The Krosven Steppe
A Brief History of (Leo)Phynsia
as explained to Vall Areanrae by Avahkoreonne the Phynsian elf
Leophynsia was the realm of the elves, in much the same way Iro is the realm of the humans. Originally Leophynsia’s borders were much, much larger, but about 200 years ago Covoran the Builder arrived at Yefaltyrea (the Crystal City) and used his legion of constructs to sunder the land west of it, causing it to fall into a black abyss below. Since then, the elves have come to call their land Phynsia.
Phynsia is broken up into four separate nations: Norvair, the forested land of the elves; Khaosar, the desert realm of the dragonborn; Giyez, the painted hills where the gnolls live; and Dakorūn, the swampy home of the orcs. There is also “disputed land” in between these realms, due to the recent history between the elves and the dragonborn.
Other races live within these lands, though most live in Norvair.
Leophynsia has been home to the elves for thousands of years (presumably longer than in Iro, Vall reckons). It is a land of much political and geographical turmoil, and only recently (within the last 300 years or so) has there been relative peace, thanks in part to loose peace treaties between the dragonborn and the gnolls and orcs, effectively keeping them from attacking each other and the elves. However this treaty was used against the elves recently.
200 years ago Covoran broke apart the world, and the elves were so saddened by the loss of their kin to the west that they retreated into the Crystal City and grieved for 100 years. They abandoned their outposts in the Steppe, leaving the trade routes eastern Phynsia open for brigands and other creatures. Most importantly, they told no one about this—they simply left.
In response, the dragonborn sent envoys to the Pillars and to the Crystal City to discover what was going on. They found the elves huddled in rooms, weeping softly, but also in some kind of grieving trance or torpor, unable to be revived. The dragonborn are a proud and haughty race and thought this weak of the elves, and so they began to populate the outposts and guard towers along Phynsia. They also sent troops to inhabit the three Pillars, which act as a defense against all sorts of monsters within the forest, and have always been elven towers of defense.
The original dragonborn who did this figured the elves would be gone for a year or two at most. But instead it was 100 years, and a few generations of dragonborn ended up living in these outposts and such. During that time the dragonborn faced an onslaught of monster attacks, presumably because the monsters knew that the elves were sleeping. Many dragonborn died, but those who lived and secured their guard posts and the Pillars felt a sense of pride in keeping the realm safe.
So it came as little surprise that when they elves finally awoke and sent their troops back to the Pillars and surrounding outposts, the dragonborn weren’t too happy about it. These were third or fourth generation dragonborn who all but accepted these places as theirs. Several skirmishes occurred during this time, including the Siege of North Pillar, where a regiment of dragonborn soldiers refused to leave the North Pillar and the elves ended up nearly blowing the entire tower up in order to get them out. Dragonborn in outposts along trade routes were forced out and the elves quickly resumed their defensive posturing around Phynsia. This caused a lot of tension between the two races.
One important point is that during the elves time away, the dragonborn successfully negotiated extending trade routes to the gnolls and orcs, in exchange for their “loose” treaty becoming a signed declaration of truce between the two warring nations. When the elves returned, however, they refused to support the truce or deal with the gnolls or orcs whatsoever, which caused them to return to fighting almost immediately. The orcs were convinced the dragonborn had tricked them into peace with the gnolls and marched into gnoll territory demanding answers. A huge battle ensued which lasted over six months and included elves and dragonborn. Tensions were at their boiling point here but the dragonborn managed to end the battle with few casualties, and over the years renegotiated peace between the gnolls and orcs.
Meanwhile the elves returned to Norvair and had to deal with their own issues—namely, the other races were worried about elven imperialism. The elves had taken over the White Wood, which was home to several halfling clans. It is presumed they pushed the halflings into the Fog.
Vahk is insistent that the dragonborn encroached on their territory and have caused more trouble than people know. “The Pillars are our towers,” he tells Vall. “The dragonborn dishonor us by allying with the disgusting and treacherous gnolls and orcs. They have stolen our land and disrespected our people.”
The Phynsian elves follow a complex religion called the Hendecagoi, 11 gods who Vall realizes early on are actually the Titans of Irolean lore, recognizing the names of Covoran, Atren, and Gamavër. The elves call these Titans “gods” however, and their religion is much more intricate than the Old Gods or Padorism. (“Too complicated for an evening’s discussion,” Vahk tells Vall.)
The Hendecagoi has 3 Builders, 5 Shapers, and 3 Destroyers. These titans are linked in groups of three, leaving two Shapers ungrouped. The titans also have various helper entities (known as spirits) who are aspects of the titans and what they do. For example, the Builders have spirits known as Psions, who act as the “builders” of thought, reason, logic, etc—things known as “meta-elements” to the elves. These spirits are less powerful than the titans but are still immortal and pretty dang powerful. Some spirits act for one type of titan (the Psions for the Builders), some act for two (Justicars, who work for Builders and Shapers), and two spirits work for all three. They are known as Pentagons and are the intermediaries between titans and elves. The spirits are even more elusive than the titans, however, save for the Pentagons, whose job is to oversee the mortals in Phynsia.
Unlike the gods (as Vall has explained the Old Gods to Vahk, who is unsurprised at Gamavër’s return and siege against the Old Gods), the titans have historically lived in Leophynsia with the elves, to varying degrees of intimacy. Most titans have left the world, though all the Shapers presumably still live in Phynsia with the exception of Atren, who was banished. Covoran’s status is unknown after the Sundering, and Gamavër was destroyed in the Spine. The Phynsian elves have a long and storied history of contact and interaction with the titans. In fact, Wrenekar the Shaper’s temple is actually the Glass City, where the Dragonborn live, where Wrenekar is said to live in an obsidian orb at the very bottom, surrounded by magma.
(In analogy terms, think of the Shapers like Vivec in Morrowind. In fact all titans are like this, except they are exceedingly difficult to find and talk to.)
With the exception of Covoran’s siege on the Crystal City, no races in Phynsia have spoken to or seen a titan or spirit since Covoran himself crossed through the Steppe into the western lands, over 3,000 years ago. (Gamavër doesn’t count because no one in Phynsia saw him, technically.)
Phynsian symbology is rooted in the Hendecagon, an 11-sided circular shape in which various lines have been intersected between vertices to establish connections between titan groups. The shapes created from the intersecting lines also symbolize the various spirits of the Hendecagoi.