The Mh'rhm (Strash "Black Tribe"), or the "Shadow Elves", as they are also sometimes known, are one of the more mystifying elven tribes of Caelereth. Their realm is the noxious and odoriferous Water Marshes in Northern Sarvonia where the Injr has hid her countenance from for many a millenia. The origins of the Mh'rhm are as nebulous as their dark-lit lands but it is said that the present Water Marshes reside upon the ruins of the legendary and fabled elven city of F'v'cl'r and the Shadow Elves are the descendents of those who had refused to abandon the city even after it was laid to dust by the Gods.

The Shadow Elves

View picture in full size Picture description. The mysterious shadow elves who are still living in the ruins of the ancient elven Empire of F'v'cl'r. Image drawn by Quellion.

The Mh'rhm are presently ruled by Avsh'aela. Or as the stories goes. No one knows for sure for she has rarely if almost never been seen by anyone outside of the Mh'rhm. According to legends, the Queen has many names but her most feared title is the "Bone Queen" and with it, she rules the Water Marshes and its inhabitants completely without peer. Rumored to be as ancient and eternal as the light elves of the Thaelon, she is also quite insane and those who dare cross her borders do it out of extreme desperation or a madness rivalling the Queens. Such trespassers are, like a bad tale, never seen again.

Appearance. Like their tribal namesake, the Mh'rhm have, over the Ages, evolved into a shadow-like form. These shadow forms are akin to normal life-sized shadows cast by a person but they can flit independently across walls and spaces with a fluidity that is at once impressive and frightening to behold. A rare survivor, long dead of a natural death as this record is being written, who stumbled into the Water Marshes once described that the shattered walls of the city are thick with constantly moving shadows that whispered incessantly. Whispers that one can hear but can never make out words within.

How and why they have evolved into shadows is a matter hotly debated by both elven and human historians. But the popular reasoning seems to be that it is the effects of a curse laid by the Gods during the destruction of F'v'cl'r. Cursed as they had dared to stay on in the city after it's demise. If the Shadow Elves were to venture away from the boundaries of the Marshes, it is said that they will melt away to nothing under the harsh light of the sun.

Another more prosiac explanation is that this shadow-changing ability is merely a facet of adapting and surviving a harsh and unfriendly environment. The Water Marshes are well-documented to be constantly brimming with a sulfurous fog that comes from the numerous bogs that fills the area. Within a few days in such a place, a human would quickly perish. But in their shadow-forms, the Mh'rhm seem not to mind the lethal and vemonous air around them.

Though such a state may seem unfortunate to some, the Mh'rhm have used their ability to change into shadows to their advantage by befuddling any enemies and keeping the borders of their city safe from trespassers.

Similar to their cousins, the light elves, the Mh'rhm rarely take on a corporeal shape. When they do physically coalesce, their skin is ebony and their hair white as newly fallen snow. Their eyes are large and dark. Their Queen, Avsh'aela, is said to have a fondness for the physical form and, unlike the rest of her subjects, chooses to appear as a terribly scarred young elven woman with hair as black as night.

Another idea that has been suggested by scholars and historians why the Bone Queen usually appears in a corporeal state, unlike most of her subjects, is that Avsh'aela is powerful enough to withstand the noxious fumes emitted by the bogs of the Water Marshes. So there was no reason for her to adapt to her immediate surroundings to survive as the rest of the Shadow Elves had to.

Like most of the elven races, the Mh'rhm are very beautiful to behold when they choose to manifest themselves in a corporeal form though their beauty is like that of a waning moon on a cold starlit night rather than the bright, unearthly loveliness of the Astyrhim or the fierce handsomeness of Tethinrhim.
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Coat of Arms/Sign. The Mh'rhm's coat of arms is that of a black sun, banded around the edge by a thin circle of light, and surrounded by long jagged rays. The black sun signifies an eclipse, alluding to the Mh'rhm's shadowy and solitary natures, and not a tribute to Cor as some have thought. 
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Territory. The Mh'rhm inhabit the wide expanse of the Water Marshes in Northern Sarvonia. It is a cheerless realm, filled with treacherous bogs that can suck an unfortunate man down to their bottomless depths faster than a wizards spell. The air is thick with injurious fumes and cloudy even in the day as the sun's rays are unable to penetrate through the noxious vapours. In the nights, the air grows even thicker and lugubrious and sometimes, it is said the screams of the damned can be faintly heard, whistling across the marshlands.

