Sellin Marand (Dark Elven: Sellin Marand; IPA: [sɛlːin maʁand]), born Seléna Zathýr Merandi (Middle High Elven: Seléna Zathýr Merandi; IPA: [sɛleːna d͡zatiːr mɛrandi]) was the first and only Queen of the Dark Elves, born a High Elven Magician before turning to the Dark Arts and being one of those who were exiled for that act.
Sellin was considered a charismatic leader during her life, records about her describe her as a charitable and sociable person with a firm personality, someone who - despite having quite a bit of beauty - relied on her sharp tongue to win debates.
Early Life Edit
Seléna Zathýr Merandi was born in 378 AEKE, 4th of Moribel, in a remote village in Froturn. The young Seléna was described as having a playful and adventurous mentality. Her parents were Magicians like she would be in the future, and taught her from the age of four, almost as early as she could read and write.
She was enrolled in the Mages Guild in 390 AEKE, at the age of 12. She was deemed a talented and curious student, and lived a rather mobile life of traveling often to learn from the best masters and personally experience the lands that gave birth to the masters of the pasts, rather than be content with just reading about them from books. Seléna visited Artaburro, Etrand, Dragoc and Etrancoast - by the time she was 17 years old, she has already traveled the world.
In 397 AEKE however, Seléna's luck came to a negative turn - the 17-year old Seléna was travelling in Dragoc, but the area she was travelling through was raided by Orcs. Seléna was captured and raped, and kept captive for three months before finally escaping by herself. She never gave birth to a half-Orcish child - she miscarried.
It took three years for the magician to get out of her trauma caused by the hardships she had to endured during her captivity. After she regained all her energy and willingness to live by 400, she started diligently working on research again, began making a large amount of friends, and started living a well-balanced life.
It is not known when did Seléna first got her encounters with the Dark Arts, but it is believed that she first read about Necromancy in detail in Etrand between 403 and 406. After that point, she has grown increasingly interested in illegal spells and potions. The High Elven magician reluctantly started a life of crime "for science", selling illegal potions and copies of parchments containing illegal spells. After a scandal regarding the possession of illegal drugs, Seléna got expelled from the Mages Guild in 411 AEKE, and became a full-time freelancer. It was during that period of illegality when she received her nickname "Sellin", which she would end up adopting later on.
In 414 AEKE, she got arrested for the first time on multiple charges of blasphemy, violent assault of innocent citizens, possession of illegal goods and conspiracy to commit arson, but her guilt could not be proven for any of these crimes, so she was released unpunished. By that time however, she was already an icon for the growing underground Dark Magician movement whose goal was to force the legalization of the forbidden Dark Arts and even Necromancy. In 415, Seléna and a good deal of the movement emigrated to Dragoc, where they gained a small number of Wood Elven followers before finally being discovered and getting mass-deported back to Froturn, where a large amount of the movement's members were arrested and imprisoned for conspiracy to commit high treason. Seléna herself only managed to narrowly escape being judged guilty. Records are conflicting on this period of her life - High Elven historians believe she seduced herself out of being imprisoned, while Dark Elven historians prefer to believe that she has managed to debate herself out of the situation and prove her "innocence".
After the incident, she would begin lobbying for the release of her comrades, and travel down to Dragoc to gain more converts and convince them to join her in Froturn. She would also sends letters to the Prince of Artaburro asking if she and her followers were allowed to migrate to Artaburro and live in peace, but her request was denied. She considered making an exodus to Keldorn, but dropped the idea, as she rationalized that the government of Keldorn would have viewed her and her followers as a threat with the ambition to claim Keldorn for themselves. Therefore, she sent a letter to King Bowen of Etrand, requesting free passage to the underground tunnels that were not claimed by Etrand,and the temporary right to buy goods from Etrand. King Bowen gave a half-baked promise that if Seléna received a permit from the King of Froturn, she and her followers would be given free passage through Etrand.
However, it would take years of debate and paperwork for Seléna to finally fight out the release of her comrades and the right to start her exodus. High Elves and Wood Elves alike who were dissatisfied followed Seléna in her exodus to a place they did not know. Seléna led her people into the underground after buying basilisks from Etrand to use as mounts. Many began doubting her leadership, as she led them from the green pastures to desolate underground tunnels that only had mushrooms that coloured people's skin blue if were eaten as a staple food. Both food and drinking water were scarce, and dissatisfaction grew. To prevent the movement from disintegrating amidst a civil war, Seléna - who by that time has changed her name to Sellin - bought large amounts of wine and usquebaugh and distributed them to her people so they would calm down. It was at that point that Sellin made up her mind to found a state in the underground - while trying to calm down her people with alcohol, she would slowly start organizing the framework of her new state, ordering men to begin building structures where they could permanently reside, and use magic to augment the farming of the mushrooms they ate.
