The Coór'hém (Styrásh Coór'hém, also called Sevari, after the capital) are dark elves from the continent of Nybelmar, residing in the western part of Gaeldorioth that they call the Crystalwoods. Conniving and quick-witted, these elves like cities and gather in large clusters, inducing a heavy dose of respect and fear, and easily deserving of it. The Coór'hém are far more corrupt than their wood-elf brethren; when they want something, nothing will come between these drow and their goal. This makes these elves a force to be reckoned with; either as enemy or friend.
Image description: A Coór'hém girl. Picture drawn by Koldar.
Much like other Drow, the Coór'hém are raven-haired and pale-skinned, with dark
eyes and a darker aura. The Coór'hém are extremists, even to their drow
brethren. Clad in form-fitting leather gear of dark and muted colors, their
supple muscles are taut and tense under tightly drawn skin. A unique aspect of
these Drow is that they can grow to massive musculature. At an average Coór'hém
height of 2 peds, their weight can fluctuate between under one pygge to 2.5
pygges. Their beady black eyes seem a bit small for their angular faces, behind
them seem to be an ever-plotting mind; a train of thought that never seems to
cease. Their hair is either non-existent or of astounding lengths; wrapped into
elaborate upsweeps and knots, beads and braids. Paint on the eyes, face and
lips is common on both males and females. The Coór'hém indulge in tattoos and
piercings for aesthetic beauty, and reveal battle scars like badges of courage.
Eyepatches, missing fingers, and even limbs are not uncommon to these
elves. It seems the more apparent a wound
is, the more respected a Coór'hém is. But too many scars means that too many
battles were lost, and respect decreases, and therefore power decreases.
The only thing more important than beauty to the Coór'hém is power. The only way among the Coór'hém to garner power is through strength; in matches, in duels, or against other clans.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The Coór'hém shield is circular, to symbolize the ever-moving path of life. A silver field with a black border, representing the night and her stars. Beside that border is a white border, upon which lays an intricate maze-like structure; this represents their hidden cities and fortifications. In the center of the shield is a white fist with only three fingers, the representation of the Coór'hém warrior.The fist clutches a snake (master of stealth and poison) with white eyes who has buried its fangs in the hand. This represents the actions of others against the Coór'hém warrior. To personalize the shield, a clan personalizes the coat of arms with the family name written above the fist.
Territory. The Coór'hém live on the continent of Nybelmar, in the western portion of Gaeldorioth, calling their portion of the woods Crystalwoods. In these woods there are many villages, fortifications and temples hidden among the trees and shrubs of the forest. A little over a quarter of the Coór'hém live in Sevari, broken into 7 clans. There are roughly 150 to 200 Coór'hém clans residing in the Crystalwoods, excluding the larger Sevari clans; and a new clan is made every few months, with an elder clan being lost every year.
People. The Coór'hém are warriors to the fullest extent. Every day is spent earning power over others. They battle constantly with one another and other clans. But unlike rational thought prescribes, the Coór'hém are not barbaric. They plan attacks and allies, enemies and moves; much like a game. Master poisoners, assassins and mercenaries, the Coór'hém are great allies. But be forewarned, they are conniving and sharp. Their ultimate goal is to dominate, and they will step over any ally, or kill him to do so.
Coór'hém live in family clans, of roughly 40 members to a clan. They have an established village and hunting grounds, hidden from visitors. The Coór'hém constantly battle nearby clans and family members for power. Through this practice, new clan members are taken and lost. In family battles, yielding is expected, but to ensure success, victors sometimes may push the fight further, either mortally woulding on "accident" or hiring another drow to finish the job. The Coór'hém life expectancy is over 400 years, but the Coór'hém habit of offing one another for power shortens life to just under 300 years.
The Bloodletter Clan is the largest clan of the Coór'hém. It rules Sevari and the further clans of the Crystalwoods, and no other clan has the power or numbers to overtake them. The only way one can control the Bloodletters is to enter the family through marriage and then rise through the ranks in regular Coór'hém fashion; once reaching a place of power he/she can bestow favor upon his former clan.
Housing. The Coór'hém villages are of unique design. They are hidden among the thick foilage of the Crystalwoods to avoid detection. These villages are of wood and stone and have intricate design and structure; how these buildings came to be is quite a mystery to the outsider. There are also abandoned villages among the forests, decaying and decrepid. It is assumed these villages are from the clans that died out or left the area, though some seem much older than the Coór'hém themselves.