The Shadow Elves guard their borders jealously from outsiders and it is very rare to see a Mh'rhm leave the boundaries of the Water Marshes. There has been talk among scholars that the Mh'rhms reluctance to leave their spectral realm is due to the fact that they have been in the shadows for so long that light, when it touches them, will destroy them immediately. However, that is hearsay and not be taken as the truth without adequate evidence. Still, it is true that for a Shadow Elf to venture outside the Water Marshes is something that is virtually unheard of.
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People. Though thought to be agents of evil by some due to their proximity and fondness for staying within the shadows, the Mh'rhm are not inherently devious or black of heart. They maintain a studiously neutral stand despite their bond to Cor. They do not worship him but rather, they recognise the indubitable truth that Cor is but a facet of Av, Her counterpart if you will. He is not to be loved but He is not to be feared and reviled either for reviling Cor would mean rejecting the spirit of Av as well.

This neutral stance has lasted for eons and will continue to stand for as long as Avsh'aela breaths. It is largely due to her that the machinations of the Eophyrhim has failed as they have tried to draw the Mh'rhm into a partnership against the other elven tribes. Despite her madness, or maybe because of it, Avsh'aela remains one of most powerful elven rulers of Caelereth and even the most bloodthirsty Eophyrhim would think twice before crossing over the borders of the Water Marshes without her permission.

The Mh'rhm possess a power that has caused some trepidation among their own kind. When in shadow-form, they can enter the mind of another living being and cause the will of that being to become their own for a short space of time. Because of this ability, others of their race often shun them although the Mh'rhm seldom use this power for domination or control.

All Mh'rhm have this power but the strength of it varies in degree from elf to elf. Only a handful are strong enough to simultaneously control the will of several minds at once.

Interestingly, it is said that their supposed Queen is not a true Mh'rhm as she does not possess the ability to morph into a shadow form or have the mind power the Mh'rhm do. Avsh'aela is always depicted in a physical form from what information gleaned from this solitary tribe and from the odd elven ambassador here and there (please refer to the Appearance section for more details of the Shadow Queen's physicality).

A female Shadow Elf

View picture in full size Picture description. A female shadow elf in corporeal shape, featuring ebony skin and snow white hair. Image by Quellion.

Her rumored longevity, it is said she had been around since before F'v'cl'r was destroyed, is credited to that she is one of the Axhi, one of the first elves to step foot upon Caelereth when it was newly created. If an Axhi is truly what Avsh'aela is, then it is highly likely that she has powers far greater than shadow-changing and controlling the mind.

Although it is always dark and gloomy within the Water Marshes as the fogs prevents full light from shining onto the lands, the Mh'rhm favour the dusk, night and dawn hours to reveal themselves and conduct their affairs as it mirrors their solemn natures which is sometimes likened to ghosts. Also, the Steward, appointed by Avsh'aela, conducts matters of the state in the hour of midnight as it is the time favoured by Avsh'aela so any Mh'rhm desirous of consulting any issues or submitting in reports can do so.
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Housing. As the Mh'rhm largely exists in a shadow form, they have little use for housing. There are some who say that the Mh'rhm do not truly sleep, hence the lack of need for proper housing among them. When they do rest, they can do so in their shadow forms, akin to a somnambulant state where they do not move or speak. And a sure sign of this strange resting state is when the shadows are lying long on the grounds.

