Remember the Past

A glimmering trail of sparkles, and a desperate, primal scream;
"This is not how it ends!" heavensbound, it echoes.
Follow the trail of stars, and you will find yourself amongst them.

Ensure the Future

A thousand nightmares to haunt the Deep, and every one our own.
It was the hands of man which brought the darkness hither
and it is the hands of man which shall set them free.

Gelmorra, the Underworld, and the Duskwight

Hi. This section covers the lore of Gelmorra and the Duskwight as we've based the House of Ak-Mina off of. While a lot of this is canon, there is a criminal lack of Duskwight lore as far as how their politics worked, how their society functioned, et cetera. Since roleplay does require a measure of everyone being on the same page, We've consolidated the canon information here, and we list fanon elements below that.

This entire section is meant to be SETTING INFORMATION for the Gelmorran aspects of the Free Company; obviously, Gelmorra itself has fallen, and makes a lot of this moot. This is just to get people on the same page of what was.

What we KNOW: What's absolutely canon?

A preliminary source: PAX 2 Koji Fox on Gelmorra/Duskwight (Starts at 02:53:22, ends at 02:56:22)

We would have just embed it for you, but Twitch apparently really doesn't like card embedding and it was either make you click or have it autoplay the moment you load the page. Sorry about that.

A compilatory source: Sounssy's Lore Compilation on Gelmorra

In the latter 7th century of the Sixth Astral Era, (6AE 650+) the second migration of Hyur came upon Eorzea, forcing Elezen from their lands and into the Black Shroud. The elementals looked upon these settlers as intruders and sought to purge their presence from amongst the trees. The Duskwight surviving the elementals' existence knew not what attacked them. In time, they realized what had befallen their people, and sought respite from the merciless onslaught in the caverns deep beneath the forest. They escaped annihilation — but at the cost of many Elezen lives.

Fifty years later, (6AE 700), population growth pushed the Hyur to enter the forest as well. Upon finding people already ensconced underground, they challenged the Elezen for ownership of the habitable caves. Quarrel soon led to conflict, and the two races came to cross blades time and again.

Though this conflict raged for decades, overtures towards peace had begun by around the year 6AE 740. Realizing they had a common goal in avoiding the elementals' hostile gaze, the Hyur and Elezen put aside their differences. The two war-weary races sealed a pact, that both might prosper beneath the Twelveswood. The fruit of their alliance was Gelmorra, a great subterranean city. For nearly three centuries, the Elezen and Hyuran labored to expand their home, burrowing between natural caves and shoring up the passages with walls of stone. In time, Gelmorra's intricate network of tunnels would come to put any antlings' nest to shame.

Around 6AE 1020, however, a great change came over the Twelveswood. Since times of eld, the elementals had allowed the Ixal to live within their forest. Suddenly, however, they cast the beastmen from the Shroud. What caused such a radical change in the elementals? The commonly accepted reason is that the Ixal population had grown too great for their area of the forest to support. In enlarging their territory, they cleared new land without the elementals' consent. For this defiance, exile was their reward.

When the Gelmorrans learned of this, they realized that a chance was upon them to negotiate for land above ground. Those versed in magic gathered, seeking a way to commune with the elementals through their art.

For a long while, the mages' attempts went unanswered. However, with perseverance came success. After fifty years of effort, (~6AE 1070) they finally succeeded in relaying their wishes to the elementals. Upon understanding that Gelmorrans would defend the forest and live according to their laws, the elementals gave them permission to return to the light of day. As a blessing and proof of the accord, they bestowed a glowing light upon Jorin Lightheart, the Hyuran leader of the mages. Thus, the Gelmorrans abandoned the caves, and began building a home amidst the Jadeite Thick. They christened this new city Gridania.

While the Hyur readily left the subterranean caverns behind, there existed those among the Elezen who refused to leave the home in which they'd dwelt for generations. Feeling betrayed by the Hyur as well as their fellow Elezen who went on to found Gridania, these stragglers struggled to maintain operations within Gelmorra.

Gelmorra only functioned by the camaraderie between Hyur and Elezen, and with most of its population gone, the city-state soon (What does soon mean in this context? My best guess is ~1100) fell into disrepair despite their best efforts. While some of the Elezen chose to continue living in the dank, dark caverns, others were forced to integrate. These Elezen became known as the Duskwight, and the fate of Gelmorra has remained a cause of much consternation and strife between their people and the Midlanders and Wildwood Elezen.

"After the wanton misuse of aetheric energies that led to the great flood of the Sixth Umbral Era, magic became a forbidden art, and the Elementals of the Twelveswood would not suffer the presence of mankind. Driven underground, the Hyur and the Elezen grew to accept one another in the subterranean cities of Gelmorra.

At long last the Gelmorrans learned to commune and cooperate with the elementals, bringing about the dawn of Conjury as we know it, as well as the earliest Padjal. As the people once more migrated to the forests above, they founded Gridania, and for centuries a tense but stable peace has been retained between mankind and elemental with the help of the Padjal and the "Hearers" (conjurers who can hear the elementals' words). The underground structures of Gelmorra fell into disuse, and now fester with hostile vilekin and seedkin.

The Gelmorra ruins are of particular significance to the Duskwight Elezen. Given their physiology and social distrust, it is likely they remained within Gelmorra longer than the Wildwood and adapted to the darkness."

TAM TARA DEEPCROFT
Version 1.0
A large plant called the Caretaker ran its roots, collectively larger than most tree trunks in Black Shroud, through the First and Second Rings (levels) of this ancient necropolis. It, or rather the Elementals therein, watched over the slumbering dead in the numerous tombs branching off from the main tunnels.

Larger tombs contain the sarcophagi of prominent figures in the Gelmorran civilization. On the lower Second Ring are the largest tombs, where the noble houses of Ak-Inik, Ak-Mena, and King Galvanth the Dominator rested. There were also unmarked tombs. The undead who walked there were likely servants, as is the case in the ARR version.

The First Ring crawled with puks, but floating eyes, wild boars, and even toads had taken up residence there since its abandonment. Miqo'te toad poachers here are either protective of their hunting ground or wary of anyone who might engage them as enemies of the Black Shroud.

A Realm Reborn
The Tam-Tara Deepcroft was changed dramatically in the new version. Rather than two floors of claustrophobic tunnels, the halls of the Deepcroft are now shown as dug out from the sides of an enormous cavern, with a broken ramp spiraling down to a platform below. Though the ramp itself has broken, the lower areas can be reached by traveling through the winding halls and broken walls.

The zombies here, known as the Ak-Inik and Ak-Mena varlets (lancers and thaumaturges, respectively), are the servants of those two houses, but the true threats are the depraved Lambs of Dalamud that have begun their demon summoning rituals. Adventurers completing the dungeon interrupt the ceremony, which leads to the incomplete revival of Galvanth the Dominator, who curses his twisted Mindflayer form.

THE THOUSAND MAWS OF TOTO-RAK
Named after a man-eating creature from Padjali folklore, the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak was built on the site of a natural cave system beneath Silent Arbor. Until recently it held all of Gridania's foulest criminals, from arsonists to poachers, but the completion of a newer gaol closer to the city heralded its abandonment.

Whether or not this gaol originated in the time of Gelmorra, it is clearly built using the same subterranean architectural methods, particularly the stone masonry that is practically absent in wood structures of Gridania.

As the Aetheric levels were far too high before the Calamity, adventurers were only permitted to enter for no longer than 30 minutes, but since the restriction has lifted. There are notes written on the walls detailing the demise of an investigation team and the gradual derangement of their leader, though most of them are now lost in the caved in portions. Before the Calamity the Garlean Empire set up devices that block off certain tunnels with force fields, each operated by four "photocells", which have been scattered throughout the dungeon.

Though some of the tunnels have caved in, its layout is largely retained between both versions. The similarity is so strong, in fact, that the development team even included empty chests in places that once contained loot chests. However, added mechanics like sticky slime on the floors, diremite web traps, and explosive poison pods make it an early example of the much more dynamic dungeons the new game is capable of.

"Gelmorra Ruins"
Before the Calamity, the Gelmorra ruins were the only above-ground Gelmorran structure known to players. This landmark was one that few have seen in person, as it was near the Aetherial Gate of Lasthold, one of the most treacherous parts of the Black Shroud. It was teeming with Malboros and Efts and occasionally visited by Ixali Fencers.

The Gelmorra Ruins consisted of a large platform with a 15-20yalm hole in the middle, surrounded by columns. If they were not ruined already, the Calamity made sure they matched their name, and now the entire platform is upset, half-buried, and utterly shattered. The small amber figures that surrounded the hole at regular intervals led to much speculation of Tonberries, but these have curiously disappeared.

Issom-Har
The ruins of Issom-Har were once Gelmorra's residential district. The calamity tore a hole open leading into the ruins, and excavators have already built a ladder into them. A man named Rolandaix seeks to restore them for use by the Duskwights, so that they need no longer commit crimes to make ends meet.

