Descriptions of the Sidhai and the Yadhai as GURPS racial packages may be found on the Races page.

On the Second Day of Creation, Lindelona created 100 elves, evenly split between male and female. Of these, two were corrupted by Ntono's intervention; these two bred true, creating the Yadhai who were driven out of elven society a thousand years later. Despite the millennia of separation since that day, there are striking similarities between the two cultures.

The Sidhai

Racial Personality: Behind the Sidhai are two driving forces: family and forest. Their creator goddess, Lindelona, is also goddess of the forests, and they as a people are sworn to protect and maintain the forest ecosystems. They are not required to live primitively, but in fact enjoy one of the highest standards of living on the Jadiwan. However, they eschew many of humanity's traditional methods of dealing with the environment in favor of more holistic and "green" methods.

In addition to their fervor for the forest, the Sidhai respect and almost obsess on the family. Pregnancy and childbirth is a long and often uncertain process for them, so children are treasured, nurtured and fiercely protected. Those elven women who bear more than five children in their long lifetimes automatically gain a level of Status as a "mother of many".

Parallelling the focus on children is the focus on lineage and heritage, which almost reaches the level of ancestor worship. Any given elf knows enough of geneology to track his ancestry back to two or more of the original 100 Sidhai from the day of creation. The entire Sidhas socio-political structure is based around the clans and families that have evolved over the millennia. The entire Sidhai nation is viewed as a single huge extended family, with the King and Queen of the Sylvan Confederation viewed as "parents" for the entire nation. Even the priesthoods and their mages are regarded as separate clans, with their own status and lineages.

Although omnivorous, the Elves prefer a vegetarian diet. Meat is a rare supplement, as they hunt only to cull excess population in the forest. Among their many ideals, pacifism is one of their highest philosophical goals, but sadly, it is rarely achieved in this modern era.

Politics: The Sylvan Confederation (in Sidhaisin, O tamanai ad o amedhynel de o hilys, literally, "The Brotherhood of the Forest-Dwellers") is a loose organization of individual settlements with a surprisingly low-key central government. On the local level, towns and city-states are broken down along clan lines, with a single clan acting as the governing body for the settlement. This is usually the clan which originally pioneered the town, but control can change over time as the fortunes of one clan or another wax and wane. All the other clans in the settlement send representatives to the house of the leading clan, to see to it that their views and concerns are known to the leaders. Of course, this arrangement can be far from harmonious, with interclan rivalries and infighting, but cooperation -- either grudging or willing -- is usually the rule.

The national level resembles the local level, only on a larger scale. At the top is the royal clan, as expressed in the King and Queen. The rulers are surrounded by the royal family and a body of advisors, including the Archpriest of Lindelona and the local High Priest of Maire.

However, the royal clan does not rule in isolation. They are surrounded by the Court, a body of representatives. Each settlement that has two or more clans selects an individual to go to the court. (Also, non-elven members of the Confenderation have their own representatives at the court as well.) The Court is not a parliament or congress in the human sense but rather, in the words of one human observer, "just a bunch of people in a big room, all talking and arguing." The royal family rules by fiat, able to make laws at will, but the individual settlements, in the persons of their representatives, are always consulted first and a consensus determined. The king and queen rarely make an "official" move that is not approved of by at least a goodly number of the city-states.

A city-state is not required to participate in the Court, and a representative may walk out (or be withdrawn) at any time to express disagreement with a new policy or law. Such a move is seen as a vote of "no-faith" and is in theory considered to weaken any remaining consensus; the settlement is essentially seceding from the Confederation because of how strongly they disagree.

However, at any given time, at least one city-state or other settlement is in secession, over one issue or another. Little concern is given until at least two representatives withdraw from the Court for a given reason.

Religion: Elven religious orientation is towards two goddesses. Lindelona is their primary goddess, but Maire the Earthmother also receives great veneration, as the matrix of life without which the blessed forest would not exist. Respect, but little actual worship, is also paid to Borah, for her starlight was employed by Lindelona in the crafting of the elves.

The question of whether Lindelona created the elves to protect the forests, or took the sphere of forests because her elves chose to dwell there is at this time unanswerable. Her priests maintain that it is irrelevant. However, it is clear that the elven duty to forests is at its heart a religious expression of their role as Lindelona's hands on Narth.

Architecture: The only material from which the Sidahi build is living wood, using both magic and a skill that might be called "megabonsai". Their cities and towns look like nothing more than monumental forests. Buildings are typically in tree-tops, with walls sculpted from the trunks of trees or woven of living branches. The heaviest traffic may flow at ground level, but the rest runs through paths built through the branches.

