|City and Homeland|
|Rathir, Plains of Erathell|
The Dokkalfar are respected as sophisticated students of magic and diplomacy, yet it is their alluring presence that makes them so compelling. The dark elves are the ultimate manipulators, controlling the actions of others from the shadows. While their reputation for subtlety is well earned, many find the Dokkalfar so charismatic and compelling that they willingly parlay with them—regardless of the consequences.
Though the port city of Rathir stands as a testament to their thriving culture, the relentless war against the Tuatha has put a great strain upon the Dokkalfar. The dark elves fight alongside their fairer-haired cousins, the Ljosalfar, in an attempt to push back the unyielding armies of the Fae.
"Cast out the grotesque ogres who weigh down your cities. Let your people rise to true greatness." -A Dokkalfar ambassador, whispering to her lover, Emperor Oromestes of the Kollossae
Dokkalfar are renowned as sophisticated students of magic and diplomacy. While they do not shy from conflict, they prefer to resolve disputes subtly and with grace, or efficiently, in silence.
Traditionally, the Dokkalfar were ruled by a monarch whose family line could be traced back to the earliest days of Amalur's history. This sovereign was advised by a committee of mages called the Orbocant, headed by the Elund. The most trusted member of the king or queen's court, this mage played a crucial role in determining the kingdom's political direction.
After the Dokkalfar relocated their seat of power to the caverns of Daineid toward the end of the Age of Arcana, the roles of the Elund and the Orbocant took on much greater significance. Though the royal line was maintained, it gradually became more and more ceremonial in nature. The monarchy was still revered by the Dokkalfar, but true political power shifted to the Orbocant.
Skilled listeners and cunning linguists, the Dokkalfar rarely lie; rather, they position the truth with great care to achieve the desired result. Those wary of the dark elves find them pleasurable to converse with—even at the risk of revealing their deepest secrets. The dark elves parley with any kingdom, whether ally or rival, and extend any gesture of friendship necessary to achieve their goals. But the only other kingdom they truly care for is the Ljosalfar their strong familial bond with the light elves forever unites them, despite some deep philosophical differences.
From a very young age, every Dokkalfar is taught that each individual represents their kingdom as a whole, and their disarming, sometimes provocative clothing must always be beautiful and impeccably clean. Young dark elves who want to venture into the outside world must first undergo the Rites of Introduction. These tests evaluate an individual's integrity, ability to endure pain, and perseverance in the face of danger. Once completed, the young elf gains the trust of all Dokkalfar.
The Dokkalfar have a longstanding reputation for surrounding themselves with costly fineries and valuable treasures. Since establishing their own homeland away from the Ljosalfar, their kingdom has enjoyed great prosperity. Their city of Rathir became a hub of travel and commerce in the Faelands, filling their coffers with taxes and tributes. After settling in the underground caverns of Daineid, the dark elves gained control over vast quantities of prismere crystal, a resource that could channel and amplify magical energy when properly cultivated.
The farming and sale of prismere crystal soon became the foundation of the Dokkalfar economy. Having perfected the process that maximizes the crystal's potential, the dark elves cultivate and refine prismere to a quality unachievable by the uninitiated. Reliant upon the prismere trade, control of this lucrative resource motivates much of their political machinations.
Precise control over magic is an inherent trait of the elves, a fact that has influenced every aspect of their culture's evolution. Despite their role in the Scholia Arcana and other arcane societies, dark elves willing to train those of lesser kingdoms are unlikely to divulge all their secrets.
The many centuries of exposure to the highly potent prismere crystal has caused physical changes in the dark elves, whose appearance has become increasingly distinct from the Ljosalfar by Amalur's later ages. While some claim the prismere has affected their minds as well, the Dokkalfar scoff at such notions.
The Dokkalfar use the symbol of a crystalline ash tree to represent Lyria, patron goddess of magic and fate. Committed in their faith, the dark elves obey the tenets of Lyria and conduct elaborate, sensual ceremonies in her honor. It is said that Lyria holds a deck of cards that can reveal all destinies. Inspired by their goddess, the dark elves protect these secrets of fate, believing that knowledge withheld is power gained.
In accordance with the old traditions of the Alfar, the Dokkalfar also honor Driana, goddess of nature. But the dark elves see nature as a resource like any other—and are quite willing to bend it to their will.
A World RebornEdit
When at last the chaos of the Deep Gloam receded, the dark elves emerged from the underground caverns that had shielded them into a harsh, frozen wasteland they called Icenwreth. Along with their beloved cousins, the Ljosalfar, they ventured south, seeking more temperate lands. After crossing the icy Perilous Straits, they found an ideal home in the region they named Eldrith.
In this land blooming with life, the elves founded their new homeland, Glen Suthain. They maintained close ties to the magical Erathi and their mortal followers, the Mitharans. Captivated by the self discipline and magical prowess of the Erathi, the Dokkalfar carefully studied the teachings that the Erathi had collected in a tome called the Codex of Order, in an attempt to learn their arcane secrets.
The Human MenaceEdit
After the Erathi departed and the Mitharan culture fragmented into smaller tribes, the Dokkalfar enjoyed a time of relative peace, inhabiting the same region of the world as their Ljosalfar cousins. The influence of the Alfar spread across the land, and soon the entire territory came to be known as Alfaria.
