Elves

Average Lifespan: 600 – 800 years
Average Height: 5 to 6 feet
Average Healthy Weight: 82 to 100 pounds for females, 115 to 130 for males
Pregnancy Duration: Elves carry their children for nine months following conception and then deliver in a live birth

The first to build cities and establish trading routes following the devastation of Al’Drenra, the Elven people of Valindir are a proud, haughty race, though they feel that, given their achievements and their place in creation, this is justified. The Elves are ruled by a King and Queen, their seat of power being called the Ivy Throne, which command the loyalty of six noble Houses beneath them: the Ammaile’s, the Andarin, the Panith, the Fyofaerin, the Haloveir’s, the Bharcovs, the Fae’Loai, the Nespoein, and the Al’Thera. Possessed of an expansionist mindset, similar to the Danava, they differ in that they are willing (and quite able) to pursue military strategies in order to maintain their borders and expand them at any opportunity.

Elves are firm followers of the ancient traditions of their culture, and though they do not resist change they are slow to embrace it. Because of their long lives and rigid hierarchy, Elves tend to be more closely knit than other Peoples, and strive to present a united front against “outsiders”.Those who are immigrants to their lands may find that it takes whole generations before the Elven people begin to regard them as “new” to the area, and not simply visitors. Even then, Elves will inevitably choose their own kind above others, making interracial marriages a dreadful taboo in their society..

Physical Characteristics

Elves are similar to Humans in height, with most of them standing some five or six feet in height and the males tending to be taller. To a one, however, even the fattest of Elves is possessed of a much more refined build, with high cheekbones, long fingers, and slender bones. Elves have pale, creamy white skin, though like Humans this skin can darken in the sun or even freckle. Elven society places no stigma upon the color of their skin, seeing each variation among their kind as merely different sorts of beauty. Among all the Peoples, in fact, Elves are the most likely to experiment with their appearance, dying their hair all sorts of natural and unnatural shades, and even tanning different patterns on their skin if they are especially adventurous. As they age, most Elves tend to grow white hair, instead of the grey that is typical of Humans, and this hair is especially prized, being seen as a sign of wisdom and strength. Elves in high positions may even dye their hair white in an attempt to sway their people into placing greater faith in them and, like a toupee for the bald, this does seem to work, so that many of the younger Elves may, themselves, sport white hair.

History

The Elves are staunch traditionalists, and indeed the history of their own people is one of the most extensively covered topics in Elvish schools. So much of who a modern Elf is depends on where their ancestors came from, and it is fairly typical for this long-lived People to keep occupations and estates in the family for many, many generations. Even the clothing styles and music that one sees and hears will, centuries later, continue to be found there, with hardly any degree of change. In art and in music, talent is based more upon how well someone is able to copy a design than upon originality. When change does come, it’s slowly, and normally with violent upheaval. This is the case with the infamous War of the Crowns, a violent and bloody battle which lasted centuries and saw the rise of a second royal city, as well as the near destruction of the current Al’Thera dynasty.

In modern years, the Elves have suffered the debilitating loss of their royal heir and their General, both to bandits that have begun to plague the Crescent Road. With the dynasty’s last hopes for survival now resting on the shoulders of one young girl who had been trained to become a priestess, not a queen, the Elves have begun violent infighting to marry their most eligible men (bachelor or not) to the young princess. Even with the Drakiens beginning to press against their border to the south, the Elven hold on tradition and stability is showing signs of faltering.

Culture and Religion

The Elves are great lovers of bloodlines and Houses, with the pinnacle of this culture being the noble Houses. While commoners may have their own Houses, it is within these six main noble branches that most of the people try to insert themselves. So great is their devotion to Houses and bloodlines that, failing to marry into one, some Elves may simply claim the last name as marks of loyalty. It is a nasty rumor among the Peoples that the noble Houses are based upon the six favorites of Yarowe. So obsessed was the goddess with their “perfect” beauty that she replicated them, over and over, while never bothering to extend the lifespan of the original six. Each of the Houses, it is said, has certain distinguishing characteristics that breed true because of this.

