Lore of DAoC: Catacombs Hibernia
The History of the Veil
The History of the Shar Labyrinth
The Abandoned Mines of Hibernia
The Queen's Labyrinth
The Underground Forest of Hibernia
The Dark Elves, the Scaanagh, and the Unseelie Court
The History of the Bainshee and Vampiir
The History of the Veil
The Veil is a magical barrier that separates the magical world from the natural one. At one time, the Veil did not exist and the world of magic and nature existed as one, ruled by the Elves. Then the Firbolgs and Celts came to Hibernia and conflicts arose between the groups. Rather than continue to fight with these new beings, the Elves decided to remove themselves from the world of Hibernia. Their decision would affect all of Hibernia.
The Elves used their great power to separate the world of magic from the world of nature, creating two worlds from one. To the Firbolgs, Celts, and other non-magical creatures, they left the natural world. The magical world, called the Otherworld by some, became the home of the Elves, their friends the Lurikeens, and other magical creatures. The Elves, with the help of the Lurikeens, raised a magical barrier between the two worlds to prevent the non-magical creatures from passing through into the Otherworld. This barrier became known as the Veil.
In the process of raising the Veil, the Elves attempted to pull certain buildings and areas into the Otherworld. The Elves found the structures made with their Elven magic were much easier to move into the Otherworld than those made with the wood, stone, and earth of Hibernia. One such structure, a castle known as Marrach Briollag, was a favored place of the Elves. Although it was built of stone and wood, Elven magic had been used throughout its building. Believing that their Elven magic would overpower the natural materials of the castle, the Elves and Lurikeens began to move Marrach Briollag into the Otherworld.
The Elves underestimated the powerful hold that the very land of Hibernia had on the castle. Even as the Elves struggled to move the castle into the Otherworld, the land was trying to draw the castle back into the natural world. The Elves succeeded in moving Marrach Briollag into the area of the Veil but could move it no further. The magic of the Veil had ensnared Marrach Briollag so neatly that neither side could budge the castle. Those that had inhabited the castle as it was being moved were trapped also, unable to return to Hibernia and barred from passing into the Otherworld. The castle was lost to the mists of the Veil, and it and all those that dwelt inside were forgotten until recently.
The loss of Marrach Briollag and its inhabitants was not the only thing to come from the raising of the Veil. The Elves did not realize when they raised the Veil how its presence would affect the lands of Hibernia. Magic from both the Veil and the Otherworld bled over into the lands of Hibernia, infusing the natural world with its own kind of magic. Over time the Celts and Firbolgs learned to channel and manipulate this nature-based magic. This newly gained magic worried the Elves a little, but they knew they were still safe from the Firbolgs and Celts, for only creatures of magic, not of nature, could pass through the Veil into the Otherworld.
While the Elves and Lurikeens were occupied with establishing their new cities beyond the Veil, another race of magical beings quietly moved into the Otherworld. They chose a remote part of the Otherworld as their home and began to build a labyrinthine city. By the time the Elves and Lurikeens discovered these demonic-looking creatures who called themselves the Shar, they were too well-established to be forced out of the Otherworld. The Elves allowed them to stay, but watched them closely, for they rightfully sensed that the Shar were evil.
For those that reside day-in and day-out in the Veil, its appearance is no more than a shimmer in the air, indicating the transition from the Otherworld into Hibernia. To Elves and Lurikeens that have been outside the Veil for extended periods of time, the Veil appears to them as a white, misty area full of shifting colors, as if they had walked into a cloud pulsing with light. In the area where the Shar pass back and forth between the worlds, the Veil has a similar appearance where it contacts the ordinary world. But as one approaches the Shar Labyrinth, the Veil becomes a swirling mass of black and gray clouds that pulse with red, orange, and golden light, for the Veil has absorbed some of the evil magic of the Shar.
To the Firbolgs, Celts and Sylvan, the Veil appears as the white, misty area of shifting colors, if they are able to even see it at all. In most cases, those not of the Veil cannot see its magic. This lack of vision of the Veil caused a problem for the Shar when they were forced to ask the people of Hibernia for help. To aid the Shar, these races must not only be able to see the Veil but to pass through it. Thus the Shar, much to the dismay of the Elves beyond the Veil, used their magical abilities to open the barrier between the worlds, allowing all of Hibernia to enter the Otherworld for the first time.
The History of the Shar Labyrinth
The origins of the Shar are a closely guarded secret by order of their Queen. When asked about their origins, the Shar will simply smile and not answer. Outsiders believe their tale is yet unknown because it holds a secret weakness that could be used to bring down the Shar Empire. What is known about the Shar, is that the first of their kind were spotted shortly after the Elves made their appearance in Hibernia, long before the Veil was raised. Other than that, the history of the Shar is shrouded in speculation and rumor. Their tale is whispered at a safe distance from Shars' ears, to keep from angering them by discussing what is forbidden.