A single clan normally has possession of one or two hidden villages or fortifications among the dense forest. Homes are single story and carved from trees and stone; intricate patterns and details are laid into the surface.
Homes are lush and cozy for drow homes, with ornaments and knick-knacks of every sort in silver, ebony and ivory, pearlfather and etherflake. Plush bedding and seating, and lighting meant to lull one into a false sense of security. These homes are meant to comfort the ally and set the enemy at ease; for an unwitting enemy is an easily subdued one. A few leagues may be set for the clan's exclusive hunting grounds. Beyond that, any Clan may hunt. As the borders are not defined, nor have they ever, skirmishes happen frequently for encroaching on hunting grounds.
Clothing. Coór'hém are usually armored well; they expect a fight at every turn. Due to the forests and subtlety of their villages they avoid metals, but leather pieces are a part of every wardrobe. Cloaks are considered a part of formal wear in Coór'hém culture, it covers the armor and is meant to make others more comfortable. Heavy boots and gauntlets, sometimes studded, and jewelery is not an option.
Rings are always worn, seperate sets for gloved and ungloved purposes, double- and triple-stacked. Bracelets are not normally worn by males, but women wear massive amounts. Women also adore necklaces, affluent women like heavy collar-like pieces meant to act as both jewelery and neck armor. Men wear few necklaces, if they do wear only one, it has a large medallion of the man's taste. Earrings are common, and women have multiple piercings. Men tend to only have one piercing on each ear, but the jewelery contained within that hole is meant to be as large and elaborate as possible; perhaps weapons at a last resort.
In winter, snowfall is expected, and white can dominate some Coór'hém wardrobe. Armor stays in place, but several warm layers are thrown beneath, as well as fur linings. Women are expected to wear tighter garments and therefore wear the fur-lined garments most of the time.
Diet. The Coór'hém are omnivorous, though they have some difficulty gathering fruits and vegetables. Whatever animal that can be caught or dragged down is done so. The Coór'hém do not cook their food unless it is a large kill and can be shared. Most Coór'hém are expected to feed themselves (even children are expected to hunt their own food) and are only presented food when a guest in another's home. It is normal in Coór'hém culture to have a conversation, and be interrupted by an attempt to snag a meal as it wanders by. Pets do not last long in the Coór'hém forests.
Weapons. Scimitars and bows are the favored weapon of the Coór'hém in open combat. In close range the Scimitar is rendered near useless; daggers and knives are the norm. Though these are not the only weapons; stealth is a highly valued technique among the Coór'hém. Poisons of every kind and sort are utilized, concealed weapons from all over the lands, and projectile weapons to pick off enemies from a distance are highly valued.
Occupations. If One asked a Coór'hém if there were any occupations among their cans, he would answer in a frightening manner: "The Ruler and the Ruled." But these are not true jobs. Among the Coór'hém there are foragers, who find things grown of the earth in which to consume, and mercenaries. All Coór'hém are warriors (to establish place within the clan) and hunters (all must feed themselves). Men and women are not seperated due to skill for jobs. All Coór'hém are equally strong, unless proven in a duel.
Lesser known and utilized jobs among the Coór'hém are armourers and jewelers. Those that have seen the Co'orhem homes and lived to speak of them say that they are of such detail that only the armourers and jewelers have the skills to make such beautiful intricacy. But the small amount of these occupations may lay claim that all Coór'hém have a certain knack for intricact and do art to their own homes; yet others claim the buildings are too old to have been made in recent time.
The armourers make and repair weapons and armor - at a great price to outsiders, but of little or no cost to the Coór'hém themselves. The armourer knows small imbuing and firing tricks, that will make a weapon stronger or weaker, depending on who has paid the armourer, or who has paid him off. Many a time a duel has been lost due to a weapon shattering upon impact, thanks to the payoff of the armourer.
Jewelers are in a way armourers as well, though their pieces are far more intricate and much more beautiful. Heavy grade metals are worked into beautiful pieces of armor for all types. Jewels and rubits can be embedded into the work, and other metals and alloys to change the color of the metals; if not finding a colorful metal in trade. Jewelers know little or no imbuing tricks.
Government. The Coór'hém are very clan-oriented. Within each clan are two Ruhn (Nybelmar Styrásh for "Ruler"). These two Ruhn need not be wed, or even know each other. They may rule together, or set the sexes against one another in an attempt to dominate over all. Challenges are issued at any time for Power, and the Ruhn must defeat the challenger or lose his/her place. Rulers do not last long, as the pressure to keep dominance is both dangerous and difficult.
