Nor, the Silverweaver, god of night and lord of the silver disc of the moon, was the first guardian to descend to the earth and tell the races of the guardian gods and their duties. But with time, the races forgot his teachings and turned away from the cool master of darkness, seeking instead solitude with the gods of light and the sun. Disappointed and spurned, Nor was quick to side with the renegade Zarach when the gods began to disunite. As a token of gratitude, Zarach created a race for his dark brother, a race that for all times would be devoted to Nor, master of the night. From the pure essence of the elves he formed the most beautiful, perfect and deadly of the dark races, the Norcaine – also known as Dark Elves.
Their spirit is sharp and cold as the light of the full moon, and they are as quick and merciless as the icy nightwind. War is their art, battle their poetry. They live to sow destruction and neither hope nor joy is necessary to give them courage. Perfect tools of death, they show no weakness, despair or fatigue. Their entire days and nights are spent worshipping and praying to Nor, their master, and destroying the light-seeking worms whose gods forced him into exile.
It is their sharp intellect and discipline that makes the Dark Elves so dangerous and that almost decided the War of Six Races for the dark ones. From Urgath they came to Fiara with their brothers in arms, the orcs and trolls. Once the war was over, they stayed and founded the realm of Lar on the nebulous east coast. There, they raised towers of obsidian and forged heavy armor and moonblades, which they would use in uncounted cruel battles against the races of the light.
Assassins are the warriors of the Draco, one of the three ruling castes in the Dark Elves’ social hierarchy. Their strenuous training begins at childhood, and more than a few do not survive.
A young assassin is robbed of his family and friends, and lives a life of hardship and humiliation in the grey schools of the Draco, learning to kill and hate. Only when this boy has grown into a wrathful man, a weapon whose only purpose is to kill, can he rise through the ranks of the assassins. Assassins are feared on the battlefield, for they are more than mere soldiers, they are merciless executioners, sent to bring the wrath of the god of night to those who have faith in the light.
The perfection with which they have mastered their weapons and the art of war makes them seemingly forget the weight of their armor, and when they swirl through the ranks of their enemies as dancers of death, or climb the walls of an enemy fortress silently and unseen, then they are one with their destiny.
The streams of black magic are like the lifeblood of the dark empires of the Norcaine. In towers and temples as magnificent as they are threatening, sorcerers weave the threads of darkness, night for night, day for day, endlessly questing for even more powerful knowledge. Their craft is pain and suffering, destruction and despair; and whenever the armies march against the light, the sorcerers follow, murmuring prayers to weave the net of death with their brothers in arms.
They serve the caste of Archon, the most powerful of the ruling castes. And although the sorcerers belong to the lowest and weakest of the schools of magic, they still recognize the strength of their caste, and each of them strives to ascend the ranks of the Archon and lead the fate of a realm. Yet before them lies a long and ardenous path before they can rise through the ranks of the schools of magic.
Darkblades are the servants of the Sinistra, masters of weapons and black magic. Their caste is the least powerful, but that fact is based more on tradition than their prowess. They combine the ways of magic and steel in deadly perfection, to honor the Silverweaver and bring about the downfall of the enlightened. Armor and weapons of the Darkblades tremor with the unholy power of their magic. Many a believer in the light has been paralysed with fear at the sight of a Darkblade, whirling in and out of his enemies with cruel precision, voicing a powerful incantation of their magic in a dark voice.
If death is an assassin’s craft and a sorcerer’s science, so it is a Darkblade’s religion. Nor has no more devoted servants than these warriors.
Of the black arts, the magic of death is the most powerful on the battlefield and since the beginnings of the dark races, it has been closely interwoven with the fate of the Dark Elves. In the midst of the armies, Necromancers march into battle, and once their brothers have begun the harvest with their blades, their work begins. They fill the corpses of the fallen with new life, summoning hateful spirits from beyond death and throwing them into battle. Seeing their freshly fallen comrades rise again and charge like a grey wave of destruction in front of the armies of darkness, the heart of many believer in the light turns to stone.