When the Shar first came into existence, they were a weak race. They regarded their neighbors, the Elves, with both fear and distaste. The Shar huddled in groups, hidden in the shadows to avoid discovery. They feared imprisonment or enslavement by the Elves, although they had no proof of such an intention. One Shar, at the time thought to be quite reckless, but later heralded as brave, set off into the wilds of Hibernia to seek out a place for her people. She was gone for almost a year. As time passed, the others thought she had been killed or was lost forever, but that was not the case.
When the brave Shar returned, she told the others of a place far from the Elves, where the Shar could live without fear, and grow strong. The others, excited by this idea, followed her to a remote location in Hibernia. There, the Shar spent time slowly increasing their strength and magical abilities in complete isolation. But the solitude did not last. Soon, other inhabitants of Hibernia began exploring. The Shar feared discovery by the Elves and Lurikeens, and by the Firbolgs and Celts who had arrived more recently in Hibernia. As the Shar began to panic and wonder about a way to escape these newly curious explorers, fate lent its hand to them.
Conflicts between the Elves and the Firbolgs and Celts had been brewing, and had recently reached an unbearable level. Unwilling to compromise, the Elves decided that they would separate the worlds of magic and nature. They would raise the Veil and retreat into the magical world, leaving the natural one for the Celts and Firbolgs. Hidden from view, the Shar watched the Elves and Lurikeens worked their magic and passed through the veil into the world beyond. The now older female who had discovered the Shar's first home knew that they were creatures of magic like the Elves. She chose her bravest men and women and led them in an attempt to pass through the Veil. Once this group successfully passed through, the Shar abandoned their hidden home and followed their leader into the Veil. Here, they would build their new home far from the Elves and Lurikeens.
As creatures of magic, the Shar thrived in a world of pure magic. This made their move into the Veil very fortunate for the Shar, and very unfortunate for the other races of Hibernia. Under the guidance of their self-declared Queen, their skills and strength grew rapidly. Soon their power rivaled that of the Elves. Their previous feelings of weakness and fear dissolved into an attitude of superiority, and a desire to conquer and rule those that were once feared. They turned their attention to their distant neighbors, the Elves and Lurikeens. As part of their plan, the Queen ordered the Shar to build a city in the Otherworld, fit for not only a Queen, but an empire. With their newly-honed magic, the Shar would create a magnificent labyrinth, fit to house their seat of power.
By the time the Elves realized that they had moved to the Otherworld, the Shar were too well established and powerful to be easily removed. They were unhappy about the circumstances, but the Elves had no choice but to allow the Shar to stay. Although many Shar believed they were stronger than the Elves, the Shar Queen knew that her people were still at a disadvantage. After all, the Elves had the Lurikeens as their allies. Under the guise of friendship, the Shar Queen made a pact with the Elves. She agreed that her people would stay within the Labyrinth. They would not venture into Elven territory, as long as the Elves stayed away from their Labyrinth. The Elves agreed to the pact, but they were not fooled. They could sense the Shar Queen's evil motives, but knew they didn't have the strength to use force against the Shar at the time.
Over time, the Elves and Lurikeens ventured back into the world of Hibernia to aid in the battle against Albion and Midgard. In the meantime, the Shar remained in their Labyrinth, building their power until the time was right for conquest.
The Abandoned Mines of Hibernia
After the Shar took up residence in the Otherworld beyond the Veil, they began to build their city. As their magical abilities developed, the Shar gained some ability to control the physical environment of the Otherworld. This ability became an essential part of the building of the Labyrinth that was to be their home. But because their ability wasn't complete, the Shar had to look for other resources to help them build their city.
Unfortunately the Otherworld was lacking in the specific types of rock and metal ore the Shar desired. The Shar Queen sent a few of her bravest back into the world of Hibernia to locate areas where the necessary items could be mined. The Shar searched many a cave until they found the one that contained the necessary items then they returned to their Queen with the location. The Shar Queen used her extensive skills to open a special portal from the Labyrinth directly into the cave. This direct portal would allow the Shar to travel back and forth between their city and the Hibernia in secret since they did not want the Elves to learn of their presence.
With the direct portal, the Shar quickly began to mine the metal ore they needed to help build their Labyrinth. Base structures were built using the refined metal ore and then the land, through the Shar's magical abilities, was molded and shaped around the structures so that it grew into the various parts of the Labyrinth. In some places, the land refused to grow into the desired shapes. Rather than fight the land, the Shar decided to just build their buildings from the ore and rock gathered from their mines.
Because the Shar Queen wanted the Labyrinth to be enormous and magnificent, a great deal of mining was occurring. Soon extensive tunnels were being dug underneath all of Hibernia, unbeknownst to the residents above. But it wasn't until a group of Shar accidentally dug a tunnel to the surface of Silvermine Mountains that they realized the advantage their mines gave them. The Shar Queen realized her people could use the mines as a way of traveling unseen through Hibernia to spy upon their enemies. Soon more tunnels were being dug to accommodate the Queen's desire to spy upon the inhabitants of Hibernia.