But for the rare few who choose otherwise, they live among great ruins of F'v'cl'r, deep in the heart of the Water Marshes. There, a few stone houses still remain as the last remnants of the ancient city and the Shadow Elves stay within such residences. The Shadow Queen and her retinue supposedly reside in the middle of the ruins within a large, crumbling fortress where the dead are said to walk and whisper.
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Clothing. The clothing of the Mh'rhm are simple, functional but elegant. Due to their melancholy nature, they prefer clothing in the shades of black, grey or dull silver. The men would usually tie their hair back with thongs of leather while the women will let theirs loose and long down their backs without any adornments. The women also favour old-fashioned gowns reminiscent of those worn by their ancestors during the time of F'v'cl'r with a high neckline and long sleeves that touch the ground when they walk. The men mostly wear dark-coloured tunics cinched at the waist with a belt with similar coloured trousers and boots.
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Diet. When the Mh'rhm are in their shadow forms, they do not need any sustenance. In a physical form, they subside on a diet of meat and water, needing only very little of both to survive. They would cast their minds to the surrounding forest outside of the marshes to search for a deer or stag and once they do, the Mh'rhm would use their power to blend their will with that of the animal. The beast will then make its way to the edge of the Water Marshes where a Mh'rhm in a physical form would meet them. Once the beast has granted permission for its flesh to be used as sustenance for its host, the Mh'rhm will then withdraw his or her mind from that of the beast and quickly cut the throat with a sharp knife.
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Weapons. The Mh'rhm can weave a sword out from their own beings when in their shadow form. When in need, a blade literally grows out of the palm of a Mh'rhm which then lengthens into a sword. Depending on the user's ability, this shadow sword can be as hard as steel to cut through flesh with frightening ease or be as insubtantial as moonlight. However, even when in insubstantial form, the shadow sword can kill for it can pass through a living person's body like a deadly winter chill to freeze the heart, causing instant death.

When in corporeal forms, the Mh'rhm are unable to conjure their shadow-swords and resort to carrying normal swords or staffs.

Although they are competent swordsmen or women, their chief power lies in their shadow-forms where they can supplant the will of an enemy with their own. From then, it is but a simple task to make the enemy fall upon his own weapon and suffer gruesome deaths.
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The Bone Queen
View picture in full size Picture description, The notorious Bone Queen, ruler of F'v'cl'r after its fall. Picture drawn by Enayla.

Government. The Mh'rhm are ruled by Avsh'aela. Other than that, they see no need for the overly complicated trappings of a council or a court. All Mh'rhm are equal in status and their Queen watches over them all and that is enough. A capricious ruler at the best of times, nevertheless, the Shadow Elves are fiercely loyal and protective of their queen. For because of her presence, the borders of the Water Marshes have remained untouched for many Ages and the Mh'rhm are thus able to live in peace. If the price of this peace is a mad queen, then so be it.

However, even Avsh'aela's madness has its limitations. While she keeps the borders safe from invasion and other sundry major threats, there remain the matters of everyday details of a government such as retainers of the court, the occasional squabbles between subjects etc. In a moment of rare sanity, during the early years of her reign, Avsh'aela had appointed a steward to handle such details. Though Avsh'aela seems eternal, the Mh'rhm do fade away eventually. Whenever a Steward feels his time drawing near, he will pick his own successor. While a capable nature is of course essential, the most important requirement to fill the Steward's position is unquestionable loyalty to the Queen.
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Production/Trade. The Mh'rhm are self-sufficient and do not welcome trade of any kind. A few are designated hunters or seamstresses, smithers, but whatever they produce are not for trade with the outside but mainly for usage for their fellow bethren.
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Holidays, Festivals and Observances. In the deathly still month of Queprur, the Mh'rhm will gather on the darkest day of the eleventh month and observe the traditional Day of the Dead. It is the only festival they still observe for it is on this day that they, along with their Queen, mourn the passing of F'v'cl'r and those who died with it.

Another important observance closely tied with the vanished spendour of F'v'cl'r is the Danfhelvs, literally meaning the "Day of the Exile" in Styrsh. Historians are still not sure which exact day that the observance falls on, due to the Shadow Elves' secretive and reclusive nature, but what is known is on the twilight eve of the Danfhelvs, everyone of the Mh'rhm will gather before the great stone gates of the Queen's palace and shed their shadow forms to appear in a normal physical state. They do this to honour their Queen who had returned from the move North in ca. 11750 b.S. after the destruction of the great elven empire F'v'cl'r to reunite the scattered elves who still lived within the city ruins into a new elven tribe. From the eve to the twilight of the Danfhelvs itself, the Mh'rhm would at times sing the old songs passed down to the generations dating back to when F'v'cl'r still stood among themselves or chant new hymns in honour of Avsh'aela.
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History. The Mh'rhm are reputed to be the descendents of the elves who refused to abandon the great elven empire F'v'cl'r after its destruction by the Gods. The Water Marshes itself is rumoured to be the ruins of F'v'cl'r and there is another story that says there are some among the Mh'rhm who had been the original inhabitants of the great city, including their Queen.

