Ask the Druid - The New Lore of EverQuest Next (So Far)
Ask the Druid - The New Lore of EverQuest Next (So Far)
By Karen "shayalyn" Hertzberg on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 9:45 AM
The Norrath of EverQuest Next isn't exactly the Norrath you know and love from previous games--it's a complete reboot that reinvents timelines while maintaining certain prominent characters and locales. How is the lore different? The Wise Druid explains what we know so far.
Dear Wise Druid,
I keep hearing that the lore of EverQuest Next is a J.J. Abrams-style reboot of the EQ franchise. Can you tell me how this works, and what’s different?
My Dearest Lored,
I can tell you what I know so far, which isn’t as much as I’d like to know. There are some secrets still well defended within SOE’s black box and, although I may quad kite wyverns in Cobalt Scar as easily as I eat my morning granola, there’s no way I could solo a whole pack of dev dragons defending their secret lair.
Together in Ethernere
What we know is that the Norraths of EverQuest, EverQuest II and EverQuest Next are separate planes of existence, but all of them connect in Ethernere. Don’t believe me? See Dave Georgeson’s tweet about it in our The Story So Far article. (But you’d be better off believing me; it leads to fewer open browser windows.) Ethernere is described in this dev post on the official EQ2 forums:
Glory to the Silver Reaper! Within his cloak all upon this mortal world, with cognizance of self, will be enveloped and delivered to Ethernere. Fear not this transition of our souls, my pack. Be you children of Serilis, Marr, Cazic, Veeshan, Bristlebane, Innoruuk, or other, you will find yourself in a locale that holds meaning. It may be where you were born, where you lived, where you died, where you met your lover, at your ancestral den, or for those that champion for the downtrodden - where you are needed. From there you may travel through Ethernere, as you wish. Be warned though! If you fight this transition, if you cling to your life within crude flesh, you will suffer within the Reaper's realm. Denial will place blinders upon you, and raging against it will surely drive you mad. But those that are hearty and hold the desire to venture are not chained to any particular location within Ethernere.
-Priestess of the Silver Reaper
In other words, Ethernere is a place where the fallen go to live happily ever after, existing in places they’ve loved, and doing whatever it is that was important to them in life. Unless they opt to fight it; then they’ll probably end up as anguished ghosts haunting those who mourn them or something. But hey, it’s their afterlife.
There’s also a case for living beings traveling to Ethernere, at least in EverQuest II’s Chains of Eternity expansion. Imagine the lore possibilities!
Elves - The Good, the Brave, and the Haughty
Now that you know what Ethernere is, and how it provides some sort of mystical connectivity for the different Norrathian planes, we can talk about the elves. So far, EverQuest Next is really all about the elves, and they’re different from the ones you may remember in EQ and EQ2.
The elves as you remember them from previous games make up three distinct races:
Wood Elves (The Feir’Dal) - Warm, welcoming nature-lovers who generally get along with other races. They love song, adventure, a good party and, most of all, their forest home, the tree city of Kelethin. (I enjoy my life among my wood elf kin. Clearly, it’s good to be a tree-hugging hippie.)
High Elves (Koada’Dal) - Pale and ethereally beautiful snobs. Although they fight on the side of good, the high elves tend to see themselves as superior to other races, which renders them rather uppity, if you ask me. (I dated a Koada’Dal mage. He was snooty. And squishy.)
Dark Elves (Teir’Dal) - Smurf-colored balls of seething hatred. The Teir’Dal are the children of Innoruuk, and they don’t even like their own kind, much less anyone else. They’ll tolerate any race they can use for their twisted purposes. (I wonder if I could tame a Teir’Dal? We girls always go for the bad boys, as you good guys have already figured out.)
In EverQuest Next, things are turned on their (pointy) ear. Rather than being individual races, the elves of Norrath are one race divided into social groups or factions. In the new lore novellas, which provide the back story for EQNext, the Teir’Dal don’t seem to be blue-skinned. In fact, there are Teir’Dal with fair skin and blonde hair. We know that, somehow, they’re probably going to transition.
In the lore that leads up to present-day Norrath in EQNext, the Feir’Dal are still their friendly, welcoming selves. The Koada’Dal are high-born elves--kings, dukes, war heroes and the like. Initially, they’re a force for good, but... they get a little too full of themselves and havoc ensues. Because of their belief in their superiority (stuck up much?) the Koada’Dal, when they stumble upon some high magic, begin to oppress what they consider to be the “lesser” races of Norrath. In fact, they get so high on their own perceived superiority that they even start messing with the dragons. They can’t quite manage to truly subjugate the dragons themselves, but they can push around and enslave other draconic races. (As for me, I had nothing against those wyverns. They tried to eat me first.)