Much to the Queen's annoyance, the Shar's advantage did not last long. The people of Hibernia were in an exploration phase, and although the Shar had done a good job of hiding the entrances to their mining caves a few entrances were discovered and small sections of the Shar's mines explored. Fearing that some brave adventurer would one day find the portal between the mines and the Labyrinth, the Shar Queen ordered the tunnels sealed some distance back from the actual entrances, leaving some open space in between. In this open space, she had her Shar use their magic to attract hostile creatures to live there, creating an additional barrier between the tunnels and the entrance.
For some time after the entrances into Hibernia had been sealed, the Shar continued to use the unsealed portions of the mines. But with the Labyrinth almost complete and the Shar's ability to control the land around them growing, the need for the mines diminished. Since the secondary purpose of the mines had been lost, the Shar Queen ordered her people to abandon the mines and closed the portal that linked them to the Otherworld. From time to time the portal would be reopened briefly when metal ore was required, but it was always resealed afterwards. Over time, evil creatures moved into the mines since there were no Shar to drive them away.
When the Shar realized they were in trouble, they reopened the mines as a source of defensive materials. The mines also provide a quick way for the Hibernians to reach the Shar city, although they must be careful of the evil creatures that inhabit the mines.
The Queen's Labyrinth
It is said that the Shar's relationship with the goddess known as the Morrighan began shortly after the Shar came into existence. Those who spend their time speculating on the history and origins of the Shar believe the Morrighan herself sent a vision to the brave female Shar. This vision led her to the remote location that would become Shar's first home. Philosophers who study the gods and goddesses say that perhaps the Morrighan recognized the potential for war and death in the Shar. She smiled upon them, promising the young female a place as a queen, and a safe haven for her people in exchange for their worship. No matter its origins, there was a strong link between the Shar and the Morrighan.
When the Shar left Hibernia to live in the Otherworld, the link between them and the Morrighan was weakened. This concerned the Shar Queen. She worried that if the Morrighan could not properly sense her peoples' worship, she would not fulfill their desire to conquer their enemies. The Queen also worried that if the Shar could not hear their goddess speak to them through her , as she did in Hibernia, they would lose their faith. The Queen was forced to take measures to ensure that the link between her people and their goddess would be preserved.
In the part of the Labyrinth set aside for the Queen and her court, a large courtyard was constructed. When it was done, the Queen summoned her people to the courtyard, to participate in its dedication to the Morrighan. It was her hope that by focusing their worship in one place, a new link could be forged through the barrier of the Veil. To her dismay, the results were less than satisfactory; for the link to the goddess was still weak even after the measures she had taken. In a fit of anger, the Queen unleashed a powerful spell at one of the courtyards. In her fury, she blasted a hole not only through the wall, but through the Veil itself into Hibernia. Everyone was shocked by the Queen's powers, but none more than the Queen herself. Believing it to be a sign from the Morrighan, the Queen stepped through the opening into the world of Hibernia.
Through the opening, the Queen found not only a vast underground forest, but a link to the bog where the Shar had lived before they moved beyond the Veil. She also discovered that tunnels from this forest led to other cities where non-Hibernian races lived. The most important, and ultimately most terrible discovery, was the cave beyond the forest. The cave was the focus of power for the evil that heard the call of the Shar to their goddess and answered it in the form of the Morrighan incarnate. If the Queen had not torn the hole in the Veil between the worlds, the imposter goddess would have never gained the power that she did over the Shar.
By opening a doorway between the worlds, the imposter goddess was able to gain access to a world that had formerly been denied to her. Through her guise as the goddess the Shar had known for so long, she was quietly able to take control of the minds and souls of the Shar for her own plans. The false Morrighan played upon the Shar's desire to conquer their enemies. While openly assuring the Queen that the Shar would defeat their enemies, the imposter whispered lies to the population. Beginning with the lowest (and thus most disgruntled) in the Shar society, and slowly working her way up, the false Morrighan whispered lies. She told them that their Queen only thirsted for power and did not care for her people. She told them that their queen would sacrifice them all for the sake of her crown, and that she held riches she would not share with her people. In secret, the false Morrighan promised that she could deliver the Shar to the victory and riches their queen could not. In exchange, they would follow her will. Always a power-hungry people, the Shar willingly gave up their minds and souls to the Morrighan, the goddess they had always known.