From what can be gleaned from the ancient myths, this is how the story follows. After the cataclysmic annihilation of the city and the devastation wrought by the Final Wars, the elves of what used to be F'v'cl'r decided to scatter and head for new lands with Saban. The elves that accompanied Saban became known as the Dark Elves and they eventually settled in the forest of the Paelelon. The elves who remained became the Mh'rhm. Their Queen, Avsh'aela, had been one of those who accompanied Saban along his search for a new abode but at the Hovel Frond Forest, the two had a quarrel and Avsh'aela, perhaps recgonising the onset of her madness, decided to turn back and return to the place that had given her so much joy and grief. When she returned, she declared herself Queen of the Mh'rhm by virtue of her noble lineage for they say she descended from the direct line of the High Av'rnn.

What remains of F'v'cl'r is now called the Water Marshes and her new Queen refuses to rename or rebuild F'v'cl'r for fear of calling down the Gods wrath once more. So gradually, its inhabitants knew the ruins as the Nameless City.

During the Age of Awakening, there were vague reports of a mass offensive mounted by the Eophyrhim in a bid to gain control and expand their power. The Mh'rhm fought them off but at a substantial loss. Their numbers declined and were never fully replenished after this attack.

The final decisive battle came when Saban, the then ruler of the Eophyrhim, supposedly used the dark magics lost during the War of the Chosen to unleash an army of unspeakable creatures upon the Nameless City.

How Avsh'aela fought the ravening horde is not clear but some have said that she had help from a powerful talisman of her own in the shape of a crown made of bone. Other reports state that this talisman was orginally a suit of armour that had been broken and fragments of it scattered across the land, each powerful enough to repell an army. After the Eophyrhim retreated, the talisman in whatever form is said to have been lost, only to reappear briefly in the world of humans, although how it ended up there is still a mystery. Return to the top

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(YEARS 11.900 B.S. - 10.000 B.S.)
ca. 11750 b.S. The Birth of the Shadow Elves
Some elves do not join the exodus of F'v'cl'r, they remain in scattered pockets hidden in the decaying marshes. Then, Avsh'aela returns from the south and gathers them into a people and places herself at their head. Thus the creation of a separate tribe took place, and in time a separate race of elves.

(YEARS 8.500 B.S. - 3.400 B.S.)
4712 b.S. The Rogetyrim Dwarves are attacked by the Moh'rhim
The Moh'rhim (Shadow Elves), having seen the recent activity of the Rogetyrim Dwarves, attack them. With their superior magic, the Moh'rhim rise up out of the Shadow Marshes to drive the Rogetyrim back into the Imlith Mountains. They now set up settlements on the Heaths of Wilderon around the Imlith Mountains, effectively besieging the Rogetyrim.

The Rogetyrim Denirim Hlaogu the Faithful is ashamed of the defeat, and begins to work to improve his skill in magic to match the powers of the Mohrhim.

4687 b.S. The Siege of the Moh'rhim Elves is broken by the Rogetyrim Dwarves
Hlaogu the Faithful, now extraordinarily skilled in magic, leads the army of the Rogetyrim Dwarves against the siege of the Moh'rhim Shadow Elves around the Imlith Mountains. The following several battles cause many losses on both sides, as powerful magic tears across the Heaths of Wilderon. Hlaogu manages to defeat the Moh'rhim, and drives them back to their own realm in the Shadow Marshes.

3943 b.S. The Rogetyrim Dwarves exact Revenge upon the Moh'rhim Elves
The Rogetyrim Dwarves, still basking in their own strength, determine to do to the Moh'rhim Shadow Elves exactly what was done to them. They invade the Shadow Marshes, and despite heavy losses, they manage to defeat the Moh'rhim. They then lay a siege around the marshes, which would last for over a thousand years.

(YEARS 3.400 B.S. - 1.655 B.S.)
2361 b.S. The Dwarven siege of the Shadow Marshes breaks
Due to the division among the Rogetyrim Dwarves, the Rogetyrim king's men are now the only ones maintaining the siege upon the Moh'rhim Shadow Elf lands, the Shadow Marshes. With their numbers depleted, they are no longer a match for the Moh'rhim, and are easily driven away. The Shadow Elves now begin plans to take revenge upon the Rogetyrim.

