Anscharon himself awoke from the magical influence, and he became aware of every detail of the ritual. He withdrew himself out of shame and despair to an island beyond the great sea. While he lived apathetically in his despair, he did not realise that Thzularn had already made a great impact on his people. Dark cults arose and the worship of Thzularn predominated among the people of Ansharon. Only a few stood by their lord Anscharon.
So it came to the first great war of the Elves, when the Anscaron people under Thzularn's influence attacked the land of the Atiarel. Even though the dark goddess never appeared herself, it was her intention to awaken the sleeping Atiarel in order to complete the ritual. The war lasted many years, and many Elves of both races died during the time. from "The History of Tirakan - Chapter The Elves - The First War".
Appearance and language of the Anscharon
The Dark Elves are a people from the tribe of the Elves. These Dark Elves resemble the other Elves in shape and beauty, but with darker skin. Unlike the normal Elves, these Dark Elves are extremely power-hungry and evil. The Dark Elves dwell mainly in dark caves beneath the surface of Tirakan, in a realm known as Grosz-Anscharon. There in the labyrinth of passages, tunnels and caverns lie their cities, said to be of a terrible beauty, just like their builders. The largest of the cities is also said to be the oldest, and thus the origin of the Dark Elves. The few who have seen it and told us about it call it fearfully "Ildariana, the cruel beauty". It is said to consist of thousands of towers, houses, or palaces, and temples, built of black stone, decorated with thousands and thousands of Gargoyles, daimon claws and other cruelly beautiful works of art, which they create in their workshops or simply by magic. Furthermore, each of these cave cities is said to have a magically created sun that simulates the above-ground daily routine. The largest and most important temple of the dark goddess is also said to be located in Ildariana. As a normal human being you will only see these cities as a slave, and this is not exactly pleasant, as everyone can probably imagine...
The language of the dark Elves is called "Meliâ", and is extremely melodious. Their writing consists mainly of runes. It should also be warned against sneaking into the cities of the Dark Elves, unless you are a Dark Elf. For the Dark Elves are true masters in building what they call "security precautions and measures against unauthorised intrusion by subversive elements". I would rather call these "safeguards" and "measures" insidious traps, which almost exclusively end in the death of the trigger. We are hereby expressly warned against this.
It is also warned against making alliances of any kind with Dark Elves, for it is said that the Dark Elves will only keep them as long as they benefit from them. Especially the new queen of the Dark Elves, the beautiful Nyndaria, is said to be a true master in spinning intrigues. She is also said to have built up a very well-developed network of agents, which is said to extend over the whole of Tirakan. And it is said that only about half of her agents are dark Elves."
from the reports of the Toranian noble Gutfried von der Birke, 510 CET.
More about Anscharon cities
So, people are always talking about the huge, black cities of Anscharon. But where are they? All you see are about two dozen smaller towns and three times as many villages, all of which are heavily fortified but only consist of fifty buildings at most! So, what's with the huge cities and the big armies of the Anscharons! A maximum of 10,000 Anscharons can live in all those villages!
Member of a map-drawing expedition, 500 CE.
"I can't help but think this is pretty funny. How can anyone be so stupid! Why don't you tell him that the Anscharon live in caves, and that caves are hard to see from above?" ~ Grandarius Truan, Gargoyl Swordmaster from Meridian 587 CE.
"It also seems that the land that now bears the name of Greater Anscharon has changed with the appearance of the Anscharon. It has somehow become quieter, more melancholy and more cruel..." ~ Vladimir Bear's Wrath, shaman from the Nur'Tuk people 494 CE.
"You really want to know about the Anscharon? I will tell you something about the Anscharon people. These dark Elves are cowardly and sneaky bastards who sneak up on poor people at night and either slit their throats or turn them to slime or dust. I witnessed it myself when ten of these bastards cowardly and sneakily killed a whole company. They sneaked up under cover of night and stabbed the brave soldiers like pigs.
But the mages and priestesses of Anscharon are particularly vicious. I remember very well how, during the battle of Ettelfurt, when I was on gate duty, one of their priestesses broke away from the army and came within 30 fathoms of the wall of Ettelfurt Castle, a beautiful and proud castle. The bolts and arrows of our archers simply bounced off her! She didn't seem to care at all! She just raised her arms, her silver hair blowing in the wind. And then she spat at the wall and went back! We didn't know what to make of it. It was as if she wanted to mock us! And then the castle wall turned into mud! A huge fucking pile of mud! The battle that followed was pure carnage! I have never seen such cruelty! I myself lost an eye, left arm and right leg in that battle! I fought like a lion, but nothing could be done!