When her army was strong enough, the false Morrighan ordered them to rise up and take control of the Queen's Labyrinth. It was only through pure chance that the Shar Queen overheard talk of the mutiny before it happened. Using her magical abilities, she uncovered the imposter’s treacherous plot and sent orders throughout the entire Labyrinth. She called to those who were still loyal to her to come to the Queen's Labyrinth to fight the deceived army. The battle was fierce, and destroyed large sections of the Queen's Labyrinth, but neither force could defeat the other. As the false Morrighan pulled her army back, retreating into the underground forest to nurse their wounds and rebuild her forces, the Shar Queen ordered her people to withdraw to the upper part of the Labyrinth.
As they made their way through the middle of the Labyrinth, the Shar used their magic to create physical barriers between themselves and the possessed Shar of the Morrighan. They pulled down buildings and forced the gardens to grow into great blockades. The free Shar also released the magic that supported the roof and walls of the Queen's Labyrinth, allowing parts to collapse and form barriers. Once the Morrighan realized what the Shar had done, she used her own powers to stabilize the walls and ceiling and stop the destruction. The free shar know that one day, they will defeat the Morrighan's forces and reclaim the Queen's Labyrinth from this new enemy.
The Underground Forest of Hibernia
In hopes of reestablishing her link with the Morrighan, the Shar Queen ordered built a large courtyard dedicated to the goddess. Once it was constructed, the Queen gathered all the Shar together in the courtyard and drew upon their devotion and worship of their goddess to strengthen the link. Unfortunately, the power of the Veil continued to act as a filter and the Queen could barely hear the voice of the Morrighan speaking to her. In frustration, the Queen released a bolt of energy at one of the walls surrounding the courtyard. To everyone's amazement, the bolt blasted a hole not only in the wall but through the Veil itself. The Queen, taking this as a sign, took a small group of Shar and crossed over into the world beyond the Veil.
As soon as the Queen stepped through the opening, she knew she was back in the lands of Hibernia, for the link between herself and the Morrighan was suddenly stronger than it had been. Elated, Queen sent her guards, led by a Shar named Kaland, to explore the area while she spent time speaking to the Morrighan. Kaland and his followers carefully moved forward since it looked like the ground dropped away just a few steps from the entrance to the Queen's Labyrinth. Peering over the edge of the cliff the Shar stood upon revealed a massive cavern with a field of curved shapes glowing faintly far below. After obtaining torches, Kaland located a narrow path and led the others down as it wound its way down the face of the cliff.
As the Shar stepped off the cliff path and onto the floor of the cavern, they stopped and stared in amazement. The glow here was brighter than it had been above. Through the combination of their torches and the glow, the Shar were able to see that the shapes they had seen from above were actually very strange trees. The trunks of the trees were pale in color and the Shar suddenly realized that they were the source of the glow. Above their heads, where the leaves should be, the strange trees were topped with what looked like mushroom caps. The caps of the trees were red, orange, and yellow and this made Kaland and the others smile, for those were the colors the Shar favored. Taking the color of the trees as a good sign, the Shar continued to make their way through the forest.
The next thing the Shar encountered took the smiles from their faces. As they entered a clearing in the strange forest, the Shar were surprised to see a group of strange beings entering the clearing from the other direction. Each group stopped in surprise, gaping at each other. Suddenly, the other group launched a few arrows at the Shar, and then disappeared into the woods. The Shar made to follow, but Kaland ordered them to stay with him since the strangers seemed to know the forest better than the Shar. Kaland and the others discussed the strangers briefly. They were quite different from the Shar with their shorter height, blue skin, and lack of head or wrist spikes. Kaland wasn't sure if the attack by these people was due to an aggressive nature or fear, but he would be sure to find out.
After their encounter with the blue people, Kaland and the others proceeded more cautiously. Before too long, they heard voices conversing in a strange language. Thinking it was the blue people again Kaland ordered the others to wait then snuck through the trees to the edge of another clearing. There he was surprised to see a different group of beings. They were about the same size as the small blue people, but their skin was white tinged with a pale-bluish color. Their eyes were huge, as if made for seeing in the dark, and their faces were very angular. Since a few of them were armed, Kaland did not think they would be too friendly, so he led his group around the clearing. Unfortunately, one of the Shar tripped on the unfamiliar ground, making quite a racket.
At the sound of the falling Shar, the pale beings snatched up their weapons and ran towards the Shar who had drawn their weapons. A skirmish broke out between the two groups with Kaland pairing off with the leader of the other group. To Kaland's surprised the pale people were skilled fighters and a few times Kaland was worried. But the Morrighan was on his side and he managed to sheathe his blade in the stomach of his enemy. As the pale one fell to the ground, the battle came to a halt. The Shar backed away to allow the pale ones to pick up their leader and flee into the woods. Kaland cleaned his blade then led the others back to the Labyrinth.