"In the subterranean city of Gelmorra, deep within a forgotten corner of Issom-Har, stout-hearted explorers have uncovered the entrance to a labyrinthine dungeon. Those who set foot inside its maddening halls find their vigor drained by an irresistible fog of innervation, and repeated excursions have failed to map its seemingly inconstant architecture. After hearing chilling accounts of spectral denizens, locals took to whispering of a “Palace of the Dead,” and the Wood Wailers now seek the assistance of adventurers in laying bare its haunted secrets…"

Mun-Tuy Cellars
Possibly the only part of the Gelmorran civilization to see continued use, the Mun-Tuy Cellars, are a labyrinth of passages and chambers used for making alcohol, particularly Mun-Tuy brew. The cellars each have unique sights with vats, bags of grain, or other wine-related things. Having fallen into disuse, the Mun-Tuy cellar were home to squirrels, wolves, and yarzons, among other things, but after the Calamity the Order of the Twin Adder cleared the vermin out. People have returned to the cellars to resume Mun-Tuy brew production, which is notably used in cooking.

Post-calamity, very little is seen of the cellars; it is most notable at this point for being the primary passage point between the eastern and southern parts of the Shroud.

Mun-Tuy products and the Velodyna Carp are the only two things that the Duskwight and Wildwood agree on.

Duskwight Racial Description:
The Duskwight Elezen have spent centuries in the peace and seclusion of Eorzea's caves and caverns. They have developed an acute sense of hearing, capable of detecting the faintest of sound. The uncanny awareness this grants has proven advantageous in the field of hand-to-hand combat. Many (if not all) of the reclusive Duskwight resort to robbery and pillaging to survive, earning them the scorn of their woodland relatives.

Like their Wildwood cousins, Duskwight Elezen are slender of body and long of limb, with males and females often reaching heights of greater than eighty and seventy-seven ilms, respectively. They also share their elongated lifespans and slightly-delayed physical maturity. While there are few differences between the genders, Duskwight males are often regarded as more stern and authoritative, while females are regarded as more passionate and unyielding.

Generations of calling shadowy caverns home have caused their skin to generally take on darker hues. For this selfsame reason, they possess an evolved sense of hearing—their ability to ascertain the source of a sound with unerring accuracy, unaffected by echoes or reverberations, often likened to that of a bat. This natural gift grants them an uncanny awareness, which many have put to exemplary use in the field of hand-to-hand combat.

The customs of the subterranean city of Gelmorra are still practiced by the Duskwight to this day, from architectural advances developed to stake out comfortable residences in dank, humid caves to mystical wards that serve to stave off the wrath of the elementals. The Duskwight-fashioned pomanders—urns engraved with mystic glyphs of great power and filled with fragrant herbs - are an art without parallel in the realm. Duskwight cuisine is famous for its use of Mun-Tuy beans, a staple food in the subterranean depths, where they grow in abundance with no need for sunlight. That these dishes have come to be considered a Gridanian delicacy is an ironic twist, given the history between the two clans.

Gridanians have long perceived the Duskwight as outcasts and brigands, as many of them resort to common theft and banditry to make ends meet. Some Duskwight still dream of restoring a measure of prosperity to the fallen city of Gelmorra, reestablishing it as a settlement for their people to remedy this situation.

"However, for many of the Elezen, Gelmorra had become their home, and the ancestors of the Duskwight refused to leave the city they'd created and felt betrayed by the Hyur and their fellow Elezen. Prideful in their city and civilization, those who remained attempted to continue operating Gelmorra. The task proved impossible, as three-quarters of their population had left nearly overnight; the systems put in place to make Gelmorra inhabitable began to break down, and could not be repaired for they lacked those with the skill to do so. Their Mun-Tuy farms lacked the requisite numbers to tend to them, and so their food supply ran low.

Over generations, they struggled and suffered in a vain attempt to maintain their beloved home. These years spent in dank, shadowy caverns caused their skin to take on darker hues over time. Some among them still blame the plight of their lost civilization on their Wildwood cousins and the Hyur of Gridania, with particular spite directed towards the Wildwood. Many Wildwood, failing to understand this animosity, later came to see the Duskwight as undesirable due to their stereotypical connection with brigandry in the Twelveswood."

Symbology
The current symbol of Gridania, the white lily indicative of the Gelmorran's pact with the elementals on a yellow standard symbolizing the elementals' power flooded through the land and sealed by two serpents representing the pact of Hyur and Elezen is a Gelmorran symbol. The only difference between the standards is that Gelmorra did not feature a yellow standard (I headcanon it as purple, for royalty, or green for Nophica) and the lily is in fact either a lotus or a ghostmaw on the Gelmorran standards (I'm fond of the latter).

According to a Quarrymill levequest from a very biased Conjurer named Charline, all above-ground ruins of Gelmorra are to be destroyed at the elemental’s behest, but this seems suspect at best considering how heavily Gelmorran ruins feature in the Wood. "Of overgrown traces of Gelmorra, few remain to disturb the order of the forest, yet occasional ruins are still found that must needs be removed. What is under the forest may stay, but our laws decree that no stone of Gelmorra mar the home of the elementals."

The amber which features predominantly in Gelmorran buildings is very likely to avoid the gaze of the elementals and to dispel them should they attack. "Oh, and do remember to rub the soulstone against a sufficiently large concentration of amber, say, Amberscale Rock in the Central Shroud. Short of petitioning a mage versed in golem magicks, that is the only way I know to dispel the enchantments woven into a true heart."

The patron goddess of Gelmorra is implied to be Nophica, the Matron. "世界観的な観点について 幻術という魔法体系はグリダニア(および、その前身であるゲルモラ)で、発展してきたものになります。そのどちらの都市においても、ノフィカを守護神として、特に大切に扱ってきました。そのため、これらのアビリティにノフィカを示す語を使用しております。For spell type of conjurer evolved from Gridania (and previous Gelmora?) Either city had Nophica as their guardian and took very good care of them. For that reason these abilities uses word that points to Nophica (goddess)". HOWEVER, this is 1.0 lore, so may be changed later.

Some sources posit that Gelmorra revered conjurors and padjal as higher noble classes, but this directly conflicts with the idea that the moment conjurors became a successful thing (remember, conjurors get power from the elementals and padjal were born AFTER the exodus as a symbol of unity). I think that the nascent conjurors may have had respect from SOME of the population, but mostly the ones that were destined to become the Wildwood. The Duskwight themselves, if they had any respect at all in the start of the effort, certainly lost it afterwords.

The pet 'Chigoe Larvae' says that Gelmorra originally used the chigoe to bleed people of their diseases, before realizing that was in turn causing diseases. No idea how relavent this is, but it's a thing.

Full citation wiki pages with further citations for specifics of this summary; Console Games Wiki, Fandom on Duskwight, Fandom on Gelmorra, Gelmorra on Gamer Escape.

Honorary mention to this tumblr by Leaves of Iron citing a lot of Sounssy's work. It's old and outdated. HOWEVER, it does have quest context, which is useful.

A lot of proto-Ishgard lore is relevant to Gelmorra, because Ishgard was 'seeded' by the same culture of Duskwight which made Gelmorra.

What we THINK: What's the House's fanon?

This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was solely a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, with the intention to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.

What the heck does Ishgard have to do with Gelmorra?

Actually, quite a bit. The elezen which came from Amdapor were targeted by the Elementals, the group of which got the hell out of dodge. The Gelmorrans fled below the ground, while the Ishgardians fled to Coerthas on order from 'Halone'; both share a common 'Seed culture', if you would.

This proves several things; that the elezen were as a culture naturally inclined to ascribe religious theology to phenomenon, they hold similar roots and concepts in how a society ought to work, their nobilities probably work somewhat similarly - what I'm getting at is there's a common ancestor so it's not too far off to say they may have developed in a similar direction. We can start with the tendency toward theology; the Duskwight patron deity is Nophica, while the Ishgardian patron is Halone. We can look at the Ishgardians and safely conclude there was probably some very fear-based Nophica worship. Heck, the similarities might even extend into the Dragonsong War, because Gelmorra had the Hyur/Elezen war (granted, it didn't last as long, but still).

What are these parallels you keep referring to between the Drow and Duskwight?

Well, put simply, both are:
Races of elf-like people (Drow/Elezen), who have dark skin tones of largely gray or black stone colors, living in a subterranean city (Menzoberranzan/Gelmorra) after they were forced to the Underground (The Underdark/Unnamed subterranean caverns below the Shroud) by divinity (the Seldarine/the Elementals) for sins of past conflicts (Fourth Crown War/War of the Magi), which forced them to live alongside classical Underdark monsters such as Mind Flayers (Soul Flayers), with access to weird deepworld magic due to the nature of magic breaking down at extreme depths (the Faerzress/the Antitower & PoTD), hated on the surface by their cousins (Elves:Drow/Wildwood:Duskwight) and largely malaligned as thieves, murderers, bandits, and outcasts by society at large because most turn to crime to sustain themselves (Both do this; Drow form raiding parties, Duskwight have bandit groups). Both have a predominant matron Deity (Lolth/Nophica) which they obey out of fear (Everything in Drow culture/The Elementals and Greenwrath). Both had extreme difficulty surviving below ground, and both have to deal with extraplanar forces (Demons/Voidsent).

Things that DON'T parallel easily:
Galvanth the Dominator means that the Duskwight had a king at one point,
Drow love magic and wizards, while all post War of the Magi civilizations on record feared magick as a whole,
Duskwight made peace with hyur, whereas Drow make slaves of all non-Drow,
Nophica and Lolth are not even in the same ballpark as far as evil goes,
Drow have several variations (Udadrow being the closest) while all non-Shroud Duskwight are not Duskwight, even if they use the models. (Ishgardians, for example)
Drow are explicitely matriarchal to an extreme, while Duskwight are never stated to be.

