Faewood, or <<Niche>>, is a tiny, curated Free Company created with an express focus on the narrative aspect of roleplay and caters almost exclusively to plot and character exploration. We enjoy dissecting and analyzing the Final Fantasy XIV story and the themes contained therein, and exploring our own stories within its context. True to our tag, we're a very <<Niche>> group of literature nerds and authors. Our goal is to cultivate an enabling creative environment and community for the stories players want to tell. We aim to encourage thought-provoking stories and cater to domestic and driven narratives that, for one reason or another, are difficult to home in a more traditional roleplay space. If you've ever been told 'Why don't you just write a book?' as a response to your character concepts and themes, we're right there with you. If you've ever caught yourself agonizing over tiny lore minutae wondering if you are overthinking, you probably are, but that's not a bad thing.Let's overthink and obsess over things together.
A potentially familiar name to War of the Magi scholars, Faewood does its enigmatic work under one Eirene Charbonneau, mired somewhere indiscernably between 'cult', 'coven', and 'custodian', orphaned somewhere in the sea of Gridanian aristocracy. A fief beheld to the Seedseers and their subordinates, the Faewood performs various secretive tasks on the Shroud's behalf as well as some of its own, serving as a base of operations and sole estate.
Blistering with eclectica, the Faewood sits as-yet unaccosted by the Elementals which rule over its domain or their earthly agents, seated snug atop a long-felled stump. For the most part, its denizens shelter in the safety of their secluded otherworld, hoarded secrets protected by yet more of the same. But every once in a while, when the stars are right and the Wood's heart is not, they intervene.
Contextual Gridania Lore (Compiled by Sounssy)
Sounssy's Lore Compilation on Nophica
Sounssy's Lore Compilation on Gridanian politics, laws, military structure, civics, etc.
Sounssy's Lore Compilation on Gridanian beliefs, Hearers, druids, wildlings, woodsin, Greenwrath, etc.
A preliminary source: PAX 2 Koji Fox on Gelmorra/Duskwight (Starts at 02:53:22, ends at 02:56:22)
PAX West Lore panel 2017: But you had a giant city underground that needed pretty much everyone in it to keep it running. But when 75% of the population leaves, things start to decay. They tried their hardest, but things started to break down. Things couldn't be fixed. They couldn't make new things. Not enough people were there to tend to the Mun-tuy farms so they started running low on food. Even though they wanted to stay, they were forced out. They still blame that on the Wildwood Elezen and the Hyur because if they hadn't left they still would've had their civilization. The loss of their civilization wasn't instant, it happened over many generations, and it was something that really drove the Duskwights to hate the Wildwoods.
A compilatory source: Sounssy's Lore Compilation on Gelmorra
We would have just embed it for you, but Twitch apparently really doesn't like card embedding and it was either make you click or have it autoplay the moment you load the page. Sorry about that.
Gelmorra, the Underworld, and the Duskwight
Hi. This section a complete disambiguation of every piece of Gelmorran lore we know of, taken verbatim from every source we can find. This is the baseline for all information contained elsewhere. While some of the wiki is by necessity fanon, this section is supposed to elaborate on all pieces of the canon we have.
What we KNOW: What's absolutely canon?
In the latter 7th century of the Sixth Astral Era, (6AE 650+) the second migration of Hyur came upon Eorzea, forcing Elezen from their lands and into the Black Shroud. The elementals looked upon these settlers as intruders and sought to purge their presence from amongst the trees. The Duskwight surviving the elementals' existence knew not what attacked them. In time, they realized what had befallen their people, and sought respite from the merciless onslaught in the caverns deep beneath the forest. They escaped annihilation — but at the cost of many Elezen lives.Fifty years later, (6AE 700), population growth pushed the Hyur to enter the forest as well. Upon finding people already ensconced underground, they challenged the Elezen for ownership of the habitable caves. Quarrel soon led to conflict, and the two races came to cross blades time and again.Though this conflict raged for decades, overtures towards peace had begun by around the year 6AE 740. Realizing they had a common goal in avoiding the elementals' hostile gaze, the Hyur and Elezen put aside their differences. The two war-weary races sealed a pact, that both might prosper beneath the Twelveswood. The fruit of their alliance was Gelmorra, a great subterranean city. For nearly three centuries, the Elezen and Hyuran labored to expand their home, burrowing between natural caves and shoring up the passages with walls of stone. In time, Gelmorra's intricate network of tunnels would come to put any antlings' nest to shame.Around 6AE 1020, however, a great change came over the Twelveswood. Since times of eld, the elementals had allowed the Ixal to live within their forest. Suddenly, however, they cast the beastmen from the Shroud. What caused such a radical change in the elementals? The commonly accepted reason is that the Ixal population had grown too great for their area of the forest to support. In enlarging their territory, they cleared new land without the elementals' consent. For this defiance, exile was their reward.When the Gelmorrans learned of this, they realized that a chance was upon them to negotiate for land above ground. Those versed in magic gathered, seeking a way to commune with the elementals through their art.For a long while, the mages' attempts went unanswered. However, with perseverance came success. After fifty years of effort, (6AE 1070ish) they finally succeeded in relaying their wishes to the elementals. Upon understanding that Gelmorrans would defend the forest and live according to their laws, the elementals gave them permission to return to the light of day. As a blessing and proof of the accord, they bestowed a glowing light upon Jorin Lightheart, the Hyuran leader of the mages. Thus, the Gelmorrans abandoned the caves, and began building a home amidst the Jadeite Thick. They christened this new city Gridania.While the Hyur readily left the subterranean caverns behind, there existed those among the Elezen who refused to leave the home in which they'd dwelt for generations. Feeling betrayed by the Hyur as well as their fellow Elezen who went on to found Gridania, these stragglers struggled to maintain operations within Gelmorra.Gelmorra only functioned by the camaraderie between Hyur and Elezen, and with most of its population gone, the city-state soon (What does soon mean in this context? My best guess is ~1100) fell into disrepair despite their best efforts. While some of the Elezen chose to continue living in the dank, dark caverns, others were forced to integrate. These Elezen became known as the Duskwight, and the fate of Gelmorra has remained a cause of much consternation and strife between their people and the Midlanders and Wildwood Elezen."After the wanton misuse of aetheric energies that led to the great flood of the Sixth Umbral Era, magic became a forbidden art, and the Elementals of the Twelveswood would not suffer the presence of mankind. Driven underground, the Hyur and the Elezen grew to accept one another in the subterranean cities of Gelmorra.At long last the Gelmorrans learned to commune and cooperate with the elementals, bringing about the dawn of Conjury as we know it, as well as the earliest Padjal. As the people once more migrated to the forests above, they founded Gridania, and for centuries a tense but stable peace has been retained between mankind and elemental with the help of the Padjal and the "Hearers" (conjurers who can hear the elementals' words). The underground structures of Gelmorra fell into disuse, and now fester with hostile vilekin and seedkin.The Gelmorra ruins are of particular significance to the Duskwight Elezen. Given their physiology and social distrust, it is likely they remained within Gelmorra longer than the Wildwood and adapted to the darkness."TAM TARA DEEPCROFT
A large plant called the Caretaker ran its roots, collectively larger than most tree trunks in Black Shroud, through the First and Second Rings (levels) of this ancient necropolis. It, or rather the Elementals therein, watched over the slumbering dead in the numerous tombs branching off from the main tunnels.Larger tombs contain the sarcophagi of prominent figures in the Gelmorran civilization. On the lower Second Ring are the largest tombs, where the noble houses of Ak-Inik, Ak-Mena, and King Galvanth the Dominator rested. There were also unmarked tombs. The undead who walked there were likely servants, as is the case in the ARR version.The First Ring crawled with puks, but floating eyes, wild boars, and even toads had taken up residence there since its abandonment. Miqo'te toad poachers here are either protective of their hunting ground or wary of anyone who might engage them as enemies of the Black Shroud.A Realm Reborn
The Tam-Tara Deepcroft was changed dramatically in the new version. Rather than two floors of claustrophobic tunnels, the halls of the Deepcroft are now shown as dug out from the sides of an enormous cavern, with a broken ramp spiraling down to a platform below. Though the ramp itself has broken, the lower areas can be reached by traveling through the winding halls and broken walls.The zombies here, known as the Ak-Inik and Ak-Mena varlets (lancers and thaumaturges, respectively), are the servants of those two houses, but the true threats are the depraved Lambs of Dalamud that have begun their demon summoning rituals. Adventurers completing the dungeon interrupt the ceremony, which leads to the incomplete revival of Galvanth the Dominator, who curses his twisted Mindflayer form.THE THOUSAND MAWS OF TOTO-RAK
Named after a man-eating creature from Padjali folklore, the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak was built on the site of a natural cave system beneath Silent Arbor. Until recently it held all of Gridania's foulest criminals, from arsonists to poachers, but the completion of a newer gaol closer to the city heralded its abandonment.Whether or not this gaol originated in the time of Gelmorra, it is clearly built using the same subterranean architectural methods, particularly the stone masonry that is practically absent in wood structures of Gridania.As the Aetheric levels were far too high before the Calamity, adventurers were only permitted to enter for no longer than 30 minutes, but since the restriction has lifted. There are notes written on the walls detailing the demise of an investigation team and the gradual derangement of their leader, though most of them are now lost in the caved in portions. Before the Calamity the Garlean Empire set up devices that block off certain tunnels with force fields, each operated by four "photocells", which have been scattered throughout the dungeon.Though some of the tunnels have caved in, its layout is largely retained between both versions. The similarity is so strong, in fact, that the development team even included empty chests in places that once contained loot chests. However, added mechanics like sticky slime on the floors, diremite web traps, and explosive poison pods make it an early example of the much more dynamic dungeons the new game is capable of."Gelmorra Ruins"
Before the Calamity, the Gelmorra ruins were the only above-ground Gelmorran structure known to players. This landmark was one that few have seen in person, as it was near the Aetherial Gate of Lasthold, one of the most treacherous parts of the Black Shroud. It was teeming with Malboros and Efts and occasionally visited by Ixali Fencers.The Gelmorra Ruins consisted of a large platform with a 15-20yalm hole in the middle, surrounded by columns. If they were not ruined already, the Calamity made sure they matched their name, and now the entire platform is upset, half-buried, and utterly shattered. The small amber figures that surrounded the hole at regular intervals led to much speculation of Tonberries, but these have curiously disappeared.Issom-Har