When the Shar Queen heard of the group's encounters, she was excited. Here was a chance for the Shar to see just how much their skills had grown. She told her people that if they were not on guard duty protecting the entrance to the Queen's Labyrinth they should feel free to go hunting in the underground forest, although they should not go alone. When one of the weaker Shar pointed out that the only creatures seen in the forest so far were the pale and blue people, an evil laugh spilled from the Queen's lips. With a little smirk, she told all gathered that she knew exactly who was in the forest – their enemies. Soon groups of Shar eager for battle were roaming through the underground forest, hunting for the strange two races.
The Shar Queen had done well when she chose Kaland to be the leader of her guard, for he was the fiercest of the Shar. When he was not sleeping, which he did very rarely, or checking up on the guards, he was out roaming the underground forest. It was during one of his excursions into the forest that Kaland and his hand-picked group discovered a small tunnel that led away from the underground forest. Thinking that some of their new enemies might be hiding at the end, Kaland and his group cautiously explored it. While they did not find any enemies, they did make an interesting discovery.
At the end of the tunnel was an opening just large enough for a Shar to pass through. Weapons drawn, Kaland and the others crept through into the tunnel on the other side. The tunnel beyond only ran for a short way before it ended in a large jumble of rocks. Spying an opening at the top of the pile, Kaland and the others scrambled through. They were very surprised to find themselves standing on the edge of a large and strangely familiar bog. As he stood there looking out over the bog, a sudden realization came to Kaland – this was the very bog where the Shar had made their original home. Kaland and the others hurried back to tell the Queen of their discovery.
The discovery of their old home was only one of the things Kaland and the others uncovered in their exploration. Kaland and a few of his guards were out in the forest when they spied a group of the blue beings, now known as Kobolds, out exploring. Knowing the Kobolds had to be up to something, Kaland and his group began to stalk them. The Kobolds made their way across the forest to a small cave opening. While the Kobolds checked out the cave, Kaland and his group watched from the shadows near the entrance.
Everything seemed normal until one of the female Kobolds approached the far corner of the cave. Then a wave of evil and fear like he had never felt before washed over Kaland, and it was all he could do not to run. Just as he was about to call out to the female Kobold to stop, and thus reveal their hiding position, one of the Kobolds tried to stop her. But she continued on, ignoring all around her. Another wave of evil and fear passed through the room, and this time Kaland and the others could not resist the urge to flee. As they ran from the cave, Kaland nearly tripped over a pair of the pale people, called Inconnu, also running from the mouth of the cave. His fear overwhelming his anger at being spied upon, Kaland and the others let the Inconnu go and returned to the Shar Labyrinth.
Back in the Labyrinth, Kaland relayed everything to the Shar Queen, including the feelings of fear and evil he felt. The Shar Queen took Kaland's report seriously, for he was not one to spook easily but she wasn't too concerned. It was most likely some random evil spirit and could be dealt with easily later on. In the meantime, the Shar Queen ordered all Shar to stay away from the cave. The Shar's strength and power was still growing, and the Queen did not want anything to endanger their chances of conquering their enemies.
No one, not even Kaland who had stood in the presence of that evil, realized just how dangerous it was until it was almost too late. For many, many years the Shar enjoyed both the underground forest and the bog beyond the forest. They honed their skills in battles with the Kobolds. From time to time Kaland would remind the Queen that the evil in the cave still needed to be dealt with, and always the Queen agreed but never did anything about it. She said that the Morrighan knew of it and wasn't worried. Over time that evil out of the cave and through the forest. Strange, evil creatures moved into the forest and into the bog beyond, forcing the Shar to abandoned their old home and the forest. It wasn't until the Morrighan revealed her power and her plans that the Shar realized she was the evil force Kaland had felt long ago.
The Dark Elves, the Scaanagh, and the Unseelie Court
The Dark Elves of Hibernia
Long before the Veil was created by the Elves and the Lurikeens, the forces of Nature and of Magic were as one, existing in harmony throughout all of Hibernia. Several locations in the emerald isle were crisscrossed with ley lines forming Nodes of extreme power and tranquility, most of which could be found in locations of extreme natural and ethereal beauty. The fey and mortals alike of Hibernia were drawn to these locations as the Nodes provided mystical insight and peace of mind to those who knew how to open themselves to them. The inherently magical creatures of the realm could nourish themselves on the arcane sustenance that was always plentiful within these nexuses of ley lines.
Due to the miraculous properties of these Nodes, many made shrines and temples to the Celtic gods of old, as the denizens of Hibernia felt that their connection to their gods and goddesses were stronger while in the presence of the ley lines. Likewise the inherent magic within the Fey were augmented greatly while in close proximity to these fonts of enchantment. Serene nestled groves dedicated to pantheons of Nature gods and mysterious towers built to study and harness the power of the Ether were tended by creatures of Nature and Magic alike, such as the Celts, Firbolgs, Elves and Lurikeens. Sadly, though the forces of Nature and Magic existed in peace, the children of such powers did not.
