The Orredin, Helians, Helion Elves, Gold Elves or "The High Folk", are a race of Din who dwell in the great city of Helion. Helion, located in the center of the Broken Sea, is all that remains of the Eastern Ruvian Empire, which fell into the sea eons ago in a great cataclysm that nearly destroyed all civilization on Vosca. Most of the race went extinct due to interbreeding with humans – it is unclear whether this preceded or followed the destruction of their empire.
The Orredin are immediately recognizable by their purple eyes (a universal trait within the race) and very modest, but still visibly pointed ears.
The Orredin are living fountains of magical energy – the same sort of energy that is tapped with Sorcery. Each of them produces a small but very noticeable amount of this power, and this power feeds into the Flow of sorcerous power in the area, swelling it to the point that it can even bleed out through the leylines into adjacent regions.
It should come as no surprise then that all Orredin are, to some extent, Sorcerers. Being able to produce one's own energy is an overwhelming advantage for a sorcerer. It allows minor enchantments to be kept active at all times, and it facilitates truly impressive acts of magic when a large group of them put their heads together with purpose. The effect of multiple Orredin in an area is multiplicative, rather than cumulative. Each one produces more energy in a group than they would individually, meaning that as the concentration of Orredin increases linearly, the amount of power they produce increases geometrically.
The Helians retain their Focus as long as their environment has a certain amount of "Flow" coursing through it. Essentially, they either need a location with powerful latent magic, or the presence of about 300 other Helians within about a square mile. This is why they habitually construct metropolises, and enslave or enlist other races to perform agriculture for them.
Helion is the Great City of the Helion Elves (Orredin), so named for them. Or, possibly they were named for it. It isn't clear.
The city itself is clearly artificial. It stands on a perfectly chiseled plateau close to a hundred feet above the sea, upon which sits the mighty and eternal city of the elves. Much of it physically floats above the plateau itself, due to the enormous amount of magic funneled into the place, which is essentially the "heart" of the magical leylines that flow through the world.
Humans and other visitors content themselves with the massive docks that fill the sea around the city, but once upon a time (as evidenced by the remnants found in the Tattered Sea,) the city of Helion may well have encompassed the entire ocean, floating above the water like some terrible city of the gods.
What caused so much of it to collapse into ruin, creating the island chains and submerged ruins of the Tattered Sea, is unknown to all but the wisest of the Orredin. And they aren't talking.
The history of Helion is extremely long. Eons ago, the mighty empire's great city covered much, if not all of what we now know as the Broken Sea. Massive beyond reckoning, the city flew close to the sky to access the more powerful flows of energy that resided there. The city was sustained by the power of the Orredin themselves, as well as that siphoned off from the material world. Races the names of which have not been spoken in ten thousand years were the enemies of the Orredin then, and one by one they were crushed, their own mighty empires cast down and smote unto ruin by the incredible magic commanded by this colossal empire. Even Karthack, young in those days, bent the knee rather than face the wrath of Helion. The Peace of Helion lasted nearly a millennium. But something went wrong. That something was humans.
As Helion grew, its influx of slaves and immigrants grew as well. Being a cosmopolitan people, the Helions were not terribly interested in doing actual work – they preferred to let slaves and magic handle everything. As a sign of their graciousness as masters, their finer servants were made free, and allowed to live on their great city with them. Many Orredin, charmed by these newcomers, and tired of the tedious process of working out if the members of their own race that they thought to marry were blood relatives, took husbands and wives from human or lesser-Din stock. The offspring of these unions were never Orredin – but this did not concern them much. After all, they were immortal. What does parenthood mean to an immortal?
Then the plague came.
The Orredin are not a hardy race. They do not react well to filth, changes in climate, even dust. They are particularly vulnerable to disease. The sanitation works of Helion were a marvel in and of themselves – but they were designed for a population that was largely static. A population that didn't boom. With the coming of the humans, the works were quickly overloaded, the island overpopulated, and with the resulting squalor came disease. A great plague formed in the southernmost district of Helion, and swept like a hit wind through its streets, killing millions. The plague spread through the city, leaving unspeakable mountains of dead in its wake.
The central district of Helion saw this horror unfolding, and enacted a quarantine. As many people from uninfected quarters were taken into the central district as possible, and then the mighty gates dividing these sections were shut, and barred.
The death continued for months. Rebellions began, entire wars were fought in individual quarters, which covered hundreds of square miles of cityscape. Battles that killed a hundred thousand men went unnoticed, as none ultimately survived the plague to tell of them. But, despite the high price paid, the central district escaped infection. The horror seemed to be nearing an end.
By the time the remaining Orredin, now a bare fraction of their original numbers, realized that there were no longer enough of them to sustain the city, it was far, far too late to do anything about it.