The ruins of Issom-Har were once Gelmorra's residential district. The calamity tore a hole open leading into the ruins, and excavators have already built a ladder into them. A man named Rolandaix seeks to restore them for use by the Duskwights, so that they need no longer commit crimes to make ends meet."In the subterranean city of Gelmorra, deep within a forgotten corner of Issom-Har, stout-hearted explorers have uncovered the entrance to a labyrinthine dungeon. Those who set foot inside its maddening halls find their vigor drained by an irresistible fog of innervation, and repeated excursions have failed to map its seemingly inconstant architecture. After hearing chilling accounts of spectral denizens, locals took to whispering of a “Palace of the Dead,” and the Wood Wailers now seek the assistance of adventurers in laying bare its haunted secrets…"Mun-Tuy Cellars
Possibly the only part of the Gelmorran civilization to see continued use, the Mun-Tuy Cellars, are a labyrinth of passages and chambers used for making alcohol, particularly Mun-Tuy brew. The cellars each have unique sights with vats, bags of grain, or other wine-related things. Having fallen into disuse, the Mun-Tuy cellar were home to squirrels, wolves, and yarzons, among other things, but after the Calamity the Order of the Twin Adder cleared the vermin out. People have returned to the cellars to resume Mun-Tuy brew production, which is notably used in cooking.Post-calamity, very little is seen of the cellars; it is most notable at this point for being the primary passage point between the eastern and southern parts of the Shroud.Mun-Tuy products and the Velodyna Carp are the only two things that the Duskwight and Wildwood agree on.Duskwight Racial Description:
The Duskwight Elezen have spent centuries in the peace and seclusion of Eorzea's caves and caverns. They have developed an acute sense of hearing, capable of detecting the faintest of sound. The uncanny awareness this grants has proven advantageous in the field of hand-to-hand combat. Many (if not all) of the reclusive Duskwight resort to robbery and pillaging to survive, earning them the scorn of their woodland relatives.Like their Wildwood cousins, Duskwight Elezen are slender of body and long of limb, with males and females often reaching heights of greater than eighty and seventy-seven ilms, respectively. They also share their elongated lifespans and slightly-delayed physical maturity. While there are few differences between the genders, Duskwight males are often regarded as more stern and authoritative, while females are regarded as more passionate and unyielding.Generations of calling shadowy caverns home have caused their skin to generally take on darker hues. For this selfsame reason, they possess an evolved sense of hearing—their ability to ascertain the source of a sound with unerring accuracy, unaffected by echoes or reverberations, often likened to that of a bat. This natural gift grants them an uncanny awareness, which many have put to exemplary use in the field of hand-to-hand combat.The customs of the subterranean city of Gelmorra are still practiced by the Duskwight to this day, from architectural advances developed to stake out comfortable residences in dank, humid caves to mystical wards that serve to stave off the wrath of the elementals. The Duskwight-fashioned pomanders—urns engraved with mystic glyphs of great power and filled with fragrant herbs - are an art without parallel in the realm. Duskwight cuisine is famous for its use of Mun-Tuy beans, a staple food in the subterranean depths, where they grow in abundance with no need for sunlight. That these dishes have come to be considered a Gridanian delicacy is an ironic twist, given the history between the two clans.Gridanians have long perceived the Duskwight as outcasts and brigands, as many of them resort to common theft and banditry to make ends meet. Some Duskwight still dream of restoring a measure of prosperity to the fallen city of Gelmorra, reestablishing it as a settlement for their people to remedy this situation."However, for many of the Elezen, Gelmorra had become their home, and the ancestors of the Duskwight refused to leave the city they'd created and felt betrayed by the Hyur and their fellow Elezen. Prideful in their city and civilization, those who remained attempted to continue operating Gelmorra. The task proved impossible, as three-quarters of their population had left nearly overnight; the systems put in place to make Gelmorra inhabitable began to break down, and could not be repaired for they lacked those with the skill to do so. Their Mun-Tuy farms lacked the requisite numbers to tend to them, and so their food supply ran low.Over generations, they struggled and suffered in a vain attempt to maintain their beloved home. These years spent in dank, shadowy caverns caused their skin to take on darker hues over time. Some among them still blame the plight of their lost civilization on their Wildwood cousins and the Hyur of Gridania, with particular spite directed towards the Wildwood. Many Wildwood, failing to understand this animosity, later came to see the Duskwight as undesirable due to their stereotypical connection with brigandry in the Twelveswood."Symbology
The current symbol of Gridania, the white lily indicative of the Gelmorran's pact with the elementals on a yellow standard symbolizing the elementals' power flooded through the land and sealed by two serpents representing the pact of Hyur and Elezen is a Gelmorran symbol. The only difference between the standards is that Gelmorra did not feature a yellow standard (I headcanon it as purple, for royalty, or green for Nophica) and the lily is in fact either a lotus? or a ghostmaw? on the Gelmorran standards (I'm fond of the latter, but who knows; I've also heard someone call it a 'bouquet of mushrooms'. Who knows.)According to a Quarrymill levequest from a very biased Conjurer named Charline, all above-ground ruins of Gelmorra are to be destroyed at the elemental’s behest, but this seems suspect at best considering how heavily Gelmorran ruins feature in the Wood. "Of overgrown traces of Gelmorra, few remain to disturb the order of the forest, yet occasional ruins are still found that must needs be removed. What is under the forest may stay, but our laws decree that no stone of Gelmorra mar the home of the elementals."The amber which features predominantly in Gelmorran buildings is (possibly?) to avoid the gaze of the elementals and to dispel them should they attack. "Oh, and do remember to rub the soulstone against a sufficiently large concentration of amber, say, Amberscale Rock in the Central Shroud. Short of petitioning a mage versed in golem magicks, that is the only way I know to dispel the enchantments woven into a true heart." (Implied antimagic properties to some extent? To what extent? IDK, weird that the little not-tonberry statues guarding the Ruins were amber, though)
Elemental Housekeeping: “Of overgrown traces of Gelmorra, few remain to disturb the order of the forest, yet occasional ruins are still found that must needs be removed. What is under the forest may stay, but our laws decree that no stone of Gelmorra mar the home of the elementals.”Encyclopedia Eorzea - The Lancers’ Guild: “First used by ancient hunters, Elezen have held the lance in high regard since times of eld. Those who migrated to the Twelveswood were no different, and it is even said the polearm was the weapon of choice for those of royal blood in Gelmorra. The lance maintained its import in the founding of Gridania as well, gracing the hands of the newly-formed Wood Wailers.Warren’s Hold / Spirithold (1542 - 1572)Encyclopedia Eorzea - Spirithold: “A structure initially built in the days of Gelmorra, Spirithold has found new use as a prison to hold enemies of the forest while they await judgement - though whether the same can be said after the Calamity is unclear. Some also refer to the crumbling ruin as Warren’s Hold, after the cells’ first gaoler.”"The Raven"; Our ancestors once lived in fear of the elementals, concealing themselves within caverns that they might elude the wrath of the forest. This was in the age of Gelmorra, the subterranean city that was home to the first folk who dared set foot in the Twelveswood. Over time and through unceasing effort, the art of conjury was refined, and our cave-dwelling forebears finally succeeded in communing with the elementals. So it was that man was permitted to abide beneath the canopy of the forest, rather than within the dark of the earth.Madelle: “Conjury is the art of healing and purification. Its practitioners harness the power of nature, that they might bring about change in the form of spells. Primitive magic such as that once wrought by individuals known as mages─meaning those with the ability to manipulate aether─has existed since the dawn of time. It was not until some five centuries ago that conjury emerged from this shapeless agglomeration of spells and charms─an event which led to the founding of Gridania.In those dark days, the elementals would not suffer man’s presence in the Twelveswood, forcing our forebears to make their homes beneath the earth, in the great subterranean city of Gelmorra. But their desire to settle in the Twelveswood continued to burn fiercely; time and again they sought to curry the elementals’ favor. Unlike men and other creatures bound in temples of flesh, the elementals are beings of pure aether. Recognizing this, the mages of eld reasoned that their talent for aetheric manipulation might allow them to commune with these theretofore enigmatic entities.It took five long decades, but our forebears finally succeeded. Their reward: the elementals’ permission to dwell in the Twelveswood. So it was that the nation of Gridania was born. Since that time, the elementals have taught us to live as one with nature, speaking to all Gridanians through the Hearers─those mages who are able to commune with them. And for their intimacy with the elementals, the Hearers would go on to attain greater mastery over the forces of nature. Thus did they conceive the art of conjury.”Encyclopedia Eorzea - The Conjurers’ Guild: “The Fifth Astral Era saw a blossoming of magic, and grand civilizations arose with command over a thousand and one varieties of the arcane arts. However, after the War of the Magi triggered the Sixth Umbral Calamity, the practice of magic was strictly forbidden. Though much knowledge was lost, some modest magicks, low in risk and easy to wield, have survived into the present day.The Gelmorrans were the heirs to such small spells, and explored the arcane arts as best they could. The mages who first communed with the elementals learned much from the beings, particularly how to harness the forces of nature. From this grew a form of magic in Gridania known as conjury. Practitioners established the Conjurers’ Guild, and there instruct Hearers in their spells. From its founding, the guild has worked to prevent the dangerous abuse of magic, and today opens its doors even to adventurers seeking to learn of conjury.”Oha-Sok: “In that sentiment, thou art mistaken. Hast thou forgotten the pact of Gelmorra? The powers granted to the Padjal must not be used in conflict.”Encyclopedia Eorzea - Chronology:
1076 - “After much trial and error, the conjurer Jorin successfully communes with the elementals. Talks are held in Peacegarden, and the citizens of Gelmorra are permitted to live in the Black Shroud.”1077 - “The inhabitants of Gelmorra begin construction of the forest city of Gridania. The hamlet of Quarrymill is founded on the site where stone is cut and harvested for building materials.”1081 - “Brother Jorin’s wife bears him a son, who is born with two distinct round bumps on his head.”1084 - “The curious knobs on the head of Jorin’s eldest son grow into horns. He soon displays an ability to prophesy natural events—great rainstorms, blight in the apple orchards, and a plague of catfish—and is celebrated as a child of the gods.”
