The Races of Avendar, Chapter II: The Aelin
An excerpt from the Races of Avendar, an in-game text found in the school of heroes, this chapter covers the aelin.
Aelin: Section 1 The aelin are one of Avendar's oldest sapient races, said to have risen shortly after the Sundering. They are avian bipeds, gifted with the ability to fly. Their wit and charm are both keen, and they are blessed with great speed. They are known for being the first race to come into its own following the fall of the alatharya. From the beginning, the aelin were biased toward civilization, seeking order and creation following the madness of the Sundering. Nurtured by their deific parents, Aeolis and Alia, their growing society reflected the desire for order and the predilections of their avian nature. They built great cities in the mountains from which they rose, the greatest of which was Ilodaiya, built upon a vast floating disc. Their existence was prosperous, and in time, they discovered the existence of Iandir, whose laws they in turn embraced. They were also insular, shunning the lowlands and valleys and their primitive inhabitants. This distance would prove ultimately detrimental when they aelin became embroiled in the War of Fire, the first great conflict of Avendar after the Sundering. Aelin: Section 2 Virtually ignored by the aelin, other races rose in the lowlands. The aelin, who had developed the rudiments of the forge from knowledge gleaned from the fallen alatharya, lingered in a lengthy bronze age. They are credited as the first to develop swordsmanship, and the roots of the ak'anginta stem directly from this idyllic period. Meanwhile, the reptilian srryn and the wingless humans allied to plunder the riches of the aelin culture. Against these two opposed races, the aelin faced their greatest threat: stronger, better armed, and magically adept invaders. The aelin were unable to stop these invaders at first, and many of their cities were toppled with little meaningful resistance. The aelin marshalled the resources of their people, including the wisdom of their own civilization, as well as the artifacts and relics of the fallen alatharya. Even with these, defense against the invaders was difficult. A great aelin hero named Marlax stood first among the race's swordmasters, and led many charges into rival forces. Time, for the aelin, was running out. Aelin: Section 3 It was not until a renegade group of humans allied with the aelin that the tide of war turned. Together, they sought the Father of the Seas, Jolinn, and His return brought with it the magics of Water. With the aid of the Titans, the War of Fire was ended, and the mauled aelin civilization survived into a new age. The aelin assisted the humans in forging a new empire of their own, which mirrored the unique form of aelin government. This civilization became known as the Republic of Earendam. However, the aelin never fully integrated with this rapidly expanding empire, and eventually withdrew, returning to the insular nature it had fostered before the War of Fire. During this time, the Father of the Seas sent a servitor deity to help restore the aelin. This demigod was called Serachel, and would herald great change for the embattled race. As humans sought greater territory within Dantaron river valley, the aelin, as a race, sought to discover what, if anything, separated them from the races they had scorned. Aelin: Section 4 Serachel donned mortal flesh and walked among the people He was to save. His intellect was shockingly vast, and paired with His immense beauty, He quickly was accepted into the inner circles of Ilodaiya's highest offices. Alia, the mother of the aelin, beseeched Aeolis to come with Her, to also walk among their children. He refused, remaining aloof, but He did not stop Her from doing as She pleased. Serachel and Alia shared immense prestige, and the pair encouraged a new breed of aelin thought. The idealism of the Aeolian era dwindled, and aelin women found new freedom and social position. In time Serachel would become aware of the magics of the shuddeni. He urged the aelin to embrace and master the Void; this, He said, would prevent another monumental defeat such as that of the War of Fire. There seemed nothing left to chance. Alia's growing debauchery and Serachel's terrifying grip on the aelin destiny suggested a great transformation was taking place. Many of the Aeolian warriors left to aid the human empires as the War of Night continued, leaving Serachel and Alia to command the race as a whole from Ilodaiya. aelin: Section 5 The coming of the ch'taren disrupted the perfect plans of Serachel, and their mighty goddess, Rystaia Lightbringer, exposed His dark designs. She imprisoned Him in His nightmare realm for millennia, while Aeolis drew His love, Alia, back to the realm of the gods. However, Her time as a mortal had irrevocably transformed Her into the Mad Angel, Alil. The blow to the aelin pride was staggering, and even with the defeat of Serachel, the race stagnated. They often avoid interference with other races when possible, and live primarily in the regions surrounding their racial home of Ilodaiya, across the Sea of Lidraeu. In the ages since, the aelin have struggled to come to terms with the events surrounding the War of Night, and their implications for the aelin soul. aelin typically take great stock in their bloodline and their appearance. Their most striking feature, of course, is their wings, which are both large and feathered. What aelin do dwell among humans typically occupy positions of authority, or at least influence and wealth. Their natural grace and keen wit make them well suited to cults of personality.