Despite the fact that Drow aren't a perfect parallel in all respects to Duskwight, we think it's fair to say that there's definitely a fair bit of inspiration from Drow in how Gelmorra was written, and until we have a better source it's probably safe to fill in the gaps with similar Drow lore if proto-Ishgard lore can't cut it.

This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was solely a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, with the intention to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.

What is the Underworld?

First; We refer to the cave systems underneath the Shroud as 'The Underworld', which is divided into two extra layers in addition to the main one; 'The Shallows' and 'The Deep', to mirror the Upperdark and Lowerdark. We also know from the Duskwight canon that it's not just a bunch of tunnels, but that there's a fair few massive caverns underneath the Shroud as well, very deep down - we're talking Dalamud penetration depths deep-down, thousands of yalms if not malms, because the Duskwight are stated to have had a hiving series of tunnels that connected them.

The deeper you go into the Underworld, the more vicious, dangerous, and inhospitable the Underworld becomes (due to proximity to the aetherial sea - that's canon, by the way, see PoTD and Antitower lore for more on how the Aetherial Sea and the breakdown of magick rules works at extreme depths). The aether this far down is UMBRAL, (Shadowbringers explains this is the basis for the Source's misattribution of umbral Darkness and astral Light.) Proximity to Hydaelyn means umbral. In addition, from PoTD: "In the subterranean city of Gelmorra, deep within a forgotten corner of Issom-Har, stout-hearted explorers have uncovered the entrance to a labyrinthine dungeon. Those who set foot inside its maddening halls find their vigor drained by an irresistible fog of innervation, and repeated excursions have failed to map its seemingly inconstant architecture. After hearing chilling accounts of spectral denizens, locals took to whispering of a “Palace of the Dead,” and the Wood Wailers now seek the assistance of adventurers in laying bare its haunted secrets…" (As you might remember from the floor 100+ lore, this confirms the fact that Issom-Har is at least deep enough to, in 100 stories, reach the same depths as the Antitower, which was constructed to study Hydaelyn's core, where the laws of the world break down. It has to be taken with a little bit of salt considering the non-euclidean nature of PoTD, but it's not a terrible inference.)

Presumably, there must be a wide variety of semi-permanent biomes underground; ice caves, volcanic areas, lush mushroom forests, bioluminescent fields, etc. These are also almost certainly extremely dangerous, considering their proximity to umbral aether, which removes most if not all of one's higher functions and turns them into a beast ruled by hunger. (A less extreme Sin Eater, pretty much.) Even the biomes themselves can be dangerous, because at this depth almost every place has nigh-toxic concentrations of aether. (The canon reason behind instance timers.) We see in deep underground areas a flourishing ecosystem in almost every part of the world, including the Reijin Shrine in the Far East, certain PoTD levels, Toto-Rak, etc.

Since we have Mind Flayers (sorry, Soul Flayers) in the Gelmorran parts of the Underground (canon, see Tam-Tara or PoTD), we've basically just copy-pasted a lot of the native monsters from the Underdark into our interpretation of the things Duskwight've had to deal with; aboleths, ropers, giant spiders, basilisks, et cetera. Yes, they're just copy-pasted. Square didn't put effort into changing the Mind Flayers (sorry, silly me! Soul Flayers :) ) so we're not putting effort into reworking other monsters unless it'd be fun to do so. Obviously, the history of something like an aboleth is probably different because of no realm shenanigans but still effectively the same thing. Soul flayers are a huge problem underground, since they can summon more of themselves into corpses, a unique trait among Voidsent which is a big reason why the Gelmorrans utterly destroy most corpses and inter the very important ones.

The Underworld constantly changes its geography, making maps unreliable and temporary in use. The calamity five years ago made this process happen much faster, so that it can sometimes be hard to find your way day-to-day, as some tunnels close and others open up in constant flux due to the insert of astral aether into the heart of the world which is lacking innoculation of it. (This is originally a part of the Underdark, as well, and we think it presents unique challenges and dangers.) Typically, the most prone-to-change parts of the Underworld are the tunnels which connect natural caverns, as those are often man-made, but it's possible, albeit rarer, for caverns and biomes to shift as well, sometimes dramatically.

The size of the Underworld itself is up for some debate, but we know it at least stretches from the South Shroud to the North Shroud, as Gelmorran ruins are predominant in both places, especially places such as Proud Creek or PoTD in Issom-Har. Because the Shroud isn't a perfectly circular forest, it's very possible it dips under Ishgard and Thanalan as well, though it's doubtful it reaches as far as Vylbrand. However, since all of the various dungeons which are scattered through the Shroud are all stated to be a small portion of Gelmorra (with the exception of Haukke Manor), it's pretty safe to assume that the Underworld was VERY large, only made larger by the Duskwight and hyur, who, you know, couldn't exactly leave.

Entrances to the Underworld itself are not common. Most caves are dead ends on both sides. However, the Calamity and the transient nature of the surface do sometimes open paths to the Underworld, as they close off others. They are likely not stable for long, so there's a very labyrinthe like feel to entering the Underworld; there is a very real chance you might be trapped.

This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was solely a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, with the intention to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.

Gelmorra

Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of solid canon on Gelmorra itself. We know that it was very large, that it was incredibly warded and was uniquely able to 'stave off the elementals', we know that a lot of its structures and masonry was so well made that the Gridanians stole their masonwork techniques when they left and the pieces of Gelmorra built during its golden years survived the at least five hundred years and a calamity largely untouched. Aside from the ruins near Lasthold, Gelmorra was entirely subterranean out of fear of the elementals. We don't know if Gelmorra was merely the name of the city, or the civilization as well. Contextually, it seems like the entire civilization was 'Gelmorran' (in the same vein as 'Romans' being from Rome)

Gelmorra was founded by a pact between the Hyurans and Elezen, both of whom were formerly at war as the hyurans were also forced underground by the elementals. The caduceus symbol used by the Gridanians, along with the majority of the rest of the flag aside from the field and the flower on top, was originally a Gelmorran symbol, which was inherited by its Gridanian successors. It existed for around three hundred years as an actual city, finally falling once most of its populace abandoned it, taking with them the craftsmen and workers needed to repair the city's defenses and infrastructure, which eventually rendered it almost unihabitable despite the Duskwights' best efforts.

This has festered into a grudge which persists to this day, along with the constant other slights the Duskwights' Wildwood cousins levy at them on an almost daily basis, a hatred festering for nigh on five centuries. Most Duskwight view the Wildwood as blood traitors and pitiful slaves who sought an easy life at the cost of their freedom and autonomy, and have a very harsh view of what the Wildwood claim is theirs. In a nutshell, the Duskwight don't see the Wildwood as having an actual claim to anything, so they feel entirely justified taking what they want if it goes above and beyond simple theft out of necessity.

Gelmorra as a city is one of the places we have to most heavily draw from Ishgard to fill out gaps, because we are never given an explicit answer as to how it all worked. Given the propensity of the Duskwight after the Fall, though, we can make some inferences as to how society looked when it was being enforced, and use a lot of what Ishgard was originally based on (pre-Dragonsong War) as the defining ideals for how Gelmorrans thought and viewed the world.

Societal

First, a quick rundown of the facts we know;

Gelmorra had a King at one point, and thus a monarchy (Galvanth the Dominator)
Gelmorra was almost certainly religious, and their Patron deity was Nophica,
Ak-Inik and Ak-Mena Valets prove that Gelmorrans had non-monarchic nobility, which was big enough to have servants,
The Dullahan are hypothesized to have came from ancient Gelmorran and Amdapori knights of great power, meaning there WERE knights.

Obviously, the King/Queen would have been on the top of the society, with their direct bloodline and house being revered to various extents. Advising the King or Queen would be the reigning religious order, since there absolutely would have been one (there's literal proof the gods are real and they want us dead!) and their martial counterparts, the knights. For our purposes, we recognize the knights of Gelmorra as 'The Sentinels'; it was probably their duty as the elite to form Gelmorra's standing army and keep the peace, acting as judge, jury, and executioner for those who dared cross the law of their swords. Paladin parallels fit pretty nicely into this niche, as do lawful Dark Knights. Thematically Gunbreakers work, but a little too exotic for a civilization who literally lived under several thousand tonnes of rock for its entire existence.

Below the Sentinels and the cult of Nophica (which we're fond of calling the druids of Nophica for thematic reasons) were the twelve highest station (read: most powerful) Noble Houses, the names of which which were constantly in flux as power dynamics changed. We figure it's probably twelve based on the recurring tropes in FFXIV all being multiples of three and with how many things twelve can refer to. We know from the original inciting incident of the Dragonsong War that the elezen were incredibly power hungry, and without a set goal to gain more power, we'd see a lot of the infighting we see in Ishgard, since everyone's trapped in the same system of caves 24/7 with no chance of escape.

This is where we can start digging into Udadrow parallels; Drow had a very unique dichotomy to determine their social standing which we'll touch on a bit later in the politcs section. Important to note is the persisting struggle even post Dragonsong War in Ishgard between nobles and commoners, with nobles fighting amongst themselves for personal House-based power, and Commoners doing their best to try and groom their family to be of service to a noble house. It's present in both Udadrow and Ishgard stories, and we think it's pretty likely it was similar here, too.