If you cut off a dark elf's head, a minute later he was standing in front of you again with a grin on his face! To cut a long story short, these bastards must have made a pact with all the Demons and dark Gods, because they seem to be immortal. I hate this Anscharon! And how I hate them! And especially that silver-haired priest bitch!" ~ Asloran Trumstein, former mercenary, just before his "accident" in 634 CE.
"Hey, Asloran! You should watch what you say about our priestesses! It could be that you could get into very big trouble otherwise! ... Oops! Now my dagger slipped. Shit! Now I have to clean it again!" ~ unknown assassin, at the moment of the "accident" of Asloran Trumstein 635 CET.
The appearance of the Anscharon
The Anscharon, also called the Dark Elves, resemble their Elven relatives in stature and appearance. However, the Anscharon have either ebony or anthracite skin, in very rare cases also alabaster white. They usually wear their hair shoulder- to hip-length. Their hair colour is white, anthracite, black, blue-black or deep purple. Their large, slightly slanted eyes, however, are of various colours, be they white, black, purple, emerald green, sapphire blue, ruby red, brown, amnethyst or any other colour. They weigh about 60 to 100 stone and are between 1.70 fathoms and 1.90 fathoms tall. They are usually athletically built.
Peoples bonuses for Anscharon
Anscharon have the ability of night vision, which enables them to see something even in complete darkness.
The Clothing of the Anscharon
The Anscharon prefer dark clothing that is not obstructive and with which they are hardly recognisable in the dark. Typical clothing consists of soft, black leather boots, anthracite or black trousers and doublet. In addition, they wear a cloak of anthracite-coloured wool, which gives them protection from the cold of the caves.
For armour, they prefer chain mail made of blackened steel or even adamant. Other weapons and their armour are also made of black metal or crystal. They often cover parts of their clothing with spells that disguise or conceal their presence. As weapons, the Ansharons prefer those that can easily conceal themselves, which is why every Ansharon carries at least one dagger. But the other weapons, especially the typical elven weapons, such as pata and katar, are also common among them, as are swords, sabres, battle axes and war hammers.
"...Furthermore, the Anscharon are also in possession of an above-average steel. This steel, which they call 'adamant', is of a black, shining colour and it is flexible, very hard and very sharp. They make their chain mail and their weapons from it. It is magical and also easy to enchant. So it is no wonder that the dark Elves are in possession of many magical weapons and armour. But it is said to be very difficult to mine and process the ore of this steel, which they claim is a gift from their goddess. It is said to take 15 weeks to forge a sword from adamant, and as long as 12 months to make chain mail. It is therefore not surprising that such weapons cost a small fortune even in Greater Anharon. Outside of the city, if a few of them find their way out, which is very rare, they cost about 100 times as much as a normal weapon! But they are worth the money..." ~ from "Weapons and Armour of Tirakan", by Helmfried von Gruntzweil 623 CE.
The Kingdom of Greater Anscharon
The Anscharon live in a state of about 1 million citizens, whereby it must be said that only free dark Elves are considered citizens. Furthermore, there are about 2 million slaves living in this state, consisting of Humans, Elves, Dwarves and other creatures. These slaves perform such tasks as digging in the mines, whereby the adamant mines cause many deaths among the slaves.
The Anscharon state system is very complicated, for it resembles no other on Tirakan. First it must be said that the prestige of an Ansharon is that of his clan. The term tribe would probably be more appropriate, as most clans consist of about 200 families. These families have a strong cohesion, giving the individual protection in the dangerous cave world from which the Ansharon come. Betraying the clan or the family is a serious crime punishable by death. In Ildariana, the capital of the kingdom of Greater Anscharon, all the clans are represented, albeit only by a few delegates, and there are currently 79 clans. The top clan is also called 'The First Clan'. All clans consist of about 200 families, the term clan would be more appropriate. These families, also called houses, they are always led by women, are arranged in order within the clans, the weakest at the bottom, the most powerful at the top. A family can only rise in this hierarchy if it succeeds in completely wiping out a higher-ranking family.