The patron goddess of Gelmorra is implied to be Nophica, the Matron. "世界観的な観点について 幻術という魔法体系はグリダニア（および、その前身であるゲルモラ）で、発展してきたものになります。そのどちらの都市においても、ノフィカを守護神として、特に大切に扱ってきました。そのため、これらのアビリティにノフィカを示す語を使用しております。For spell type of conjurer evolved from Gridania (and previous Gelmora?) Either city had Nophica as their guardian and took very good care of them. For that reason these abilities uses word that points to Nophica (goddess)". HOWEVER, this is 1.0 lore, so may be changed later.Some sources posit that Gelmorra revered conjurors and padjal as higher noble classes, but this directly conflicts with the idea that the moment conjurors became a successful thing (remember, conjurors get power from the elementals and padjal were born AFTER the exodus as a symbol of unity). I think that the nascent conjurors may have had respect from SOME of the population, but mostly the ones that were destined to become the Wildwood. The Duskwight themselves, if they had any respect at all in the start of the effort, certainly lost it afterwords.The pet 'Chigoe Larvae' says that Gelmorra originally used the chigoe to bleed people of their diseases, before realizing that was in turn causing diseases. No idea how relavent this is, but it's a thing.Full citation wiki pages with further citations for specifics of this summary; Console Games Wiki, Fandom on Duskwight, Fandom on Gelmorra, Gelmorra on Gamer Escape.Honorary mention to this tumblr by Leaves of Iron citing a lot of Sounssy's work. It's old and outdated. HOWEVER, it does have quest context, which is useful.A lot of proto-Ishgard lore is relevant to Gelmorra, because Ishgard was 'seeded' by the same culture of elezen (or it's concievable to imagine so) which made Gelmorra.You can find relavent lore on the subterranean umbral corruption and breakdown of reality at extreme depths from the Palace of the Dead, Antitower, and Aitiascope quest series.
This text is about the caverns beneath the Black Shroud, not to be confused with the Aetherial Sea, which is also referred to in canon as The Underworld.
The Underworld is a catchall term for all caverns and caves which stretch beneath the Black Shroud. Originally colonized in the latter half of the 7th century 6AE, it is an inhospitable and deadly place with uncertain geography. While primarily playing host to the Duskwight Elezen through till modern times, it was once home to the ancestors of contemporary Gridanian Midlander Hyur. The only known permanent Underworld settlement was the city of Gelmorra, though the possibility of pre-Gelmorran military settlements does exist.While it supports a large array of biomes and ecological variety, proximity to the Aetherial Sea (and the umbral polarity that emanates from it) renders most forms of life simultaneously empowered beyond their normal limits and suppressed to the mindsets of ravenous beasts. Aetherial polarization is a constant threat to all who dwell there, as are the vast majority of native fauna and even the Duskwight themselves.Historically, the land was difficult to map at the best of times; constant volcanic activity meant that caves and sometimes even entire biomes could be closed off from each other, migrate vast distances, or be destroyed completely. Landmarks were notoriously unreliable, and the constant threats from every aspect of its existence made it an unwelcoming place to outsiders. Very few ever entered the Underworld of their own accord, and of those, most were native residents.Entrances (and exits) to and from the Underworld were usually small and inconspicuous, for the most part narrow, natural openings created by the constant flux of the place's geography. It was indeterminable how long such exits would remain, and almost none were considered stable in any capacity. The few permanent throughways were jealously hoarded by the native Duskwight, making them nearly impossible to pass through.
|Location: The Underworld|
|Capital(s): Gelmorra (Defunct)|
|Rulers: Galvanth the Dominator (Deceased)|
|Major Settlements: Unknown|
|Races: Elezen (Duskwight), Hyur (Formerly)|
The Underworld had no aetherytes or magical entrances of any declension; if they once existed, the Gelmorrans destroyed them long ago. Whether this was to prevent others from following them in or to make certain the elementals did not track them into the Underworld is entirely up for speculation.Horizontally, the Underworld runs under the entirety of the Black Shroud, peeking in places to Gyr Abania and Coerthas. While Thanalan may be a possibility, no entrances have ever been found there.
The Nature of the Underworld
The Underworld is a hostile realm, filled with myriads of dangers to life. In truth, it is this very quality that rubs off on its denizens, leading them to darker, deeper truths and ever more grim necessities. All inhabitants of the Underworld learn quickly to kill without hesitation, or they will certainly be killed themselves. Even the most staunch of pacifists are forced to accept this truth or abandon their claim to the world below. Violence and death are not only a fact of life but a constant expectation and reminder; If the noxious fumes and hostile wildlife didn't do one in, the aetheric corruption surely would.With its proximity to the Aetherial Sea and the mothercrystal deep therein, the polarity that permeates the realm is the umbral force of stasis. It, and the other elemental aspects commonly found in the Underworld, provide a very potent risk of corruption for anything that braves its depths for too long. Over the years, most of its inhabitants have naturally adapted to the aetherial difference, maintaining a notably more umbral internal equilibrium than creatures from the surface.At extreme depths, the rules of magick - and indeed, the very world - seem to break down, and the Underworld is no exception. Due to its depth, many of the dweomers prepared on the surface tend to be unreliable and/or outright fail, and vice versa. Laws become little more than suggestions, allowing those therein to accomplish incredible feats beyond normal mortal limits.The deeper one goes, the more common one finds naturally occurring throughways into the Void, meaning that Voidsent are a common problem in the Underworld and giving rise to the myth that the Voidsent come from some subterranean hell. In some structures, such as the newly unearthed Palace of the Dead, there are whispers that the structure of reality has broken down so completely that even entities from completely unrelated worlds have found their way through, though this is just a rumor.As a largely lightless place, the Underworld warped most of its residents, forcing them to adapt to a life primarily based on hearing and touch rather than sight. Many of its native creatures simply cannot tolerate life on the surface, and most of them are averse to all forms of bright light to some respect. The brightest lights most Underworld creatures will ever see are the bioluminescent flora and the glowworms on the cavern ceilings, which give the appearance of a night sky.
Contrary to popular belief, the Underworld is not a singular vast open cavern but rather a series of connected caverns, caves, and chasms, much like a very large anthill. While large, open caverns do exist, no one cavern is entirely responsible for comprising the Underworld. When the Gelmorrans settled the Underworld, they worked to shore up the various caves and restore some stability to the inherently unstable region.Despite this, the Underworld remains notoriously unstable, made much worse by the recent Calamity. When Dalamud impacted the world, it injected much of its stored astral aether directly down into the planet's surface. Maps and other methods of navigating the realm were historically unreliable, as entire biomes and caverns could be born, migrated, or destroyed between back-to-back editions. Entrances and exits were similarly uncommon and unstable.The Underworld is comprised of many biomes, spanning the entire range of diversity from cold, snowy tundras to hot, volcanic wastelands. Precipitation comes in the form of runoff from the surface. However, the Underworld does not have weather patterns as the biomes might imply; unless the source dried up, the precipitation is constant, be it rain or snow, leading to little habitation of those areas.The Underworld was comprised of many layers stacked on top of each other like a sandwich. However, most natives divided the Underworld into three major regions, classified by their depth. While mostly existing independent of each other, some traumatic events such as calamities could force things deeper or higher, leaving an uncertain relationship between the actual contemporary depths of various structures.
True to their name, the Shallows were the region of caves closest to the surface and are primarily what intrepid explorers dare to brave today. With relation to the other layers of the Underworld, the Shallows were comparatively the safest and spanned from the surface to the Underworld. They sported the most biodiversity of the regions, as well as the least dangerous monsters. After the Fall of Gelmorra, many of the Duskwight migrated to the Shallows for both ease of access to the surface for raiding purposes and control over the entrances to the Underworld as well as the natural resources to be gleaned from the various biomes there. Like the biomes themselves, they also give rise to the most diversity among Duskwight, and most, if not all, surface Duskwight hail from the Shallows.
Sharing the overall name of the realm and sometimes called 'Asphodel,' the Underworld proper referred to the middle layer and was far more extensive than the Shallows above it. It was notably more unstable and sported much less biodiversity. Its biomes were primarily very cold or hot, and flora was uncommon, though not unheard of. It was here that the majority of the Underworld's denizens dwelled and where Gelmorra had been founded in days of eld. It was a dark place devoid of light. Natural pillars stretched from the ground to the cave roof in the more extensive caverns. It was here that the glowworms became a staple of the Underworld, giving it a constant impression of a starry sky. Several rivers and reservoirs ran through the Underworld from the surface, carrying whatever was in its waters down ever deeper.As a rule, the only ones who remain in the Underworld are Gelmorran fanatics, heavily clinging to the old ways and refusing any contact with the surface. However, reasons for being in the Underworld proper vary; some respect the tradition, while others refuse to abandon their ancestral homes. This variety in theology promotes almost constant conflict, above and beyond the natural tendencies toward it influenced by the realm.
Beneath the Underworld proper and stretching down to the Aetherial Sea is the region known as 'The Deep'; an inhospitable, nearly pitch-black dead zone. Sometimes called 'Tartarus,' biome diversity is nearly nonexistent, and largely comprises rocks, rocks, and more rocks, with the different geological formations being the only real indication of any sort of biome difference. Nothing of value grows here, and the umbral aspect present throughout the Underworld is at its strongest in this region, as is magick's transient qualities.
Even beasts native to the Underworld rarely dare to tread here, and more than one species uses this place as a graveyard, leading to bones and remains being a natural part of the scenery.It is this nightmare place that sparked scholars' beliefs in the Hells lying below, and the myths of Voidsent emerging from them. Indeed, in large part, the Voidsent that spew from the rifts commonplace to this depth are its only permanent residents. Even the Duskwight dare not tread here, with few exceptions limited to the mad or power-hungry. Popular belief holds that the Deep is bottomless.
The Sunless Sea
At the bottom of that which is bottomless lies the Sunless Sea, the only break in the oppressive darkness. Known as the Aetherial Sea to scholars, proximity to it is usually fatal without protection. Here, the laws of reality break down completely, where the only permanent residents are things from the abyss. No one is native to this place; only the most powerful mages survive on its shores - and none for long.
Initially settled in the latter half of the 7th century 6AE, the Underworld was colonized for the elezen (and later, the hyur) to escape the constant wrath of the Elementals. This intrusion between the two saw an outbreak of war among the races, a vicious and bloody conflict that raged for decades. After this war, a treaty was signed, which would become the basis for founding the city of Gelmorra.Persisting for three centuries, Gelmorra eventually fell when the hyur and the majority of the elezen left. Without the numbers necessary to maintain the city, the Duskwight scattered, each seeking their path amidst the stone, but inevitably brought to violence again and again by resource scarcity and ancient differences. While the old conflicts largely persist among elezen, they began to set aside their differences conditionally, taking instead to raiding the surface world of its resources and using this bounty to survive. In so doing, the elezen began to drift further and further into the Shallows, leaving the lower reaches largely left to the zealots of eld.