All Elves, no matter their rank in the hierarchy, have a deep love of symbolism. From architecture to clothing, paintings to flower arrangement, everything is made up of layers of symbolism for them. Those contemplating visiting or even making a permanent move to a predominately Elven territory would do well to find a savy guide or a detailed book to acquaint them with the subject, as Elves have been inadvertently offended by something as simple as the gift of the wrong sort of flower, proposing a tryst when they had meant simply to give a gift.

Most Elves also participate in the Game of Crowns, which is comprised of grand and subtle political maneuvering to place different people in power. The Game is normally confined to Elven territories, though sometimes particularly devout players may introduce it into other cultures. It is said that the Game received its title from the Elvish custom of having a new royal crown designed for each successive ruling dynasty, and placing the “fallen crowns” in a gallery for display to the populace.

It could be assumed from their love of power and politics that Elves are mostly devotees of Metal, but in fact it is usually the love of Air and Magic that hold sway in the hearts of the Elder Ones. Politics and the arts have ever been the territories of Air, while Magic holds as its provinces exploration, experimentation, and the expansion of limits—all things the Elvish people find most intriguing. Some of the finest temples and shrines to these two Elements are found within the Elven lands, and their respective religious holidays are two of the grandest to be had there, with celebrations lasting as long as a week and bringing work to an absolute standstill.

The most noticeable part of Elven culture to many, apart from what some feel is their excessive sense of self-worth, is their relationship with the Gryphons. Many young Elves and Gryphons pair off at a young age in a ritual called Pledging which bonds the two youths together as companions and friends for the rest of their lives. Pledges are similar to a family that is formed by choice, and there are many stories and songs in Elvish culture detailing what is perhaps one of the strongest and most enduring of partnerships within Valindir.

Geography

Fortunate enough to secure a rich abundance of forested territory in the divide after Al’Drenra, Elves have carefully maintained their home and built it up into a veritable fortune in prime real estate. With extensive silk worm farms and herds of majestic unicorns roaming the edges of the forest and meadows, the Elves do not lack for natural resources. They are especially possessive of them, which is easy to understand when one takes notice that silk craft is raised to an art form in Yarola’Sia, and the unicorns serve as the primary mounts of the royal family and those with money. The large forests are necessary, however, as they provide the game animals which are the favored food of the Gryphons, the protectors of the Elvish People. Besides them, there is precious little danger to be found in Elvish forests after centuries of such careful cultivation, but there is some. Large wild cats, the occasional infestation of trolls (the result, the Elves claim, of the poor shape of the lands to the south) and the frequency of wild fires can prove a daunting challenge to those who are unprepared. What the wild does not kill, the Elven rangers may, with their deadly arrows trained at all times on those who would dare to cross into their borders without an invitation.

Relations with other Races

Regarding themselves as the First People, Elves have trouble recognizing other Peoples as equals. They do not necessarily dislike them, rather they feel that most other races, with their shorter lifespans and “poorly developed cultures” are somewhat like brash children. Whenever possible, they try to educate and enhance the lives of the “lesser folk”, practices which have earned them the titles of “uppity”, “bigoted”, and “pretentious”, to name a few. Then there is the Elven tendency to expand their territories whenever possible, buying up land at an alarming rate and then enforcing their culture upon it “for the good of all”. While valued for their beauty and cultural achievements, then, the Elves are closely watched in Valindir, and few people are brave enough to willingly allow a large force of them to enter in to their own territories.

Alubra – Admirable as servants and exceptional as bards, Alubra are found serving in many of the upper class Elvish homes. They are especially prized because they possess feathers, as do the Gryphons, and so many Alubra are able to make good livings as Gryphon grooms, tending to the delicate needs of so hearty a People.