The city had been sinking at a controlled rate for some time, but some event, a fire, or a battle, or a collapsing building or a mass homicide, pushed it over the edge. The city began to gain speed in its descent. The high council in Helion panicked, and did the only thing they could do--they held onto the only part of Helion that they could. The central district was connected to the rest of the island by great bridges. These were destroyed, and the rest of the island was abandoned to collapse, while the central district remained, with just barely enough living Orredin within to keep it afloat. The cataclysmic results of this collapse may have killed more people overall than the plague. Tidal waves from an overturned sea annihilated coastal cities, swept islands clean of life, and covered over entire civilizations in silt.
The world was rocked by the cataclysm, but not so much as the Orredin, who had lost paradise. Grief-stricken, enraged, and looking for someone to blame, the Orredin turned on the humans who had taken refuge with them in the central district, and slaughtered them. After this, they brooded for years. The scant few thousand of them who had survived now brooded on their island fortress. Most of them were related by blood. There was no way to practically replenish their numbers and make a new start. The race seemed doomed.
Eventually, through experimentation with their few remaining human slaves, the Orredin found the answer. While the offspring of an Orredin and a human would result in a human, multiple generations of selective breeding could produce a human born with purple eyes. The next generation of offspring with such a human would produce Orredin, rather than humans. These hybrids, discovered only several hundred years ago, were the answer to the problem. It required a complex system, charts, and strict enforcement of protocols, but the Orredin found a way to restore their race. It would just take a long time, and a lot of fresh blood, to produce the right kind of people, "born in the purple," to produce new Orredin.
The Helian Empire that emerged was changed. No longer cosmopolitan or trusting of outsiders, they segregated themselves above a plateau of earth and stone that had formed beneath the city over the course of eons, where those human members of their empire were forced to live. This place, called the Black Plateau, is home to a vast army of enslaved humans who toil in dark to secure the future of Helion.
Huge armies of mercenaries press Orredinian interest on the continent. A great many do so not for pay (though that is considerable) but for the possibility of being chosen for their excellence, physical capabilities, intelligence, and (though the Orredin would never admit it) their sense of fashion, to be inducted into the program, and bred into the Orredinian race. Such a position is tantamount to a commission of minor nobility, and these warriors double as the Imperial Guard of the Helian Emperor himself: The Purple Guard.
Their Empire's collapse has not been absolute, and Helion itself is still a massive city – perhaps the largest in Vosca – and commands enormous economic and political power. It is also quite possibly the single most unassailable fortress in the world, the equal of Tenja, but perhaps for different reasons.
The Orredin worship Genosus, but in a different way to the Ruvian Church. The Orredinian Church believes that one best serves Genosus and the cause of the Solar Ziggurat not through mastery of flesh, but through understanding of sacred geometry, ritual, and magic.
Thus, the Orredinian Church has a very strong emphasis placed on the learning of symbols and rituals that, when practiced, will channel power directly to the legions that labor on the Ziggurat in death. Ten observances of these rituals every day are believed to be the bare minimum for a Genosian to "do his part," and the entire culture has small rituals of this sort woven into the fabric of everyday life, for good measure.
The Orredin are of course not the only members of this church, many human kingdoms favor it as well (usually those with strong associations with the Helion Empire.)
Sorcery is a huge part of the Orredinian tradition, since it also relies on such symbols, and a great part of the theological dialogue within Orredinian Genosism incorporates Sorcery.
Helion doesn't just have a navy, Helion has THE navy. No other state in the world can match them in sheer size and power, not even the massive Zellish fleets of Rade Sark or Old Radovan. In fact, it is well known that Radovan is in bed (literally) with the Orredin, and will support them even over other Zells.
The Helian navy is huge, and their vessels are of exquisite quality. The Orredin themselves tend to be great fans of sailing, and boat races are considered a very noble and masculine pastime. As a result, they often spend colossal amounts of money independently to design faster, better, more maneuverable and more sturdy ships for their own use. This investment has bled into their military. Helian vessels are centuries more advanced than their closest competitors, and can fly through the water like birds through the air, brave the stormiest waters of the Tattered Sea, and carry powerful weapons, many of them Sorcerous in nature.
Though "Helian Fire" is often associated with the Orredin, it is not actually magical, but a mixture of chemicals that burns well. It is only used by their human or Zellish auxiliaries. The Orredin themselves use sorcery to magnify light, creating visible beams that incinerate wood, sail, flesh and bone alike. These often discharge from the painted eyes on their vessels' prows.
The primary role of the Helian Navy is to protect the trade routes that make up their primary source of delicious Elf Gold. Their main rivals are the Kurtiye, who, having no options to expand overland, pour their energy into the sea.