The Estanesse are a group of elves that live in the Gamyde Crater on the continent of Nerthus. They also control Alamen and parts of the Altai Mountains. Their capital is Mellryn-Tal. They maintain relatively peaceful relations with the Charlangian Empire.
The Estanesse are one of the longest-lasting civilizations in Nerthus. Claims that they are the oldest surviving civilization are hotly contested by the Samnaun Dwarves. Their forest cities have been inhabited for millennia. Mellryn-Tal, their capital, is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Nerthus.
Thousands of years ago, an elven empire stretched across most of northern Nerthus. Their cities were the pinnacle of civilization, and the elves lived in peace. This was not to last, however. The beginning of the end of the prime of their civilization occurred several thousand years ago when a significant number of elves began to worship the Demon Queen of Spiders, Lloth. As her cult grew more powerful, the ruling elves became more worried. Eventually, the ruling council set the Lloth worshippers an ultimatum: give up their heretical beliefs, or be banished from the elven lands. The Lloth worshippers chose a third option, to fight back. This marked the beginning of The Great Schism, which eventually led to the Lloth worshippers being driven south with an Estanesse army behind them. They eventually found their way to The Rift, where they made their way underground and became the Drow. To this day the Drow maintain that they were led there by Lloth herself.
After the exile of the Drow, the Estanesse never recovered. The elves became more introverted, and more focused on individual achievements than success as a group. Their population also began to dwindle, and as it fell, they retreated north, abandoning some of their lands. Eventually they controlled only Gamyde Crater, and Alamen. They became more and more withdrawn from the world, not really caring for anything but their own internal policies.
Two thousand years ago, they were attacked without warning by a massive Drow army. They had travelled through the Underdark, and eventually discovered a cavern that came out in the Altai Mountains. The Estanesse barely managed to repel the attack, beating the Drow back to the cave and destroying the entrance. After this attack, a faction of the Estanesse under the leadership of Mailys Saevia campaigned for the Estanesse to take a more active role in the world, and to proactively defend against the Drow threat. When they failed to change the minds of the ruling council, they left and formed the Mal’Quessir, forging their way south. The Estanesse, however, felt that stationing a few outposts in the Altai Mountains was enough to protect themselves.
Several hundred years later, another faction broke off of the Estanesse. However, this faction broke off because they felt that the Estanesse were TOO involved with the outside world. They wanted to withdraw from Alamen and the Altai Mountains, and fortify themselves in their cities, cutting off all outside contact. The ruling council was also opposed to this change, and the Taur’Quessir left the Estanesse. They have not been heard from since.
A thousand years ago, an elf know only as Rineldhel emerged as a prominent member at one of the top elven academies. He maintained that the Estanesse had strayed from their true nature, that they had lost touch with nature. He also said that they were too obsessed with magic, and that they needed to focus on their minds and souls. He gained a great number of followers, until the ruling council exiled him for sowing dissent. He and his followers left peacefully, settling on the Glanting Isle, and becoming the Rineldalie Elves.
About 600 years ago, an invasion of savage humanoids from the Naneten Wastes caused the Estanesse to mobilize itself militarily, repelling the invaders, and realizing that they needed to become more progressive, or else face extinction while all of the younger shorter-lived races surpassed them.
About 200 years ago, the rapid expansion of the Charlangian Empire under the command of Empress Ylvera caused the Estanesse a great deal of concern. They did not act, however, until the Empire began to invade Alamen. The Estanesse fought back and managed to stop their expansion in Southern Alamen, however, they were unable to roust the invaders. They eventually drew up a truce with the Empire, and after the twins Quathiel and Daoine took control of the Empire, a treaty.
It wasn’t until the rule of Emperor Kieran II 50 years ago that the Estanesse managed to regain control of Alamen. The elven population of Alamen managed to overthrow the local Empire officials, and rejoined the Estanesse.
Since the number of elves in the Estanesse has continued to decrease, however, not at anywhere near the rapid rate that they previously were. The Estanesse has begun to act more aggressively. One particularly charismatic elf by the name of Lamron Firlian has become the loudest voice of this new policy. He is advocating for a complete overhaul of the Estanesse internal policies and for them to being expanding again to regain the former glory of their old empire.
The Estanesse are a race of high elves, and as such the population is mostly elven, with some half-elves. However, due to the Empire’s invasion of Alamen, there is a good deal of humans in the lands under the control of the Estanesse. The breakdown of the population of the Estanesse is as follows: Elf – 70%; Human – 15%; Half-Elf 10%; Other humanoid races 5%.