While it's not fair to say that all Gelmorran noble houses were elezen, it is supported to suggest that most of them were, or were elezen dominated. Unfortunately, that just seems to be the common theme when it comes to society with Hyur/Elezen featuring heavily; Isghard, Sharlayan, Gridania. That said, we do know that at least Jorin Lightheart was arguaby a noble, which does make it at least possible. It would at least explain why no hyur stayed behind in the caverns come the exodus; they actually had something to gain, and the elezen who stayed behind distinctly had something to lose.

Religious

The Gelmorran patron deity, to no one's surprise, is stated to be Nophica, the Matron - which makes sense, as the elementals are believed to be shards of Nophica and the elementals dispensed VERY REAL divine wrath down on the Duskwight and the Hyur alike, killing massive swathes of them with the Greenwrath with no way to defend against it on the part of the Spoken.

Any display of such power inevitably creates a cult, and the elezen (and by extension the hyur, who did very little to change how Ishgard's theocracy turned out) have consistently proven themselves to be VERY suggestible toward theocratic systems. Gaining - and keeping - Nophica's favor in Gelmorran society was probably considered on par with maintaining positive relationships with Lolth in Drow society. Not doing so would heavily limit your available influence. Considering how hard Ishgard comes down on heresy, it's a pretty safe-ish bet that there was not a lot of room for other deities, and even if it turned out to not be outright illegal to not worship Nophica, publically admitting to not doing it would ostracize you and make you a target. What probably WAS outright illegal was trying to usurp or replace Nophica on a societal level, considering that the root of that worship would be fear and attempted appeasement of the only thing anyone can think of that has dominion over the elementals. It'd almost certainly be looked at as attempted genocide and treated accordingly.

While the Sentinels likely primarily served the King and Queen as their loyalty/oath, they also may have served the druids of Nophica as well; mysterious cults manipulating righteous organizations is pretty on-point with FFXIV's dominant themes, so. As for the rest, the Sentinels were probably exempt from required House obligations, as interfering with the structure of society and abusing their position would largely defeat the point. That said, given the breadth of their duties, many probably aided their Houses regardless.

Regardless of faith, most houses probably had (or wanted) druids. As with any religion, there also would have been the malcontents who had other gods they believed deserved patronhood more than Nophica - Oschon being a popular one, though it could really be any of the Twelve. In that case, most worked in secret to try and usurp the image of the Druids of Nophica, leading to a chaotic and unpredictable public perception of both they and their Sentinels. The general goal of most non-Nophica worshippers was to replace Nophica with the god they worship, while Nophica's cults largely sought to stamp out heretics and nonbelievers - both working from the shadows lest they be caught and punished. Their internal customs vary widely, and the actual nature of a House's internal culture is comparable to the diversity of the Xaela clans; some are death cults, some are pacifists, some are hedonists, etc.

Legal

We don't have any good references for Gelmorran punishments, save the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak (which does not accurately represent how it might have looked in its prime.) Drawing from both Ishgard lore and Udadrow lore, considering both the in-universe propensity of elezen, it's safe to say that most punishments were swift and severe, and designed to avoid someone being capable of committing a similar crime again. A thief might lose their hands, et cetera. Unfortunately, short of saying punishment for crimes was 'severe', we can't really quantify 'traditional punishment' or even what constituted a crime beyond obvious things.

Immediately obvious 'no-nos' in Duskwight society certainly would have been things such as trying to usurp Nophica, or being caught in the process of trying to change one's Station/Status (which usually meant killing your competition.) For this, we draw inspiration from Udadrow, which effectively require your succession of a House to be swift and final. In addition, lying about a crime in order to discredit someone was likely a very serious crime in itself.

Overall, drawing from the elezen's other examples in almost every society, it's likely that the laws were very hard bound and violating them was subject to brutal punishment. This was meant as a deterrant, but there's a high likelihood that most would have just ignored it and the only real crime would be 'don't get caught'.

Political

While the nature of the monarchy, druids, and Sentinels are ensured at the top of the pecking order in this society we've reverse-engineered, as we see with the Ishgardian four major houses, competition among houses was likely extreme. The twelve most powerful amongst the houses (judged by scope of influence, whether that be through trade, military force, etc) stood as advisors in the monarchy's court, which was a position of extreme political influence. Despite this, it's also equally likely that any House of the upper twelve being deposed is very rare, as the extent of their power in society would insulate them against threats by those seeking to curry favor instead. We've already established that the elezen that seeded Gelmorra were incredibly power hungry; the final call on 'power' and who got to be on the advising council may have also been chosen deliberately by either the druids or the monarchy themselves, meaning that changing the House structure could be even harder.

Drawing from Drow lore for a moment, there's two driving forces of political intrigue which we think really applies here: Station and Status.

STATION was increased by exterminating a house above your position and taking their place on the social rung. However, you had to utterly exterminate every member of the house, without mercy or pause, for if even one babe is alive to accuse you, Drow law dictated that the entire city would come down on the House in the most horrific and painful ways imaginable, including the use of demons or Deep monsters and binding the unfortunate failures to fates worse than death. These extreme punishments discouraged some, but for most, the name of the game is 'don't get caught'. Given all the Drow parallels in Duskwight society, we don't think it's a stretch to say that this probably applied to Gelmorra too, considering that Ishgard was equally cutthroat. Station could also be passively adjusted through peaceful growth at the end of each year based on the druids' decision of a House's power, but since the very purpose of a government is to try and maintain the status quo, it probably happened much more the violent way.

STATUS was increased much the same way, by assassinating within your own House in order to ascend the social hierarchy. The rules were the same, but your punishment if caught was up to the Head-of-House, not the city, which could be good or bad depending. Again, this discouraged some, but not all. 'Don't get caught.' Generally, increasing or decreasing status was generally done at the whims of the head of the House unless their hands were forced.

There are almost certainly Houses that opt out of the societal STATION progression entirely, but they would voluntarily be the 'lowest class' of the society or the people who lived far from Gelmorra. That said, it was likely more common for a House to have its own internal STATUS progression that does NOT involve murder and betrayal, as it doesn't rely on society to accept their ways. One's status dictated who obeys who in the House, with the head-of-house at the top being unquestionable, though generally anyone 'above' another was expected to be obeyed without question.

The higher a person's status or a House's station gets, the more precarious their position became - because, in addition to the Houses above them looking to remove them before they can make a play for their rung, the Houses below them were also looking to steal their position - there's no 'ladder' where someone has to climb one rung at a time. The lowest house could become the First House overnight if they were so bold and successful. This did not (ever) happen, though, because the power difference between a lowborn house and the First House is the difference between a backwoods family home and an army. In addition, while all Houses would have been ranked, anything below a certain threshold simply would not have mattered enough to be considered nobility. The lower on the rung one is, the less directly concerned with the power politics one had to be, though never truly ignorant; it was not uncommon for the large, powerful houses to use new and small ones as scapegoats for their own aims.

We don't know if there are other Gelmorran settlements that are NOT Gelmorra. It's implied there's not, but there could be; surely the hyur and elezen outposts from their wars still exist in some way.

Gelmorra itself was probably lawful evil/lawful neutral society, where instead of 'solving' a lot of the lingering hostilities, tension, and bitterness, it rather masqueraded under the guise of order and civility while plotting personal gain in the shadows. Whatever was up with their society, we know it was bad enough to warrant effectively trying to wipe it from history and quite literally never let it see the light of day.

Psychological

Given the scarcity of resources in the Underworld and the limited chances for advancement within their society, Gelmorrans would've had to be aggressively competitive. Again drawing from Drow lore, most would have sought employment in Houses in order to rise in rank, desiring the power over others that a higher station would provide.

The druids of Nophica taught that they should crush those beneath them, for cruelty was seen as a method of 'proof' of evolution and improvement. If someone could not defend themselves, as the logic went, they deserved to have cruelty inflicted on them, which would prove the superiority of the person performing the torment. The underpinning logic of the society was that of a savage and barbaric form of evolution; the purpose of the heir to eventually succeed their parents through force. They were a vengeful people by necessity, as not answering to slights with punishment was easily perceived as weakness by other Gelmorrans, and was essentially the same as inviting exploitation, abuse, or even death.

As a general rule, those living under Gelmorran society couldn't afford to show emotions like compassion or love, for they were easy to exploit and many often preferred emotional cruelty over causing physical harm. The strife they constantly endured led them to be paranoid, with a fear of everyone and everything, from the potential loss of personal position, Nophica's favor, the loyalty (or even the threat of outright rebellion) of their inferiors, to punishment by their own superiors' hands.

The end result of being raised in this environment was that they were largely untrusting with a constant readiness to stab others in the back, both in the figurative and literal sense. Society usually would have left them emotionally stunted with a tenuous grasp on sanity (a trait less important on than cunning and deviousness) and scarred minds, among which relatively undamaged individuals were considered abnormal. Most would've been incapable of trusting other creatures, no matter their race, and were probably taught from an early age not to do so, as they were expected to advance at the expense of others by any means, including treachery and even outright murder. Even in moments of safety or relaxation, they were always alert and constantly expecting attacks of any kind, and were rarely surprised when such attacks did come.

