The Eldari were an ancient race that once dominated the entirety of Aenar, long before the rise of the Duvian Imperium. The Eldari Dominion was the pinnacle of civilization, with immense advancements in architecture, craftsmanship, and the arcane arts. Much of what humanity understands of magic comes from studying the few remaining Eldari texts and ruins--though it is still unclear what remains unknown of Eldari magic.
The greatest mystery of the Eldari is their sudden collapse. Though they had reigned supreme over Aenar for thousands of years, all evidence points to a collapse that took place within a single century. Modern scholars are still divided over what could have possibly caused such a rapid collapse of the mighty Eldari Dominion, with some arguing that the Eldari were in fact the first victims of the Daemoni, before the first recorded Razing in 236 AF. Others, primarily those associated with the Luminary of the Creator, holding that the Eldari were punished by the Creator for their arrogance and possibly overstepping their place with magic. Either way, most scholars date the collapse to roughly a thousand years before the founding of the Duvian Imperium.
Eldari culture was heavily centered around skill, with a rigid meritocracy dominating Eldari society. This applied to all talents, with Eldari social classes based on five categories of vocations: arcane, artisan, martial, art, and agriculture. Each class was led by the an elected member, who represented that class in the Eldari's central governing authority: the Council of Archons.
The Arcane class was comprised of those who were highly skilled with magic, powerful mages and scholars who unravelled the mysteries of the Aetherium. Eldari mages were among the most influential of the social classes, with all Eldari respecting the power the mages wielded.
The Artisan class was made up of skilled craftsman, architects, masons, carpenters and smiths who constructed wonderous artifacts--some of which have survived even to this day. Eldari weapons are prized among modern Aean warriors, ageless pieces of battle which puts modern weapons to shame. Together with the mages, the Eldari artisans were able to construct their greatest surviving creation: the Great Titans, which are currently used to defend the Imperium's capital, Numenex.
The Martial members of Eldari society were among the deadliest individuals in Aea's long history. Eldari hunters were said to have moved soundlessly, able to stalk prey like the wind or shadows. Even the most fearsome great dragon was wary of taking on a contigent of Eldari battlemasters, who were able to combine martial and magical skills in their combat. The later Praetori Imperators attempted to achieve the level of prowess that the battlemasters wielded, with few achieving such a feat.
Those among the Art class produced such awe-inspiring pieces of beauty that modern Aeans pay mountains of gold to own the few remaining works. Some worked closely with the artisans to add a level of nearly divine beauty to Eldari structures. The ancient capital of Eldaris, Raemia'antus, still remains one of the most beautiful cities of Aea.
The lowest class of Eldari society was those in the Agriculture class. This was the largest class of the Eldari, with those who could not achieve success in other skills falling in. Eldari farmers cultivated crops from across Aea, responsible for feeding the entirety of the civilization.
Little is understood of Eldari religion, or possibly lack there of. It is still debated whether the Eldari followed a system of ancestor worship or if they actually followed a pantheon of gods. What is clear is that the Eldari revered a group of beings referred to as the Magnari, beings who symbolized the height of ability in the five merits. Some scholars theorize that these were in fact just Eldari who achieved acclaim and high skill, while others believe them to be the Eldari gods. Magnari roughly translates as "paragons" or " the high ones", a translation that has caused much of the confusion regarding the Magnari's role in Eldari society.
The modern Elvari are also unclear in the role of the Magnari, though they have chosen to worship them as gods, alongside their reverance for their fallen ancestors.
Fall of the EldariEdit
As previously stated, the collapse of the Eldari civilzation is one of the great mysteries of Aea. There are several competing theories among modern scholars, with evidence supporting each possibility.
Some scholars have postulated that the Eldari were the first victims of the Daemoni. Humanities experiences during the Razings have led credibility to this theory, with human civilization brought to the brink of collapse several times by the relentless Daemoni. Supporters of this theory argue that it helps explain the scarcity of Eldari artifacts in the modern era, believing that the destruction the Daemoni are known for wiped out Eldari cities.
Some even argue that the Eldari are responsible for the Daemoni. They point to the physical traits of the Daemoni as evidence that the a portion of the Eldari were transformed into proto-Daemoni, bringing down the Eldari from within.
The official doctrine of the Faith of the Creator holds that the Eldari were the first children of the Creator, who sought to create a perfect race, after his failure with the spirits of the Aetherium. However, over time, the Eldari--much like humanity--forgot their Creator, worshipping the Magnari instead and placing too much emphasis on magical prowess. As punishment for this heresy, the Creator brought about the collapse of the Eldari--either through divine wrath or the unleashing of the Daemoni. Luminarians have used the collapse of the Eldari as a warning to tPhose who would stray from the faith: an example of the power and wrath of the Creator. The Duvian Luminary has challenged this doctrine, supporting the Eldari-Daemoni theory instead. This is one of the chief divisions between the two churches, among others.
The Fall of Eldaris left a shadow of the former civilization. Eldari cities were left barren ruins, eerie reminders of the lost culture.
Those that survived later became the Elvari, more commonly known as Elves. These survivors paled in comparison to their ancestors. The Elvari have struggled to regain and maintain the lost knowledge of the Eldari, though with the fall of their own nation to the Imperium in 105 AF, their quest has seen difficulties.