The Blood Oath

The Blood Oath is the name given to the oath that the An-Heir swore after the Sundering severely depleted their population. Realizing that the race of men was responsible for the enormous loss of life and the rage of the divh, the An-Heir nation as a whole swore revenge against the race of men, and have pursued bloody retribution in their own way since. The oath itself was three simple phrases in ancient Fale'An-Heir: "Ca'wen-dal, dim-fal'dear, dim-an'lo'orn"

Roughly translated it means "Vengeance for doom, never forgetting, never forgiving". This is the only written form the An-Heir language has ever taken, it is the only thing that they have ever deemed important enough to write down. The An-Heir take the oath extremely seriously, they will take the lives of the race of men until they are as doomed as the An-Heir. No An-Heir who has spoken the oath may ever be a friend of a man, and must take the life of a man unless it will cost him them his own. However they may show mercy, and many will make deaths fast, or ensure that they wipe out entire families so as not to leave orphans. Only the Nil'Rath will risk their own lives to kill an enemy.

The Killing Rite


All An-Heir spend the early parts of their lives crafting a weapon - an unusual double-recurve bow made with the love and attention of decades, made from many kinds of wood, and sinew, and bone, and all manner of other materials. They spend their childhood collecting materials that may serve them, and then their adolescence building the bow, caring for it, practising with it, perfecting their skill. And when it comes time for them to pass from childhood to adulthood, every An-Heir must go forth and find a landsman, and use their bow, or their guile and long bone-knives, or even their hands, to kill him. They are sent from the settlement to find quarry, usually in a small party, but sometimes alone. They can choose their quarry as they please, but when they have found a target they let out a single warning cry, and then they must kill him, and swear the oath anointed in his blood. Those that do are welcomed home. Those that do not are expected to leave their bow by their quarry, and never return, becoming travellers and forsaking their near-immortality, though many travellers take their bow, and turn it to a harp, or tool, as a symbol of their new life. Should an An-Heir kill, the he need never kill again, unless a landsman trespasses in their home, or he can seek out a deathseeker, and join his retinue should they develop a taste for the art of death.

An-Heir think little of the killing rite's victim. It is important, but they are few and their quarry many. So long as they have chosen their target well, and not taken the old or the young (though this is allowed) they are often perplexed that others would take offence. After all, it is a violent world, and the landsman they slew had as much right to kill them. And when they anoint themselves in their foe's blood, for a moment they become him, and give thanks, as all hunters should, for the life given for them in avenging their ancestors. And so he lives on in his slayer, much longer than he would have in his mortal form.

Nil'Rath


With the An-Heir capacity for near-eternal life, suicide is an even more abhorrent and impossible concept than it is to any other creature, however for some few An-Heir the joy of life becomes so absent that they fall into a vile black despair. It would never even occur to a An-Heir to waste their lives, so instead they devote their existences to a useful death. Forsaking all of the trappings of their former lives, they sweep their minds clean of all but destruction and devote themselves to the exquisite art of seeking death. Nil'Rath, or Deathseekers have devoted their lives to their warrior training, they are reckless, stoic and have no regard for their personal safety, they simply go out into the world and seek greater and greater foes to do battle with in the hope that one will bring them a meaningful and glorious death. Deathseekers tend to be morbid in the extreme, obsessed only with death and destruction. Those who survive long enough become some of the most perfect killers in all Allornus, able to appear and disappear like shadows, and end lives without seeming to have even moved. They always announce their presence by singing a rolling dirge by way of challenge, and usually go either lightly clad, or more usually naked, their bodies carved with the words of the oath, and other markings depicting those things to which they have brought death, and of the events that led them to this dark place. They fight only in close combat so that their enemy can come to grips with them, and their aura of despair and rage is almost palpable.