To wipe out a family, all the family members must be killed within a single night. The goods of the wiped-out family, meaning the slaves and mercenaries, if they are still alive after such a war-like raid, fall to the raiding family. Such a raid should, however, take place without causing a stir, since the now free goods belong to the one who takes them. However, if even one member of the wiped-out family survives, the family that carried out the raid will be wiped out and their goods will fall to the survivors who, now that they have no family, will be taken in by another family. Which house is allowed to take in the survivors and their goods is decided by the High Council, as this gives that family more power. Alliances between two or more families with the aim of wiping out another family are permitted by law, but are considered a sign of great weakness and cowardice. The ruler of the highest family of each clan is simply called 'ruler of the clan'. The next 60 families in the order of precedence are noble, of which the rulers of the 13 highest noble families form the 'Clan Council'. The higher a family is, the more powerful it is and the more privileges it has. A union of different families is impossible because, power-hungry as the Ansharons are, there will be no agreement among the individual rulers as to who should rule over the families, and sharing power is not exactly honourable in Ansharon culture. Furthermore, such unions are forbidden by law and punishable by the extinction of the families involved. The goods of the extinguished family usually go to the 'ruler of the clan', or are distributed equally among all the families of the clan. These rules of hierarchy within a clan apply equally to the rules of hierarchy within the clans as a whole, except that here these clan wars are much rarer.
The rulers of the clans form the 'Council of the Realm', which has mainly an advisory function, since nominally King Anscharon still holds the power of command. But due to its constitution over most centuries, it has long ceased to play a de facto political role.
"...The system of government of the Dark Elves is also a system with major differences from other systems. The Dark Elves have a king, but otherwise they live in a matriarchy. This king is ritually connected to the ruler of the clans and at the same time the ruler of the most powerful clan in Ildariana, the cruel but beautiful capital of the Dark Elves. The power of the other clans in Grosz-Anscharon is derived from the respective position of the clans. As it is written in the "Writings of Ildaria", this Ildaria was, or still is, one of the most fascinating women on all of Tirakan. She is said to have managed to build up Ildariana within a year and to have given the young city a system of government. After that, she is said to have placed herself on the throne next to Anscharon, but after the reign of 645 years, which is extremely long for dark Elves, she left to subjugate and convert the underworld on her own. Well, I think we are dealing here with pure legends, sagas and other fantasies.
But back to the government of the dark Elves. The rulers of the clans in Ildariana form the staff of the royal advisors and are given powerful positions in politics and the military. These clans are once again made up of many families which are strictly hierarchical, a lower ranking family can only rise if a higher ranking family is completely wiped out. This, however, has to be done completely quietly within a single night. A family that fails to do this, or does not kill all of its relatives - soelders, slaves, workers and employees do not count - will itself be wiped out. This has allegedly happened many times..." ~ from "Politics and Culture of the Dark Elves", by Peter McFlare.
"Of course we have slaves! Stupid question! It's quite normal among the peoples of the cave world, isn't it? Our priesthood also propagates slavery, it is a divine command. But I must say that we have very, very few slaves from the Morgala people, because they are extremely clumsy at digging tunnels, more clumsy than the Fraxut. We still prefer the Grun-SchratTo. What? You don't know the Grun-SchratTo? Well, they are very similar to the Nak' Ander, but a bit smaller and more skilful, but even more stupid. Unfortunately, there are only two or three free tribes of the Grun-Schrat`To left, and they live in the deepest depths of the northern cave world. But then, there are plenty of others still free...So, how about it, will you work for me now?" ~ a dark elf trader to a traveller seeking work.
The faith of the Ansharon
The Ansharon worship Thzularn, the dark ruler of the underworld, as their creator and god-mother. Next to her, the demon rulers are worshipped by them, the other dark Gods are seen as a kind of "patron saint", and therefore not worshipped as much as the goddess Thzularn. The main temple of the Goddess is in Ildariana, and in the whole realm there is no temple of the three Good Gods and the Titans, whose existence the Ansharon believe in, but who are not worshipped by them, as they are the adversaries of the 'True Goddess'. The high priestesses of the Goddess, whose highest is the 'Daughter of the Goddess', are extremely fanatical and do not tolerate any temples in the realm of the Goddess other than those of the Goddess and those of the demon rulers, the other dark Gods are allowed small shrines and places of sacrifice. These high priestesses are also the ones who perform and observe the sacrificial rituals of the goddess. Furthermore, it should be noted that each family worships a demon as a 'family protection god', and that each Ansharon usually worships one or more Demons, or dark Gods, which are then regarded as personal protection Gods. The Ansharon is mostly silent about which ones they are, because the one who reveals his tutelary god or Gods to others, reveals to them at the same time a possibility of how they can weaken or even kill him.
