The Frey-ohani are a long lived race who share Anistyre with the humans and the goblinoids, their mortal enemies. Having slept through the Time of the Dragons the Frey-ohani awoke a century after the Dark Wars to find the world much changed and now inhabited by a new race, the humans.
The Frey, as a race, are slightly shorter than humans, averaging 5’6” in height and are slight of build. Their ears are pointed, extending in a thin arch from their sides of their head for about 6” and their eyes are larger than a human’s eyes. Hair colors range from brown to blue to purple, with eye colors ranging the rainbow. Skin tone is generally a pale flesh tone, but there can be a slight blue or purple hue to it.
Note: Some of this info may not be available to non-Frey characters.
The Time of the Dragons
The story of how the Frey-ohani and humans met begins several generations before their first encounter, in a time of great danger and powerful magic, sometimes called the Stirring by the eldest of the Frey. At this time, the natural magic of the world was increasing, although no Frey-ohani could determine why. The innate power in the world was becoming so great that it posed a threat to the Frey, who are a creature of the natural magic and could be harmed by such an increase, or by powerful monsters that would be drawn by the magic (which is why this time is also called the Time of the Dragons). The greatest Druids of the Frey-ohani met to determine how they were to survive this growing threat. The solution was simple and elegant. The Frey-ohani would sleep through this time, like the bear sleeps through winter. Underground strongholds were made to protect themselves from the monsters, called Caers, and the Frey-ohani, under the guidance of the Druids were put into a sleep until the danger had passed. Caer Blackwood is one such stronghold, although there are others scattered along the know world.
Awakening among humans
When the Frey of Caer Blackwood woke, they found a land different from when they slept. While their forest remained intact, much of the lands to the north had been changed by powerful forces. Later the Frey would learn that the time of their awakening was just a hundred years after what the scattering of humans they had found called the Dark Wars. The humans described horrible battles with unearthly creatures. The humans had no knowledge of the magic of nature, so could not have known that it was very likely that they had lived through the Time of the Dragons while the Frey-ohani slept. Frey-ohani kept a distant relationship with these few humans for centuries, but events forced them to take a different approach when a mass emigration of humans arrived from across the sea to the lands of the north.
The humans spread quickly, establishing new towns and cities faster than any Frey thought possible. To ensure themselves that the human expansion would not be a threat to them, the Frey-ohani sent diplomats to several of these growing cities. With much relief, the Frey learned that the humans, while having expanding quickly on their arrival were more interested in settling down and rebuilding their society than gaining any more territory for themselves.
The curiosity about the humans grew amongst the Frey-ohani. While not being able to harness the natural magic around them, they had different abilities that the Frey had never scene. Their skill with stone and metal was impressive as well. The elders of the Frey-ohani considered the humans an unknown quantity and preferred to restrict contact until they could be better observed. More adventurous factions within the Frey-ohani disagreed and took rash action to settle the matter, establishing the Conclaves in many of the human cities, thus creating a permanent relationship with the humans. This proved to be a mixed blessing with unexpected outcomes.
The most significant unexpected outcome was the Halfbloods. No Frey-ohani suspected that the two species could interbreed so easily. In fact, it is easier for a Frey-ohani to conceive a Halfblood than a pure Frey child. Much speculation has been raised by this, but in the end, most believe that humans, by nature, are just more fertile than Frey-ohani. Still, the issue has caused much upheaval amongst the Frey-ohani, with factions believe that these “halfbloods” should not be part of Frey society, since they are not Frey, while others welcome them with open arms.
The true strength of the human/Frey relationship was tested several hundred years later, during what was called the Goblin Wars. An invading army of goblinoids, goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears, moved up from the swampy lands know as the Harrow. The Frey-ohani have long been an sworn enemy of the Goblinoids, but the humans were quick to respond to aid their fellow Frey during the invasion. This quick response spared many human cities and Frey towns from the ravages of these foul creatures. The Goblin War cemented the relationship of the Frey-ohani and humans as allies; willing to die for each other to protect their mutual interests.
