Within the dense jungles of the Kelari Isles, rebel Elves carved sprawling magical cities from the limestone, bonding powerful spirits to every structure. They built great temples to appease this ever-expanding population of spirits and demigods, and their cities expanded from the temples, mirroring spiritual and natural phenomena. Though Kelari settlements never matched the sophistication of the Eth city-states, they had their own spirit-crafted wonders and luxuries.
Once, all Elves were united as Tavril's chosen protectors, though some viewed their duty as more burden than honor. During the Age of Dragons, the Elves who came to call themselves Kelari turned from Tavril, pursuing what they saw as spiritual equality.
For years, they operated in secret within High Elven society, forming pacts with powerful spirits and lesser gods. These cabals were exposed, and the resulting bloody struggle nearly consumed the Elves from within. Finally, under flag of truce, the High Priestess Isidora led her people from the ancient Elven homeland, to settle on a tropical archipelago.
Thanks to prolonged interactions with spirits, the Kelari are both culturally and physically distinct from their High Elf cousins. The Kelari are a proud race, believing themselves spiritually equal, rather than subservient, to the gods. They have no betters, only those who must prove themselves equals. Steeped in elaborate and precise ritual, the Kelari seem detached and unconcerned by the mundane, and a history dotted by periods of living sacrifice does not endear them to the other races of Telara. Until recently, Kelari interactions with outsiders were limited to the rare exchange of goods and scholarship.
The Kelari fled their isles after their society was corrupted from the inside out. The Shade struck Telara, and Akylios's deep-sea prison began slowly cracking, driving the seas into a swirling frenzy. Though monsoons and tidal waves battered the isles, the Kelari held fast, protected by their spirit patrons.
Strange new spirits appeared in the temples, and the Kelari embraced their offers of power. One by one, madness struck their priests. As the elite fell, the people rallied to drive out the new spirits.
Yet the Kelari found many of their old spirit allies gone, and the new spirits bloated with power. Now the Elves struggled not for their way of life, but for their very existence against the profane spirit-agents of Akylios. Many Kelari willingly joined the Abyssal, and so Elf fought Elf, staining stone streets with brothers' blood.
Finally, Anthousa Vie, High Priestess, sounded the exodus, and the remaining Kelari sailed from their beloved isles. By then the seas were nearly impassable, and a mere score of ships made it to the shores of Freemarch. Only recently has the Kelari population seen growth, when Defiant resurrection forges pulled a number of lost Kelari from their journey down the Soulstream, returning them to life as Ascended.
Joining the Defiant
The Kelari are no friends to the High Elves or their Guardian allies. Truth be told, they had not traditionally been friends of any other race, and many Defiant protested trusting the Kelari. The Bahmi were particularly vocal in this regard, until they were silenced by a reminder of their Oath of Hospitality.
The Kelari bring to the Defiant a fitting sort of spiritualism. While the Eth explored forbidden technology, and the Bahmi honed their bodies to physical perfection, the Kelari were making pacts with mighty magical beings, trading services for power.
This spiritual fervor has easily transferred to a passion for magitech among the young Kelari, who have proven valuable in magitech workshops, despite the grousing of older Elves. Of course, a Kelari is much more likely to simply try out “what might work” than conduct careful experiments, so the Eth grow somewhat nervous when their Elven allies handle machinery.