"...The high priestesses of the "Dark Ruler" are said to be recognised by the fact that their pupils shimmer in a deep purple. Furthermore, they are said to always carry one of these 'sacrificial daggers' with them, but no one knows exactly what this dagger looks like. But you are supposed to know immediately that it is one of these sacrificial daggers, which by the way are supposed to be called 'claws of the goddess' by the Anscharons, when you see it, but then it is too late anyway..." ~ Franzianus Donnerberg, Meridian storyteller.
Law and Justice in the Kingdom of Great-Anscharon
The laws in the Kingdom of Great-Anscharon are simple: slaves have no rights, and the others can do whatever they want, unless someone else finds out about it and reports it to the Divine Court. This then decides whether the accused is guilty or not. If the accused is found guilty, the sentence is passed. All this is done in silence and the judges are bound by secrecy.
"The sentences begin, as gracious ones, with a fine into the state or temple coffers, followed by the severance of one or more parts of the guilty person's body.... The most severe sentence is the "Divine Curse of Eternal Torment". Here the culprit loses his soul to the goddess and wanders the city only as a degenerate, drooling and immortal something, an eternal disgrace to his family. This judgement is to be seen as a direct intervention of the goddess. Should the cursed one ever die, according to legend, the goddess forgave him and redeemed him. But this has never happened in the history of the Anscharon, for Thzularn never forgives. This curse is imposed by the goddess only once every thousand years. The most severe worldly punishment that can befall a convict is the "declaration of scum". Here the convict is declared the scum of the people of the Goddess, our Creator, and the family does well to disown and then kill the convict immediately after the sentence is pronounced..." ~Ifridiana Bran`Thular, High Priestess of the Goddess, Judge of the "Divine Court".
The life expectancy of the Anscharon
The exact life expectancy of an Ansharon cannot be determined, as an Ansharon rarely dies of natural causes. There is a myth among the Ansharons of their eternal life, but scholars of other peoples believe that the life expectancy of the Ansharons is about 1800 years, as there is evidence that some Ansharons were already about 1250 years old before they fell victim to an unnatural death.
The Anscharon and the other peoples
Most other races, with the exception of the O`Grut, see the Anscharon as evil, vile and devious Elves with dark skin. The Anscharon are showered with even more prejudice than the Gargoyle, whom some people call reproductive undead or living stone creatures. In the Anscharon, the other peoples see nothing but a perverted creation of the evil Gods. The Anscharon, on the other hand, call themselves children of the "Thzularn", the dark ruler of the underworld. As you can see, the others do not quite do justice to the Anscharon. But this does not mean that the Ansharon have only evil in mind, rather only their own advantage. The Ansharons are true masters of intrigue and ambushes (when it comes to their own advantage). The fact that the Anscharon prefer to fight at night or from the shadows, as they learn from an early age to kill others without getting involved in a long fight, does not make them popular, nor does the fact that they practice slavery. The Anscharon, being the creatures of the night that they are, are only slightly more popular than vampires or were-creatures.
Anscharon do not like the other races very much, the exceptions being of course the O`Grut, the Wingers and the Gargoyles. The Winged Ones like the Anscharons so much because they are excellent assassins and thieves, because they can fly, are small, agile, skilled and very quiet. The Gargoyles have the great honour of being outstanding warriors among the Anscharon. However, all this does not prevent the Anscharon in the least from enslaving the members of the other races.
"What do you mean? I am supposed to be a murderess? I am an Anscharon! We have no need to murder like those degenerate Morgalas! We may not all be honest, but dishonest scoundrels are everywhere, like that damned grotto newt! In any case, we are not these coldly calculating schemers and assassins that the other governments like to portray us as. I mean to say that we don't intrigue any more than the other nations either. In any case, we are an honest, hard-working people who only want to protect our achievements and valuables from the unwarranted encroachments of subversive elements. And it is only natural that some of these safeguards are magical and even deadly. Tirakan is, after all, a harsh world..." ~ from the defence of Anscharon diplomat Shinarh Do`Hothan before the court in Fastenmuende, after a thief who tried to steal her purse slowly turned into a grotto newt before the eyes of the market people and was then trampled by her.