Despite the ongoing struggle between the races of Hibernia, a great monument was created by the Elves. This monument was a castle called Marrach Briollag and was lovingly built by the combined magics and abilities of several Elven Houses and allied Lurikeens upon an exceptionally potent Node.
Two elves in particular lead the effort in creating Marrach Briollag. Lord Nemanach and Lady Moriath of House Seun both were exceptionally talented workers of magic as were many in their House and they were instrumental in erecting the enchanted castle. For a short time after Marrach Briollag was completed, Nemanach, Moriath and the majority of House Seun dwelt in peace with the other noble Houses and allies who would visit or take up residence in the castle.
Before long however, other forces became interested in claiming Marrach Briollag, not only for its beauty, but for its location upon the powerful Node. Both the Unseelie and Seelie Court made political maneuverings towards House Seun, trying to win the House that they saw as having the most influential hold over the castle to their allegiance. Nemanach and Moriath had no desire to pledge fealty to either the Court of Summer Light or the Winter Court of the Dark, wishing instead to keep both at a distance, remaining neutral and keeping Marrach Briollag safe and unspoiled.
Whereas agents of the Seelie Court respected such decisions overall, the diplomats of the Unseelie were not quite so understanding. The Unseelie knew, through spies and informants, that House Seun had begun to take on a caretaker role for not only the treasured castle, but also for the people that had aided them in constructing it and who still lived within. The more both Courts had expressed interest and began applying pressure for a decision, the more Nemanach and Moriath grew paranoid concerning the intentions of their kin and what fate would befall their new extended family.
A ruthless Unseelie noble, Lord Ferghal of House O'Ciardha, used such information to devise a wicked plan and planted seeds of suspicion and distrust within House Seun that only stoked the flames of their paranoia to a new height. The false conspiracies and complex webs of deceit that Ferghal and his lackeys spun in Marrach Briollag did not involve House Seun however; instead the carefully implemented treachery insinuated that the members of other Elven Houses, that shared the halls with Nemanach and Moriath, were plotting to overthrow their Elven caretakers and claim the castle for themselves. The subterfuge did not stop there however, as Ferghal worked his lies upon said Houses as well. The Elves that they targeted did not possess the fortitude to withstand the subtle, corrupting magics of the Unseelie that were only enhanced in the presence of the Node. The insidious cantrips in conjunction with the venomous lies claiming that House Seun saw the other Houses as inferior and nothing better than servants was very effective in enflaming the proud people into an indignant rage.
In a very short time the labors of Ferghal came to fruition, and open hostilities began within the hallowed walls of Marrach Briollag. House Seun, with their control over the magics of Marrach Briollag and conveniently sudden aid of the Unseelie, overpowered the other Elves and Lurikeens, exiling them from Marrach Briollag forever.
After the conflict in Marrach Briollag was over, Nemanach and Moriath withdrew almost completely from contact with the other Houses and Courts of the Fey. Much to Ferghal's chagrin his plan only half worked. Where he had hoped that Nemanach would trust the Unseelie more after their aid in overthrowing the 'rogue' Houses and join them, the whole ordeal only threw the Lord and Lady into a descending spiral of sorrow, distrust and pain.
For some time Marrach Briollag was shrouded in an obscuring mist, fueled by the magic of House Seun and the Node, keeping others from finding it, up until the time when a great council held by the Elven race drew even Nemanach and his people out of hiding. It was there that the Elves came to the conclusion to create the Veil to attempt a more peaceful separation between themselves and the mortals of Hibernia. Nemanach and many others agreed to this although several wished to bring favored structures and places through the Veil into the Otherworld.
With the assistance of the few remaining allied Elven Houses from the other side of the Veil, the inhabitants of Marrach Briollag used powerful spells to begin the process of pulling the castle into the Otherworld only to find that halfway through the Veil Marrach Briollag was caught between the intense holds of the realms of Nature and Magic. With communication lost from both sides of the Veil, Nemanach and Moriath were trapped inside their beloved castle and were eventually forgotten by their own kin.
Horrified at their predicament, the already deeply suspicious Elves of House Seun blamed their fellow Elves for sabotaging and purposefully jailing them in revenge for their refusal to partake in the politics of the Courts and reluctance to open Marrach Briollag to outsiders.
As time moved on, the forgotten and imprisoned Elves became increasingly bitter and full of spite. The intensely magical nature of the Veil, being highly mutable and receptive to the emotion and thoughts of those who transverse it, took on a much darker appearance which in turn affected the castle itself. Marrach Briollag turned into a mockery of what it used to be, a twisted image of the beautiful, enchanting castle that it once was in Hibernia. Likewise the more hate and suspicion that welled up within the Elves, the more the Veil fed upon it and fueled that darkness into the Elves themselves. Over time their image changed to match that of Marrach Briollag and the darkness within their own hearts and souls.