1657 b.S. The Moh'rhim Elves and Rhom-Oc Orcs form an alliance
The Mohrhim Shadow Elves convince the Rhom-Oc Orcs that they can help them achieve vengeance against the Rogetyrim Dwarves. The elves have been long in planning their revenge, and give much aid and support to the Rhom-Oc in helping them prepare for war.

(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
1649 b.S. The Rise of Shadow Empire
Molten Ice. The shadow elves, who have become creatures of darkness revel in the night, and see it as a chance to expand from the Waters Marshes. Daring lightning attacks are made into the Wilshire Heath against the orcs. The orcs triy to fight back, but how could they fight a shadow in the night? In the end they can not, and are forced south.
The Fall of the Mynians
Singing Bird. With the orcs forced to move south, the shadow elves soon come against the humans of the Mynian empire. The strength and courage of the men fighting during those dark days becomes legendary. For months they stemm the flood of orcs and goblins, but in time they are simply overwhelmed. Their borders are soon overun and their great city Weavermoth is put to the flame, so the orcs can not take it.
Shadow Elves attack the Dwarven Imlith Settlements
With the year of Darkness the Moh'rhim Shadow Elves and Rhom-Oc Orcs attack out of the Shadow Marshes, forging their way into the tunnels of the Rogetyrim and Terogerim Dwarves. The Terogerim are ill-prepared for the attack, and are quickly annihilated. The Rogetyrim hold out longer, as they still have possession of the ThrazBarol axe. But eventually, the powerful magic of the Moh'rhim wins out, and both the Great Hall and the ThrazBarol are taken by them. After ransacking the Great Hall, the Moh'rhim withdraw to their own lands again.

The Susilgerim Dwarves, who also live in Imlith, survive the attack by retreating high into the mountains, and never again return to life in the tunnels. This time is now refered to by the Susilgerim as the "Year of the Burning Night".
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
246 b.S. The Orcs call on the help of the Moh'rhim Shadow Elves
The war between the northern orcs and dwarves continues to drag on at a standstill. The orcs, growing impatient for victory, remember the aid the Rhom-Oc Orcs received from the Moh'rhim Shadow Elves many years ago. They send messengers to the Moh'rhim to ask for their aid once again. The messengers do not return, but the Moh'rhim soon do. A large force of Shadow Elves soon joins the orcs, turning the tide in their favour.

243 b.S.
to 145
The Three Hundred Year War of the North
A bloody, back and forth war ensues between the northern dwarves, orcs, and Shadow Elves for the next three hundred years. Many lives are lost on both sides, and the destructive effect on the continent is extreme. The displays of valor and might are the greatest to be seen in that area since the War of the Chosen. The many battles go back and forth, with no one gaining any clear victory.

(YEARS 50 B.S. - 172 A.S.)
145 The Grand Battle of Imlith
After over fifty years, the Susilgerim Kograv the dwarven mage and his companions return from their journey to Ximax. Upon reaching Northern Sarvonia, they find the Susilgerim and Kurakim Dwarves surrounded in the midst of a cataclysmic battle against the orcs and Shadow Elves upon the Heaths of Wilderon. They immediately put their newly learned skills to use in saving the dwarves from destruction, winning the day. After a hard night of hurried preparation, the mages prepare for their ultimate test against the Moh'rhim Shadow Elves. This is the greatest contest of magical prowess seen in the area in several thousand years. The battle continues unceasingly through three days and three nights. On the fourth day, Kograv is the only mage left alive. The Moh'rhim also have lost many of their people. But the power of their queen is great, and threatens still to destroy the dwarves.

As the battle looks bleak, Kograv from his knees raises a heartfelt prayer to Trum-Barol for deliverance in their despair. Suddenly he feels a surge of magical energy through him. Standing up once again, he focuses his energy on the queen of the Moh'rhim, and delivers a blast of pure energy at her. This blast severely wounds her, and is powerful enough to dissipate her corporeal form. This causes her, and the rest of her people, to be swept away back into the Shadow Marshes. The dwarves rally and defeat the confused and bewildered orcs, achieving a final victory. The orcs are all driven back to their own lands, and the dwarves regain control of their mountains.


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