The Adonessai

Of all the places in Murthrid where wood elves gather, the Towers of Wisdom are the most famed. In ancient days, when manking and the halflings were little more than tribal children making war with sticks, it was the power and wisdom of the elves that elevated them. The elves taught them metallurgy, woodcraft, alchemy... and sorcery. The great and powerful elves that created the Dragon Orbs in ancient times may be gone now - dead or long since departed on the Swan Ships - but even so, the reputation of elven sorcery is a great one.

The elves guard their knowledge jealously. The Towers of Wisdom are protected by a force greater than any city wall - the impassable forests of Murthrid, which no army could ever hope to brave. They are deep in the forests, the nearest of them requiring two weeks of travel on the elvenpaths to find. And even amongst elves, the Towers of Wisdom are difficult to enter. Although humans may believe that all elves are united by their vague and unknowable motives, the elves of Murthrid have lived long enough to know that there are many different pulls and intrigues, especially amongst their own kind. The mages of the Tower of Wisdom - the Adonessai, or Peacekeepers - are bound by powerful oaths that constrain them more tightly than any geas.

The Adonessai may tell no lies, and they must never wield their magic to harm another. There are two exceptions to the second part of this rule: one is to protect themselves from imminent danger against those who intend to do them harm. The second is in hunting the drow, those who serve Lolth, and all those who serve the gods and entities of the lower planes. Of course, in a world where most have a dim understanding of what the Lower Planes are, this restriction often seems arbitrary. These oaths are absolutely unbreakable, but the Adonessai consider them essential, for the power they possess is immense. Even the weakest Adonessai is of at least 5th level, but mages this weak are rarely seen outside of the Towers of Wisdom. Most Adonessai found outside of Murthrid will be of at least 9th level.

Despite their oaths, the Adonessai are sometimes found outside of the forests of Murthrid. In the interests of preserving wisdom and knowledge and guiding Morus into a world unsullied by the taint of the infernal and demonic, they voraciously seek out all rumours and magic they can get their hands on. They will even openly trade magic with outsiders, if they believe it will gain them something new and valuable. They are far more interested in magics of protection, creation, alteration and healing than those which deal with destruction, however. Because they are more interested in guiding the world away from the Lower Planes than the welfare of individual people or even individual nations, they are often allied with the Unaligned.

Although their wisdom is respected, the Adonessai have a reputation for using their magical powers freely and without regard for conceptions such as free will or self-determination - a trait which earns the ire even from their fellow elves. They will freely manipulate, bully or strongarm others into going along with their plans - and if they think they can get away with it, they will not hesitate to use mind-affecting magic. In fact, they specialise in it, and their mages who wander abroad will always have a selection of charms and enchantments prepared.

The symbol of the Adonessai is a ring of 5 black circles, with the topmost circle divided in half. These represent the four true Dragon Orbs, as well as the flawed Orb made by the Adonessai in later years. They serve as a symbol both of the history and age of the ideals they serve, as well as a reminder of the wisdom lost to the ages and the hubris of those who thought themselves wiser than those who came before. All Adonessai wear white robes with a grey mantle, with this symbol inscribed on the hood. Members of the Towers forsake their clan name when they take their oaths - Fenian Erindil would become Fenian Adonessai, for example.