Technology: The Sidhai have developed late TL5 technology -- as typified in the revolver and the Winchester-style rifle. Other devices in prominent use are steamships, railways, and a paramagical telegraph employing lightning pseudo-elementals. The Sidhai also have a good grasp of Mendellian breeding techniques, and are beginning to research the basis of genetics.

The Sidhai protect their technological secrets jealously. There is a permanent embargo on the sale of firearms to non-elves, with the exception of the Dwarves, whose engineers have made significant contribution to the elven state-of-the-art. Violators of the embargo are ruthlessly pursued and killed, as are non-elven or -dwarven individuals who are found owning embargoed weapons. The contraband weapons are either brought back to the Confederation or destroyed.

Relations With Other Races: The Sidhai and the Dwarves have an alliance that dates back to the early days after Devastor. As old enmities were abandoned in the face of human persecution, the two races discovered that they complemented each other both economically and in personality. There is currently a mutual defense pact between the two races, which is expressed in arms sales to the dwarves by the Confederation, and the placement of dwarven colonies in the mountains that surround the Confederation. These colonies have been granted total ownership of the mountains and their contents in exchange for acting as perimeter guards and first line of defense for the Confederation, and the colonists have been granted dual citizenship in the both Confederation and Bukkaazmur. The elves and dwarves find that they have in each other hungry markets for their arts and industy, and the Sidhai sell their agricultural surpluses to the dwarves.

The elven language is called Sidhaisin; an online reference to it is available.

The Yadhai

Yadhai, short for Yadhas Sidhai, or "Dark People", is the name the Sidhai give to their long-banished cousins. The Dark Elves actually call themselves Enasotae -- "the Forsaken Ones" (Sidhaisin Inasothai).

History: They were driven underground by the Sidhai barely a thousand years after the Second Day of Creation, when their taint became obvious to their cousins. A return to the upper world became central to their religious beliefs, with a body of fable and lore accompanying it. Despite their corruption by Ntono, they still bore within them the connections to the stars and the forests that came from Borah's starlight and Lindelona's design. They longed to see the night sky and stars again, and never stopped feeling the desire to return home to the land where they were created. These twin desires became a driving force within them, spiritually, culturally and personally.

During the millennia after their banishment, they dwelt away from the starlight, underground -- until the aftermath of Devastor. When rampaging hordes of humans drove the Sidhai out of their ancient forest homeland and seized it, the Dark Elves, both desirous and protective of those lands, boiled up out of their caverns to slay the human desecrators and reclaim what was once theirs.

But they found that they were no longer fit for the lands that they coveted after; they had adapted to life underground far too well. They beseeched Ntono to help and the god, in his own twisted fashion, answered by cloaking the former Sidhai homeland with a permanent cloud cover that rendered full daylight no brighter than twilight, but prevented the Yadhai from seeing the long-desired night sky. At the same time, he altered the nature of the ancient forests of that land to thrive in the half-light.

For this the Yadhai were very grateful, for even after thousands of years underground they still felt the urge to protect and guide the great woods. Like their cousins, they are adept at sculpting and guiding entire forests. They maintain the forests of their new homeland with all the devotion and care that the Sidhai did, and the land is indeed still beautiful, but it is a vaguely disturbing and haunting beauty, entrancing and unsettling both.

Racial Personality: The Yadhai are a warped reflection of the Sidhai. Some of their drives are the same, particularly in regards to the forest and its ecosystem -- a legacy of their creation -- but others vary dramatically. For instance, while family is important, it is not nearly the obsession it is for the Sidhai. Their connection to other Yadhai is more generalized, more of a sense of brotherhood than clan membership, and they have an utter hatred of all non-Yadhai, resulting in a clique-like connection even between strangers. Their government is subsequently very cohesive.

Politics: The internal politics of the Yadhai nation (whose proper name is not actually known by the other countries of the Jadiwan) are not certain. It is known that they are a monarchy, and that while there are many jockeying factions, it is surprisingly low in actual outright inter-party conflict. Settlements appear to be fairly autonomous, as in the Sidhai model, but specifics are hard to come by.

Religion: The Sidhai veneration of Lindelona and Maire is reflected in the Yadhai worship of Ntono, who created their race with his intervention, and Friel, who granted them shelter underground. Untouched by their taint is the elven respect for Borah.

Architecture: Identical in basic methods and forms to that used by the Sidhai; even after all the time spent underground they retained all the skills taught them by Lindelona. However, as with their forest sculpture, the results are colored by their dark taint and are simultaneously beautiful and unnerving.

Technology: The Yadhai have gotten their technology from their human neighbors, and as a result are limited to low TL5. They have attempted to infiltrate the Sylvan Confederation in order to get more advanced weaponry, but so far these missions have failed.

Relations With Other Races: None. The Yadhai are so isolationist as to be xenophobic.

This page was created on October 16, 1997.
Last modified March 12, 2011.