The Eophyrhim is a particularly quiet
tribe inhabiting the Paelelon forest, facing the Seanian
Swamps and within travel to Elsreth. They are
introverted yet imposing on those that attempt to enter their forest. Stories
abound that the Eophyrhim are merciless to those that cross them, and missing
caravans of traders have seemed to prove the point.
The Eophyrhim are rarely seen by foreign travellers, they like the darkness of their forest and the privacy their reputation gives them. Friends of these drow paint a picture of genteel affluence; respectable and courteous nobles who wish only for their way in their home and nothing more. But those that have been at the wrong end of an Eophyrhim bow claim that they are bloodthirsty creatures of the woods that should be erradicated from the Paelelon at any cost. Either way, the Eophyrhim are mysterious, and though much is claimed to be known of them, not many can prove it.
The Eophyrhim are usually around two peds in
height, with thin figures full of bony edges. But their look of fragility hides
a strength unrivaled by a human their
size. Sinuous muscles ripple like snakes under a thin layer of skin when they
move, as if a smaller, stronger creature lives inside the Eophyrhim Elf; a
demon waiting for its time to escape,
some say. Their skin is pallid and smooth, rarely do the
Eophyrhim see the unfiltered sun under their own will. The Eophyrhim hair color
varies from a deep rust-brown to a jet black, and the styling of the hair is
long and unbound, with some braids hidden within their tressses. Some of the
younger drow have gotten a bit more extreme, shaving
parts of their hair for more unique styles, perhaps to further frighten
travellers who see them.
Aesthetic scaring is not uncommon among the Eophyrhim, who usually perform it on their arms and chests. No one can completely prove if it is a scare tactic or a ritual. Piercing on the ears and other fleshy parts (rarely on the face, a facial piercing is the sign of an outcast) and tattooing on the arms, legs and torso is not uncommon among the Eophyrhim either, though it is in less abundance. The higher nobility of Eophyrhim carry little or no scars, tattoos or piercings.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The Eophyrhim shield is an old design. It is the basic shield shape, covered with a field of black. A simple thick silver border surrounds it, silver studs at each corner. There is a thin circle of silver surrounding a tree with wide outstretched branches. The leafed part of the tree contains a pair of eyes.
This shield is a symbol of the Eophyrhim way of life. The forest is protected, and the Trees are always there. And though the tree is alone, the Drow sees everything inside his Paelelon.
Territory. The Eophyrhim inhabit the Paelelon, a small forest facing the Seanian Swamps to the east, the Ancythrian Sea and Elsreth to the north, the KairIian Teeth to the east, and the Heath of Cijur to the south.
|Picture description. The location of the Paelelon Forest in the heart of Santharia, home of the Eophyrhim dark elves. The woods lie just south of the Ancythrian Sea, near Elsreth.|
The Eophyrhim are very protective of their forest. Small drowish establishments
are set up at the borders of the Paelelon, where it is guarded fiercely. Those
not without an Eophyrhim escort are not permitted to enter. Those that are not
drow of the Paelelon and damage the forest in any way
are roughly reprimanded by the Eophyrhim. Those that attempt to pass through
the forest without permission are promptly executed.
People. The Eophyrhim are quiet and introverted. They prefer the solitude and peace of their own forest. Passing travellers and those disrespectful to the woods and the drow are not tolerated. Friendship between the Eophyrhim and anyone else not of the Eophyrhim is usually considered a useless and fruitless endeavor, as few understand these dark elves. But once a friend to the Eophyrhim, forever a friend. The Eophyrhim are dedicated to what they have worked upon; rarely do they abandon things. To the friends of the Eophyrhim, the elves are polite, calm and respectful. They know that they are not liked, and living in the middle of a continent that frowns upon their practices is difficult for them. To avoid persecution they hide from prying eyes and cover their tracks, even if it means that they must kill without mercy to keep their way of life. They rarely try and help people understand them, most decide that rather than explaining, killing would be easier for the drow. The Eophyrhim are cold, aloof and calculating to most, their emotions are not exhibited to other races.
Image description: Illustration of the Eophyrhim Hunting Hound. Picture drawn by Faugar.