The primary denizens for most of the Underworld's settled lifespan were the elezen that would one day evolve to become the Duskwight, and are the most numerous (and only Spoken) form of life present in the Underworld. However, the Underworld is teeming with life, flora, and fauna alike, and in the deeper reaches infested by Voidsent, otherworldly animals, and even in some rare cases dragons. None escape the Underworld unscathed; all permanent residents are warped eventually, either in the body or mind. The vast majority share common traits in the darkening of skin tones, though there is equally common albinism and loss of sight. Many adopt the darkness as their own, and shroud themselves in shadow.
This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was solely a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, intending to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.
*This text is an expansion focused on the capital city of Gelmorra and heavily features fanon elements. For a lore-pure breakdown of Gelmorra, *view the Final Fantasy Wiki here.
Gelmorra was an underground capital city and kingdom founded by the survivors of the Elezen/Hyur conflicts of 6AE, potentially the only one of its kind. Forced into the same subterranean caverns by the Elementals' Greenwrath, the two races found common ground on simple survival instinct. Though working together on the surface, old animosity was a constant companion to the two peoples, each looking for any opportunity to render the other obsolete.
|Type: Capital City Ruins|
|Races: Elezen, Hyur (Formerly)|
|Government: Kraterocratic Monarchy|
|Rulers: Unknown, the Twelve Houses|
|Past Rulers: Galvanth, the Dominator|
|Languages: Common, Elezen, Duskwight Sign (Padjali?)|
|Patron Deity: Nophica, the Matron|
|Location: The Underworld|
|Status: In Ruins|
In the aftermath of the War of the Magi, magic became a forbidden art among almost every civilization in the surviving days. The Elementals ceased to accept the presence of the spoken races within the Black Shroud aside from their chosen people, the Ixal. Seven hundred years after the occlusion of Amdapor and the Sixth Umbral Calamity, the elezen were forced from their newfound lands by a new wave of immigrating hyur. Long having forgotten their trespasses, the elezen sought to return to and reclaim their ancient heritage, seeking power, succor, and home in the city of their ancestors.In lieu of this, the Elementals promptly unleashed the Greenwrath upon the elezen, slaughtering them en masse and without distinction. They were subsequently forced from the surface, where they found the Underworld, a massive world beneath comprised of caverns and chasms. They made their homes here, shoring up and expanding the caves.However, the hyur were not far behind them, and like the elezen before them, befell the same fate. With the elezen and hyur - ancient enemies - effectively trapped together in the hellscape of the Underworld, the hyur laid claim to the caves entirely, which sparked a war that would last for decades. Eventually, the war ended in a peace agreement that saw the hyur and elezen united to share their resources and abilities, symbolized by the sigil of two serpents wrapped around a ghostmaw flower. This symbol would become a staple of the Kingdom of Gelmorra and would later form the basis for the symbol of the Gridanian Twin Adders.Working together, the hyur and elezen constructed a mighty city that came to be known as Gelmorra. It dominated the Underworld as its only official sign of 'civilization' for three hundred years until the Ixal began to worship (and summon) Garuda, as well as forgetting their pacts with the elementals. In return for this, the Ixal were exiled, and the Gelmorrans sought to fill the power vacuum that remained by communing with the elementals and promising to uphold the forgotten pacts of the Ixal.While successful, many elezen refused to abandon their homes, their lands, and their friends; primarily consisting of the upper-class nobility, these elezen condoned the use of magick in even this critical form and would have nothing to do with the bargain struck with the Elementals, essentially equating the pacts their kin were entering into as slavery under punishment of death. Nevertheless, a vast majority of elezen and all of the hyur did not agree with this. Instead, they made their way to the surface, where they set about founding the first settlements that would lead to the creation of Gridania.While the elezen that remained tried their best to keep Gelmorra running, it wasn't long before the city's essential mechanics, such as its food production line, began to break down. Without anyone with the knowledge to fix the infrastructure, the Gelmorrans were forced to abandon their city to the monsters of the Underworld. Now, it oozes with vilekin, seedkin, and even Voidsent, rendering the place invariably hostile and incredibly dangerous.Many of the elezen would migrate to the Shallows, while a few would remain in the Underworld. Regardless, this series of events forms the foundation that aimed the ire of the soon-to-be-Duskwight at their former surface cousins and anything associated with them. Almost all Duskwight were forced to resort to a life of crime, either levied against their fellows or the surface-dwellers who had abandoned them. This situation was only made worse in subsequent years as generations wore on. Over centuries, both the Duskwight and the Wildwood forgot in large part why they hated each other in the first place, with the Wildwood only remembering the stereotype of Duskwight as criminals and Duskwight only remembering that the Wildwood were somehow responsible for their every woe. This fed naturally off the violent tendencies of the Duskwight, giving rise to an endless cycle of conflict.
The Wildwood regularly make this even worse at the whims of their elemental masters; for example, the decree that 'no stone of Gelmorra may see the light of day.'
By the nature of its very inception, the city of Gelmorra was inhabited solely by elezen and hyur, as well as whatever other indigenous races of the Underworld they deemed fit to bring with them. In modern times, however, Gelmorra is infested by thick swarms of seedkin, vilekin, and Voidsent, making it completely inhospitable.While elezen and hyur were technically at peace, that didn't mean they did not have a bitter shadow rivalry. This subtle competition underpinned most of their interactions and gave shape in large part to the shape of their very society.
Competition was a constant and deadly companion among most, even blood relatives. The only real respected metrics in Gelmorra, status and station, were coveted and sacred in the minds of the Gelmorrans. They were solely acquired by violence, whether outright force or subtle assassination. There was no position so high or lowly that was 'safe' from the jealous gazes of one's inferiors, and so most Gelmorrans lived constantly prepared for the worst and were rarely surprised when betrayal came knocking.While Gelmorra claimed to be a lawful city, its laws were more like suggestions that often went ignored as long as the initiator was not caught in the process. Such dire risks were a mandatory part of its day-to-day political maneuvering and intrigue, with most 'justice' being administered solely for the crime of being caught and not for the crime itself. Rarely was judgment held based on identity or circumstances. Such allowances were often viewed as weakness and resulted in the merciful actor's involuntary replacement by those who coveted their position.Above all else, the Gelmorrans primarily believed that might 'proved' in some way the right to rule, and this justification was present at every level of their society and used to justify any number of atrocities for the simple logic of 'If it can be done, then it is my right to do so.''Led' by the dominant member of the Ruling House and advised by the Twelve Houses, Gelmorra's loyalty usually belonged to whatever tyrant currently held the throne, though only so far as the Ruling House could prove its claim was valid by outwitting and surviving constant assassination attempts, sabotage, and whatever else could be thought up. For obvious reasons, these challenges took place under complete anonymity, with the perpetrator playing up the act of loyal subject all while cursing their choice in executer.
The Ruling House
The Ruling House was the most powerful noble House in Gelmorra. From this family, the monarchs of Gelmorra were chosen, and to them which all beneath were expected absolute obedience. Despite constant vies for the throne, the Ruling House was never replaced for the duration of Gelmorra. The reigning monarch of this House would traditionally never surrender their crown, and it would be forced onto their successor to outmaneuver and 'succeed' them, thus proving that they were more worthy to rule.The Ruling House was the only direct authority over the Druids of Nophica and the more important of the two powers with sway over the Sentinels. It was also their right to bestow, create, and abolish noble Houses. While technically not legal, the Ruling House had enough weight that when it made accusations or gave its blessing, there was almost no one who could defy its will.
The Twelve Houses
Much like the Ruling House, the Twelve Houses were a collection of the twelve most influential noble Houses in Gelmorra. While more than twelve existed, these twelve served as direct advisors to the Ruling House and made up the main council that handled day-to-day administration and bureaucracy. These Houses were in theory constantly in flux, as the noble Houses beneath them vied for their position and those above them plotted to remove their competition, meaning only the most potent of Houses would ever reach that state. In reality, some level of favoritism and the constant craftiness of the Houses meant that the twelve very rarely changed their positions overly much. Most of their efforts went toward usurping the Ruling House, rather than worrying about their fellows. This greed kept the upper echelons of society relatively stable, with 'wasting one's time' on lesser pursuits generally being considered useless once at that stage.While the majority of the Houses have had their names lost to time, the Tam-Tara Deepcroft offers some indication as to two of the House's names:
->Ak-Mena, a group of undead thaumaturges,
->Ak-Inik, whose honor guards were lancers.In addition, there is the claim of the House of Ak-Mina, which claims to be the Fourth House of Gelmorra. Oddly, they retain the 'ak' honorific usually reserved for dead houses.
The Sentinels of Gelmorra were an elite group of warriors, hand picked from the best of a House's combatants. Instead of later becoming guards or foot soldiers for the House, these men and women were the police force, knights, and on duty military of Gelmorra - performing all of these duties in equal measure. They were exempt from the intra-House politics, and expected to remain neutral on these matters under pain of death. They answered in theory only to the Ruling House, and served as the guards of said House. However, they also answered to a lesser extent to the Druids of Nophica, acting as inquisitors and, when necessary, executioners.A Sentinel's word was treated as law, and abuse of their power was rarely if ever actually punished for the simple fact that it could rarely be proven, though in that event they were executed. Many Sentinels worked in secret to aid their own Houses, despite the threat of their station. That said, some Houses disliked the Sentinels, as they were one of the few organizations that could usurp the will of the head of the House, though others simply used blackmail and subtlety to make sure that the Sentinels remained loyal to their partners.A Sentinel was honor-bound to serve Gelmorra in whatever capacity was needed, and take whatever liberties with the law that was necessary to ensure the safety and security of the realm.