Nemanach, in a rage at the situation he and his people were confined in, forever damned the name of his entire House and took on a new name that he felt was more fitting for his forsaken kin. House Seun was bade no more and House S'gath was created at his command as the dark elves took strength in all that was left to them, they embraced their new nature and began to revel in it. To further mock their despised and ironic existence of being trapped in the very place they had hid themselves in for so many years, Nemanach and Moriath declared themselves King and Queen over Marrach Briollag and claimed sovereign over their little domain in the vast Veil.
For centuries the now xenophobic dark elves have dwelled within their prison inside the Veil, mastering the mutable properties of the Veil which allows them to project their inner demons through illusory means upon their enemies. They have channeled the magic of the Veil to provide sustenance to Marrach Briollag, which acts like a cancerous tumor that slowly spreads its corrupting tendrils into the Veil surrounding it. The castle itself is alive with a malignant sentience and acts through its stone gargoyles, protecting its caretakers from all who would trespass into their domain.
Unfortunately for the people of Hibernia who now have a path opened within the Veil thanks to the Shar, Marrach Briollag has been discovered again, although those who may remember it will find its inhabitants are drastically changed and even less receptive than they once were.
What House S'gath and its dark elves plan to do with this new access to both the Otherworld and Hibernia, no one can say. What is known is that agents from the Seelie and Unseelie Courts have been dispatched into the Veil to verify the intent of their lost kin, and to see if anything can be salvaged from past mistakes.
The Scaanagh of Hibernia
The Shar, desperate for aid against their evil brethren, used their magic to force open a portion of the Veil itself so that the mundane races of Hibernia could transverse the barrier separating the world of nature and the world of magic. It was the hope of the Shar that the mundane races would assist them in defending their labyrinthine home. But the portions of the Veil that had been buttressed open by the Shar became tainted, similar to the way that the Veil was warped and darkened where it touched upon the Shar Labyrinth. The Shar were fully aware of the effect their magic had on the Veil, though such things mattered not to them. What they did not know, however, was that the Veil's very purpose would manifest in a more direct and dark manner to counteract the intentions of the Shar.
When the Elves created the Veil, they did so for the express purpose of keeping the mundane, non-magical races out of the Otherworld. That purpose, fueled by the immense will of the Elves, still thrives within the very fabric of the Veil to this day.
Now, as the mystical barrier seeks to close itself again, the areas of the Veil that have been solidified and kept open by the Shar are starting to chip and fracture. Ever so slightly, these fractures are setting ethereal shards of the Veil free. Derived from the will of the Elves, tainted by the evil of the Shar, and fueled by the magic of the Veil itself, these fragments exist with a purpose. They have formed themselves into distorted reflections of the beings who trespass through their domain. Slightly translucent, warped images of Firbolgs, Lurikeens, Celts and Sylvans along with flawed, spectral replicas of Elves and the Shar now walk throughout the breeched sections of the Veil.Their goal is to push back the trespassers and restore the Veil to its proper state of existence.
The first Hibernians who came into contact with these entities have called them the Scaanagh, Those beings of flesh and blood have been fending off the sporadic, unorganized raids of the magical Scaanagh as best they can while attempting to navigate the ethereal passes of the Veil.
The Scaanagh's enemies were not limited only to those Hibernians who have heeded the Shar's call for aid. The inhabitants of Marrach Briollag are also anathema to the Scaaagh, and the castle itself has long been a gaping wound in the Veil's fabric. The Veil has taken on a more active and direct role in performing the purpose it was created for – that of separating the Otherworld and the lands and people of Hibernia.. The dark elves within Marrach Briollag received the long overdue attention they warranted. The castle sat precariously within the Veil, ripped and torn apart by the pull of the two worlds it had ties to.
However, the dark elves were more than able to withstand the Scaanagh; in fact, some amongst them used their time in the Veil to their advantage, by using their knowledge of the Veil to masterr the Veil creatures. After all, it was partially the power of the Elves themselves that created the Veil, and as such they learned to control the very Scaanagh that tried to purge them from their domain. Though not all of the Scaanagh are controlled by the Dark Elves, all the Scaanagh near Morrach Briollag have fallen under Dark Elven sway.
How long the other trespassers of the Veil will be able to hold off the Scaanagh remains to be seen, as the new direction bestowed upon the fragments of the Veil by the Dark Elves have made them an even more dangerous threat.
The Unseelie Court
The forces of the Unseelie have remained dormant for far too long in Hibernia, at least that is exactly what they would have the people of the realm believe. In truth, the Unseelie have always used a vast network of spies to keep abreast of the latest news and activities within Hibernia's courts and centers of power. With this knowledge, they have set all of their enemies, including Midgard and Albion, against each other. This has aided them in solidifying their own power base, so that when they are ready, they can put their mysterious goals into action and be unstoppable.
