|Region of Origin:||Benacia|
|Regions with Significant Populations:|
|Religion:||animism, Cedrism and Soloralism|
|Famous Figures:||Elu Verion, Sirithil nos Feanor, Mari Greenwood, Layla Verion, Eki Verion|
|Places of Note||n/a|
|Notable Achievements||Survived repeated genocides.|
|Progenitor:||Elu Verion (Mythical)|
|Date of Founding:||500 AN (Mythical)|
The Elfinshi are the descendants of indigenous Elves and Menelmacari immigrants, classed as an ethnicity. Some authorities believe they might be a sub-species of hominids, though there is little support to that notion. The suggestion of a shared common ancestor must be preferred since genetic compatibility has been verified with instances of fertile off-spring arising from such couplings being well attested. Such occurrences however remained comparatively uncommon, usually confined to the nobility, between the Elfinshi War (1488–1489) and Restoration of the Line of Ayreon-Kalirion in 1618.
Prior to the Menelmacari migration into Elwynn, there is some evidence that the Elfinshi were initially well regarded by their fellow Elwynnese. Elwynn's long history outside of Shirerithian rule had been maintained by a succession of so-called Elu Verion, or paramount war-leaders of the Elw whom later mythologisation subsequently condensed into a single patriarchal figure, from whence derived the Line of Verion which has produced two Kaisers in the modern era.
The Shirerithian Conquest of Elwynn in around 1440 ended that tradition of liberty and, beginning with the ascendancy of Sirithil nos Fëanor and accelerating with the succession of Mari Greenwood in 1476, the Elfinshi (with their Menelmacari and Hyperborean allies) increasingly had a vested interest in keeping the Elw indentured.
The Elfinshi, under Menelmacari influence, had embraced an ecologically aware and idyllic interpretation of the Soloralist faith and sought to structure their feudal society in a manner consistent with a return to nature whilst maintaining, for themselves, a high standard of material comfort. Regarding Menelmacar as an example of what becomes of a society perverted by a love of technology and martial power, Elwynn eschewed these values. Rejecting industry and technology in favour of sustainability. For that reason, the Elfinshi decided to make Elwynn a "reserve" built on tradition and the five quintessentialist truths. The environment would be catered for, things would be peaceful and beautiful. Everyone would sit in the tree tops and sing every day.
This was the case, for the Elfinshi elite, at least. This nobility, who lived in a bubble of luxurious extravagance as they sought to 'rewild' the landscape around them, of which their human subjects formed only an inconvenient part, albeit - as they conceded grudgingly - a necessary, part.
The native peoples, at this time mainly the Elw, toiled without the prospect of reward. The Elw had traditionally comprised of nomadic castes and clans; and as such to be forced to live and work in manorial estates with the 'soil grubbers' was a bitter insult to the hunters and herdsmen. This compounded the indignity of servitude and fuelled resentment and animosity. The process of indenture inflicted on the Elw by the Elfinshi, saw them collectivised into settlements and made them work in agriculture regardless of their previous lack of experience, in construction and so on at the direction of Elfinshi manorial lords and ladies who ruled from their tree-woven halls - that would subsequently grow to become grand treetop manors. As a consequence of the repudiation of modern technology, work was labour intensive and burdensome. These backbreaking, dangerous and slave-like conditions not only fuelled resentment against the Elfinshi but also began the process of breaking down the old tribal and caste identities of the Elw. Many Elw people perished as a natural result of being subjected to the living conditions attendant upon serfdom.
The downfall of the Elfinshi began with the Elwynnese Trial of Assessment, held in the Landsraad under the Feudal Holdings Act between the years 1487 and 1488, which was held to determine Elwynn's status in the Imperial Republic. At that time, Elwynn was a duchy with one subordinate barony, Hyperborea. The kaiser of the day, Kaiser Mors III, and the duchess of Elwynn, Mari Greenwood, were political enemies and deeply distrustful of each other. At the same time, Duchess Mari Greenwood's reign saw a significant economic depression in Elwynn. In Hyperborea, the economy, however, grew, mostly thanks to an effective government there with Philip Locke, Zirandorthel and Elder Mikol Rugal.
The Hyperborean Council of Elders debated the matter, and decided to petition the Kaiser to elevate the status of Hyperborea within the Imperial Republic. In response, the Kaiser called for a trial of assessment of the Duchy of Elwynn. Most discussions on the matter took part behind locked doors, wherefore there are no written records. The Kaiser then put the result of the trial to a vote in the Landsraad. He introduced a motion to the Landsraad that would swap the statuses of Hyperborea and Elwynn, whereby Elwynn would be a barony of a proposed Duchy of Hyperborea. The motion was immediately put to vote.
At the end of voting, 16 votes were in favour of the Kaiser's recommendations, 14 were against, and 2 votes were abstentions. Elwynn's 4 votes were not cast. Accordingly the Duchy of Elwynn was demoted, and Mari Greenwood became the first baroness of Elwynn, only to abdicate soon after.
After Elwynn's demotion to a barony, the alliance between Hyperboreans and Elfinshi had broken down. Mari Greenwood and the upper echelons of the Elfinshi elite left for Delvenus. Violence broke out. Elw people demanded freedom. As Mari Greenwood, for reasons unknown, left the baronial throne to Ardashir, the Babkhans who did arrive were hailed as heroes and liberators. Especially as they brought technology with them.
That the Elfinshi genocide then actually did occur within two or three months from demotion was not too surprising, given the chaos, the resentment, and the will for the new regime to get the people on its side.
The ultimate effect of the Elfinshi War (1488–1489), along with the War of Vengeance (1508–1509), and combined with the effects of the hunger famines (1512–1533), would see the Elfinshi driven to the edge of destruction. The balance of those who survived emigrated to join their kin in Amity, Delvenus and Yardistan.
For a long time the Elfinshi were excluded from the lands occupied by the Babkhi, lands that would become the precincts of Alalehzamin and Agnesia, however a small isolated population survived in the Phoenix Forest, in the neighbouring County of Illumination. Elfinshi blood vengeance cults operating out of the Yardistani Holy Lands were known to be active in covert operations to discover the remaining isolated pockets surviving in Elwynn as well as being implicated in repeated attempts to kill off the descendants of the Osmanid tribe in Elwynn.
The position of the Elfinshi within Elwynn began to improve following the White Lily Revolt of 1550 as Dukes Andrew Allot and Nathan both enacted during their reigns legal safeguards for minority groups to protect them from abuse by the Babkhi or the paramilitary police known, not terribly affectionately, as the Cudgellers.
Following the turmoil of Elwynn's temporary independence from Shireroth (1567–1597) the heat had largely gone out of the Babkhano-Elfinshi rivalry, moreover their numbers had been steadily increasing since the mid 16th century and by 1603 had recovered to a population of 2.5 million, peaking at 2.9 million in 1633, before falling back to 1.8 million in 1651 as civil war and the expulsion of the Line of Ettlingar Freyu encouraged emigration. The Elfinshi had, by and large, hitched their wagon to the Froyalanish star and many now felt the need to absent themselves from the realm in order to avoid a reckoning for that collaboration.
Particularly vulnerable were the Álfarnir, a community of Elfinshi who had converted to the Vanic religion and adopted the culture of the Froyalanish nobility. As a consequence of being treated as part of the Froyalanish community during the Auspicious Occasion the Álfarnir were deported en masse to the FNR. The survivors of that deportation discovered humility after they were redeemed and returned to Elwynn by virtue of the ransoms paid for by their brother and sister Elfinshi, whom they had once haughtily despised as weaklings.