The laws of Gelmorra were few; most of Gelmorra was culturally indoctrinated, and thus there was very little need for laws as a whole. However, a few laws were put to stone, such as the laws against 'plotting against one's fellow nobles' (which was really just a fancy way of saying 'don't get caught'), and the law officially banning (almost all, but at least major) magic under the excuse that it might draw the attention of the Elementals. In reality, this was to more firmly consolidate power in the hands of the Druids of Nophica and maintain control over the masses.Most crimes and punishments were instead dictated by family codes and localized laws, carried out by House enforcers at the will of the head of the House. These punishments varied widely in scope and humanity, but trended toward the extreme, as failing to punish even the smallest slight could be perceived as an exploitable weakness. One of the only inter-House laws convened upon and approved was a motion to outlaw the misuse of identifying House Crests.The structure which determined Gelmorrran society was twofold, divided into STATION and STATUS. These two concepts referred to relatively similar things, albeit in varying concepts. Station was the perceived authority and rank relative to all Gelmorrans, which tended to vary depending on one's position in the House as well as the House itself. Almost all heads of House enjoyed some level of authority over even members of other Houses and disobeying tended to be unwise. Status, meanwhile, was similar but instead solely dictated by intra-House authority and was largely regarded of the simpler of the two.
A House crest was an item that denoted an individual's allegiance. It was used by established members of Houses, which meant that they were either born into the family or held a rank in it.A House crest's powers could only be safely employed by someone who received an attunement spell, which was part of the attunement ritual, a well-known fact. The powers of the crest were activated by touch with bare flesh while concentrating on which power was to be activated. Generally, the abilities contained in the insignia were separated into three categories; the minor, major, and master powers. While they varied from House to House, the abilities obeyed similar rules; minor powers were things that could be used at will, major powers could only be used once every day, and master powers only once per recharge. Default powers of most crests include personally identifiable signatures (to act as keys to warded areas or doors or exempt from traps) and linkshell-like functions.
As mentioned above, unattuned people could not use a House crest. If such a person touched or tried to activate a power of it, the insignia harmed the person with one of several various effects, most dire; forced shapechanges, burns, brands or cuts that could not be healed, temporary sensory deprivation, or severe electrical shocks. A druid of sufficient skill could 'unlock' the House crest, allowing it to be used by anyone, but doing so removed the House's signature, meaning it would no longer be recognized as a House crest and instead turn it into a magical item. 'Freed' House crests lost all identifying abilities to stave off wards and act as linkshells, and would not recharge their powers over time, eventually dissolving into dust once fully spent.The Heads of House often built secret powers into the House insignia, which were activated by their mental commands when s/he was within 90 ft of the tempered insignia, or when a command word taught to another person was uttered. They did this to surprise their enemies with it in the case of internal conflicts. Some of these powers came in the form of a localized Cairn of Transport effect that shunted a person to a place of their choosing, obscuring smoke, becoming unbearably hot like hot metal, to a simple explosion that caused harm to everyone near it.
A House Crest was a reliable way to locate an individual as well as ascertain their current physical condition, provided the diviner was taught how to trace it—usually by the Matron Mother, druids, or House Wizard of the House which created it. This was because each insignia was slightly different, even those from the same noble house. The creators were capable of protecting themselves from such tracing, but in practice rarely did, as the aetherial flux of a grievous wound would alert those attuned to their state and location, allowing aid to be dispatched.A crest was a powerful magic item and usage of it was regulated. Illicit use of it or use for impersonation was enough to be punished with the death penalty. Generally, the major and master powers of a crest were hidden from the public, and the failsafes of the Heads of House were hidden from even their own members, as revealing such would defeat the point.Most took special care to keep their House crest safe. Only the nobles from the First House and the Ruling House wore them openly while (almost) all others wore them in ways known only to their households except when inside the House territory or the clan's base.
Given the scarcity of resources in the Underworld and the limited chances for advancement within their society, Gelmorrans had to be aggressively competitive. Most sought employment in Houses to rise in rank, desiring the power over others that a higher station would provide.The druids of Nophica taught that they should crush those beneath them, for cruelty was seen as a method of 'proof' of evolution and improvement. If someone could not defend themselves, as the logic went, they deserved to have cruelty inflicted on them, which would prove the superiority of the person performing the torment. The underpinning logic of the society was that of a savage and barbaric form of evolution; the purpose of the heir was to succeed their parents through force. They were a vengeful people by necessity, as not answering to slights with punishment was easily perceived as weakness by other Gelmorrans, and was essentially the same as inviting exploitation, abuse, or even death.As a general rule, those living under Gelmorran society couldn't afford to show emotions like compassion or love, for they were easy to exploit and many often preferred emotional cruelty over causing physical harm. The strife they constantly endured led them to be paranoid, with a fear of everyone and everything, from the potential loss of personal position, Nophica's favor, the loyalty (or even the threat of outright rebellion) of their inferiors, to punishment by their own superiors' hands.The end result of being raised in this environment was that they were largely untrusting with a constant readiness to stab others in the back, both in the figurative and literal sense. Society usually would have left them emotionally stunted with a tenuous grasp on sanity (a trait less important than cunning and deviousness) and scarred minds, among which relatively undamaged individuals were considered abnormal. Most were incapable of trusting other creatures, no matter their race, and taught from an early age not to do so, as they were expected to advance at the expense of others by any means, including treachery and even outright murder. Even in moments of safety or relaxation, they were always alert and constantly expecting attacks of any kind, and were rarely surprised when such attacks did come.While the Gelmorrans understood the advantage of forging bonds with others (their entire civilization being evidence of this), they did not see the value in honesty. Forming relations with others was, therefore, a dangerous endeavor, and mostly temporary, since any alliance or cordial relationship could end in treachery. Duskwight normally went into engagements of this sort expecting the worst, and alliances were always under scrutiny for signs of treachery, often ending violently. They were generally formed when the supposed ally was susceptible to blackmail, considered weak enough not to be a serious threat, or when cooperation was forced by the existence of a common enemy. The mere inconvenience of maintaining the bond could be a reason to end it.
Due to the lack of light in the Underworld, much more emphasis was focused on hearing, and many Gelmorrans had extremely sensitive hearing. It was considered 'rude' to speak if not necessary, and most communication was done in sign language with held hands, the 'shape' of the felt signs acting as words instead. Some Gelmorrans could feel their surroundings via sensitive feet, instead. Music was largely frowned upon unless there was light to see by, but most Gelmorrans were so sensitive to light that they disliked even dim amounts of it.Gelmorrans had an inherent ability to intuit the volume and shape of any space they occupied, and many could mimic voices or other sounds to a T. However, most were photosensitive, finding even normal levels of indoor light to be unbearably painful. Instead of light, some developed alternative methods of 'sight,' with infravision being the most common.Due to the nature of their society, many Gelmorrans microdosed with poisons and other harmful substances to build up immunity. Over generations, this led to most Gelmorrans being largely unaffected by almost all poisons, as well as entirely immune to their own.These changes largely persisted in the descendants of the Gelmorrans, who continued to adhere to these practices, whereas the surface-born Wildwood and hyur have long since lost these traits.
Headed by the Druids of Nophica, Gelmorran religion revolved around evolution and the idea of perfection, obtained through culling the weak and improving with each generation. It was considered a religious duty to engage in the political intrigue of Gelmorra, though many did it simply to wreak the benefits of the only legal magick in Gelmorra; those miracles worked in her name when someone had gained enough favor. These rituals were performed by druids, the only ones taught the secrets of magick and the only legal source of any of it.As a result, gaining and maintaining Nophica's favor was an essential part of Gelmorran society. Those who did not have it lacked essential protections that one could only obtain from the services of a druid, forcing them to either repent, find a wayward druid, or hire a magician who was in all likelihood a fraud from the dregs of society. As one might expect, most Houses that fell out of her favor fell quickly.The entire purpose of the religion of the Druids of Nophica revolved around the idea of self-perfection and evolution through slaughter, 'stacking the cairn high so that we may challenge even the Gods'. And, indeed, this was the unspoken end goal of most of the druids; intending to grow the Duskwight so powerful that they would one day be able to lay claim to the Shroud despite the Elementals, and subjugate them to their will.While other minor religions existed amongst the Gelmorrans, worship of other deities was prohibited. As such, the practice and worship of these deities largely took place in secret, with the goal of most smaller cults to one day use the logic of Nophica against the Druids. When found, the Druids considered alternative deities almost as bad as magick users, and actively worked to stamp them out under the guise of 'heresy.'
The Druids of Nophica
The Druids of Nophica (Alternatively: the Sisterhood of Nophica) were the extremist cult surrounding the matron deity of Gelmorra, Nophica. Some of the most influential figures in Gelmorran history, like the Sentinels, the Druids were exempt from intra-House politics and expected to devote their lives and souls to the Goddess. Also like the Sentinels, however, corruption was rampant and the druids would often play the Houses against each other - for either entertainment or their own ends.Formed in the wake of the Greenwrath which forced them beneath the surface, the Druids of Nophica preached that the Greenwrath and the Elementals were 'tests', put forth to make sure that the Gelmorrans would emerge from their 'subterranean egg' when they had achieved some enigmatic 'final shape' to rule at the end of time.
After the Gridanians left and the Gelmorrans lost 75% of their society almost overnight (most of these being the lower houses of Gelmorra who did a lot of the work), the city of Gelmorra utterly collapsed, and the tense law that had upheld order underground became a collection of squabbling, chaotic tribes. The only rule of the Underworld became 'kill or be killed.' If you can kill it, if you can take it, then it is only right that you do so. This is a remnant of the Nophica worship of the Gelmorrans, because getting caught no longer matters.Very few houses stayed in Gelmorra itself, but the society became tribal and xenophobic; vicious and lawless. The ones that were not in Gelmorra proper became isolated from each other over time, with their only contact with anyone else being their warring neighbors and pillaging former friends, which only heightened the xenophobia.However, this is also the ~500-year span when the 'civilized' Duskwight 'Houses' started to exist; no longer bound by such a society, some went into the Shallows or isolated themselves so completely that they made their own living, decrying the brutal slaughter of their kin as madness and pursuing their own goals such as religious enlightenment, etc. There are probably certain 'peaceful' villages that are not Gelmorra that still run and enforce a much more modern society, and Houses are no longer mandated to murder each other. There is a conflict between traditionalists and the neo-Duskwight, but most are content to stay in their lane. It's due to note that even the 'peaceful' towns are still very tenuous in their peace, and punishments are swift and often arbitrary. They replace violent competition with other sorts, such as commerce.That said, surviving in the Underground is hard, and more than a few of the Duskwight view their surface cousins with resentment, raiding them to both vent instinctive aggression and to ensure they can survive. Very few feel bad about it, as the general Duskwight view of any and everything on the surface is that everyone is a blood traitor and anything in the Shroud is theirs by right; a problem made only worse by the elementals' new-found incapability to Greenwrath-atomize anyone who steps out of line of their laws, meaning the Duskwight move often without any measure of fear. Without a constant reminder of what the Duskwight once had to do, and few connections between the Duskwight that remained save in times of conflict and theft, the chances are that current Duskwight have wildly different ideas on what Gelmorra was, what its customs were, etc. It's a hundred different games of telephone running over the course of five hundred years. That doesn't account for those that deliberately try to modify the story to make themselves feel better, or have selectively forgotten traumatic parts of the past.
