Nephell final

A pair of Nephel. Art by Marta Naumowicz.

The Ilith’ari were created at the very dawn of the First Age, predecessors to the Universe itself. Since that time they have served the One as loyal children, watching the story of Sidereus unfold and playing their part as their spirits and hearts directed. The most well known among the Ilith’ari are the Twelve Exalted, or Iluvai, favored children of the One and the gods and rulers of Sidereus. The Iluvai are not the only Ilith’ari that exist however. The lowest ranks of the Ilith’ari are the Vârellim, also called “the watchers”. It is the duty of the Vârellim to serve the Twelve Exalted, acting as messengers, scribes, and direct agents when needed. In ages past, it was rare for a mortal to ever encounter a Vârellim. Since the dawn of the Fourth Age, things have changed.

A few years after the end of the Third Age, the stars began to fall all across Sidereus. At first, it was believed that there was a war in the heavens, or that some other celestial event was disturbing the skies. It was not until a few months later, when strange individuals were reported found making wild claims to their origin in the heavens the mystery truly began.

From the tales of those few who were forthcoming about their origins, it was learned that these new creatures are called “Nephel”. They are Vârellim, fallen from the Celestial Realm, though it is not clear if they left by choice or if they were ejected from the heavens. It is said that each Nephel has a purpose on the Material Plane, and that once that purpose is fulfilled the Nephel will return to the Celestial Realm – her status as a Vârellim reinstated.

Physically, Nephel look mostly human with one major difference. Nephel have torn wings, large stubs or humps on their back. These stubs are thought to be the remnants of the wings that would identify them as Vârellim, symbols of their substantial spiritual power. This scar is spiritual in nature and cannot be removed even by the most powerful magics. For many Nephel, talk of their broken wings seems to be a painful subject, as if being severed from the light of the Celestial Realm is somehow painful. Some Nephel react with great sadness or pain, and others are bitter, angry and openly revile the Twelve Exalted and speak out against their Divine Will.

Nephel can be difficult for many to understand. Because of the way in which they were created, Nephel bear many of the personality traits of the Iluvai they once served. Due to their inhuman origin, they tend to pay little attention to human concerns such as gender, though each Nephel is distinctly male or female. In addition, Nephel are sterile and cannot bear or sire children. No area of the world has a higher population of Nephel than any other, and they do not tend to gather together in groups – preferring to stay near mortal cities. Nephel generally adopt the cultural behaviors of whatever society they first associated with. Nephel have been known to forage in the wilderness with Arxus hunters, use their innate understanding of the Universe to master Arcane magic, or even become skilled warriors by training with the ranks of Gold Elven armies.

Nephel do not choose a patron deity to follow in the same manner as the mortals of Sidereus. For a Nephel, the choice of which deity to revere is usually automatic. Most Nephel remain dedicated to the side of the Light, and as such remain loyal to the Iluvai they served as Vârellim. Some Nephel fall to the side of the Shadow and choose to forsake their natural patron and follow one of the dark gods, or even the Dark Lord Onûs himself.

Nephel often adopt names that are corruptions of their celestial names, choosing to make them easier to pronounce and simpler to understand, though some Nephel will take monikers that are more a description of their deeds or their state of mind. Squall Stormcaller is one of the more infamous Nephel known throughout Sidereus, as a former follower of Eäminn turned to Xi’rian’s cause, Squall is a prime example of what a Nephel is capable of when their heart is turned to darkness.

Nephel will sometimes receive messages from their patron, instructing them to complete a task as they journey toward their eventual restoration to honor as a Vârellim. A Nephel on a quest from their patron is a sight to behold, as they will often call upon the full range of their powers to complete it – occasionally even calling to the realms beyond to bolster their own considerable capabilities. Nephel who are still on the side of the Light will not hesitate to do battle with demons of any kind, including goblins and other vile creatures of Shadow.

Playing a Nephel character in Sidereus is a unique experience. Nephel have large wing stubs on their backs, usually scarred over representing the spiritual wound that they have suffered. While the Nephel do not have a very significant history, their true background is tied into the entire history of the Universe. Nephel are just as diverse and complicated as the gods of Sidereus and have a wide range of personalities and viewpoints, which allows a great deal of freedom to those who choose to play them. Ultimately, Nephel are capable of massive leaps in power and potential, but are ultimately limited by what can be a very short lifespan. When a Nephel character is created, her life purpose is either chosen by the player (in conjunction with the Plot Committee) or assigned by the Plot Committee.

Nephel characters may not be for everyone. Playing a Nephel requires a significant commitment to playing the character properly, only to ultimately have the character “die” once her life purpose is reached. If you are not willing to hold to this commitment, do not play this race. This commitment is rewarded by a more powerful racial template for the character, and should be respected as much as any other rule.