The Eophyrhim live in trees, like most
elves. The higher
the rank of an elf, the closer to the earth
they live. Mages and clerics live lowest, and have
removed dirt from the roots of the largest trees, making small homes under
them. The Eophyrhim are nocturnal, living at night and
resting during the day. They are adept at the relaxation meditation most
practice, considering they rest during the day.
For the most part, the Eophyrhim are hunters. They have elaborate festivals for Arvins, that include some special "animals" for the hunt, and their weapons are adapted for silence and swiftness for the most efficient kill possible. They may also capture creatures and poison them, so they may eat the animal when the poison has worked effectively. This process has made them well-defended against most poisons. Even more interesting, the Eophyrhim have bred a slender and strong (much like themselves) domesticated wolf to assist them in hunting, the Eophyrhim Hunting Hound.
Housing. The Eophyrhim are a backwards tribe compared to most elves in this respect. The highest-set home is the poorest family, and the dark clerics and magi live between the roots of the tallest trees. Homes are not elaborate. The average home has a dydactic drapery covering most of one wall, and small stools for sitting scattered around the room, and a small, low table.
On the opposite wall from the drapery, the wall is covered in an odd, moss-like lichen called Tree-rot. The Eophyrhim lean against this wall while they rest, gazing at the Drapery. Poorer homes are incapable of growing Tree-rot, it is too far from the earth and too much air and sun for proper, healthy growth. In Magi and Clerics' homes, the walls are covered in it. Though magi and clerics do not have draperies, (their homes tend to be on the small side) they have a similar, stimulating setup. Candles made from the fat of the animals they hunt flank a deer skull, the horns still attached. Other skulls and bones surround the deer skull. No one is entirely sure why this is, but it can be assumed that the deer represents Arvins, and the deadness of it representing Queprur.
Clothing. The Eophyrhim, despite living in a forest, are impeccably dressed. They always look like a well-dressed noble, their clothing dominated by the colours grey, black and red. Cloaks are usually worn, fringed with the finest fur. Buttons, clasps and chains are always silver, for silver resembles moonlight more than gold. Fine leathers, soft cottons and pure wools are used extensively, and the craftsmanship is beyond compare. Some materials that are rare seem to be in great abundance for the Eophyrhim, like silks and an odd, transparent fabric called Ether-flake seen in great abundance among younger Eophyrhim.
Hunters are the workhorses of the tribe, so they tend to dress down. Hunters are also most seen of the Eophyrhim, travelling to near towns to sell goods. They try their hardest to distance people from them, but it is a difficult effort. Hunters are usually clad in long hooded cloaks, thin cotton (or Ether-flake) tunics and leather jerkins or vests, and fine leather boots. The material and cut of their breeches varies from one to another, but it is always of sturdy craftsmanship. More dedicated hunters dress less elaborate. Silver and chains can alert a kill of change, as can fur and leather. There are women hunters, though other women look down upon them. Their clothes also look similar to hunter clothes, though they are made to flatter the feminine form (which still makes them particularly impractical).
Nobles are known to dress far more elaborately. Matching gowns for male and
female are donned for public occasions, especially at parties, festivals and
social gatherings. Most men prefer to wear outfits similar to Guide clothes,
although more flamboyant in cut, pattern and design. Women are also more
flamboyant with personal selection; gowns of obscene length, revealing cuts and
unique design. Women's clothing is essentially impractical for forest living,
which is a reason they do not have a occupational position.
Diet. The Eophyrhim drow comsume a large portion of meat; deer, bird, rabbit. They also consume wine, and some of the poorer Eophyrhim eat grains and plants. In lean times they will kill horses for food, and even dogs. In the days of hunger, human flesh was found to be palatable, but it is now only consumed on special occasions.
Weapons. The weapons the Eophyrhim employ are similar to most other weapons elves have: scimtars, knives, and bows, though the Eophyrhim have taken their love of the hunt and death to a new level. Even though they only hunt animals (and enslaved humans purchased for the Arvins festival) they poison the tips and blades of their weapons. Wooden shafts are nocked, hollowed out and blades curved for better aerodynamics and weight. The quicker a kill, the quicker you can kill again.