When two Coór'hém are wed, battles usually dictate where exactly the couple is to reside. If they are of the same tribe, the drow who has the most power at time of marriage directs the couple. If the tables turn and the less renowned partner becomes more powerful, then they must fight for dominance in the marriage. These fights are few and far between; either due to relinquishment of power or held privately.
If the two Coór'hém are of different tribes, then the dominant parent of the partners must fight. Whoever wins takes the couple into their clan. This process can turn very ugly, as there are constantly tensions between parents losing their children, as well as clan-battles where nearly everyone wants to get involved. Due to these fights, couples may hold off on getting wed until there are several couples, and then they will all leave their clans to create their own clan. Many of these newly wedded Coór'hém think this is a solution, but their upbringing has always carried the necessity to battle. Soon enough these eloped Coór'hém will have to deal with the same marriage issues as their parents did, and discover that the only way they know how to deal with it is to fight. Thus again the cycle continues.
Within the center of the forest is the City of Sevari, the only place where non-Coór'hém visitors (with no friends of Coór'hém influence) can be without attack. This is the capital of the Coór'hém. The Sevari Tower represents the main structure, a domed building with a obelisk extending from the center of the dome upward into the sky. Rutted into the surface of the building are intricate toolings and designs depicting the history of the Coór'hém. Here is where the Rulers of the Clans come to meet in times of crisis. It is also a staging area for the Coór'hém when battles and wars occur. Two leagues from the center of the tower is a 4 ped wall of wood and stone, meant to protect the inhabitants of Sevari, or serve as protected barracks; depending on peace or war. There are six gates in these walls, each gate usually governed by a single clan. Through debates, skirmishes and battles, control of the gates is won and lost.
The seventh Clan of Sevari is the Bloodletter Clan, the Ruling clan of the Sevari that resides in the Sevari Tower. In Sevari, the Bloodletter Clan is the ONLY clan that cannot be challenged by ouside clans. If one wishes the power of the Bloodletters, one must find a way into the clan through marriage and then the Coór'hém way of manipulation.
Men and women are perceived as equals, though each sex considers the other weaker. Women believe that men are easily swayed by pleasures of the flesh, while men believe that women fight less to save their beauty. The truth is that women are simply more discreet in their methods, while men see the pleasures offered to them as a means of gaining dominance.
Production/Trade. The Jewelery and Armor produced by the Coór'hém is considered expensive outside their forests. It can be sold for very high prices, even if the items used in manufacture are sub-par. The money received from these sales can be used to purchase precious jewels and metals for new pieces of armor. Coór'hém are also fond of trinkets and items for their homes, and will sell and trade old items to receive new ones in Sevari. In Sevari, animals are hard to come by, so animals for consumption are sold.
Natural Resources. As the Coór'hém are warriors more than harvesters, not much turns up in terms of natural resources. There are the animals that live in the forests, for which their pelts, feathers, and other items can be used or traded. However, that is not much.
The skills of the jewelers and armourers seems to be the only true trade to come from the Coór'hém .
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. Whenever a new Ruhn battles into power, that ruler's sex takes that day as an observance, calling it Ruhn (Name's) Day. The day is celebrated every year as long as the Ruhn is in power. Certain families within the clan may still observe a particular Ruler's day, especially if the Ruler benefitted them. They also observe Halfar'Bedar, the wedding day of two of the most important Rulers in Coór'hém history. In Sevari, when a new Ruhn takes leadership, a week is given for celebration.
Important Achievements. Sevari was an important creation in Coór'hém cuture. It was erected on the site of the Bloodletter Clan, of which at the time of the creation of Sevari, 150 members. The clan dominated a fair amount of the Crystalwoods for about 300 years, under the rule of Ruhn Halfar and Ruhn Bedar. The clan spent 30 years erecting Sevari, which they used as a training and command center for keeping tabs on the forest. When Bedar and Halfar perished, The Bloodletter clan began breaking into different clans or overtaking other clans, while the direct line kept hold of the Sevari Tower. Sevari was kept immaculate by these remaining Bloodletters, as the strongest battled to revive the name. Eventually Sevari was seen as a place to gather, and clans found Sevari a good place to live, so long as they obeyed the Bloodletter Clan.
Information provided by Viresse