Capital: Shae Cairdal
Population: 2,650,000 (77% elves, 19% undying, 3% halfelves,
1% other)
Exports: Crafts, bronzewood, densewood, livewood
Languages: Elven, Common, Draconic
The island-continent kingdom of the elves radiates with
magic. Jungles of bronzewood and densewood blanket the
land, and the boundaries between life and death have become
blurred and indistinct in the ancient elf civilization. The
honored dead of Aerenal walk among the living. The Sibling
Kings call upon the ancient lords of the Undying Court for
guidance, and the ranks of the elf armies overfl ow with heroes
who died in glorious battle. In the depths of the City of the
Dead, the elf kings of ages past chart the movement of the
Ring of Siberys and prepare for greater days to come.
The elves of Aerenal have always revered their ancestors.
Once slaves of the giant tribes of Xen’drik, the ancient
Aereni elves bought their freedom with blood and magic,
and elf bards still sing of their heroic deeds. In the center
of the island-continent lies a region where necromantic
energy fl ows easily, and it was here that the elf Priests of
Transition discovered the rites and rituals required to preserve
their elders beyond death. Sustained by the veneration
of their descendants, these undying elves have guided their
country for more than twenty thousand years. The strength
of the deathless has carried Aerenal through confl icts with
hobgoblins, humans, and even the dragons of Argonnessen.
Yet the Aereni have never sought to conquer; their undying
armies have always fought in defense of the nation.
Because of a superstitious fear of the walking dead
and the isolationist attitude of the elves of Aerenal, few
humans ever visit the island-continent, and those who do
rarely venture beyond the port city of Pylas Talaear. Thus,
the island-continent remains a mystery. What ancient
treasures are hidden in the City of the Dead? What magic
lurks in the Densewood Jungle? And what has driven the
confl icts between dragons and elves?
Aerenal is best known for its mystical lumber. Due to
the magical resonance of the land, densewood, livewood,
soarwood, and bronzewood trees only grow on the islandcontinent;
darkwood also fl ourishes in the jungles, though
these trees can be found in other lands. The elves take care
to limit the amount of this miraculous lumber that they
export. They have a long view of life, and have no intention
of deforesting the land for quick profi t. The elves of Aerenal
are some of the best carpenters and woodworkers on Eberron,
and they export wooden items of all types, from works
of art to fi ne weapons. The lumber and leaves of darkwood
and bronzewood trees can be used to produce beautiful and
effective weapons and armor. In addition, herbs and plants
found only in the Aerenal jungles are useful for the creation
of necromantic potions and magic items, while others are
invaluable in funerary rituals and for preserving corpses.
Life and Society
Aerenal is an ancient nation. It watched the goblin empires
of Khorvaire rise and fall, saw the arrival of humans and the
common races, and observed the formation of the Kingdom
of Galifar. The elves respect their elders and are devoted to
their ancestors. Over the course of thousands of years, elf
families have developed distinctive customs, including manners
of dress, speech, art, and the use of magic.
Despite the cultural differences that have developed
over the millennia, a number of common factors tie the
Aereni families together. Most families are extremely
insular. They have a strong belief in the importance of
preserving their ancestral blood, and generally marry
within their own lines; they appear to have few of the negative
genetic markers that cause problems for human families
that maintain a closed breeding pool. Humans often see the
Aereni as cold and distant, but the truth is that most elves
are uncomfortable around strangers, especially nonelves.
They can predict the behavior of other families and read the
emotions of their own kin with ease. But the unpredictable
behavior of the shorter-lived races is disconcerting, and
until an elf comes to know and trust an outsider, he usually
shields his emotions behind an inscrutable facade.
Another trait shared by the Aereni is their attitude
toward death. For the elves, death is not something to be
feared; instead, it is embraced and ultimately welcomed.
Each family expresses this attitude in a different way. Some
wear intricate death masks. Others tattoo their faces with
skulls or similar patterns. Members of the line of Jhaelian
mimic the appearance of the undying while they are still
alive, using magical and alchemical substances to induce
rigor and apparent decomposition of the fl esh. While all
these customs are striking, there are many families that
internalize their respect of the dead and do not demonstrate
it in a physical form.