And what of the Teir’Dal? I’m getting to that.
You see, the Koada’Dal became so selfish, and mistreated the draconic races so badly (during a long period called the Takish Age), that the dragons went to war with the elves. The war was called--you guessed it--The Dragon War. Toward the end of the long, brutal war, the Feir’Dal (those elves who work and play well with others) gathered with other races of Norrath and formed the Combine Accord. Together, they attempted to drive the dragons back. For a while they succeeded, but eventually it became clear that the war could not be won. Enter the Teir’Dal, a fierce group of trained warrior elves.
THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T READ THE LORE NOVELLAS
The dragons (the Ring of Scale--remember that faction from EQ?) had driven the elves to Bastion, where they made their last line of defense. While holed up there, scouts determined that a massive draconic army was camped not far from Bastion and preparing a surprise attack that would essentially render the elves and the Combine races extinct. There was only one thing to do--create a diversion so that the Combine could flee to Kunark. The diversionary tactics fell to the Teir’Dal, commanded by the elven king’s younger son, Keramore Thex.
Keramore’s wife, Neria, was killed in an attack by a green dragon, and he hasn’t forgotten it. In Keramore, we have a guy who’s torn between strong leadership and compassion for his fellows, and bloodthirsty revenge against the dragons who slayed his beloved. He leads a foolhardy all-out assault that results in thousands of deaths. (Does he get that green dragon? You’ll have to read The Last Stand of the Teir’Dal.)
While attempting to hide out in some tunnels they’ve discovered in the ancient ruins of Quin’Sari, the elves stumble upon a platform of sorts that appears to have strong magical powers. When Keramore approaches the platform, which his mages believe to be a portal, it mysteriously activates, and he realizes that the amulet he wears around his neck, a gift from his mother, seems to be the key.
Keramore wrestles his conscience--vengeance or escape?--and opts to save what’s left of his soldiers, but by the time he returns to them to direct them to the portal he discovers that phyxians, a dog-like draconic race, have discovered the elven hideout and attacked. Not only that, but the biggest and baddest of the dragons, Ithiosar, has found the caverns, and is hoping to feast on elf prince for dinner.
The Teir’Dal flee through the portal, except for the contingency holding down Bastion. The Combine make their escape, thanks to a massive illusion created by Keramore’s Arch Mage friend, Coralen (also something of a gentleman-jerk who really could turn either way). Bastion falls, but the Combine races are able to make their exodus to the unknown wilds of Kunark.
Meanwhile, the last of the Teir’Dal, those who fled through the portal, have found themselves in a desolate wasteland, alone and stranded.
Speculation - Who’s The Real Bad Guy?
If there’s one constant in the lore between EQ/EQ2 and EverQuest Next it’s this: Feir’Dal are good. They’re kind and cooperative. Their ability to work with other races was arguably the only thing that saved the elves from extinction, because without the Combine Accord the elves would have fallen long before the Teir’Dal could create the diversion at Bastion.
But who’s the real bad guy now? In EQ and EQ2, the Koada’Dal were known as a good, if snooty, race. In EQNext, however, they were responsible for oppression and, ultimately, war. The Teir’Dal, on the other hand, once the hated (and hateful) dark elves of Norrath, emerge from this new lore as brave soldiers and heroes willing to lay down their lives for the good of the many. True, their leader didn’t always make the wisest of decisions, being selfish when heroism called for selflessness, but all in all, they’re the saviors of civilization.
So, we know that the elves existed as one race with separate factions prior to the events that unfold in EQNext. A few major questions remain:
- Since there are indeed dark elves in EQNext, are they the Teir’Dal who went through the teleporter? Were they transformed by the portal itself, or does their life in exile change them? And how do they get back to live among the other races again?
- Will there be wood elves in EQNext? (Signs seem to point to no distinct class, but rather customization options that allow for the darker-skinned wood elf look.)
- Are the Koada’Dal now evil elves? They certainly did some evil things. Will there be a faction or alignment choice at character creation? (My guess is that the lines between good and evil are blurred intentionally, so that characters can lead their own "life of consequence.")
We’ll have to wait for more lore reveals to get the answers to these and tons more questions. I’m ready; are you?
Yours Very Truly,