The ancient forest of Sythrilinara was home to the Sythril people for thousands of years and had remained virtually undisturbed by the outside world. Much of their civilization's longevity has been attributed to the powerful magics that had protected its people since its founding.
Sythril Elves are easy to distinguish from the other Elven races because they are usually very tall compared to other humanoids. Sythril are usually between 5'6" and 6'8", with men being slightly taller on average than women.
The Sythril were a bit xenophobic and, while visitors from the Outlands were welcome within their borders, they were usually treated with suspicion and most dealings that took place were brief. As such, outsiders didn't typically stay long. Much of the paranoia that gripped the populace had been indoctrinated for generations. Many believed that outsiders within their borders were secretly plotting to steal the secrets of the magical barriers surrounding their homeland. While these feelings held true against all outsiders, the Sythril were the most worried about the intentions of the other Elven nations.
The government of the Sythril had always been ruled as a Gerontocracy. Each village was governed by one or more elders, depending on size, and larger cities were governed by a council of elders. Each elder from the villages and cities also held a seat in the Prime Council which governed the nation as a whole. Because the Sythril were so bound by tradition, the laws rarely changed and the title of elder often meant little more than a position of respect.
At age 30, Sythril were required to choose the profession they would hold for the rest of their lives and they typically began their apprenticeship the day after their birthday. While they were able to choose any profession they desired, would-be apprentices were strongly encouraged to fill specific roles as needed by their community.
During a Sythril's 90th year, the family was expected to arrange a marriage. Many of the pairings selected were done so in an effort to promote the influence and social status of both families. For the next 10 years, the partners would court. Most couples understood and accepted the social obligation they were under and used this time to get to know one another and learned to love their future spouse.
Once both had reached age 100, the wedding would be held and each was granted a reprieve from their duties for 6 months for the honeymoon. After this period, the two were given positions in the roles they had been training for the last 70 years.
The breaking of any of the traditions listed above (as well as many others that are not listed here) was considered highly offensive and, in some cases, considered taboo. Any who deviated were banished from their homeland and shunned by their friends and family with exceptions being extremely rare.
The most important profession that a Sythril could hold in their society was that of a Wardkeeper. Of note, it was the only profession in Sythrilinara that could not always be granted to those desiring the role due to a rigorous selection process.
The magics that had protected the Sythril were put in place when the founding tribes settled the area as part of a splinter colony from an even more ancient Elven civilization hasn't existed in a very long time. The Wards were created by powerful mages using rituals that have long since been forgotten. Since then, the Wardkeepers were trained to maintain the barriers through arduous rituals and required a steadfast dedication to their positions.
It was forbidden, according to law, to create any writings regarding the maintenance of the ancient Wards. As such, all of the teachings of the Wardkeepers had been passed down only through oral tradition since the time of the creation of the Wards themselves. This was another effort to insure that the secrets of the Wards were not discovered and used to bring about their downfall.
Fall of Sythrilinara
When the Blood Rains began, the Wards kept Sythrilinara safe and even prevented the monsoons from reaching their shores. The Sythril rejoiced and were filled with pride by the fact that they had so successfully maintained the Wards since the time of their homeland's founding.
But, the Wards did not hold forever. According to rumor, some time in the month of Kaeshanah of 1458, something happened in Sythrilinara that effectively destroyed the nation overnight. The most common rumors say that devils managed to find a way through the barrier and a massive invasion force tore the island nation apart. If true, it is unknown how or why this happened.
Despite the villages and cities being devastated, many of the Sythril survive and have been looking for a new place to call home. Having such strong traditional ties to the forest they once called home, many have had great difficulty in adjusting to a new way of life. While some communities have stuck together, most have split apart, either through choice or circumstance.