This section is dedicated to the House of Mina, and speaks on the lore of the House, its place in Gelmorran society, its reach of power, and a little bit of what its goals largely were and the rumors surrounding the House. Whereas the previous section is dedicating to setting the stage of what Gelmorra was (or at least what we think it was based on the lore we have), -Mina is rather an exploration of the House itself. By necessity, a bit of Eirene's history will make it into the House of Mina.
The House of Mina is a resurgent Gelmorran noble house. Once the Fourth House of Gelmorra and both famed and infamous for its miraculous command of alchemical cures - or other things - it was thought defunct until half a century ago, whereupon one Eirene du Charbonneau laid claim to the Matronship of the House. While the claim was never technically officiated (because the government no longer exists), her claim is respected by Duskwight due to the rumors surrounding the house and the various peculiarities of the family line, which seems to persist through her.Also known as 'The Witch House', Mina has its roots even in old Amdapor, where it was famed for its study of the extra-natural; communicating with, summoning, binding, and exterminating it, as well as their succor-based miracle cures of both the soul and the flesh. While many of its projects were left uncompleted in its time, there is evidence to suggest that Mina rediscovered and continued portions of its research in secret, even though they never admitted it publicly due to the stigma that would come down on their heads.The present-day version of the House of Mina carries on its ancestral legacy in the form of private alchemical practice and research into the extra-natural with one goal in mind; extermination. Whispers tell of the lengths the Matron Mother will go to and wonder at the purpose of a Gelmorran House taking residence in Gridania, as well as flickers of green from the windows and strange orders carried out in secret.
|Leader: Eirene du Charbonneau|
|Past Leaders: ???, Eunomia du Charbonneau, Dike du Charbonneau|
|Patron Deity: Nophica, the Matron|
|Location: The Underworld|
After the Flood that ended the War of the Magi, the Amdapori elezen fled from their ancient city. The period after the Flood was a time of strife and magical discrimination; during this time, the Elementals sealed the city of Amdapor and hid it behind great glamours of tremendous might, so that it might never be found or entered again and the sins of the past would remain where they belonged. The Elementals drove all who had any hand in the catastrophe from the Wood using the Greenwrath, a deadly force which killed indiscriminately and without counter; a doomsday magick made of sacrificed living succor, born of their torment and rage.It was here, once upon a time, in the now-hidden marble of that ancient city, that the story of Mina began in earnest. The House of Mina dates back to even Amdapor, where the primary research of the House centered around curing 'incurable' illnesses. Threatened by the plight of the Green Death visited upon the Nymians, House Mina was involved heavily in developing counter wards and recovery magick for things that had no known cures. They focused on the exorcism of Voidsent and warding against supernatural threats, the study of reversing Tempering, and even curing the most incurable of biological ailments. House Mina had peculiar internal customs and was highly secretive about their conduct and research; However, no amount of secrecy could hide them from the Flood or the elementals that followed. Much of their work was left unfinished, and the ones that escaped with their lives had far more immediate problems to worry about.
Greenwrath at 32:35
In the aftermath, the Faewood went with one of the few budding groups that did not ostracize magick; that is to say, the fair folk on Nyunkrepf's ark, which would eventually become the contemporary nation-state of Sharlayan. There, over the course of seven centuries, the Faewood would shrink from being a multi-House research division to being synonymous with the House of Mina. Though they contributed greatly to the fields of extraplanar work involving Outsiders, succor, aetherology, and even alchemy, the House of Mina grew more and more distant from the Forum, their particular beliefs on their status as elezen amidst the xenophilic pacifist state, as well as vastly different opinions on how Voidsent ought to be handled, making them outsiders to their own homeland. This, and the struggle for even the simplest advancements of succor, led the House of Mina to depart Sharlayan, eventually joining with the group of returnees that sought to return to their ancestral city of Amdapor. So it came to pass the House of Mina were among the elezen who returned to the Black Shroud, seeking to reclaim their lost legacy and the fruits of the research that came before. In attempting to return to their ancestral homes, of course, they ran afoul of the elementals and unknowingly violated their decree that Amdapor never be uncovered. Enraged, the elementals lashed out, and the unknowing elezen were exposed to an invisible death that killed instantly and without counter. In a desperate bid for survival, the remaining elezen - and the House of Mina amongst them - fled into the bowels of the star, cowering amidst mushrooms and stone.Of the original descendants of Mina, numbering hundreds and forming a large house, a smaller entourage of perhaps a mere hundred survived to make it into the caves. The exact numbers are not known but can be inferred by the notes of those that remained. Believing magick to be what the elementals targeted, the House of Mina gave up their magick, limiting themselves solely to alchemical pursuits for the good of the group. Like most other civilizations at the time, the elezen that fled into the deep came to abhor and mistrust magick, considering even the most minor or inoffensive of spells a crime, as it was believed any magick might attract the attention of the Elementals above. However, the House of Mina did not give up /all/ magickal knowledge, as they had claimed. While they did give up succor, they couldn't prove any connection between other forms of magick and the Elementals' ire, which led them to continue practicing anima-based arts in secret.While the elezen attempted to irk out a meager living amidst the mycelium and marble, above the migrating hyur that had followed them, equally seeking to escape the conflict, unknowingly walked into another one. They, too, were driven into the bowels of the earth, where they came face to face with their old threats to their colonization; the elezen. Desperate to protect their people, the elezen held their ground even as the hyur laid claim to what they had wrought.The war was long and bloody for both sides, far too expensive for the meager offerings they were able to rip from the land. House Mina and its survivors acted as combat medics, tended to the wounded, though with only the desire to heal their own people, with hatred in their hearts from the hyur they had faced for generations.Throughout the war, the Mina would lose even more of their number to the tragedies of conflict. Their numbers depleted from the measly hundred they had come with to fifty, a halving blow they would take to heart.Eventually, the hyur and elezen began to tire of the war; and despite the Mina being firmly in the camp of 'no peace, no surrender,' the elezen and hyur eventually made peace regardless, believing that together they could be more profitable in the subterranean world than either would alone. Without the numbers to mount any formal resistance to the peace, the Mina explored any option they could to attempt to turn the opinion of this peace in their favor. Nevertheless, the peace stood, and from it, the city of Gelmorra was founded with the elezen and hyur now working together to shore up their parts of the Underworld.In the aftermath of the war, the Mina were left with few options aside from assimilating into this new society they found themselves in. Laying claim to their house by numbers and known ancestral nobility, they solidified themselves in the echelons of Gelmorran society as it began to take shape. Despite not successfully returning to Amdapor, they refused to let that minor hiccup stop them from reclaiming their heritage; coalescing the old stories and ancient practices, and beginning to rebuild their empire of knowledge again. Primarily, their focus was on the forgotten succor that they had once possessed; though no longer capable of progressing their miracles, they resolved to relearn them over time, substituting alchemy and potions for succor. Over the years, the House of Mina solidified itself as a major pharmaceutical body within Gelmorra, providing much-needed aid and medicine to the people. They jealously guarded their secrets, and over time gained in power and influence not by size but by the monopoly-like extent of their reach and the consequences if they decided to cease their work.Of Mina, the House swole greatly; in the new society the Gelmorrans created, power and influence were better than gold, and Mina had developed both. Many sought to join the Mina, and rumors began to abound that their 'up and up' Pharmacy was not all it seemed; that the medicines were no better than witchcraft. Over the years, the relations with the kingdom at large soured, but their necessity remained. To separate the newcomers from the original bloodline of Mina, many took to calling the bloodline 'Charbonneau,' the old elezen word for charcoal - a pun, as activated charcoal was a key ingredient in many of their cures, and a distrustful note that they practiced 'dark arts,' despite no such thing being true. Over time, the Mina ascended the ranks of their society with their sights set on the First House; seeking to usurp and immortalize themselves in the top spot of the society by sheer, overwhelming power. As most Duskwight were, it was encouraged to use any means necessary to increase one's standing, and the Mina were not an exception, employing any tactic no matter how low. While not confirmed contemporarily, it was later learned that Mina did engage and study deeply the arts of magick, earning it the scathing name of 'The Witch House.'The story of Mina is poorly documented beyond that, as most of it relies on Gelmorran records. Near the end of Gelmorra's lifespan, however, the House of Mina began to decline; shrinking in number, though not in power and influence, remaining steady in its place as Fourth House. The sheer oddity of it all was that the lifespans of the Matron Mothers began to last longer and longer, and the house began to shrink, maintaining servants and handmaids but few beyond that. In its waning years, there existed a maximum of four actual members of the bloodline. Notably, the faces of the Mina seemed to recur between generations, with a running joke for the family to take the names of those they resembled. This prompted vicious rumors surrounding House Mina, the most outrageous being that they'd somehow discovered immortality or were time travelers.Eventually, many years after the Fall of Gelmorra, the House finally fell silent after Eirene "the Spider," one of the last remaining Sentinels (or, at least, the last self-proclaimed Sentinel with Sentinel armor), fled into the Deep about a century before Dalamud's fall after abandoning her doomed bandit clan to their fate at the hand of the Gelmorran authorities. With Dike 'The Heartless' murdered at the hands of Eirene 'The Spider,' the House of Mina was labeled defunct, and became Ak-Mina.Presumably, she died in the Deep. Eirene (the current one) began making contact with the surface around fifty years ago, using the name, and according to the Duskwight, laying claim to the now-defunct House, a claim she barely ever acknowledged and, indeed, only ever made as a technicality. This Eirene lived as a hermit along with her arcanima construct, bearing alone the weight of the rumors and festering greed that abounded around her family's name.Eventually, the hermit moved to the surface. While her first instinct was to provide shelter for those in need of it, the now-sole Matron Mother of House Mina concluded that the ones she sought to protect would never be safe. For unknown reasons, she reversed her position on her hatred of her house's legacy and took to embracing it as her calling, seeking to rebuild it into at least a shadow of its former self, her eyes set on the ancient enemies of all life who plagued her people in times long past... with none too much kindness or mercy in her eyes.