Queen of the Dark Elves Edit
- See also: Kingdom of Marand
By 422, the Dark Elven state was being built up. Many challenges had to be overcome first however. High Elves and Wood Elves spoke two different languages, so they had to invent a new mixed language that both sides would understand. The end result was the Dark Elven language, which quickly started its own internal development.
Another challenge was religion. In this new dark and depressing environment, many started seeing visions of a red-coloured ghost which was guiding them to their new homeland, and a woman on his side. This served as the basis for the new Dark Elven religion, with modified or reinterpreted Titanist and Naturalist mores.
Even after Sellin's people have found a new identity through their new language and religion - and the fact that their skin has turned blue from their new diet, and they ate so much their children were even born blue-skinned - this new environment was still deemed very depressing for this new people. Suicides were rather common for the first thirty years, and life was more about survival than anything else.
By 460, the Dark Elves have built up small cities, and had a well-functioning administration system that handled daily life well. Their advanced fungiculture provided good amount of mushrooms to be eaten, and mining has given the Dark Elves iron, coal, copper, tin, gold, silver, gems, salt and sugar. The latter was also used to produce a new alcoholic beverage that helped a lot in fighting massive depression and suicides - rum.
By that time, the Dark Elves also have built up a political system - Queen Sellin was the Queen, an absolute monarch according to the law. However, there were also three parties that consistently tried to lobby and petition to convince her to enact certain policies.
The three parties were :
- The Plutocrats: representing the wealthy, lobbying for the Kingdom of Marand to turn into a merchant republic, or at very least a constitutional monarchy where merchants held most political power.
- The Statocrats: representing the military, lobbying for a larger army with a more prominent representation in politics. They also lobbied for the Kingdom of Marand to turn into a military dictatorship. Initially, they were the weakest of the three parties, but became very prominent later on
- The Magocrats: representing the mages, lobbying for the state to exclude those who could not use magic from political power, a "rule of the most powerful" system. Initially, they were the strongest of the three parties, and also the most loyal to Queen Sellin, but they lost much of their monopoly on political power to the bickering Statocrats and Plutocrats later on.
Initially, the Magocrats were the most influental, and they also enjoyed the most support by Sellin - it is very much understandable, as the majority of the people most loyal to Sellin were Dark Magicians themselves. However, to compensate for the population bottleneck, Dark Elves have bred extensively, and a smaller percentage of the second-generation Dark Elves were Magicians. As such, the Statocrats and Plutocrats started gaining more prominance.
Sellin shifted to a policy of compromise and concillation between the three parties, but she still couldn't please everyone. The political situation started heating up more and more.
Queen Sellin was preparing for a journey to the overworld to negotiate the establishment of embassies between the Kingdom of Marand and the Kingdom of Etrand when she was assassinated in 473 AEKE, 19th of Anarkalina, via shooting her in the neck with a posioned crossbow bolt. Her assassin was never identified - Guardian battlemages killed him/her using fireballs that burned the assassin's body beyond recognition.
Before her death, Queen Sellin was mother of three infants - triplets, two boys and oen girl - and promised the three parties that to curry favor with all three of the parties, she would send her daughter to be raised by the Magocrats, her two sons to be raised by the Plutocrats and Statocrats.
Using that promise as an excuse, the three parties immediately assumed custody of her three orphaned children, and then started sharply debating what to do next, blaming each other for the Queen's death. The Statocrats claimed that the Magocrats and Plutocrats conspired to kill the Queen, because she was favoring the Statocrats. The Magocrats in turn claimed that the Queen's assassination was orchestrated by the Statocrats and Plutocrats to destroy the Magocrats. The Plutocrats claimed that the Statocrats and Magocrats wanted to get rid of the Plutocrats, so they killed the Queen who did not allow them to. The debate was fruitless. Each of the three parties retreated to city in which they were the most popular, and declared themselves to the true rulers of the Dark Elves. What followed was the split of the former Kingdom of Marand into three clans: Dhaeraow Loomin by the Plutocrats, Gurtha Ndengin by the Statocrats, Mori Templa Mellon by the Magocrats.