening into the caverns beyond. In his greater wisdom, Malla Talandar halted our pursuit. As I am less combatively inclined than some, I cannot say exactly what strategies of war were deployed. I am only aware that I was informed that our mission was complete. He informed Faylah and I that our enemy had advanced much in the past year and that based on their rate of progression, their walls would reach the surface. However, we would have at least a year’s time to prepare before such should occur.”
~Myzra paused for a moment, seeming to debate about something before continuing.~
“Malla Talandar then had each of us take hold of his staff and used magic which is unknown to me. Faylah and I were then blinded by a great light and found ourselves just beyond the ward. Once my eyes had adjusted, that is when I discovered that my appearance has been altered to that which you see me as now.”