While the Gelmorrans understood the advantage of forging bonds with others (their entire civilization being evident of this), they likely did not see the value in honesty. Forming relations with others was, therefore, a dangerous endeavor, and mostly temporary, since any alliance or cordial relationship could end in treachery. Duskwight normally went into engagements of this sort expecting the worst, and alliances were always under scrutiny for signs of treachery, often ending violently. They were generally formed when the supposed ally was susceptible to blackmail, considered weak enough to not be a serious threat, or when cooperation was forced by the existence of a common enemy. In fact, the mere inconvenience of maintaining the bond could be a reason to end it.

This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was solely a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, with the intention to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.

Traits and Etiquette

DUSKWIGHT RACIALS
The racial strengths of the Duskwight are enhanced hearing and a keen spatial awareness, which "many have put to good use in the field of hand-to-hand combat." Extrapolating from this, we can assume that sight was generally very unnecessary in Duskwight society (generally, people don't develop enhanced hearing if they can see) and that therefore the Underworld was a largely dark place by default, a presumption we'll lean heavily on later.

It's likely that the Duskwight had other abilities common to cave creatures, such as the ability to use vibration or sound to navigate without needing to use sight. In order to stave off misunderstanding in advance; let me clarify that this doesn't mean that Duskwight have 'better' hearing than, say lalafell or Viera. Rather, the distinction just means that Duskwight were uniquely sensitive to the variations in sound vibrations that informed them where they were in relation to physical obstructions without having to learn the ability - in the same way a Viera might inherently possess the abilities as a Hearer.

Certain Drow abilities, such as the ability to "easily imitate the sound and tone of another person in a believable manner, especially if frequently exposed to the language they were using," tremendous resistance to magic (albeit as long as not in contact with sunlight), base/mature/noble powers (again as long as not exposed to sunlight), resistance to poisons/drugs, and other things such as infravision, darkvision, and tremorsense all make sense to potentially be included in a Duskwight's repertoire. Instead of the Faerzress which allows these unusual traits, it's conceivable that extended living near the core of the world could potentially allow these to be used as well.

DUSKWIGHT GENERAL ETIQUETTE FANON
Most navigation is done by potent sense of hearing since sight is useless in the pitch-dark underground. Almost all Duskwight can echolocate perfectly and have some measure of tremorsense, which allows them to 'see' through vibrations in the ground (think Toph, from Avatar: The Last Airbender).

As a result of the above, the Duskwight 'speak' largely through touch-based sign language, where the signs are meant to be felt more than seen (IRL parallels; there are sign languages for the blind and deaf which I base this off of, which involve you cupping your hands around the hands of another and 'feeling' the signs). Making noise in public is seen as rude and boisterous, as the elezen need their ears to hear where they're going; equivalent to flashing bright lights. Music and other forms of sound-based entertainment are prohibited EXCEPT where there is light to see by.

As the Duskwight don't have access to the sun, they tell time by the Glow-Worms common to the roofs of caves in the Shroud. When the worms have their sticky tendrils extended downward and are glowing, it's nighttime; when the worms are asleep and dim, it's day. The migration patterns of the worms dictates the season and time of year, and is the only way to tell time so deep down. You could get around this and make up your own stuff by just saying 'the part of the Underworld I lived in didn't have glow-worms, we cast fire on a pillar and the day was as long as it took for the fire to burn out'.

Both during and after Gelmorra, it is a capital offense to bring an 'Outsider' (names vary; uplander, surface-dweller, etc) into the Underworld. Any who wander in are to be disposed of. The worst off are the Wildwood elezen, who are gleefully made into barbaric entertainment for their mishap (though, let's be honest; you're probably not wandering that deep on accident.)

I basically ripped the waterfall echo flower fields that keep whispered secrets from Undertale. Sue me, it's a really cool concept.

DUSKWIGHT HEADFANON MYTHS/TALES
The Kali-Kori and Wish Spells (as told by Eirene)
"...the deeper you go into the heart of the world, the more the laws and rules of reality become... fluid. Transient, if you will."
"Many of my people's magic, for example, are irreplicable on the surface because the laws of reality are stricter here. Like... solid stone versus melted stone. Down there, the Warrior of Light themselves might be overwhelmed."
"The deeper you go, the messier it gets. The closer you get to the planet's core, the more aetherically charged the world becomes, and the deadlier the monsters."
"At a certain critical point, matter itself gives way to what we know as the Sunless Sea. Your scholars call it the aetherial realm."
"If you were to dive in, you could, conceivably, stand amidst the immaterial in your material form."
"Not to say you could do such easily, mind. Aetherial saturation will annihilate you long before you ever reach it under normal circumstances. The warding required for a single visit to just be able to glimpse into the sea is extensive and irrationally expensive - much less what it would cost to survive a trip to the shore, or to immerse yourself in it."
"That said, there are tales of magi powerful enough and rich enough that they had the requisite skill, materials, and power to visit the shores - never immersing, for that is a death sentence by all accounts - but on the shores, the laws of nature are no more than mere suggestions."
"With /desire/, palpable, true - one can wish the shape of reality into one more pleasing to them."
"Onto the Kali-Kori, then."
"The Kali-Kori are born, it is said, from somewhere in the sea - they hunt wishers who wish for something that... for lack of a better word, alters reality signifigantly - world-class magic, which alters the rules of the star or the flow of fate."
"Among my people, the word means 'Inevitable'."
"Kali-Kori are framed as their name might expect - nature righting its natural course once shifted, with the power to kill such self-made gods."
"Supposedly, they have the ability to choose between lines of fate; ensuring an outcome favorable to them."
"The stories vary on how successful the wizards are, but they always lose. Sometimes they are punished on the spot for their hubris. Others they run to the far corners of the star, to the deep and frigid places no living thing dares to go - but the Kali-Kori do not live. They stop to sleep, and it does not."
"How can you fight something which can fight you from afar, misfortune and guide your actions right into its hungry maw without you ever realizing you're being played like a puppet on a string?"
"Thus, the preternatural horror of the Kali-Kori, one of many deep myths. Rather like your bogeyman, you know. Mothers would punish children who wished above their station by making them sit outside to wait for the Kali-Kori... but I digress..."

The Kuribu (Inherited from Ampador)
Kuribu are ancient guardian spirits of Ampador, supposedly born directly from the Aetherial Sea. Unlike Kali-Kori, these are viewed as guardian angels OR something more like a sphinx. The statues in Ampador are not Kuribo themselves, but rather fashioned after the myths, in much the same way fairies are fashioned after myths - likely the same source, as well, misunderstandings of the cherubic elementals.

This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was solely a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, with the intention to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.

After the Fall

After the Gridanians' left and the Gelmorrans lost 75% of their society almost overnight (most of these being the lower houses of Gelmorra who actually did a lot of the work), the city of Gelmorra utterly collapsed within thirty years, and the tense law that had upheld order underground became a collection of squabbling, chaotic tribes. The only rule of the Underworld became 'kill or be killed', and follow something very akin to Destiny 2's "Sword Logic". If you can kill it, if you can take it, then it is only right that you do so. This is a remnant of the Nophica worship of the Gelmorrans on steroids because getting caught no longer matters.

Very few houses stayed in Gelmorra itself, but the society became very tribal and xenophobic; vicious and lawless. The ones that were not in Gelmorra proper became isolated from each other over time, with their only contact with anyone else being their warring neighbors and pillaging former friends, which only heightened the xenophobia.

However, this is also the ~500 year span when the 'civilized' Duskwight 'Houses' started to exist; no longer bound by such a society, some went into the Shallows or isolated themselves so completely that they made their own living, decrying the brutal slaughter of their kin as madness and pursuing their own goals such as religious enlightenment or etc. There are probably certain 'peaceful' villages that are not Gelmorra that still run and enforce a much more modern society, and Houses are no longer mandated to murder each other. There is a conflict between traditionalists and the neo-Duskwight, but most are content to stay in their lane. It's due to note that even the 'peaceful' towns are still very tenuous in their peace, and punishments are swift and often arbitrary. They replace violent competition with other sorts, such as commerce.

That said, surviving in the Underground is hard, and more than a few of the Duskwight view their surface cousins with resentment, raiding them to both vent instinctive aggression and to ensure they can survive. Very few feel bad about it, as the general Duskwight view of any and everything on the surface is that everyone is a blood traitor and anything in the Shroud is theirs by right; a problem made only worse by the elementals new-found incapability to Greenwrath-atomize anyone who steps out of line of their laws, meaning the Duskwight move often without any measure of fear.

Without a constant reminder of what the Duskwight once had to do, and few connections between the Duskwight that remained save in times of conflict and theft, the chances are that current Duskwight have wildly different ideas on what Gelmorra was, what its customs were, etc. It's basically a hundred different games of telephone running over the course of five hundred years, and that doesn't account for those that deliberately try to modify the story to make themselves feel better, or have selectively forgotten traumatic parts of the past.

This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was solely a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, with the intention to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.

This section is dedicated to the House of Ak-Mina, and speaks on the lore of the House, its place in Gelmorran society, its reach of power, and a little bit of what its goals largely were and the rumors surrounding the House. Whereas the previous section is dedicating to setting the stage of what Gelmorra was (or at least what we think it was based on the lore we have), Ak-Mina is rather an exploration of the House itself and comprises what is effective 'Guild Lore', explaining what the House of Ak-Mina was and its history from times of yore into the current day. By necessity, a bit of Eirene's history will make it into the House of Ak-Mina, as well as a bit on the subject of Faewood. In large part, this is not known to non-Duskwight, BUT it can be researched or found out with deep enough digging. Some of the more spoilery but critical details will not be elaborated on.