Necromancers also belong to the caste of the Archon, and their schools, from which the unholy screams of their servants echo night and day, are often the biggest and most elaborate buildings in a city.
The Skerg origins lie in the swamps of Urgath. They are a simple race whose heritage would surely be a mystery to many a scholar, had the dark ones not fled to Urgath when they escaped from Xu. When the dark races first reached the shores of Urgath, they were greeted fearfully by the Skerg, who almost regarded the new arrivals as gods. It did not take long for the dark ones to take advantage of the Skerg’s weakness and simple nature; but while the orcs and trolls found sport in slaughtering them, the children of Nor found a more suitable use for these creatures. Since that time, the Dark Elves have bred and kept the Skerg as slaves.
The Skerg may suffer under this arrangement, but after generations of humility and suppression, there exists hardly a spark of rebellion in their broken souls.
The Tar-Skerg are a more intelligent and stronger sub-species of this race of slaves. They are particularly useful for hard or difficult work, and are skilled craftsmen, able to fashion all manner of tools and jewelry for their dark masters.
As if in a trance, they wade through armies of enemies, singing their black prayers and sowing death in the name of their lord. Once the dark anger of a Deathknight has been awakened, only death itself is able to stop these fearsome creatures. Their tradition stems from the War of Six Races, when they were appointed guardians of the Fial Darg, the Princes of Darkness. Still bound by their ancient oath to never falter, they are the pride of the Sinistra. They consider their talent for magic as a gift from the Fial Darg, always positioning themselves in the center of an attack, and always the last ones to stay and defend.
An advancing row of Deathknights is known to the races of the light as a dark storm, and it is said that only the finest armor, forged by the best dwarven blacksmiths, is able to withstand the blows of their war hammers.
The caste of the Draco does not consist solely of whirling assassins, but also of the thoughtful tactics and battle in heavy ranks. From this war-hardened caste come most of the great leaders of the Dark Elven armies. Battlemasters are the heavy fighters of the Draco, whose clarity of thought and willpower more than compensate the wildness that the butchers of the Sinistra have to their advantage.
The Battlemasters are planners and strategists, but also fight on the frontline, experienced warriors who have learned well the wisdom and teachings of their caste.
Their equipment is not weighed down by religious frills, being made for one purpose only, and Battlemasters carry the best weapons and armor the smiths of the warrior caste have to offer. They are not only feared warriors, but also well-respected teachers, with their clear-headedness giving the armies of the Norcaine their tactical advantage and stability.
Under the sign of the Silverweaver they preside over the schools of magic, controlling and manipulating, weaving the threads of destiny as easily as the streams of magic. Warlocks are the most powerful of the Archon, and are surpassed by few in their mastery of the dark arts. They do not often partake in the slaughter on the battlefield, but when they do unleash their dark power into the fight, victory for the dark ones is usually not far. Death flashes as unholy lightning from their fingertips, with row for row of light-believers falling, screaming in agony.
When not at war, they lead and control the realms of the Norcaine from their obsidian towers, listening to the nightly whispering of the Silverweaver, who commands them his will.
Faith and devotion empower the Sinistra to acts as heroic as they are cruel. The most cruel punishment of all, however, is reserved for their own, for those who are ordered down the path of the Havoc. The Havoc meld with the powers of darkness, are filled by the streams of destructive power and become one with the whispering shadows. Body and spirit wither to a dark image of their former self and unimaginable pain becomes the selected one’s only constant companion. But his existence is now the power of darkness, in all its cruelty.
Pain and madness drive him on, bestowing him supernatural powers and the burning hate to kill thousands. The Sinistra know that the few who are sent down this shadowy path cannot remain in the world of the living for long. Thus they are equipped with best weapons, the strongest armor, and placed in the center of the battle when the time of war is nigh.
For the believers in the light, the Havoc are like a bad omen, as if the Fial Darg themselves had returned. They are a perfect combination of black magic and merciless fighting abilities.