Centaurs – Perhaps because of their own close bond with the Gryphons, the Elves view the expulsion of the Centaurs from Danzibar as a betrayal, and are perhaps as furious over it as the Centaurs themselves. The Yarola’Sia Ambassador has been active in a campaign to dismiss all charges from the Centaurs, and those Centaurs who are encountered outside of the Orc’s territories are treated as allies. There are whispers, however, that the true purpose behind this apparent show of support is because the Elves cannot stand to see the Orcs gain such a useful ally, and that they are trying to nullify what could prove to be a very dangerous alliance should the Orcs decide to invade again.

Danava – Few races infuriate the Elves more than the Danava, who insist at every turn that their two Peoples are related, coming from the same Sylvan ancestors. The Elves find this imagined heritage very distasteful, and largely refuse to have any sort of official contact with the watery Eiltia Empire as a result. The Danava take it all with good humor, of course, but the Elves are very touchy about their liberal use of the word “cousin”, and make it a point to return any and all invitations as politely as possible.

Daphinae – Only slightly less infuriating than the Danava, while the Daphinae do not insist on claiming to be related to the Elves (within Elven earshot, at least), they have a peculiar reservation to brewing adequate quantities of their liquors to keep Yarola’Sia in good supply, something which the Elves find horribly counter-productive to trade and relations. The Elves are, after all, terribly fond of their wine, and more than one drunken aristocrat has talked of conquering the Helios for the sake of a good drink.

Drakien – The hatred of the Drakiens seems almost bred into the bones of the Elves. They were the first to hold back the onslaught of the Dragons that tried to spread out across the world in their glory days, and they were the first to push the cursed Drakien back into the southern portion of the land. The Elves have always maintained that the Drakiens are not to be trusted, and they have kept a vigilant watch on the border since that first Sigil Night, waiting for their ancient enemy to rise again.

Dwarves – The trading relationship with the Dwarves stretches back generations (Elven generations at that), and it is quite possible that without one another the two civilzations could not survive, though neither will ever admit that. Where Dwarves rely upon Elves for produce and cloths from the surface, the truth is that without the Dwarves and their mines the Elven armies would have fallen years ago to the Orcish and Drakien hordes at their borders.

Gryphons – There is only one People whom the Elves truly regard as equals, and that People are the Gryphons. Perhaps this is understandable, as the Gryphons were expressly created to exist alongside them, and so are more tolerant and even appreciative of their mannerisms than any other. While Elves may ride a unicorn on most occasions, it is on the back of a Gryphon, their soul-siblings, that they are truly at home, and Elvish culture is rich with stories of their two Peoples fighting and shedding blood side-by-side, eternal companions.

Humans – Elves are both fascinated and horrified that Humans look so similar to them. On the one hand, they find their thicker frames and loud, bawdy (in comparison) natures quite stimulating. On the other, Humans grow and die so quickly that Elves seem almost afraid to befriend them or fall in love, certain that these brief relationships will harm their very souls should they grow too attached. There is many a sad song or tale in Elven lands concerning these ill-advised relations, almost all of them ending in tragedy for the poor Elf involved.

Kithras – Elves find their trinkets and baubles that they have for trade, but besides that have very little use for them apart from guarding caravans that they may send out through their part of the world. The Elven people are not below using “natives” to pass safely through a land, but they draw the line at seeing the Kithras on par with their own People.

Kren – Viewed as a rather insipid, pale imitation of a People, most Elves think the only possible use for a Kren would be as a servant fit for heavy labor or monotonous tasks. Much derision is heaped upon the Kren’s “culture” and “arts”, and it is considered tasteless to display wares originating from their island home anywhere in polite society, much as one would not proudly display the scratchings of animals as art.

Melrog – Perhaps things would have been different if the Melrog had been fashioned to look like they were made of gemstones, but as it is the Elves find them quite hideous, and most politely refuse to associate with them, lest they casually make some rude, offhand remark about their bulk or their frightening appearance. A few Elves have attempted to be kind and offer the Melrog jobs as gardeners or heavy laborers, but this has been poorly received by the Melrog People.

Minotaur – The Elves admire the Minotaurs for their brute strength, if not their beauty or their social graces. While Elven armies are perfectly capable of standing on their own, most Elven commanders will not hesitate to bolster their forces with the occasional battalion of Minotaur warriors, if only to soak up the initial damage of a frontal assault.