Peace crumbled when a bloodthirsty clan of humans, the Durek, conquered most of Alfaria's human tribes. The Dokkalfar urged their fair cousins to intervene, but it was not until the Durek launched a surprise attack that resulted in the death of a member of the Ljosalfar royal line that the light elves were spurred to action.
Though the savage Durek inflicted considerable losses on the elves, the superior tactics and powerful magic of the Alfar turned the tide of battle against the humans. Poised to annihilate the barbarians, the Justicars decreed that justice had been served and the war must end. The Ljosalfar put down their arms, compelling the dark elves to end the war. Though the Dokkalfar loved the light elves, they realized that their philosophical differences were too pronounced to continue living side by side. The Dokkalfar knew they must leave Glen Suthain behind and seek their own destiny.
Journey to the EastEdit
Bayala Tirin, the high priestess of Lyria and a Dokkalfar mage of great renown, went on a pilgrimage to the Faelands, searching for a sign to resolve her peoples' differences. Awaking from a vision of a city rising from sea off the coast of northeastern Alfaria, Tirin returned to the Alfar in Fieriol and informed both kingdoms of what Lyria had shown her. With the support of their kin, the dark elves journeyed to the Plains of Erathell and built villages along the rocky coast.
Distance eased tensions between the Ljosalfar and Dokkalfar, and both kingdoms realized the collective benefit of securing additional resources in new lands. Off the coast of Erathell, the dark elves founded the great port city of Rathir and began to spread their influence to the east. Enjoying a time of cultural evolution and learning, they firmly established their own identity.
Crystals in the DeepEdit
Apart from an unsuccessful assault upon Rathir in 1587 BE (1690 NW) by the resurgent Durek, the Dokkalfar avoided direct conflict with the other cultures of Amalur for hundreds of years. Then, in the Age of Arcana, magic resurged in the world, reawakening dark forces. The Tuatha Deohn, a sect of Winter Fae, became corrupted with mortal passions. From the crystalline forest of Alabastra, they struck forth into elven lands, attacking in the name of the God Under the Mountain. The long, bloody struggle known as the Crystal War had begun, engulfing the Faelands in chaos.
Though the many years of war took an immense toll upon the mortal kingdoms, the Alfar and their human allies eventually achieved victory. With the Tuatha gone, the Dokkalfar recognized an opportunity: the vast, wild fields of prismere crystal growing beneath the Tuatha's former lands were a valuable resource that the dark elves could harness. They colonized the caverns of Daineid and learned to refine the prismere, a technique that allowed the crystal to achieve its greatest magical potential.
When the mighty city of Rathir fell during the dark days of the Age of Ruin, the war-weary Dokkalfar all but abandoned their surface dwellings and retreated to Daineid. Though marauding bands of Jottun and other enemies raided the crystalline caverns, the dark elves used their mastery of their surroundings to fight off such incursions. When the kingdoms of Alfaria united to push back the darkness and usher in the Enlightenment, the Dokkalfar emerged to greet their Ljosalfar cousins. The light elves immediately noticed that the physiology of the dark elves had begun to change, accentuating the physical differences between the races. Though the Ljosalfar suggested that prolonged exposure to prismere was the cause, the Dokkalfar dismissed the notion.
A Time of ChangeEdit
The Dokkalfar and the other kingdoms enjoyed a renaissance during the Age of Enlightenment, and they retained enough unity to quell the greatest threats to peace in Amalur. However, the dark elves, dedicated students of political history, foresaw an inescapable danger with the rise of the Hyperian Republic of the Kollossae. Though they were content to bide their time as the influence of the giants spread throughout Amalur, the dark elves knew that eventually their own interests would clash with those of the Kollossae, and a response would be required.
At the apex of the Hyperian Age, the Dokkalfar saw an opportunity to prey upon the weaknesses of their rival. The giants wished to establish regional capitals over their expanding empire, but lacked the resources to replicate the magic that kept their floating city of Idylla aloft. The Dokkalfar offered to supply the Kollossae with enough prismere to amplify their magic and cause the new cities to float, a bargain to which the eager giants readily agreed. Once again, the Dokkalfar watched and waited.
As the Hyperian Empire declined, the dark elves made their move. They convinced the Kollossae to spurn the Jottun, then immediately enticed the warlike ogres to join them in an alliance. Also enlisting the vicious Tyrgash, the Dokkalfar marched their army toward the Kollossae's eastern capital of Pelios. The dark elves depleted the magic in the prismere keeping the city aloft and brought Pelios down to earth, unleashing their forces against the bewildered giants. This decisive victory triggered the collapse of the Hyperian Empire and led the world into a new age.
Artisans of InfluenceEdit
The Dokkalfar entered the Age of Heroes at the height of their prestige. Another rising power, the Almain, soon replaced the fallen giants as leaders of the Concordance, an alliance formed by the western kingdoms. Determined to retain their stature, the dark elves balanced the power of the Concordance by forging a new alliance of the Fortenmar kingdoms: the Amaranthine, founded in 1139 AE (4415 NW).
Though the alliance of the dark elves demonstrated no outright aggression toward the kingdoms of Concordia, tensions across Amalur rose. Old rivalries were renewed, and wars broke out on the borders of the two great powers, threatening to pull the entire world into a massive conflict. In spite of these dangers, the Dokkalfar remained certain that, no matter what the future held, they would emerge the proud victors.