Like most Gelmorrans, the House of Mina was subjected to all the numerous horrors of the city beneath the earth, and its descendants, being Duskwight, were taught from an early age that the world above and its societies cared naught for them, and the world below could not bear to be left to its own devices, observing firsthand as the Duskwight tear themselves apart as rabid beasts. As a result, the House of Mina generally believes that the only trustworthy authority structure is it's own and that leaving one's self open for betrayal is effectively the same as inviting it. Paranoid and distrustful, the House is constantly scrutinizing its alliances and troublemakers for signs of outright treachery and has usually overprepared contingencies in the event such proves founded. As a rule, they put stability and security of the House (and by extension, the Faewood) above all else, pleasantries included (though this should not be taken to mean that they can't or shouldn't be pleasant; more rather than ensuring caution comes first.) They take as few risks as possible, consider anyone outside their ranks a potential threat or liability, and prepare accordingly.Many lawful characters can be considered an exemplar of the House's idealogue, from those working in service trades to knights.
The House of Mina had an unusual House structure due to its lack of dedicated members. Like most houses, it separated the dedicated members of the House from the Bloodline which carried Ak-Mina blood. The non-Bloodline members encompassed all of Mina, from servants to nobles, while the Bloodline members were unique in that only they could ascend to the rank of Matron Mother. Unlike other houses, Mina was heavily matriarchal and placed all power over the House to end in the hands of the Matron Mother. While others might handle the day-to-day duties and hum-drum, the Matron Mother was the end-all-be-all veto for anything she disapproved of.
The Matron Mother
Only a pure Duskwight female member of the Bloodline was considered a viable candidate for Matron Mother. While not necessarily required, it was an unspoken tradition that the female be versed in at least the cultures, traditions, and practices of the druids of Nophica. Becoming a Sentinel initially prevented one from being considered as a Matron Mother, but over time Ak-Mina began to expect even they to abandon their oaths for the House.Matron Mothers enjoyed a unique position of authoritarianism within their house; while not directly managing it day-to-day, their word was the final say in most of the dealings of the House, from the lives of their servants to the limits of their patron (or matron, as the case may have been.) In the modern day, though, the title is being revamped, with Eirene seeking to lead it away from its controversial past.Matron Mothers were a constant target of the Duskwights' incessant hunger for power and none more so than their own children. Wise Matron Mothers kept their selection of heirs low, and the paranoid enjoyed reasonably long and safe lives.
The House Patron (usually singular, though occasionally a matron mother will choose to have multiple official Patrons) is a very odd position. It has none of the responsibility of the Head House Wizard or Weaponmaster but it is equally prestigious and arguably as powerful. House Patrons aren't seen as toys of their matron mothers but instead are seen as positions of great favor and trust.A House Patron was presumed to be absolutely loyal to their matron mother as they generally could not rely on her need for their martial or magical prowess to help them keep their position. They were recognized by all as another set of eyes and ears that reported directly to her. No Matron Mother allowed anyone else to interfere with their Patron as that defeats the entire purpose of the position.
Head House Wizard
The Head House Wizard is, theoretically, the most powerful magic-user in the House. Some Matron Mothers chose to fill this position with pliant, weaker magic-users, or personal favorites.Traditionally, the Head House Wizard reports directly to the Matron Mother (wise matron mothers do not have them report to anyone else or allow any other to interfere with their work) and is in charge of coordinating the available spell rosters of all the House's Wizards, assigning spell rosters among the guards (in coordination with the House Weaponmaster and any guard commanders), maintaining the House's library of spells and ensuring it's as complete as possible (traditionally meaning it includes a master copy of every spell any magic-user in the House has access to), and arranging the House's magical defenses, including House defense glyphs and pomanders as well as any enchantments the House insignia born by all members may possess. Because of these last two requirements, Houses find it impractical to have a Head House Wizard who are not exceeding experts in their fields. Those that cannot do so (fill the position appropriately) are considerably weakened by this fact.
The House Weaponmaster is theoretically the most skilled fighter in the House but, much like the Head House Wizard, is sometimes filled by favorites or suggestibles instead. The House Weaponmaster is usually supposed to oversee the training of the House's troops, including weapons, tactics, formations, coordinating missiles, melee, and magic, and so on. The Weaponmaster is the one that develops the House's tactics and strategies for defense, organizes the House's forces according to the Matron Mother's desires (including what weapons will be used -- most Matron Mothers never worried about such details, however, instead leaving this purely to the discretion of the Weaponmaster), and coordinates with the priestesses and Head House Wizard on coordinating martial might and magic use.House Weaponmasters also have the duty of testing the House's recruits for martial aptitude (just as the Head House Wizard tests for magical aptitude) and beginning their training before they are given specialized education. Possibly the most dangerous and onerous duty a House Weaponmaster has is to personally see to it that the House Bloodline continues to be trained in weapons use. Continuing a Matron Mother's training in the martial arts is extremely hazardous!
Masters of the House
The Masters of the House were generally anyone who led or oversaw a very specific portion of the House, and generally answered either to the Weaponmaster or Head House Wizard depending on their closest use outside of the sphere they cultivated. These positions were coveted highly and generally obtainable, whereas positions like the Weaponsmaster or Head House Wizard were much too risky as they involved extended contact and maneuvering around the Matron Mother.
Captain of the Guard: Found in almost every House, the captain of the guard falls under the Weaponmaster and is in charge of the House's forces. Some Houses have only one while others will have one per guard shift or one per formation of troops. Captains of the guard are usually female and often druids.
Master of Secrecy The master of secrecy is the House's internal security Head. S/he is to ensure no one in the House leaks any secrets as well as protecting the House from spies, saboteurs, and scrying. Since the last is most often performed by the Head House Wizard, the greatest reason to have such a dedicated individual is already filled (this is the prime reason this position never became popular).
Head House Merchant: The Head House merchant usually surveyed traveling merchants and other visitors to the city as well as observing prices and how well what sells in the bazaar while knowing what the House has to sell or could get into based on resources. This information is taken to the Matron Mother and recommendations are made on how to best sell the House's goods, what to invest in, how much to produce, and so on. As most Duskwight have little mercantile experience, they usually have to hire a hyur (or lalafell, as it stands now) from the common population to fill this position. In fact, it is for this reason that the position was created at all, as offering hired outsiders a position in the House not only binds them to it, but gives them prestige, increases loyalty, and reduces harassment and interference from others in the House and outside it.
Mistress of Ceremonies: The mistress of ceremonies of a House is usually the highest ranking druidess that is not one of the Matron Mother's daughters. In any event, she must be a druid by tradition. Simply, the mistress of ceremonies' duties are to oversee the House chapel and to conduct the common ceremonies and services. Ceremonies of great importance are performed by the Matron Mother herself. The mistress of ceremonies is usually also in charge of the lesser clergy of the House, including overseeing their continued training and deployment in battle. In modern times, due to the druids of Nophica (presumably) no longer existing, this position may be filled by the highest religious official in the House who is not of the Bloodline, such as a shrine maiden or a conjuror.
Head Cook: The Head cook of a House actually has much more responsibility than just seeing to it that the food is not poisoned and is flavored to the matron mother's taste. The main duty is to see to it that sufficient stores are on hand at all times and that they are well preserved. Many faced increasing battles with vilekin, particularly insects, rats, and mice, that tried to consume their stores. The Head Cook usually reports to the Head House Merchant.
High Maid: The High Maid is a very coveted and prestigious position. Most High Maids are descended from a line that has served the House for generations. They are the primary servants of the Matron Mother, attending to her every need and whim. Each also wields incredible authority as they have de facto rule over the House's other servants. Even House troops can be taught subtle lessons if they overstep themselves with the High Maid of a House. Most High Maids are thieves or assassins and many have at least a little magical talent as well. They are always female Duskwight but never members of the Bloodline. A High Maid is in many ways the overlooked, secret hand of their mistresses. They spy for the Matron Mother, are privy to many of her secrets, and perform a variety of secretive but low-risk tasks for the Matron Mother. The High Maid's loyalty is to the matron mother personally and none other, and even the dimmest Matron Mothers treat their High Maids extremely well, though not always publicly (many put on false displays of anger or suffering endurance with their High Maids and few ever reward their High Maids openly, though such rewards are always given by matron mothers that wish to survive long). Given their closeness to the old Matron Mother, it is no wonder that succeeding Matron Mothers almost invariably keep them on, regardless of what other changes or purges may occur in the House.
Master of Crafts: The Master of Crafts is an important position. This position always reports to the Head House Merchant and is rarely held by anyone other than a Duskwight. In some Houses, those with varied industry, there was one for each area (such as smithing and forging, leatherwork and textiles, gems and jewelry, and so on). The Master of Crafts wields a lot of low-level power in the House, as he or she determines which craftsmen are rewarded, which do the best work, which ones are junior and senior (particularly the distinctions between master, apprentice, and joureyman levels), and so on. As well, they are responsible for evaluating any new craftsman to be recruited into the House. Finally, they are in charge of insuring the House maintains enough supplies, whether pots and pans or arrows and bolts, and that those they do have are kept in prime condition (especially weapons and armor). This is a duty they work closely with the House Weaponmaster on. Masters of Crafts who do well are often in line to become Head House Merchants and may be rewarded with favors or money if they increase the House's profits.
Master of Farms: The Master of Farms is a full-time position in many Houses that have heavy farming interests. In addition to overseeing food crops, the Master of Farms also oversees the growth of fungi, lichens, molds, and plants for spell components and defense. Of all the additional positions/duties listed here, this one is the least prestigious. It is taken seriously, however, for it can weaken a House's magic and defenses as well as hurt income.
Master of Herds (aka, Master of Stables or Master of Animals): The Master of Herds is a full time job. Masters of the Herd have thankless jobs that can mean the difference between life and death for their Houses, and the superiors therein. This position is a new one, and specifically dedicated to care for the predominant mount of choice of the surface, the Chocobo.
Master of Maintenance: Masters of Maintenance are in charge of ensuring new construction is properly conducted, that structural integrity of existing constructions is maintained, and that future construction projects are foreseen and planned for. Typically the Master of Maintenance reports to the House Weaponmaster as the House's defense falls into his realm. Masters of Maintenance have a thankless job but are rarely forgotten by good Matron Mothers and Weaponmasters. The incentive to excel in this position can be high and some even have spells for construction and defense developed by enterprising Masters of Maintenance looking for favor.