It is around the time of the Goblin Wars that the humans learned to harness natural magic, labeling it Arcane, a word which has been picked up by Frey-ohani. The power which humans were able to achieve with their use of Arcane magic was impressive, although much different than the Frey-ohani use. It was in this use that humans identified the phenomena of Stilling. While the Frey-ohani were always aware of the danger of too much use of magic, the humans were more vulnerable to it.
The Righteous War was a strain on the newly forged alliance. While the war was a civil war between the humans, many Frey-ohani Woodsmen were drawn in by old family friendships from the Goblin War. The effect was many casualties amongst the bystanders of the War, as humans had trouble telling what Frey were allied with which side. The resolution of the War, while somewhat confusing to many Frey-ohani, did help heal some of the wounds, but Frey-ohani have long memories, and while they still remember the great deed the humans performed during the Goblin War, the tragedies of the Righteous War lives on.
The elder Frey-ohani rarely talk of the times before the Time of the Dragons. It’s been several generations since the awakening, but there is has been so much change in that short period of time that most Frey-ohani are focused on dealing with the now and not reflecting on those much different days.
A human perspective
The Frey-ohani have a strange history with humans. When they first encountered humans, they were very cautious, limiting their contact to only a few select diplomats. These diplomats would make trade deals for the iron and steel products that the human produced (and apparently the Frey did not) for their wooden crafts. Humankind pressed for a greater relationship, and was met with resistance, until a group of Frey, lead by one of the diplomats, disappointed at her peoples lack of interest in the opportunity presented by humans, lead a contingent to found a Frey conclave in Menthras. Since that time, several other conclaves have been set up in other major human cities to act as centers of trade and communication between the two people.
The intermingling of human and Frey has lead to several changes in both societies. Humans were introduced to Arcane Magic by the Frey which the humans developed into their two schools of magic. It was also learned that Frey and Humans could interbreed. Many such offspring never live more that a few days, but as time passed, more and more survived. These “half-bloods” have caused many a problem for both races.
Culture and society
A long lived race, the Frey-ohani take a long term view on things, which causes the most difficulty with their relationship with humans. Quick decisions do not come easy to them, and the actions that brought the Frey conclaves to the human cities was unheard of for generations. Living with humans has changed part of this aspect of the Frey lives, but as human friends grow old and die, they are reminding of their longevity.
The center of Frey in Anistyre is Caer Blackwood. Every Frey that lives in a conclave has journeyed to Cear Blackwood at least once in their life. It is a mystical place rarely visited by humans, built half in the trees of the wood and half underground, so that there is little sign of it from the floor of the woods. Here the Frey live in harmony with nature, with the Druids acting as their spiritual guides.
They Frey have no skill with iron or steel, but are masters of wood, cloth and leather. Those true Frey who have not been tempted by iron of men use ironwood weapons and armor, magically enchanted to be as hard or harder than steel.
Death and reincarnation
Frey-ohani do believe in reincarnation and the destruction of a soul is a horrible thing. The desecration of bones by animating them, while considered a disrespectful act, Frey believe that the soul moves on after death, so the bones are just bones, and animating them does not destroy the soul.
Frey treat their dead with deep respect, as their numbers are so few and they live so long that death is not a familiar friend to them. Those killed are returned to the earth through burial in cemeteries, although they do not use grave stones. It is more common to plant a tree in remembrance.
Marriage and children
Marriage is a union between two families. It is used for political reasons and as a representation of the love between two people. To the Frey, despite their age, they know nothing lasts forever, even relationships. Marriages are for life, but it is not uncommon for affairs to occur in marriage, especially if there is trouble conceiving. It is not generally talked about, but it is not directly disapproved of, either. Unmarried mothers are very rare. It usually takes years for a Frey-ohani couple to conceive (except with humans, with whom Frey can conceive very quickly). Generally, if a couple conceives and both are not married, they marry for the child. If the mother is unmarried and the father is, it is expected for the woman to find a husband. Regardless, the children are always considered part of the married couple's family.
Children are always viewed as precious and a part of the community as a whole. The whole community cares for the children, not just the parents. They are rare enough amongst the Frey that a pure blood child is a celebrated event.