Elves exist in small quantities in the Hokaland realms. The race was created, as such, by the Ven goddess Belindril, daughter of the god also called Ven (the god of magic). Elves are sometimes called the Children of Ven, both because that they are seen as magical but also because many humans mistakenly believe Ven created them (which they believe because they are called Children of Ven...). Elfophiles make a point of calling them the Children of Belindril as a means to put down the people who have 'no clue'.
Elves are a little taller than humans and with seemingly a frail shape, though actually far more flexible and dexterious than they seem. They love all things posh including fine dining and philosophical debates, and "frequently" visits human realms. Frequently means several times per century...
Cold and alluring, but sometimes just seen as cold, elves do have good hearts for the most part, but humans rarely get an insight into this unless they befriend one. They live in the northern tops of the Lofty Peaks in castles that look like icicles from afar. Made in pure marble, they are near to indisdinguishable from the rest of the surrounding nature. They enjoy six months a year of reliable snow and ice, and a brief but very enjoyable summer. It is known for some elves to meditate through the entire winter.
Culturally, elves also tries to emphasize their mystery. The way they organise their hair and clothes are part of a greater identity of not just being older and (hopefully) wiser, but also appearing so.
The three Lofty Peaks are the only noticeable current sources of power of the Elves. All other locations are associated with one of these.
- Silmawen - (translated: Silver Maiden)
- 2 Cities
- Calmuina - (translated: Shining Secret)
- Rauco Oron - (translated: Mount Dread)
- 1 city
Before the great wars there were seven cities.
Elves in the world
There very few elves in the Midrealms, and though there are a few more in the Northrealms, most people have never seen one as they almost exclusively move in the higher echelons of society.
For humans, most don't like the idea of elves much. They are considered extremely snobby ("wha's wrong wih' ma beer?!") and uncaring (as elves have seen many important human conflicts and seemingly ignored them). Most elves you'd meet, if so lucky, will be elf nobles travelling for either busieness or for cultural exchange. Though it is possible that the rowdiest person in a bar really was an elf enjoying his guilty pleasure of hanging out with the lower echelons of humanity, disguised as human.
Northrealmers have a slightly more positive view of elves, but in reality, any commoner or noble who get the chance to have an elven friend would actually like to do it because of the prestige or mystique. Some would say that is not true, it's true in 99% of the cases. There are plenty of unwritten rules telling an elf that she represents all of her kind, so elves interested in more "base needs", like bar brawls or whoring, generally tends to travel incognito and simply pretend to be human. Since only a microscopic amount of humans ever seen an elf, this normally works just fine.
Elves spend most their time either reading the works of others or writing their own literature. Life is exceedingly slow and part of elven culture is simply about enjoying one self with intellectual needs, through proper structure and plenty of routine. Elves have not seen war and conflict in over a thousand years and this has affected their collective psyche. A small number of elves find this dreadfully boring and, though composed, often seak their ways into human lands for entertainment more "close to earth", but since there are so few elves, this is true for only quite few elves.
In their time, elves have usually pretty regimented daily routines. They are somewhat inflexible with it at times, but these things change over time. In this case "time" is decades or centuries. They spend long times meditating, exercising or reading. Some time is for exploring areas, climbing the great peaks or to work and help with things like designing new tunnels or taking care of crops. Hunting is another pastime elves like, but they are careful to not over-hunt. They prefer long chases of pray as opposed to traps, but are skilled in either.
Elves are known for supreme worksmanship in just about anything they do, and though humans often attribute this to elves being magical, the real source is actually time. Most elven artefacts take hundreds of years to finish, and even personal jewellery usually takes at least a couple of years. Their writings are of a similar type where a book is rewritten several times before the author is happy and allows it to be copied.
A few elves vist human lands in their "teens" and get hooked by the lightning fast lifestyles of the humans, almost like a drug. This is looked down upon by other elves, however, so mortaphiles (elves loving mortal culture) usually keep this opinion to themselves but finds reasons to visit human lands as often as possible. There's also an aura of not letting humans see other sides than the pristine, white marble face of the elves, so elves so inclined usually dress down as humans and hide their pointy ears.