Mithyrn – If ever their kind shared a common ancestor, as some claim, the Elves feel it was a blessing that this has since been lost to history. Relations between the two Peoples are strained, to say nothing of downright hostile at times, and both sides have claimed it has been from an inability of the other to make concessions to foreign cultures. In short, the Elves feel that the Mithryn do not display enough gratefulness for being given the opportunities for trade that they are, and so have simply refused to have any dealings with them until the Mithryn can become “more civilized”.

Orcs – If it were at all possible, the Elves would ensure that the Orcs were understood to be the beasts they are, thoroughly stripped of their rights as a Peoples, and forced to occupy that tainted strip of land in Huldova alongside the Drakiens. Anything else, they feel, would be a mercy these bestial creatures do not deserve. Elves will not tolerate Orcs anywhere near their territories, and if necessary, will remove them by force. Recent attempts by diplomats to reach some measure of peace between the two Peoples have been met with contempt, if not outright hostility on the part of the Elves.

Sidhe – The Sidhe are, perhaps, the closest People an Elf will ever come close to envying. Were it not for the Sidhe’s desire to merely guard and not seek dominion, the Elves might actually feel threatened by a creature they perceive as possibly older, more graceful, and certainly more mysterious. Happily for the Elves, the Sidhe have shown no inclination to seek out power, but instead have offered to work with the Elves to ensure the safety of sacred groves, treasures, and other rarities. For all of these reasons and more, the Sidhe have always found themselves welcome in Elven lands.

Senai – While the Elves are not fond of the Danava, they share the Eiltia Empire’s distrust towards the Senai. For what other reason, they ask, could a whole people have cause to isolate themselves and hide from the world unless they are truly criminals? Nevermind that the Elves themselves engage in the same practice…on the matter of the Senai, at least, the Danava and the Elves are agreed, and lashing out at the Senai is one of the few times the two Peoples will join forces.

Talmori – While they respect the Talmori for attempting to live more in tune with the natural world of Valindir, most Elves feel that they are an overly simplistic people. Any race that cannot appreciate hierarchies, money, or bloodlines, they feel, cannot truly be as advanced as they are. Whenever possible, the Elves strive to bring the Talmori into the “modern world”, but this is often met with a passive resistance the Elves find disheartening.

Language

The more vocal linguists are quick to point out that Elvish is a direct descendant of the Sylvan tongue, the Elves are adamant that their language is the purest form of the Old Tongue, that archaic and lost language spoken by the Gods and their First Born. The truth is probably that a mixture of the two went into the development of the language which, at the very least, is one of the oldest and most consistent of tongues.

Names

Elves love beauty in all things, especially their own names. In general they avoid harsh clicks and shorter names, unless they are of a militaristic House, preferring longer ones ending in vowels or the softer “ael”, “iel”, or “en”.

Male Names: Ashael, Talubriel, Bhaevien

Female Names: Jalubresa, Lucielle, Tavael

Player Difficulty Level

Easy – Though Elves are bound by bloodlines and cultural expectations, their number and their ties with other civilizations make them the easiest to play of all the fantasy races. Those who prefer an established hierarchy system over the wealth-based structure of the Humans may even prefer to play an Elf for their first character, or just in general. Requests can be made to the Staff to find a House willing to take in a new player, so it may even be possible to start your time in Valindir with an established network of support.

Notes on Role Playing this Race

With their heavy focus on beauty, culture, Houses, and expansion, Elves can perhaps be best compared to China with its dynasties, or perhaps England in the days of the Empire. When playing an Elf, particular attention should be paid to the House obligations of your character, as well as who they associate with. Some see playing an Elf as a chance to be rude and disdainful to other races, but this would be a gross error on the part of Elves, who view themselves as benevolent benefactors (whatever the reality may be) to others and, above all, examples to be followed. No Elf of any breeding would show an obvious lack of manners in public, as this would be a disgrace to both themselves and their House.

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Posted July 5, 2011 by Evoru

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