The House of Ak-Mina

The House of Ak-Mina is a resurgent Gelmorran noble house, oddly still retaining the Ak honorific used for the dead. Once the Fourth House of Gelmorra and both famed and infamous for its miraculous command of alchemical cures - or other things - it was thought defunct until half a century ago, whereupon one Eirene du Charbonneau laid claim to the Matronship of the House. While the claim was never technically officiated (because the government no longer exists), her claim is respected by Duskwight due to the rumors surrounding the house and the various peculiarities of the family line, which seems to persist through her.

Also known as 'The Witch House', Ak-Mina has its roots even in old Amdapor, where it was famed for its study of the extra-natural; communicating with, summoning, binding, and exterminating it, as well as their succor-based miracle cures of both the soul and the flesh. While many of its projects were left uncompleted in its time, there is evidence to suggest that Ak-Mina rediscovered and continued portions of its research in secret, even though they never admitted it publicly due to the stigma that would come down on their heads.

The present day version of the House of Ak-Mina carries on its ancestral legacy in the form of private alchemical practice and research into the extra-natural with one goal in mind; extermination. Whispers tell of the lengths the Matron Mother will go to and wonder at the purpose of a Gelmorran house taking residence in Gridania, as well as flickers of green from the windows and strange orders carried out in secret.

The House Crest

A House crest was an item that denoted an individual's allegiance. It was used by established members of Houses, which meant that they were either born into the family or held a rank in it.

A House crest's powers could only be safely employed by someone who received an attunement spell, which was part of the attunement ritual, a well-known fact. The powers of the crest were activated by touch with bare flesh while concentrating on which power was to be activated. Generally, the abilities contained in the insignia were separated into three categories; the minor, major, and master powers. While they varied from House to House, the abilities obeyed similar rules; minor powers were things that could be used at will, major powers could only be used once every day, and master powers only once per recharge. Known minor powers of the Ak-Mina House crest include personally identifiable signatures (to act as keys to warded areas or doors or exempt from traps) and linkshell like functions.

As mentioned above, unattuned people could not use a House crest. If such a person touched or tried to activate a power of it, the insignia harmed the person with one of several various effects, most dire; forced shapechanges, burns, brands or cuts that could not be healed, temporary sensory deprivation, or severe electrical shocks. A mage of sufficient skill could 'unlock' the House crest, allowing it to be used by anyone, but doing so removed the House's signature, meaning it would no longer be recognized as a House crest and instead turn it into a magical item. 'Freed' House crests would not recharge their powers over time, and eventually dissolved into dust once fully spent.

The Heads of House often built secret powers into the House insignia, which were activated by their mental commands when s/he was within 90 ft of the tempered insignia, or when a command word taught to another person was uttered. They did this to surprise their enemies with it in the case of internal conflicts. Some of these powers came in the form of a localized Cairn of Transport effect that shunted a person to a place of their choosing, obscuring smoke, becoming unbearably hot like hot metal, to a simple explosion that caused harm to everyone near it.

A House crest was a reliable way to locate an individual, provided the diviner was taught how to trace it—usually by the Matron Mother, druids, or House Wizard of the House which created it. This was because each insignia was slightly different, even those from the same noble house. The creators were capable of protecting themselves from such tracing.

A crest was a powerful magic item and usage of it was regulated. Illicit use of it or use for impersonation was enough to be punished with the death penalty. Generally, the major and master powers of a crest were hidden from the public, and the failsafes of the Heads of House were hidden from even their own members, as revealing such would defeat the point.

Most took special care to keep their House crest safe. Only the nobles from the First House and the Ruling House wore them openly while (almost) all others wore them in ways known only to their households except when inside the House territory or the clan's base.

An example of the House crest of Ak-Mina, worn openly.

The History of Ak-Mina

After the Flood that ended the War of the Magi, the Amdapori elezen fled from their ancient city. The period after the Flood was a time of strife and magical discrimination; during this time, the Elementals sealed the city of Amdapor and hid it behind great glamours of tremendous might, so that it might never be found or entered again and the sins of the past would remain where they belonged. The Elementals drove all who had any hand in the catastrophe from the Wood using the Greenwrath, a deadly force which killed indiscriminately and without counter; a doomsday magick made of sacrificed living succor, born of their torment and rage.

Greenwrath at 32:35

It was here, once upon a time, in the now-hidden marble of that ancient city, that the story of Ak-Mina began in earnest. In its day, it went by House Mina; Ak is an honorific given to the noble dead. The House of Mina dated back to even Amdapor, where the primary research of the House centered around curing 'incurable' illnesses. Threatened by the plight of the Green Death visited upon the Nymians, House Mina was involved heavily in developing counterwards and recovery magick for things that had no known cures. They focused on the excorcism of Voidsent and warding against supernatural threats, the study of reversing Tempering, and even curing the most incurable of biological ailments. House Mina had peculiar internal customs, and were highly secretive about their conduct and research; though no amount of secrecy could hide them from the Flood or the elementals that followed. Much of their work was left unfinished, and the ones that escaped with their lives had far more immediate problems to worry about.

So it came to pass regardless that eventually, the descendents of House Mina (though the name was but a distant memory) were among the elezen who returned to the Black Shroud, seeking to reclaim their lost legacy and the fruits of the research that came before. In attempting to return to their ancestral homes, of course, they ran afoul of the elementals, and unknowingly violated their decree that Amdapor never be uncovered. Enraged, the elementals lashed out, and the unknowing elezen were exposed to an invisible death which killed instantly and without counter. In a desperate bid for survival, the remaining elezen - and the House of Mina amongst them - fled into the bowels of the star, cowering mushrooms and stone.

Of the original descendants of Mina, numbering hundreds and forming a large house, a smaller entourage of perhaps a mere hundred survived to make into the caves. The exact numbers are not known, but can be inferred by the notes of those that remained.

While the elezen attempted to irk out a meager living amidst the mycelium and marble, above the migrating hyur that had followed them, equally seeking to escape the conflict, unknowingly walked into another one. They, too, were driven into the bowels of the earth, where they came face to face with their old threats to their colonization; the elezen. Desperate to protect their people, the elezen held their ground even as the hyur laid claim to what they had wrought.

The war was long and bloody for both sides, far too expensive for the meager offerings they were able to rip from the land. House Mina and its survivors acted as combat medics, tended to the wounded, though with only the desire to heal their own people, with hatred in their hearts from the hyur they had faced for generations.

Over the course of the war, the Mina would lose even more of their number to the tragedies of conflict. Their numbers depleted from the measly hundred they had come with to fifty, a halving blow they would take to heart.

Eventually, the hyur and elezen began to tire of the war; and despite the Mina being firmly in the camp of 'no peace, no surrender', the elezen and hyur eventually made peace regardless, believing that together they could be more profitable in the subterranean world than either would alone. Without the numbers to mount any formal resistance to the peace, the Mina explored any option they could to attempt to turn the opinion of this peace in their favor. Nevertheless, the peace stood, and from it, the city of Gelmorra was founded with the elezen and hyur now working together to shore up their parts of the Underworld.

In the aftermath of the war, the Mina were left with little options aside to assimilate into this new society they found themselves in. Laying claim to their house by virtue of numbers and known ancestral nobility, they solidified themselves in the echelons of Gelmorran society as it began to take shape. Despite not successfully returning to Amdapor, they refused to let that minor hiccup stop them from reclaiming their heritage; coalescing the old stories and ancient practices, and beginning to rebuild their empire of knowledge again. Primarily, their focus was on the forgotten succor that they had once possessed; though no longer capable of progressing their miracles, they resolved to relearn them over time, substituting alchemy and potions for succor. Over the years, the House of Mina solidified itself as a major pharmaceutical body within Gelmorra, providing much-needed aid and medicine to the people. They jealously guarded their secrets, and over time gained in power and influence not by size but by the monopoly-like extent of their reach and the consequences if they decided to cease their work.

Of Mina, the House swole greatly; in the new society the Gelmorrans created, power and influence were better than gold, and Mina had developed both. Many sought to join the Mina, and rumors began to abound that their 'up and up' Pharmacy was not all it seemed; that the medicines were no better than witchcraft. Over years, the relations with the kingdom at large soured, but their necessity remained. To seperate the newcomers from the original bloodline of Mina, many took to calling the bloodline 'Charbonneau', the old elezen word for charcoal - a pun, as activated charcoal was a key ingredient in many of their cures, and a distrustful note that they practiced 'dark arts', despite no such thing being true. Over time, the Mina ascended the ranks of their society with their sights set on the First House; seeking to usurp and immortalize themselves in the top spot of the society by sheer, overwhelming power. As most Duskwight were, it was encouraged to use any means necessary to increase ones' standing, and the Mina were not an exception, employing any tactic no matter how low. While not confirmed contemporarily, it was later learned that Mina did in fact engage and study deeply the arts of magick, earning it the scathing name of 'The Witch House'.

The story of Mina is poorly documented beyond that, as most of it relies on Gelmorran records. Near the end of Gelmorra's lifespan, however, the House of Mina began to decline; shrinking in number, though not in power and influence, remaining steady in its place as Fourth House. The sheer oddity of it all was that the lifespans of the Matron Mothers began to last longer and longer, and the house began to shrink, maintaining servants and handmaids but few beyond that. In its waning years, there existed a maximum of four actual members of the bloodline. Notably, the faces of the Mina seemed to reccur between generations, with a running joke for the family to take the names of those that they resembled. This prompted vicious rumors surrounding House Mina, the most outrageous of them being that they'd somehow discovered immortality or were time travelers.