The Unseelie have been keeping a close eye on the activities of the Shar ever since the Shar Queen placed a call for assistance in the war against the mysteries of the Underground Forest. Though there are Shar traitors, along with members of every other Hibernian race, within the Unseelie Court, the Unseelie knew very little about the true situation within the Shar Labyrinth.
What the Unseelie do know, however, is that the Shar have created a stable opening between the natural world and the Otherworld which finally allows passage to those in the Court who were unable to transverse the Veil before. Not only that, but within the section of the Veil forced open by the Shar, a long lost Elven treasure was rediscovered: the castle Marrach Briollag.
The Unseelie Court has sent agents to investigate this opening and to learn more about the Shar developments. They have multiple goals and interests that revolve around this phenomenon. The Court wishes to claim and secure the passages through the Veil for themselves. Controlling such a resource would put the Court in a very powerful position indeed, as well as grant self-controlled access for their non-magical members. The Unseelie also wish to make contact with the dark elves within Marrach Briollag. Their goal is to offer an alliance to the dark elves and indoctrinate them into the Court. If they refuse, they will be removed as a threat or potential obstacle. The Unseelie Court would then lay claim to Marrach Briollag and use it as a staging point and stronghold for the conquest of the Veil.
Currently the Unseelie are only sending small parties to the Veil for reconnaissance with the inhabitants of Marrach Briollag. They will be quick to eliminate any non-Unseelie that they come across, for their plans must not be discovered prematurely.
The History of the Bainshee and Vampiir
Legend tells that long ago, before the Firbolgs and Celts had come to Hibernia, it was the Elves ruled the realm, led by the guidance and wisdom of the Seelie Court. One among the members of this court was Leanansidhe, whose great intellect and curiosity led her to begin strange, secret experiments on the creatures that shared the realm with the Elves. When this was discovered, the other Elves of the council were troubled greatly, for in her pursuit of knowledge, Leanansidhe showed no respect for the sanctity of life and the need for harmony and balance in nature. She refused the Court's order to cease her experiments, and was banished.
Bitter and resentful, Leanansidhe swore to avenge herself. She used her newfound understanding, coupled with her considerable magical skills to create a new race she called the Shar. These she fashioned loosely after the Elves, trading the wisdom, beauty and grace of that fair people for belligerence, hostility, and a fearsome, aggressive appearance. As the other races of Hibernia began to make their way into the realm, Leanansidhe broadened the scope of her twisted experiments. She bred monsters called Bainshee, half-living semi-wraiths capable of wielding destructive magic, and Vampiir, essence-draining warriors that sucked the very life from those they fought.
Enraged, the Hibernian gods sent their followers against Leanansidhe's forces and all but destroyed them. Leanansidhe fled into hiding, abandoning her armies. The Shar people, now leaderless, retreated to the far corners of the world and would not be seen again for thousands of years.
For the Vampiir and Bainshees, Leanansidhe had a special mission. In the final hour before her defeat, those who had survived the war with the mortal races were ordered to disguise themselves and infiltrate the societies of the enemy. As generations passed, she hoped, the Vampiir and Bainshee bloodlines would mix with those of their hosts, so that Leanansidhe's power would be disseminated throughout much of the Hibernian population. In this manner, she might be able to someday control those who carried the bloodline.
For thousands of years, the Seelie Court watched vigilantly for Leanansidhe's return. By this time, the Vampiir and Bainshee bloodlines had become so diffuse that Leanansidhe has no power whatever over the heirs to the original creatures. The Shar, left to fend for themselves, had long since forgotten their creator, and the true nature of their origin became a mystery. Similarly, the Elves forgot their old enemy, and so it was that when their descendants encountered the Shar, they did not recognize them as old enemies.
Now that evil forces from deep beneath the Earth have launched an attack on Hibernia, the resulting crisis has given Leanansidhe the perfect opportunity to return to Hibernia. Presenting herself to the Shar Queen as a powerful sorceress, the cunning Elf offered to aide the besieged Hibernian peoples in their struggle. The Shar Queen agreed to seek an audience with the leaders of Hibernia and take Leanansidhe along. There, she informed the council that the peoples of Hibernia possessed ancient hidden powers of which they had lost all knowledge. Intrigued, the leaders of the realm agreed to meet again in a month to see proof. Leanansidhe used the time to seek out and train a number of individuals in whom she detected a trace of her own power. When the assembled leaders saw firsthand what the Vampiir and Bainshees could do with only a month's training time, they agreed to give her whatever she needed. Soon, Leanansidhe dozens of trainers were venturing forth to unlock the dormant powers of those carrying the ancient powers of the Vampiir and Bainshee.
Much to her chagrin, however, Leanansidhe soon discovered that she had miscalculated. The Vampiir and Bainshee bloodlines had become so diffuse over time that she could not exert any control over them at all. She had unwittingly aided her sworn enemies, and this fact drove her already-demented mind into complete madness. She fled the realm and was not seen again.