Elves are similar to humans in appearance, but are extremely lean, lithe and graceful. They have thin faces, high cheekbones, fair skin and delicate features. Their fingers are long and dextrous. Elves have melodious voices and often raise their voices in song. Elves have very good eyesight and their eyes are large and bright - usually blue, green or violet. Ears are swept back, long, thin and pointed. Their hair is usually worn long and straight by both males and females. Male elves do not grow facial hair. Elves tend to be 1.4 to 1.6 meters tall and less than 45 kilograms. Elves are a long lived race and typically reach 250 years old.
An elven noble out hunting.
The elves are a very gentle and peaceful race. They abhor violence and aggression in any form. Many take strict vows never to take another life. While not all elves are this extreme, as a race, they are the most unwarlike. They are, in many ways, the exact opposite of ogres, who they dislike intently.
Elves live in harmony with nature. They hold serenity, peace and cooperation as their highest ideals. In this, they mimic nature as much as possible. They see Nature as the perfect expression of serenity and balance.
Elven religion is very complex. The elves have literally hundreds of minor deities that are related to a variety of subjects : nature, life, beauty, romance, music, knowledge, magic, art, thievery, fighting prowess, weather, etc. More than this, elves worship the spirits of the woods, the sprites and faeries, the trees and flowers, the rivers and soil and so much more. They worship magic and life, fate and Nature and a myriad of other intangibles that form a web of elven belief that is difficult to translate into human terms. In addition, some elves, especially those who leave elven society to live out among the other races, worship the common deities of the world. Many elven creation stories exist; some conflict with others. The elves are aware that they are one of the most ancient races on Khoras.
If there is something elves desire strongly, it would be a knowledge of magical power. Magic fascinates elves, who see it as a source of infinite variety for their benefit and enjoyment over the long years. Elves are very skilled at magic, surpassing the corvenians in power and the humans in control. About 1 in 30 elves is capable of learning magic which is much greater than the human norm of 1 in 50. About 1 in 1000 elves chooses to study magic. They are better are focusing and controlling magical energies, especially under less than ideal situations. However, unlike human mages, elves tend to weave delicate strands of essence into small yet exquisite spells. Elven mages are artists. And while they are very skilled, they are simply unable to muster the raw power and energy levels that human mages are able to control.
The only two elven nations are both centered in forested hills of the west where fauna and flora are abundant. These nations are Ethara on the west coast and Cyrell in the heart of the Grandwood forest. Many elves travel and this elves can be found in other nations. While common in western Ithria, they are much less common in the east, making up only a small percentage of the population there. Elves are very rare in Aggradar and Qeshir.
Elven nations and cities are almost always deep in large forests. Cities may be aloft in the trees with interconnecting bridges or on the ground blending with nature. Wood and stone are the main materials used in architectural construction. Elven villages are often so interwoven into the forest that it is impossible to tell where the village ends and the forest begins. Community sizes very greatly, but tend to be territorial and immobile. However, elves can relocate easily since, in essence, the forest is their home.
Elven speech is soft, lilting and melodious to the ear - similar to phellysian. It contains many subtle variations in tone and inflection which convey mood and emphasis. Elven humor is clever, as are their songs and poems. Literature is well developed. The language and alphabet are highly complex and difficult to learn. Their histories are well documented, being recorded in long, rhyming poems known as Aurells or Songtales.
Elven girls often braid the leaves, petals and flowers of the fellstar plant into bracelets, necklaces and into their hair as a form of floral jewelry. The sweet smell of the flower acts as a perfume.
Elves tend to distance themselves from the rest of the world. There is a subtle attitude of superiority which most elves hold without even knowing it. Many find this attitude obnoxious. Ogres find it infuriating. Elves are neutral with most races. They like grum and phellysians. They respect humans as a powerful race but disagree with them on many beliefs. Elves generally dislike baenites and dwarves. They fear xorians and saurians. Ogres and elves hate each other openly. Regardless of racial preferences, elves can make friends from almost any race, except the ogres. Elves tend to make less generalizations and judge other beings on an individual by individual basis. Elves are sometimes referred to as elflings, forest folk or wealdkin by the rest of the world. Scholars and historians often referred to elves by the thullian word, jevani.
Food is easily obtained in the forest. Elves are primarily gatherers, taking the fruits and vegetables that can be obtained from the vast woodlands. Although some elves hunt, many are strict vegetarians, eating only what the plants and trees provide. In general, elves have no need for large scale animal husbandry or agriculture.
A sweet, dry unlevened bread made from honey and ground nuts. Made by the elves. Exceptionally long lasting, filling and delicious. Rejuvenates the body. Provides some healing.
Made from a distilled fruit nectar. Clear, syrupy liquid. Sweet, mild ale. Rejuvenates the body. Lasts for a long time. More potent when fresh.
Elves are very self sufficient and rely little on the outside world. Elven technology is slightly lower than the human norm, but this is made up for by a stronger affinity for magic. Elves rely on the resources of their forest environment - therefore, wood is the most common substance. Stone and metal are used occasionally. Elves have the technology to forge simple metals including brass, copper and bronze. However, elves dislike the use of metal and beyond a simple blade or two, prefer to use it as little as possible. Many elves use weapons of wood, bone and leather. Armor is usually leather, furs or padding. Very few elves wear metallic armor.
Elven architecture consists almost entirely of finely crafted and delicately sculpted wooden structures. Elves live aloft in great tree houses and their architecture is often interwoven with the trees so expertly it's difficult to tell where the forest ends and an elven home begins. Most elven buildings are nothing more than large covered platforms with partial walls. Doors are light weight wood and slide open and closed. The walls often consist of light weight screens that can be moved about to block out the wind.