Eventually, many years after the Fall of Gelmorra, the House finally fell silent after Eirene "the Spider", one of the last remaining Sentinels (or, at least, the last self-proclaimed Sentinel with Sentinel armor), fled into the Deep about a century before Dalamud's fall after abandoning her doomed bandit clan to their fate at the hand of the Gelmorran authorities. With Dike 'The Heartless' murdered at the hands of Eirene 'The Spider', the House of Mina was labeled defunct, and became Ak-Mina.

Presumably, she died in the Deep. Eirene (the current one) begins making contact with the surface around fifty years ago, using the name, and according to the Duskwight, laying claim to the now-defunct House of Ak-Mina, a claim she barely ever acknowledged and, indeed, only ever made as a technicality. This Eirene lived as a hermit along with her arcanima construct, bearing alone the weight of the rumors and festering greed that abounded around her family's name. Her claim may or may not be genuine; but she has the face of Eirene, so to the Duskwight it's good enough. (After all, why would someone care enough to claim the spoils of a dead house through lies?

Eventually, the hermit moved to the surface. While her first instinct was to provide shelter for those in need of it, the now-sole Matron Mother of House Ak-Mina came to the conclusion that the ones she sought to protect would never be safe. For unknown reasons, she reversed her position on her hatred of her house's legacy and took to embracing it as her calling, seeking to rebuild it into at least a shadow of its former self, her eyes set on the ancient enemies of all life who plagued her people in times long past... with none too much kindness or mercy in her eyes.

The House of Ak-Mina blooms again, and its petals are yet indeterminate. Those eyes haunt and hunt, and it may be best to avoid that maleficent gaze, lest one be roped into a world of dark intrigue, perhaps less-than-lawful good intentions, and victory at any cost. While Eirene is still known to grant refuge and use the Faewood for its original purpose, she no longer seeks to aid indiscriminately, having been burned one too many times.

The Structure of Ak-Mina

The House of Ak-Mina an unusual House structure due to its lack of dedicated members. Like most houses, it separated the dedicated members of the House from the Bloodline which carried Ak-Mina blood. The non-Bloodline members encompassed all of Ak-Mina, from servants to nobles, while the Bloodline members were unique in that only they could ascend to the rank of Matron Mother. Unlike other houses, Ak-Mina was heavily matriarchal and placed all power over the House as to end in the hands of the Matron Mother. While others might handle the day-to-day duties and hum-drum, the Matron Mother was the end-all-be-all veto for anything she disapproved of.

The Matron Mother

Only a pure Duskwight female member of the Bloodline was considered to be a viable candidate for Matron Mother. While not necessarily required, it was unspoken tradition that the female be versed in at least the cultures, traditions, and practices of the druids of Nophica. Becoming a Sentinel initially prevented one from being considered as a Matron Mother, but over time Ak-Mina began to expect even they to abandon their oaths for the House.

Matron Mothers enjoyed a unique position of authoritarianism within their house; while not directly managing it day-to-day, their word was the final say in most of the dealings of the House, from the lives to their servants to the limits of their patron (or matron, as the case may have been.) In the modern day, though, the title is being revamped, with Eirene seeking to lead it away from its controversial past.

Matron Mothers were a constant target of the Duskwights' incessant hunger for power, and none more so from than their own children. Wise Matron Mothers kept their selection of heirs low, and the paranoid enjoyed reasonably long and safe lives.

House Patron/Matron

The House Patron (usually singular, though occasionally a matron mother will choose to have multiple official Patrons) is a very odd position. It has none of the responsibility of the Head House Wizard or Weaponmaster but it is equally prestigious and arguably as powerful. House Patrons aren't seen as toys of their matron mothers but instead are seen as positions of great favor and trust.

A House Patron was presumed to be absolutely loyal to their matron mother as they generally could not rely on her need for their martial or magical prowess to help them keep their position. They were recognized by all as another set of eyes and ears that reported directly to her. No Matron Mother allowed anyone else to interfere with their Patron as that defeats the entire purpose of the position.

Head House Wizard

The Head House Wizard is, theoretically, the most powerful magic-user in the House. Some Matron Mothers chose to fill this position with pliant, weaker magic-users, or personal favorites.

Traditionally, the Head House Wizard reports directly to the Matron Mother (wise matron mothers do not have them report to anyone else or allow any other to interfere with their work) and is in charge of coordinating the available spell rosters of all the House's Wizards, assigning spell rosters among the guards (in coordination with the House Weaponmaster and any guard commanders), maintaining the House's library of spells and ensuring it's as complete as possible (traditionally meaning it includes a master copy of every spell any magic-user in the House has access to), and arranging the House's magical defenses, including House defense glyphs and pomanders as well as any enchantments the House insignia born by all members may possess. Because of these last two requirements, Houses find it impractical to have a Head House Wizard who are not exceeding experts in their fields. Those that cannot do so (fill the position appropriately) are considerably weakened by this fact.

Weaponmaster

The House Weaponmaster is theoretically the most skilled fighter in the House but, much like the Head House Wizard, is sometimes filled by favorites or suggestibles instead. The House Weaponmaster is usually supposed to oversee the training of the House's troops, including weapons, tactics, formations, coordinating missiles, melee, and magic, and so on. The Weaponmaster is the one that develops the House's tactics and strategies for defense, organizes the House's forces according to the Matron Mother's desires (including what weapons will be used -- most Matron Mothers never worried about such details, however, instead leaving this purely to the discretion of the Weaponmaster), and coordinates with the priestesses and Head House Wizard on coordinating martial might and magic use.

House Weaponmasters also have the duty of testing the House's recruits for martial aptitude (just as the Head House Wizard tests for magical aptitude) and beginning their training before they are given specialized education. Possibly the most dangerous and onerous duty a House Weaponmaster has is to personally see to it that the House Bloodline continues to be trained in weapons use. Continuing a Matron Mother's training in the martial arts is extremely hazardous!

Masters of the House

The Masters of the House were generally anyone who led or oversaw a very specific portion of the House, and generally answered either to the Weaponmaster or Head House Wizard depending on their closest use outside of the sphere they cultivated. These positions were coveted highly and generally obtainable, whereas positions like the Weaponsmaster or Head House Wizard were much too risky as they involved extended contact and maneuvering around the Matron Mother.

  • Captain of the Guard: Found in almost every House, the captain of the guard falls under the Weaponmaster and is in charge of the House's forces. Some Houses have only one while others will have one per guard shift or one per formation of troops. Captains of the guard are usually female and often druids.

  • Master of Secrecy The master of secrecy is the House's internal security Head. S/he is to ensure no one in the House leaks any secrets as well as protecting the House from spies, saboteurs, and scrying. Since the last is most often performed by the Head House Wizard, the greatest reason to have such a dedicated individual is already filled (this is the prime reason this position never became popular).

  • Head House Merchant: The Head House merchant usually surveyed traveling merchants and other visitors to the city as well as observing prices and how well what sells in the bazaar while knowing what the House has to sell or could get into based on resources. This information is taken to the Matron Mother and recommendations are made on how to best sell the House's goods, what to invest in, how much to produce, and so on. As most Duskwight have little mercantile experience, they usually have to hire a hyur (or lalafell, as it stands now) from the common population to fill this position. In fact, it is for this reason that the position was created at all, as offering hired outsiders a position in the House not only binds them to it, but gives them prestige, increases loyalty, and reduces harassment and interference from others in the House and outside it.

  • Mistress of Ceremonies: The mistress of ceremonies of a House is usually the highest ranking druidess that is not one of the Matron Mother's daughters. In any event, she must be a druid by tradition. Simply, the mistress of ceremonies' duties are to oversee the House chapel and to conduct the common ceremonies and services. Ceremonies of great importance are performed by the Matron Mother herself. The mistress of ceremonies is usually also in charge of the lesser clergy of the House, including overseeing their continued training and deployment in battle. In modern times, due to the druids of Nophica (presumably) no longer existing, this position may be filled by the highest religious official in the House who is not of the Bloodline, such as a shrine maiden or a conjuror.

  • Head Cook: The Head cook of a House actually has much more responsibility than just seeing to it that the food is not poisoned and is flavored to the matron mother's taste. The main duty is to see to it that sufficient stores are on hand at all times and that they are well preserved. Many faced increasing battles with vilekin, particularly insects, rats, and mice, that tried to consume their stores. The Head Cook usually reports to the Head House Merchant.

  • High Maid: The High Maid is a very coveted and prestigious position. Most High Maids are descended from a line that has served the House for generations. They are the primary servants of the Matron Mother, attending to her every need and whim. Each also wields incredible authority as they have de facto rule over the House's other servants. Even House troops can be taught subtle lessons if they overstep themselves with the High Maid of a House. Most High Maids are thieves or assassins and many have at least a little magical talent as well. They are always female Duskwight but never members of the Bloodline. A High Maid is in many ways the overlooked, secret hand of their mistresses. They spy for the Matron Mother, are privy to many of her secrets, and perform a variety of secretive but low-risk tasks for the Matron Mother. The High Maid's loyalty is to the matron mother personally and none other, and even the dimmest Matron Mothers treat their High Maids extremely well, though not always publicly (many put on false displays of anger or suffering endurance with their High Maids and few ever reward their High Maids openly, though such rewards are always given by matron mothers that wish to survive long). Given their closeness to the old Matron Mother, it is no wonder that succeeding Matron Mothers almost invariably keep them on, regardless of what other changes or purges may occur in the House.