As for the deathless themselves, they are concentrated in
the great cities of the nation’s interior. A family estate may have
an honor guard of undying soldiers and an undying councilor
advising the living elders of the line, but the majority
of the undying gather in the City of the Dead. Regardless
of family, all Aereni respect the undying as heroes of their
race and always treat them with respect and deference. Many
humans who hear about this assume that Aerenal is a land
of vampires and zombies, when in fact nothing could be
farther from the truth. An undying soldier or councilor is
an undead creature, but it is charged with positive energy
and sustained by the devotion of its descendants. Vampires,
liches, and their ilk are abhorrent creatures that destroy life
to preserve their own existence, and they are seen as a perversion
of the undying. The creation of mindless undead,
such as zombies and skeletons, is seen as an unforgivable
insult to the body and soul of the deceased.
A fi nal element that permeates all levels of the culture
of Aerenal is immense racial pride, a superiority complex that extends thousands of years into the past. The elves of
Aerenal are among the most accomplished wizards of Eberron.
Their ancestors walk among them, and the greatest of
the undying have almost godlike power. Their nation has
driven off the dragons of Argonnessen not once, but multiple
times. The elves are not blatantly arrogant. Instead,
they are completely self-assured, possessing an unshakable
faith in their peoples’ place in the world.
Government and Politics
Two forces govern Aerenal. The Sibling Kings hold all
temporal power. By ancient tradition, the nation must be
ruled by a bonded brother and sister. When either sibling
dies, the Undying Court selects a new pair to rule. The
Sibling Kings are seen as the living embodiment of Aerenal,
and the conduit for the power of the Undying Court.
The current siblings are Belaereth (LN male elf, fi ghter
2/cleric 12 Undying Court) and Tezaera (LN female elf,
cleric 16 Undying Court) of the line of Mendyrian.
While the Sibling Kings guide the daily affairs of
Aerenal, the Undying Court shapes the destiny of the
elf race. This council of the deathless selects, advises,
and empowers the rulers of the land. The motives of the
Undying Court cannot be understood by mortal beings;
their plans stretch out over millennia. But those who have
studied the elves—and their confl icts with the dragons in
particular—are convinced that the deathless have a goal
whose fruition may still be centuries away. Indeed, since
the deathless measure existence in time spans that even
dragons cannot imagine, their machinations and plots
worry the dragons no end.
Each family owes obeisance to the Sibling Kings and
the Undying Court, but each has its own traditions of
internal rule. Some are matriarchal, some are patriarchal,
and others have their own sibling lords.
Power Groups
The dragonmarked houses have been allowed to operate
only in the port city of Pylas Talaear. Since the destruction
of the line of Vol and the more recent Shadow Schism,
most Aereni view the dragonmarked with a certain degree
of suspicion, even those of the two elven houses.
The Cairdal Blades: A small, elite force, the Cairdal
Blades consist mostly of fi ghters and rogues, along with a
few wizards to provide magical support. A few undying
soldiers of legendary reputation bolster the Blades’ power.
Due to the traces of Phiarlan blood still coursing through
Aerenal, the Mark of Shadow appears once or twice in each
generation. Elves bearing this mark are always inducted
into the Blades and generally trained as rogues.
Superbly trained and well equipped, the Cairdal Blades
provide Aerenal with a highly effective force that can operate
across Eberron. In theory, the Blades serve the Sibling Kings,
but some believe that their fi rst loyalty is to the Undying
Court; is there a cabal within the Court carrying out plans
that the living rulers of Aerenal know nothing about?
The Deathguard: An elite order of knights and priests,
the Deathguard is dedicated to the utter eradication of all negatively charged undead and the necromancers who defi le
the souls and bodies of the dead. Created to battle the corrupted
spirits of the realm, the Deathguard played a critical
role in the destruction of the line of Vol; to this day it continues
to fi ght the Blood of Vol cult. With their skull-tattooed
faces and artifi cially decomposed fl esh, members of the Deathguard
often resemble blackguards more than paladins.