Eophyrhim weapons are usually silver or black. Even wooden bows and arrows are painted black, simply because to many creatures, these weapons are the essence of death. The poison that the Eophyrhim drow use on the steel swords and daggers turns the silver blades to a charred black color, that eats away at the metal. Eophyrhim swords only last about 15 years, and are purchased from travellers and nearby towns. Even though swords are expendable, the Eophyrhim are picky about their blades and take a long time in selecting the best one.
Although not a weapon, the Eophyrhim Hunting Hound is an effective killer, much like the drow that have bred it. The dog is bred to be slender and fast, with a long snout, thin musculature and lots of power and energy. These creatures live about 15 years, parents of Eophyrhim hunters give their child their first sword and hound at the same time. When the sword wears out, it means it's time to replace the dog as well.
Occupations. The Eophyrhim do little. Some are guards that live at outposts at the edge of the Paelelon, guarding its bordes so no unwelcome visitors slip inside without warning. Most are hunters, hunting animals for food. The poorest of the Eophyrhim harvest grains, mosses and berries in small gardens on the forest floor. Women do little in the way of working, though some do hunt, and even less are guides. Poor Eophyrhim women work as much as the males in harvesting foods. If the season is right, a poor family can quickly become rich by creating a good harvest of corpse-berry wine, which sells for a great price.
There is also a mercenary guild consisting of only seven Eophyrhim drow called "The Hounds of Paelelon". They are hired again and again for their speed, precision, and willingness to kill. These mercenaries are simply flamboyant hunters, whose pay only goes for room, board and armory. The rest is sent back to the tribe.
Government. The Eophyrhim have little in the way of government. It is based upon respect. Clerics and mages are the most respected. After that, it is based on skill in hunting. There is no surpreme overlord or ruler, each Eophyrhim colony is closely linked with its neighbors. As each Eophyrhim seems to think in much the same way, there are not many rules:
These rules are followed without much debate. Those that do not follow the
rules are exiled.
Production/Trade. The Eophyrhim can glean items and pay from frightened travellers asking for their lives to be spared. In rare occasions, they will approach an entire caravan and attack it, taking the items. They are selective however, usually only taking textiles. They will sell leftover material for money in nearby towns and buy swords, knives, bows and jewelery. In lean times, they will sell live animals and meat in nearby towns.
Corpse-berry wine can be traded in nearby towns for a great sum of money, and greedy travellers come to the forest edge and request it by name. Eophyrhim hunting hounds are sought after by nobles all over Caelereth, and can be sold for a great price.
Natural Resources. Meat and wood are the Eophyrhim's natural resources, as well as a small market for agriculture.
Festivals. The Eophyrhim are normally rather somber. However they have a few festivals that allow them let their emotions go, even if they are odd emotions...
This festival happens in each colony in early fall every 25 years, in the middle of the day (oddly). It can last anywhere from 2 to 8 days, depending on the skill and intelligence of the quarry. The first day of the festival, the quarry is fed a great feast, and the whole of the colony feasts with them. When night comes, the quarry is awakened and released. The quarry is allowed to run and hide in the Paelelon, and the next night the hunters (dressed in grey cloaks for better visibility by their quarry) hunt the prey. The festival ends when the last human body is counted.
The Arvins Festival is a gruesome festival by human standards. Each colony selects a human from a passing caravan to take in shortly before the festival is to take place. The night of release, the human is stripped of both clothes and belongings. Alltogether there are roughly 25-40 humans released. A game-like hunt ensues, the hunter to bring in the most humans wins the respect of all Eophyrhim and is considered a Master Hunter. The flesh of the humans is then cooked and eaten.
As long as the Arvins Festival has been practiced, there has been no human escapes. Few humans even know of the festival, and the Eophyrhim prefer it that way.
This is a simple festival, taking place in the spring every 10 years. In the morning, a Eophyrhim hound of full age is poisoned with black corpse-berry wine. The Eophyrhim then watch the hound die, thinking thoughts of life and death. The more noble of drow have elaborate parties, and for those poorer families that cannot or do not own a hound, the Head Cleric of the colony poisons a horse in front of his home and preaches so that the less fortunate Eophyrhim may still participate in the celebration.
Information provided by Viresse