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Codex entry: Arlathan: Part One

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See also: Elvhenan

Codex text

Before the ages were named or numbered, our people were glorious and eternal and never-changing. Like the great oak tree, they were constant in their traditions, strong in their roots, and ever reaching for the sky.

They felt no need to rush when life was endless. They worshiped their gods for months at a time. Decisions came after decades of debate, and an introduction could last for years. From time to time, our ancestors would drift into centuries-long slumber, but this was not death, for we know they wandered the Fade in dreams.

In those ages, our people called all the land Elvhenan, which in the old Elven language means "place of our people." And at the center of the world stood the great city of Arlathan, a place of knowledge and debate, where the best of the ancient elves would go to trade knowledge, greet old friends, and settle disputes that had gone on for millennia.

But while our ancestors were caught up in the forever cycle of ages, drifting through life at what we today would consider an intolerable pace, the world outside the lush forests and ancient trees was changing.

The humans first arrived from Par Vollen to the north. Called shemlen, or "quicklings," by the ancients, the humans were pitiful creatures whose lives blinked by in an instant. When they first met the elves, the humans were brash and warlike, quick to anger and quicker to fight, with no patience for the unhurried pace of elven diplomacy.

But the humans brought worse things than war with them. Our ancestors proved susceptible to human diseases, and for the first time in history, elves died of natural causes. What's more, those elves who spent time bartering and negotiating with humans found themselves aging, tainted by the humans' brash and impatient lives. Many believed that the ancient gods had judged them unworthy of their long lives and cast them down among the quicklings. Our ancestors came to look upon the humans as parasites, which I understand is similar to the way the humans see our people in the cities. The ancient elves immediately moved to close Elvhenan off from the humans, for fear that this quickening effect would crumble the civilization.

The Fall of Arlathan, as told by Gisharel, keeper of the Ralaferin clan of the Dalish elves

Related codex entries

Ico codex entry Codex entry: Arlathan: Part Two

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