The Tairnadal: These warrior elves inhabit the northern
steppes of Aerenal, where they can better care for the warhorses
their ancestors brought from Xen’drik. The Tairnadal
have a more active and aggressive culture than the elves of
the jungle. They seek to honor their ancestors by emulating
their heroic deeds in the present. In the last few millennia,
many younger elves of southern bloodlines have left their
homes to join the Tairnadal, and what was once a minor sect
is slowly becoming a signifi cant force on the island.
There are three major groups among the Tairnadal. The
Valaes Tairn is the largest; these elves believe that glory in
battle is the highest goal, regardless of the nature of the foe.
Most of these elves left Aerenal during the Last War and now
control the nation of Valenar. The two smaller groups are
the Silaes Tairn, who are determined to return to Xen’drik
and reclaim the ancient realm of the elves, and the Draleus
Tairn, who wish to destroy the dragons of Argonnessen.
Relations between the Tairnadal and the elves of the
Undying Court are cordial. They honor the same ancestors,
and respect the shared blood that fl ows through their
veins. The southern Aereni feel that the Tairnadal waste
their blood by refusing to become undying after death; the
northern elves believe the elves of the jungle spend too much
time dreaming of the past instead of acting in the present.
The Stillborn: Long ago, the line of Jhaelian began
the practice of physically altering its living members to
resemble the undead. In recent centuries, this practice has
spread to a handful of disaffected youths in other families.
In Aerenal, undeath must be earned. These younger elves
are arrogant and impatient; they believe that their souls are
being unfairly trapped in mortal fl esh. Calling themselves
the Stillborn, these rebellious youths have long demanded
the right to be reborn. The elders have ignored the Stillborn,
holding to the traditions of Aerenal. But the sect may
be more dangerous than the elves believe. The Blood of Vol
is determined to seize the island of Aerenal—and recently
the cult has formed an alliance with the Stillborn. Many of
the elves are willing to accept vampirism or lichdom in lieu
of becoming deathless, and the sect may play a critical role
in any Vol scheme involving Aerenal.
While elves of the line of Jhaelian share the undead
appearance of the Stillborn, the Jhaelian family is loyal to the
Undying Court; the Deathguard includes many Jhaelian elves.
This may be a source of confusion or confl ict, if adventurers
who fought the Stillborn later encounter Jhaelian elves.
The Aereni tradition of ancestor worship has evolved considerably
since the birth of the Undying Court. Instead of revering
those ancestors long dead, the Aereni venerate the dead
that remain. In the eyes of the elves, existence is a spiritual
journey that takes thousands of years to accomplish—a journey
only the undying can complete. Thus, the Aereni honor the
deathless who are on this fi nal path, but their true deity is the
combined essence of the ascended councilors, the undying
who have journeyed beyond life and death to reach the fi nal
destination of the elven soul. While the ascendant councilors
can still take physical form, the elves do not worship them as
individual deities. Instead, they revere the ascendant union
as the ultimate embodiment of the elf race.
As a result of these beliefs, the Aereni do not fear death.
On the contrary, it is a state to be desired as the next step on
the path to ascension. However, an elf must earn the right
to walk this path. The Priests of Transition are the ambassadors
to the Undying Court, and it is these clerics who
judge the achievements of an elven life and decide the fate
of a candidate. Those who have shown tremendous heroism
and skill at arms may be reborn as undying soldiers, while
the wisest among the elves become undying councilors. An
elf judged to be fl awed or foolish may be left to die, leaving
room for a stronger spirit to enter the community. But
more often than not, the Priests of Transition use raise dead
to restore a fallen elf so that he may continue his journey
along the path of existence.
The elves believe that it is the devotion of the family
that preserves the spirits of the undying. As a result, an elf
is expected to be deeply familiar with the lives of his undying
ancestors, and to show respect to all of the undying.
The Tairnadal elves of Valenar and Northern Aerenal
have a different focus. While they respect the elders of the
Undying Court, they worship the spirits of the warriors of
Xen’drik—elves who fell long before the Undying Court was
raised. The Tairnadal priests are known as the Keepers of
the Past, and their ranks include both clerics and bards.