In the distant past, the Elven Wars contain dark memories for elves, who prefer to think they never happened, and are generally not spoken of except by scholars.
Elves have nobles similar to how humans deal with power distribution but no serfs and no very low standing elves. All elves are consideed citizen by blood and even half elves will be adopted and welcomed, though very high expectations will be set - perhaps higher than for the average elf.
The most powerful noble families form a Council in each of the elven cities and these are also represented at the Meet, a decennial political event where all the Council houses deal with Elvendom-wide issues. Most issues are dealt with within the cities, however.
Besides noble families with actual power, the lineage of a family is also important. In essence, all families could be considered noble families, it's just that some families are of very low noble standing. In either case, elves don't consider lineage to have much to do with nobility, but it is a parallell sense of pride depending on whom they are descendants from or any particular things that happened in the lineage of the family.
Not all families have impressive lineage but all noble families have somethign impressive in their lineage.
Elves call magic "the Mysteries" and have volumes of literature about it. There is also the Mystic Apocrypha for those who studies further.
Elves are generally more apt at all things magic and were the first race to tame arcane forces, later teaching humans. They have used magic for good and evil, just like humans and since magic is a power, it tends to corrupt its users. Over thousands of years this can have a bad impact.
Elves are not part of the Sickle, but the scholar hierarchy within elven culture has dialogues with the Sickle and other magical organisations of the world. These are infrequent and elves are generally pretty close-lipped, but they do happen.
Among the activities thes scholars do is to find old ruis from before the Dragon Wars and to collect, store and (sometimes) use ancient artefacts. Among the tools for these expeditions are the Expedition Carrier, which is a two-horse wagon with an array of useful items. These are owned by the scholar organisation and lent to expeditions that are funded by the elven rulers.
Crime is virtually unheard of, and punishments for crimes are speculated to be extremely harsh by human scholars, since the deterrence works so well. In actual fact, something even young elves do not know, the elves treat even criminals as individuals and withhold judgement until there are conclusive evidence one way or the other. Even then they don't normally look at it as "punishment" but a form of rehabilitation. Elven lives are so precious to them, the question of what 50 years in a dungeon on an immortal life-span is, after all? They simply had to learn to resolve conflicts, or kill elves and they choose the former. The harshest crime elves do to each other is exile, and even then the individual has the opportunity to redeem themselves, though if it's gone that far, that's probably very hard.
Procreation and children
Elves are quite resistant against disease and poison as well as magic, but males are only actively fertile every 140 days for about 10 days and females are fertile every 200 days for about 20 days; these numbers are not fixed but vary from person to person. Thus a very low birth rate despite extremely long lives (thousands of years). Complicated mating rituals and customs further makes the chance of a biological match slim and if that wasn't bad enough there is a relatively high chance of miscarriage. Magic, unfortunately, seems not to help.
The unlikely chance of having children at opportune times have moulded elven society to be very accepting of adoption. Members of the race are expected to assist in the creation of new life that they will not be part of at least once or twice in a lifetime. Generally, the child stays with one of the biological parents, but there are exceptions. Thousands of years of cultural indoctrination has helped parents cool themselves from attaching to the child before its lineage is concluded.
The blood lines are then rewritten in all official records accordingly, so unfortunately an elf can't know if they were adopted unless someone tells them. Besides the practical aspects of this adoption procedure, it is usually never talked about. It is like a secret right out in the open. It is seen as whatever people do in their own homes is nobody else's business unless they are disturbing others.
Homosexuality is accepted, sort of. Because of the difficulties of having children, homosexual individuals are traditionally required by social etiquette to organise to concieve during the times they can, if possible with another homosexual couple of the opposite sex. The upbringing is then done either by one or both of those couples or by some other couple who wants children. Generally, non-homosexual elves think of homosexuality as "a bit queer", but wouldn't dream of criticising another elven individuals' life choices. It's much more common to criticise a person for frequenting human lands more than is absoluteley necessary for different trades, politics and agreements.