Elven "roads" consists of walkways suspended high in the trees that led from platform to platform. When standing upon the highest of these walkways, one can see out over the entire forest canopy which appears as a vast ocean of leafy green.
However, they do use animals extensively. Horses are used for transportation, as are carts and wagons. Dogs are used as guards and trackers. Forest drakes and some birds are often taken as pets.
Elves always ride without a saddle or bit or bridle. They ride their horses bare-back. This is "elf fashion". Elves have an affinity with all animals and are able to control their horses with a spoken word or gesture. Elven archers fire from horseback while guiding the animal with their knees. Elves do not encumber their steeds with barding.
Elven rangers who have proven themselves are given elven forest steeds - a rare breed of animal, closely related to the horse. Typically only four feet high at the shoulder, these animals have silvery-white coats, silver manes and slim bodies. They travel very swiftly and silently through the forest. They are very intelligent and can be trained to respond to a dozen spoken or gestural commands.
Magic is used extensively for both communication and transportation. Trained animals (dogs, falcons, drakes) are often used for long distance communication. Sometimes, travel within an elven tree village is accomplished through vine posts. Vine posts are platforms built around tree trunks. Elves may swing from platform to platform by ropes or vines.
Most elves are basically peaceful and have little desire to own things, beyond the desire to appreciate their beauty. It is enough for elves to have their long lives; material things are generally of little worth. This might seem contradictory in light of the fact that some elves make excellent thieves, but elven thieves usually are not in it for the profit. They seek the adventure and excitement that the thieving life may offer. Well wrought jewelry, intricate art and magic are often highly prized for the skill it took to create such an item and for the items beauty. Elves have no laws governing ownership, inheritance or debt. Only vague customs within the family and a strong sense of commitment to the economic and social health of the community.
Males and females have equal rights and responsibilities in the elven culture. This characteristics further separates them from the rest of the world and elves consider this another superior quality.
When two elves wish to be mates, they leave the community and go off into the wilderness together. It is a special time during which they have no contact with anyone but each other. Such a time may be a few days or several weeks. When they return, the community accepts them as husband and wife. No formal ceremony exists. Friends and family often hold a feast and aid in the building of the couples new home. Such a union binds two elves until death. Elves have no concept of divorce and only under very rare conditions would two mates part ways.
A standard elven family consists of the husband and wife, children and occasionally extended family which varies from family to family. The parents head the family unit equally and share in all responsibilities and duties, both within the family and within the community. At age 100, each child celebrates his or her Rebirth (recognition as an adult). After the Rebirth, an elf is considered old enough to take a mate. Even after the Rebirth, an elf stays with the family unit until he or she has taken a mate.
Elven females have a gestation period of 3 years. Birth between two elves who are not mates is almost unheard of. Within an elven community, all members keep with tradition. Children are seen as gifts from the deities above and family gathers to bestow gifts, both physical and magical, upon the newborn.
The elves are considered soft and lax by many other races. This is apparent in the treatment of their children. The young of the elves are always tended and treated with great care. Punishment is almost no existence. Rather, the young are guided constantly with advice and wise words and rewards and instruction. They are taught to express themselves, to bask in emotion and care for others.
The elves have a greater understanding of life and death than do most races. Their long life spans give them much time to contemplate, to do, to see and to know. Elves do not fear death as do many other races. In their culture, when one dies, one reunites with Nature. And so, it is not a thing to be feared. Upon the death of an elf, the body is taken out into the wilderness and given back to Nature. The body is wrapped in leaves and buried with a few prized possessions.
Elves have only one name. The personal name. Each elves is given a unique name at birth. It is tradition that it be a name no other elves has or has ever had. This is possible due to the structural complexity of the language. Elven names tend to be long. Shortened versions of these names are often used by non-elven speakers.
None whatsoever. A very self-willed race, elves tend to do very much as they please, paying little attention to social convention. They do not see other beings as superiors or inferiors, even their own leaders. Instead, they feel all beings should have dealings in a direct fashion without a complicated rank structure or hierarchy. Therefore, all elves see themselves as equal individuals. They tend not to break society up into classifications as well. Elves do not define themselves as "warriors" or "carpenters" or "ambassadors". Elves simply are.
Leaders, to elves, are to be obeyed in matters only where the leader is knowledgeable, and they may be freely disobeyed if their rulings seem unreasonable. Individual elves follow their own leaders because they want to, not because society says they have to. This makes, of course, for a pretty chaotic state of political affairs, but this is greatly moderated in elven society by a strong sense of identity as a race and their separateness from the rest of the world. Thus, elven government, as disordered and confusing as it seems to outside cultures, is quite stable.
Elves tend to have unorganized and inconsistent military forces. Waging large scale war is not an elven strength. They also have no mind for tactics and tend to be to weak-willed and soft hearted to inflict large scale damage upon an enemy. Confusing an enemy force and stealing weapons or supplies is a common elven method of dealing with intruders.
Prominent elven ceremonies include the following: marriages (when the two mates return from the wilderness, friends and family hold a small and informal celebration), birth (small religiously focused ceremony with family bestowing gifts), funerals (small family ceremony held at the burial site in the wilderness), Rebirth Ceremony (Coming of age ceremony where an elf is recognized as adult - occurs on 120th birthday), the four Nature Festivals (one for each season) and the Ceremony Of The Suns (where the two stars are worshipped and magic is celebrated).
Even though they have many community ceremonies, elves tend to celebrate every day. Singing, dancing and feasts are common and may occur at any time. Life is an endless river of opportunity, adventure and joy. It is a series of surprises to delight. There are always poems to be written, songs to be sung, and tales to be spun. Elves are simply content to enjoy the living of life.
This website was last updated November 30, 2023. Copyright 1990-2023 David M. Roomes.