At birth (or upon joining the Tairnadal, in the case of a
half-elf or Aereni recruit) the Keepers of the Past consult
the spirits to determine an elf’s patron ancestor. The
Tairnadal believe that by emulating the behavior of their
patron ancestors, they give those ancestors a chance to live
again in the current generation.
Major Settlements
Most of the inhabitants of the jungle live in communities
dedicated to a single family line. They are called estates,
but are in fact self-suffi cient towns of up to three thousand
elves. The Tairnadal prefer to stay in motion, but a handful
of small villages are scattered across the northern steppes.
In addition to the estates, Aerenal has a few larger
cities where the different families mingle freely with the
undying. Three of these are described below.
One feature common to all Aereni communities is the
prevalence of monuments. The elves believe that it is vitally
important to remember and honor the deeds of their ancestors,
and monuments of densewood or stone are scattered
throughout every city or estate.
The City of the Dead (Metropolis, 42,460): While
Shae Cairdal is the seat of the rulers of Aerenal, Shae Mordai,
the City of the Dead, is the spiritual heart of the nation. Built
at the center of a fl ow of necromantic energy, this ancient
metropolis is the home of the Undying Court, the great council
of deathless elves that guides the destiny of the elf race.
The City of the Dead is the only city in Aerenal built
from stone instead of densewood. It is cluttered with shrines and monuments dedicated to past heroes, including those
who now reside in the Undying Court as well as the ancient
heroes of Xen’drik. The city is a center for arcane study
and a place of worship, as well as the only place where
the ritual of the undying can be performed. As a result,
commerce is minimal despite the city’s size, and visitors
of other races usually receive a cold welcome.
Undying soldiers can be found throughout the city,
and undying councilors can be seen consulting with arcane
scholars and advising visiting descendants. A vast area at
the center of the city is devoted to the Undying Court
itself. The Priests of Transition and the Sibling Kings
are the only living beings allowed to enter the confi nes of
the court. Whispered tales say that the court is far larger
than it appears, and that hundreds of mystical guardians
and traps protect it. Rumored to hold the greatest Aereni
treasures, including relics of ancient Xen’drik, the court
has never been breached by thief or force.
The City of the Dead is built on a manifest zone tied
to the plane of Irian, the Eternal Day. Within the city,
spells that use positive energy, including cure spells, are
maximized, while spells that use negative energy, including
infl ict spells, are impeded.
Shae C airdal (Metropolis, 52,460): The largest
city in Aerenal, Shae Cairdal is the capital of the Sibling
Kings. Built by the Aereni shortly after their exodus from
Xen’drik, Shae Cairdal is a fortress surrounded by walls
of densewood, although over the millennia the city has
expanded and spread far beyond the original walls. In
addition to being the royal seat, Shae Cairdal is a center
for commerce and diplomacy between the largely isolated
family lines of the elves. While members of other races are
rarely seen, the cultures and styles of the families are so
distinctive that Shae Cairdal often feels more cosmopolitan
than Sharn. In addition to a vast marketplace where different
families trade their goods, the city includes a number
of arcane universities, an enormous temple of the Priests
of Transition, and the barracks and training ground of the
army of Aerenal. The city also has the second highest population
of undying in Aerenal. It is no match for the City of
the Dead, but deathless scholars and advisors can be found
throughout Shae Cairdal, and a considerable number of
the guards and soldiers are members of the undying.
Pylas Talaear (Small City, 10,460): This port
city is the primary point of contact between Aerenal
and the rest of Eberron. It includes outposts of all of
the dragonmarked houses except for House Orien. The
primary purpose of the city is commerce; it does have one
mystical university, but Pylas is fi lled with lumber yards,
warehouses, and marketplaces selling a wide variety of
goods. The governor of Pylas Talaear, Syraen Melideth
(LN female elf, wizard 13), is a beautiful elf with a fullsized
skull tattooed on her face. Syraen took her post at the
start of the Last War, and over the last century has come to
view humans more sympathetically than most of her kind.
However, she is ruthless when it comes to maintaining
order within her city, and adventurers must watch their
step in Pylas Talaear.

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