The Incumbents (Masters-in-Name)
The Incumbents were Masters who had yet to be tested for their positions, or were treated as Masters without actually holding the relevant position for whatever reason, such as temporary fills for positions that had yet to find appropriate spots. The nature of Incumbents was inherently transient, and acted as a secondary gateway to positions of authority, at the end either being demoted to their original rank if they were found unsatisfactory (presuming their performance not so horrendous as to dictate dismissal) or ascending to their desired rank if it was found satisfactory.
The vast majority of Ak-Mina's forces were separated into four simple categories depending on their primary use. While being sorted did not lock one out of doing things usually attributed to another, it did give them the responsibilities to tend to things which fell within their sphere. Generally, the Core members reported to whoever was involved in their primary activities.
Magisters: Magisters were responsible for the upkeep and acquisition of knowledge within a House. As magick was not allowed amongst the general public, 'magisters' was instead generally used in a sense to describe anyone whose purpose was primarily information-based, though in contemporary times it does refer to magic users. Assassins and spies were also considered to be magisters, as were advisors, bards, and wisefolk.
Warriors: Much more straightforward than its counterpart, warriors was comprised of hunters and the chief combatants of a House, including guards and any other necessary muscle.
Craftsmen: Self-explanatory. Craftsmen are in charge of the production of goods and creation in all forms.
Gatherers: While 'gatherer' refers to the classical definition of a botanist, miner, or other forager, it can also refer to anyone in charge of 'bringing in' new recruits, making sure new goods and services are recieved, and scouting out new oppurtunities for the House.
The Kindred were those who had not been sorted into one of the above mentioned four categories, either due to not being clearly attributable or not having particular skills which benefitted the House (or even not being known well enough to put one into a category, as was most often the case.) Generally the Kindred joined the House of their own free will for whatever reason, and were treated for all intents and purposes as family, for what it was worth.
Mercenaries referred to anyone who had been hired on for a specific purpose which was NOT to fill a Master role or had not proven loyal independent of payment. Mercenaries were generally not trusted beyond the value of what they were being paid, and specific preparations were always made for the mercenaries in the event of betrayal. Mercenary was generally the highest rank attributed to any controversial figure, and was perhaps a misnomer, as it also referred to anyone not trusted implicitly beyond the value of blackmail or other methods of ensuring one's cooperation.
Seekers are those who come the House in search of something the House has to offer. This rank is temporary and transient, and effectively gives the Matron Mother time to test out the usefulness of the incoming petitioner, including their cooperativeness, competence, and other things which allow her to better survey an incoming Seeker for placement befitting of them.
The House of Ak-Mina primarily worships Nophica, the Matron, and claims her as their patron deity. However, due to the variety of individuals within the House, shrines are maintained for other figures among the Twelve, such as Menphina, the Lover. Like most Gelmorran Houses, the House of Ak-Mina has a variety of rituals and customs unique to it serving various functions. While the vast majority have been lost to time (or purposefully stricken from the record, as a majority of them were inappropriate to what the Matron Mother sought to cultivate), some rituals do serve a modern-day purpose and are thus a part of the House's official list of rituals. A list of miscellaneous customs follows.
Inherited from the Keepers of the Moon and taking advantage of the magical potency assosciated with specific astrological effects, the House of Ak-Mina celebrates the solstices and the equinoxes with sabbat and full moons with the various esbats originally devised by said miqo'te, using it as a chance to get everyone together.
Due to the nature of Gelmorra, the House of Ak-Mina developed a custom to show that the food, drink, or medicine they were offering was functional and not poisoned by using it on themselves first. At the end of this display, the declaration of "est bien!" would be given to assure the assembly that the substance 'is good'. While usually this was to protect the Matron Mother in the days of eld and required a servant to sample a drink before offering it to her (a practice sometimes followed in an unofficial capacity, though whether or not she realizes she's engaging in it is another matter), in modern times it's usually the reverse, with the Matron Mother imbibing her own product in order to ensure a standard of quality.
Ritual: The Dreaming
Functioning as the attunement for the House, the Dreaming is a surreal, hallucinatory journey that tests one's spirit for qualities that will serve the House. Usually done in private, this journey is a highly invasive affair, and more than one comes out of it irrevocably altered, especially on failure. While most of the details are kept secret so as not to give anyone an advantage over anyone else, it is public knowledge that the ritual is incredibly disorienting and can even be traumatizing. Upon successful completion of the Dreaming, a public induction ceremony is held, with a speech given by the Matron Mother and the presentation of the House Crest.
Originally located in the deepest parts of Issom-Har, House Mina has long since been rendered to ruin by the passage of centuries. While it once stood as a beacon of Duskwight ability, it now lays in dust and ash, with only the foundation remaining to signify that anything of value was ever there.Interestingly, despite the ruin of the estate proper, the vault is still largely intact, if infested with monsters and largely impregnable.
This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was soley a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, with the intention to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.
Have we caught your interest? Read onward for application essentials...
Leader Contact Info
Masters of the House
All membership is filtered through a trial period of one (1) month to the day from the time an application is accepted. An application is only accepted once a person has been spoken to OOCly and vetted ICly. This allows us as a group and the new applicant to get a feel for each other and decide if they're a good fit. Seekers are required to actively attempt to introduce their character within one week of joining, and by the end of the month should have a grasp on the FC structure and systems.
All alts must be vetted OOC and introduced ICly through the same system. Aside from activity, all characters are considered their own entities except in extreme cases.
All cases are handled on a case-by-case basis. Circumstances may necessitate lighter or heavier responses to things depending on context.
We reserve the right to accept or deny any concept we feel would either be a fit or disrupt the writing environment, regardless of if it violates listed rules.
Out of Character
No controversial topics outside of Direct Messages. Look, the world's kind of awful right now. We'd rather keep politics, religion, venting, et cetera well clear of Faewood and its adjacent communities and offer a well-deserved escape from having to even think about it.
Keep it SFW in public channels Lots of people use Discord at work, and employers might be monitoring WiFi usage - and no one wants to wake up and see that.
Keep it civil. We are not going to get along perfectly at all times; that's the inevitability of any group. That said, handle it in private and handle it like adults.
Respect your co-authors. If someone isn't comfortable with something, that's the end of it. It's not your job to convince them otherwise. Respect your fellow authors' autonomy to choose what they want to deal with thematically.
Engage. We understand and fully encourage people to have lives outside of the game world. That said, we can't exist independently of our players. We're not a place to drop off your alts and never log on. Because of how our stories work, if you do not actively engage in said stories, then chances are you won't reasonably be involved when it comes time for actual events.
Personal responsibility. Please conduct yourself in a manner befitting of the FC tag when under our tag. Your actions reflect on us all. Harassment or other nasties born from our group are our problem, and we will solve them, one way or another.
Communicate effectively Always keep an open line of communication with your co-authors, and never force anyone to take part in a story they don't want to. People are absolutely within their right to not engage with a story, or even just not RP at all if they're not feeling it.
Activity. We aim for at least weekly presence as a general rule. Presence is more than just being online; it also refers to interacting with us and doing things with the FC. After all, if you don't interact with us, why are you here? (Not to mention that if you're only on once a month, our story structure is probably not going to work well for you.) If real life is being particularly nasty, just let us know. Life happens to everyone and always comes first.
Alt Policy. We won't take alts as your first character. We've never met an alt that was played actively enough to actually engage meaningfully with the FC, and we'd rather save everyone the trouble. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Most Importantly... Have fun. We don't want to put you in a situation where you're not having fun or not enjoying the game, and you don't want to be in any situation like that. So, remember; FFXIV is at the end of the day just a game and should be something you enjoy. And if it turns out we're not for you? No hard feelings at the end of the day. Make sure you communicate that and don't dig yourself into a rut.
In Character =/= Out of Character (and vice versa). Any parasocial-based cooperative writing inevitably tempts people to blur the lines. We have strict rules about not doing exactly that. You are not your character; they are not you; the rules of the fictional world do not necessarily equate to our world or represent our beliefs.
Try for thematic/setting consistency. In fancy terms, 'be as lore accurate as possible.' It's not a complete entity, of course, and where it is absent, we encourage filling in the blanks - heck, we have an entire fanon section! That said, anything which is directly contradicted by the lore books, developer lore discussions, MSQ, and so on will either be reworked or denied.
Respect the severity of the conflict. (cont.) Characters working together to solve problems is great! Maybe someone wants to heal their blindness, and you can try to fix their sight over time. An unexplained miracle cure on the first meet pulled out of your back pocket to solve a character's entire arc and make fun of the problem, though, is not in that category. We very greatly discourage handwaving for all except the most minor things.
Show, don't tell. Handwaving is the death of a story unless it's done very sparingly. Don't tell us that you built an entire airship while you were offline for a week and the character was holed up in their workshop for the entire week. That's not a story. Consider; where did they get the parts? The blueprints? The permits to own? Out of that one thing, you could have run a /ton/ of events to justify it. We're much more likely to accept something like this when it's set up and not handwaved into existence. (And it makes for a better story!)
All actions have consequences. Stupid games, stupid prizes. Think before you hit enter; that is the threshold of your consent. Is pulling that gun on that dragon really a great idea? Do you truly want to disobey that direct order from a noble known for wanton cruelty? Perform every action with the consideration of consequences. We'll try to communicate and compromise where we can, but we would like to avoid being forced into a corner between 'players' and 'story.'
Ensure your character 'lives' outside of us. Less a hard and fast rule, but a suggestion. Do not make characters explicitly for us. Do not make characters specifically because you think 'they'll fit.' Make characters you love, and characters who have lives outside of the FC. This is a one-way path to stagnation, and then resentment via said stagnation. A community like this only works if everyone brings developments to the table. We can't share the limelight if you have no clue what your character is doing or has been doing or might need help doing or has progressed in.
We are not an ERP guild. What you do in private time isn't our prerogative. The moment it becomes public, it becomes our problem. In the same vein, we don't take in characters made solely for the intent of such.
Our recruitment is currently
Closed: Not accepting applications at this time.
Conditional: Only recruiting outstandingly fitting writers.
In-Character: Only recruiting characters met in-game.
Open: Actively recruiting new members from the public.
Advertising: Not currently recruiting, but will soon.
Hiatus: Recruitment and stories are temporarily on hold.