"Let's get one thing straight first: We don't hate all other races, we just don't like them very much.If there's anyone we hate, really hate, it's those damned Gasdarians for invading us. But that chapter will probably have to be rewritten very soon. What? What we think of the Morgalas? Hm... Nice magic, really cute. Can get pretty violent sometimes though, but not too much. Militarily, on the other hand, these little and fat Morgalas are just too stupid to pull off anything remotely effective. But I'm really looking forward to the thing with the Gasdarians. Oh yeah..." ~ Cirkularn, Anscharonian master assassin and Nyndaria's right-hand man.
"Take care when you hear that Cirkularn is supposed to be in the area. He goes by the epithet 'Shadowblade' and is said to have sprung from a union between Nyndaria and a demon. So watch out, shadows, for he is not entirely of this world." ~ the former "chairman" of the Gasdarian Assassins Guild.
"Another mistake by these Gasdarians. Both the consort of our great King Anscharon, Nyndaria, and Cirkularn, are descended from a demon, as they say. They are in fact twins, which is very rare among the Anscharon, and they are the only children of the former ruler of the clans Thzularna DoNargh. Since she could not find a husband she liked, it is said, she took the demon Irabarn as her husband and fathered Nyndaria and Cirkularn with him. This explains both their resemblance and their almost demonic beauty. After their birth, Irabarn, also called 'The Silent Hunter of the Night', taught Cirkularn the art of assassination and silent combat. Thzularna instructed Nyndaria in the service of the goddess and the art of leading the kingdom. Both children are said to have shown great talent, so much so that they are said to have been especially blessed by Thzularn. When Nyndaria and Cirkularn reached the age of 23, Irabarn took his wife. And she, alongside Ansharon, has now ruled the kingdom wisely for almost 80 years, and Cirkularn stands by her side in brotherly loyalty..." ~ Shinarh DoHothan, Anscharon diplomat, 550 CE.
"The Anscharon are a people who deserve the unrelenting hatred of all righteous peoples, for they are extremely cruel, deceitful, evil and despicable spawns of the perverted imagination of the underworld, and they serve it! Furthermore, they praise slavery and the power of evil and daimons! Also, the origin of such books as the "Necronomicon", "The Black Grimoire", the "Encyclopaedia of Black Magic" and "The Glorious Way of the Great Danaria Brangh`Tholar" is said to lie in the realm of the Anscharon! Furthermore, it is proven that these spawns of the darkest hells are in pact with the Archdaimons and the Dark Gods! The aim of these creatures of hell is to subjugate and enslave all humanity and all righteous, just and good beings of Tirakan! These beasts of darkness want to establish an empire of terror and cruelty for the eternal glory of the underworld! And this empire shall extend over all of Tirakan, and none shall be free and happy! Therefore, it is our sacred duty to destroy these lapdogs of evil!!!" ~ from the writings of the self-styled "Saint Brenedarinius of Telor", who was much ridiculed and whose holy war was a total failure.
"What a nutcase." ~ Nyndaria Do'Nargh, daughter of the Goddess, consort of Anscharon, King of the Kingdom of Grosz-Anscharon.
The Land of Greater Ansharon
"...and we set out towards the east. We heeded an old man's warning not to cross the border into the dark elf kingdom if our lives were dear to us. After about 4 months of travel, first many weeks at sea and then through the thicket of the Dark Elf continent, we should have crossed the border to the Dark Elf Empire long ago, but our scouts had found no sign of a border, it happened. It was about the ninth hour past noon, and it was already getting warm. We were all sitting around the campfire having supper, when suddenly we heard a beautiful, melodic voice speaking in a language completely unknown to us. Startled, we looked around. Right next to us was a beautiful Elbe. She was dressed all in black, and the colour of her skin was black as night, as was her long hair and her eyes. Then she spoke in Doldagor, the Gargoyle language: ' You have trespassed into the realm of Anscharon. What have you to say in your defence?' We replied that we were a settler expedition seeking new territory to settle. The black elf said, 'You have forfeited your lives.' And then she raised her arms and from the thicket several Elves shot out and surrounded us. But the warriors of our expedition drew their weapons and attacked the Elves. But whenever an elf sank dead to the ground, he got up again after a few seconds and continued to fight. We had to surrender and were captured and led away. We reached a cave in a hill and were locked in a room with runes all over the walls. And the elf said, 'Enjoy this night, for tomorrow you will forget...'" ~ from the diary of a member of a Toranian settler expedition
The borders of the Kingdom of Greater Anharon do not have any border fortifications, with the exception of those of the border towns. The Ansharon have their borders monitored by bound spirits that they send out on patrol. Furthermore, numerous 'border troops', about 25-50 warriors plus 1-3 mages, constantly patrol the borders.