  • Master of Crafts: The Master of Crafts is an important position. This position always reports to the Head House Merchant and is rarely held by anyone other than a Duskwight. In some Houses, those with varied industry, there was one for each area (such as smithing and forging, leatherwork and textiles, gems and jewelry, and so on). The Master of Crafts wields a lot of low-level power in the House, as he or she determines which craftsmen are rewarded, which do the best work, which ones are junior and senior (particularly the distinctions between master, apprentice, and joureyman levels), and so on. As well, they are responsible for evaluating any new craftsman to be recruited into the House. Finally, they are in charge of insuring the House maintains enough supplies, whether pots and pans or arrows and bolts, and that those they do have are kept in prime condition (especially weapons and armor). This is a duty they work closely with the House Weaponmaster on. Masters of Crafts who do well are often in line to become Head House Merchants and may be rewarded with favors or money if they increase the House's profits.

  • Master of Farms: The Master of Farms is a full-time position in many Houses that have heavy farming interests. In addition to overseeing food crops, the Master of Farms also oversees the growth of fungi, lichens, molds, and plants for spell components and defense. Of all the additional positions/duties listed here, this one is the least prestigious. It is taken seriously, however, for it can weaken a House's magic and defenses as well as hurt income.

  • Master of Herds (aka, Master of Stables or Master of Animals): The Master of Herds is a full time job Masters of the Herd have thankless jobs that can mean the difference between life and death for their Houses, and the superiors therein. This position is a new one, and specifically dedicated to care for the predominant mount of choice of the surface, the Chocobo.

  • Master of Maintenance: Masters of Maintenance are in charge of ensuring new construction is properly conducted, that structural integrity of existing constructions is maintained, and that future construction projects are foreseen and planned for. Typically the Master of Maintenance reports to the House Weaponmaster as the House's defense falls into his realm. Masters of Maintenance have a thankless job but are rarely forgotten by good Matron Mothers and Weaponmasters. The incentive to excel in this position can be high and some even have spells for construction and defense developed by enterprising Masters of Maintenance looking for favor.

The Incumbents (Masters-in-Name)

The Incumbents were Masters who had yet to be tested for their positions, or were treated as Masters without actually holding the relevant position for whatever reason, such as temporary fills for positions that had yet to find appropriate spots. The nature of Incumbents was inherently transient, and acted as a secondary gateway to positions of authority, at the end either being demoted to their original rank if they were found unsatisfactory (presuming their performance not so horrendous as to dictate dismissal) or ascending to their desired rank if it was found satisfactory.

The Core (Magisters, Warriors, Craftsmen, Gatherers)

The vast majority of Ak-Mina's forces were separated into four simple categories depending on their primary use. While being sorted did not lock one out of doing things usually attributed to another, it did give them the responsibilities to tend to things which fell within their sphere. Generally, the Core members reported to whoever was involved in their primary activities.

Kindred

The Kindred were those who had not been sorted into one of the above mentioned four categories, either due to not being clearly attributable or not having particular skills which benefitted the House (or even not being known well enough to put one into a category, as was most often the case.) Generally the Kindred joined the House of their own free will for whatever reason, and were treated for all intents and purposes as family, for what it was worth.

Mercenaries

Mercenaries referred to anyone who had been hired on for a specific purpose which was NOT to fill a Master role or had not proven loyal independent of payment. Mercenaries were generally not trusted beyond the value of what they were being paid, and specific preparations were always made for the mercenaries in the event of betrayal. Mercenary was generally the highest rank attributed to any controversial figure, and was perhaps a misnomer, as it also referred to anyone not trusted implicitly beyond the value of blackmail or other methods of ensuring one's cooperation.

Seekers

Seekers are those who come the House in search of something the House has to offer. This rank is temporary and transient, and effectively gives the Matron Mother time to test out the usefulness of the incoming petitioner, including their cooperativeness, competence, and other things which allow her to better survey an incoming Seeker for placement befitting of them.

This section is divided into various subcategories to break up what we addend to the canon. Since there was a king, and we know that King Thordan and the proto-Ishgardians were directly adjacent to the elezen which would become the Duskwight, we can incorporate a lot of the same themes of old Ishgard into what likely happened in Gelmorra due to theological similarities (setting aside anything that was soley a result of the Dragonsong War.). We also drew from inspirational sources such as the Udadrow, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Undertale, and the Elder Scrolls: Blackreach to flesh out the Underworld, and societally additionally drew from similar philosophy fantasy such as the Night Sisters of Star Wars. By no means is this section complete; we add to it as we have fun and think of other fun, reasonable inferences. Until we get more Gelmorra/Duskwight/Elemental lore, this is what we use, with the intention to modify our perception of things as new information comes out.

The Future of Ak-Mina

Resurrected from the ashes of ignomity, Ak-Mina heeds the song of its sole remaining Matron Mother and Bloodline, Eirene du Charbonneau. Growing disillusioned with the nature of those who dwell on the surface, Eirene set aside her initial ideas of philanthropy in favor of creating a support structure far more familiar to those she initially endeavored to help. Realizing that no refuge could reasonably be expected to harbor everyone who needed it, Faewood was subsequently reformed from an organization offering indiscriminate shelter to a House seeking to make such an establishment obsolete on a large scale. Instead, the Matron Mother turned to the only structure she traditionally knew to rely on; that of the complex logic of the ancient Gelmorran nobility.

While the government meant to verify the legitimacy of such a structure no longer exists, it is widely accepted as valid by the few surface Duskwight and thus has been quick to find acknowledgment, albeit not necessarily acceptance, throughout the Alliance. At the very least, the claim is recognized as valid by the Gridanians, though that rarely ever is admitted without a bitter, reluctant tone.

Ak-Mina seeks to capitalize off the research and efforts of its ancestors and to make good on ancient promises, as well as provide a uniform structure through which the House can pursue its new goals, whatever the population of it may deem it to be. A few common staples from its glory days remain in place, though, with their research claiming to center around 'enemies of the people that are beyond the people', which most interpret to mean Voidsent.

"To serve the people of Gelmorra, here and ever after..."

No stone of Gelmorra is permitted to mar the forest of the elementals, or so it is decreed, but no one said anything about Gelmorra in legacy of thought and descendant and memory. The House of Ak-Mina seeks to stave off the second death of Gelmorra, and keep knowledge of the civilization alive in some measure. In addition, the Matron Mother seeks to provide a safe place for her fellow Duskwight to escape their enforced lifestyle without having to submit themselves as slaves to the Elementals (though this last part is not admitted in presence of the Padjali.)

The Matron Mother is on record as stating that one of the goals of the House is to keep ancient oaths, one of which being that until the last member of the Bloodline of Mina draws their last breath, they shall serve the Ruling House and Gelmorra in whatever way they can. Gridania, being directly descended from Gelmorra, inherits this oath, and she states that their goals are "to serve the people of Gelmorra, of which the people of Gridania are in blood the same." This statement is highly contentious, with the claim of intending to serve the Elementals being deliberately left out, leading many to find this stated intention to be suspect.

Regardless, the House cooperates where it can with the Adders, and many of the enemies of the Wood are mutually hated by the House of Ak-Mina, prompting a positive (if albeit uneasy for racial reasons) relationship between the House and officials. The public might need considerably more convincing.

"To concoct the elixirs of life, to each Man unique..."

Once what the House of Ak-Mina was primarily famed for in old Gelmorra, the House in its current incarnation seeks to unearth and continue its ancient research using modern methods and techniques to address various risks and conditions. Ak-Mina is equipped to provide an extremely wide array of alchemical and pharmaceutical research and development, and can supply prescriptions and potions on a small scale (though they don't intend to ever have an open-market potion shop, and rather prefer commissions.)

"To stand fearless in defiance of the Enemies of All Life..."

The House of Mina in days of yore stood firm against the waves of Voidsent and other Outsiders brought forth by the Mhach; this research and magick never truly vanished, even through Gelmorra's founding. Now, in the modern age, the House supposedly abandons its alternative path of research and seeks to correct what harm its former incarnations inevitably unleashed onto the world, considering themselves responsible in part for the propagation of Voidsent throughout the Underworld and potentially even the surface as well.

Ak-Mina does not consider all 'Voidsent' to be true Voidsent, and uses the term to refer specifically to the extraplanar, astral-corrupted living aether which requires a host body to exist and magical summoning. This allows them to ignore Voidsent which are only classified as Voidsent due to a lack of understanding of their functions. Rather, the House uses the term Voidsent to specifically refer to actual Voidsent. Any Voidsent of which its origin or nature is debated or seemingly misclassified (Bombs, Dullahan, Phurbles/Snurbles, Gaelicats, to name a few contentious ones) are not considered Voidsent for our purposes due to a lack of ability to possess and otherwise contentious details which makes classifying them as Voidsent very strange.

The House also has it in for any supernatural threat of ephemeral nature which exceeds the bounds of its natural capabilities in order to vent rage on the Spoken races. Yokai, Primals, and Greenwrath are all on its research chopping block.

"To remember, when all others have forgotten..."