Growing up as an elf, life is pretty regemented. There are schedules for everything, and most days consist of spending time with different tutors in various topics. These tutorials are usually just the child and tutor, rarely are other children also present because most children are several years younger or older. In fact, between the cities of the three peaks, there are usually enough children to hang out and be friends, but not always. Many elves spent their "teens" (a time a little longer than 20 years) without peers. There's usually some other children, but it's not always fun to play with a little child when you're almost an adult.
Half elves are not seen as elves by the elves and not as human by humans, in the case the humans know. If elves are rare, half-elves are incredibly rare, but when they do happen, they are mostly involving a female human and a male elf. Considering how rarely the elves are fertile, it is still amazing it happens.
Families of the woman giving birth to an elven child still gets more support than if it was from some random man for a number of reasons. One reason is that some believe elves can magically turn foetuses from human to elven in the tummies of mothers, another is that people believe elves can use mind control on a woman to impregnate her, yet others see it as a gift from Rahn (or perhaps Ven) and others see to have a half-elven child as a small fraction of the status of having an actual elf friend. Though, in many cases this isn't the case or is only partially true, and it is still a bastard child, there is never a way around that fact, even if it is through a "virgin birth".
There are no recorded instances of female elves becoming pregnant with a human man, but theoretically, it may very well have happened. She would have either given the child away or simply stayed and lived as a human.
Half-elves do not inherit the "near immortality" of elves, but they have significantly longer life spans than humans, up towards 750-900 years. Unlike elves, their development is similar to that of a human, up until adulthood, where they take almost ten times as long to age as a human.
Elves only need a tiny amount of sleep (or meditation for the skilled), but normally live a very sedate lifestyle. Spending time outside in the world (especially away from the Lofty Peaks) is exhausting and each day with other races will later require an elf to go into Deep Sleep for a couple of days. Even at the Peaks, they will slowly get exhausted and every one day spent doing activities will later require half a day in Deep Sleep. While engaging with normal routines, schedules and slow paced lives, elves hardly need to sleep at all.
The most fantastic ability of elves, however, is that the need for Deep Sleep can be pushed almost indefinitely. This need will accumulate and make the elf feel exhausted a lot quicker if it is not dealt with.
The Deep Sleep is fairly pleasant and their magical nature keeps their bodily needs taken care of while sleeping. Elves are known to sleep for decades, centuries and even millenia just for the pleasure of it. Elves do not atrophy when resting, and even sleeping for long times in at least a decently comfortable position will have little negative impact.
Aging and death
Elves are ageless, and does not age after they reach adulthood (at least that is what elven scholars think) an appearance similar to around 30-35 in modern human equivolence. By all human scholars' accounts, elves live forever unless they are killed by another individual or accident. All recorded deaths have been through force (accident, murder or suicide) or poison/disease (but elves are immune to many illnesses).
When born, elves remain infants for a lot longer than humans. Though they are less 'needy', they take a few years before they start walking and a few more before they are talking. The infants sleep most of the time, and even as toddlers and young children, they can sleep as much as 20 hours per day, some days.
Sometime after the age of 11 (with the apparent development of an four years old human child), the development evens out significantly for about two decades, becoming more similar to that of humans, but slows down very much around their mid-thirties (with the appearance and behaviour of a 15-year old human). After adolescence, their aging slows significantly for the forseeable future and most elves look like they are younger than 30, though many people say the age is visible in their eyes.
Elves don't actually know for sure, because though there are vey old elves, there are stories about elves growing old and dying. This isn't a topic they readily share with outsiders or even with each other. Death is a sensitive topic for many elves (though obviously less so for the "hot-blooded" ones who are drawn to human civilization). What neither, then, knows is that elves do in fact have a finite life span. It is just over a hundred times longer than that of humans.
Very old elves have been known to end their own lives in very civilized ways, often surrounded by family and friends. There are even traditional words said and the whole thing is considered a part of life, transferring to the other side and joining the mother of elves, Belindril and either continues an existence in the afterlife or spread the energy of their soul across the elven people. These rituals naturally happen exceedingly rarely and no human being has ever witnessed them. Even among human scholars it's debated if they even exist.
- Ranyará - The Eldest - The Eldest is a leader of an elven community, like Allenorai and surrounding areas. Title not necessarily given to the oldest, but in this case true.
- Sixth Moon
See the main article: Races (D20 SRD).
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