Biology · Races

Elf

Overview

Elves are an extraterrestrial sapient species of humanoid faye. They look just like humans, except with pointy ears and they can produce mana from within their bodies in addition to absorbing it around them. They were one of the more influential sapient species on Kaf before the Ghulat Wars, after which they became extinct on Kaf and only managed to survive on its moon Qarin.

Quick Species Profile
(Sidhe Aes) “The Mound Folk”
Life Expectancy
Average: 1000 years
Max: Ageless
Average Height: 140 – 180 cm (4’7″ – 5’11”)
Average Weight: 50 – 86 kg (110 to 190 lbs)
Creature Type: Faye Humanoid

Biology

Appearance

Hair: Blonde, White, Grey, Green, Red, Violet

Eyes: Blue, Grey, Violet, Green, Orange, Amber, Brown

Elves generally stand around the height of humans and possess a graceful, slender physique. They are recognizable by their long, pointed ears, their high cheekbones, their wide and expressive eyes, filled with vibrantly colored pupils, and their colorful, silky hair. Both male and female elves grow very little thick body hair, save for eyebrows and pubic hair.

Physiological Traits

  • Enhanced Agility and Dexterity – Elves are agile and nimble, gifted with excellent manual dexterity, and able to perform tasks requiring a great deal of precision.
  • Light Skeletal Frame– Though the lighter weight of their skeleton contributes to their signature agility, this lack of volumetric mass leave their bones comparatively fragile and more prone to fracture during a fierce hand to hand brawl. Due to their skeleton being lighter, elves weigh less than humans of similar height and physique.
  • Long Pointed Ears– Elves have the longest variety of pointed ears among faye. They refer to them as jigokumimi and are seen as an attractive feature, with longer ones as more desirable. The muscles in the ears of elves enable them to swivel their position. Typically this feature is used to move them towards a sound. Elven ears will also typically move in a certain according to their emotions and thus used to communicate their feelings with each other. Common expressions follow that if they’re sad or scared, their ears will droop, and when they cast spells in general, their ears wiggle along with the spell activation.

Biomagical Attributes

  • Regeneration Factor: Elves passively regenerate wounds in a short time via biomagical reactions speeding up the process. The extent of this regeneration can prevent the development of scar tissue and even regrow entire limbs within a few minutes to hours however these actions do not set any broken bones on its own. In addition, this trait is significantly slowed when the subject is increasingly exhausted.
  • Negligible Senescence: Elves lack any measurable deterioration from aging due to their cells high regenerative properties. They do not have reduction in functional or reproductive capabilities past maturity. The rate of mortality doesn’t increase past old age either, meaning that most can live for centuries and are biologically immortal. Elves however are not deathless and still get ill or injured enough to die.

 

General Diet

Omnivorous but they lean much more towards consuming plant based material. They mainly live on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and grains. Elves will consume non-poisonous fungi and animal derived products like eggs or honey. A few elf groups even collect the milk of tamed mammals an covert into dairy products with lower lactose levels.
Elves, especially valley elves, occasionally hunt for insects and larvae, mollusks like snails, or even small birds, reptiles, and mammals.

Reproduction

Elves have a very slow rate of reproduction due to a combination of having no real lifespan and (unlike most faye) no natural enemies to prevent overpopulation. As such most go the majority of their lives without a libido but if certain conditions are met, something can switch on these sexual urges. These conditions are usually intense emotional passion and intimacy with an object of affection or extreme fear of immanent death. Elves reproduce in a fashion identical to other humanoids and females are pregnant for about a year.
Elves are capable of reproducing hybrid offspring with other humanoids like humans and fairies. They are called half-elf by most races and half-human/half-elemental by elves themselves. Curiously human-elf hybrids tend to more easily have a libido and be more fertile than baseline elves.

Lifespan and Growth

The transition from infancy to childhood takes about the same time as humans, however the difference starts from adolescence. Elves retain the rotund and diminutive appearance of their childhood for a century despite becoming intellectually and emotionally mature around their 30s.
The next decade of an elves life then has their body developing into a physically adult humanoid body. This delayed puberty may be part of the reason why are also famously long-lived, capable of living millennia and remain physically youthful. Although they functionally lack a lifespan, they are not deathless and can be killed by lethal injury or disease.

 

History

Elves were one of the first truly humanoid beings to appear on Kaf. They were also one of the first faye to build semi-sedentary settlements and agriculture. During the Imperial age when they began to make contact with other races, the differing attitudes lead to an ideological schism that created roughly three established cultures of elves. The High Elves became to ones who followed ideals becoming pure and detaching themselves from strife. This resulting in them embracing regality, marital monogamy, and looking down on other species usually making latter generations insufferably arrogant. They deem themselves as higher beings compared to other faye/magical beasts, and thus most individuals look down on them and loath them (particularly dwarves for some reason nobody remembers). Despite this High elves have collaborated with other major sapients in worldwide projects like the Lunar terraforming or the creation of the Seelie Courts.

Woodland elves decided to detach themselves by settling deep in forested areas where daily contact was only with animals, slyvan faye, and spirits of the forest. While aiming more for harmony with nature rather than trying to control it or themselves, they still find very little to relate to beings outside of the forests.

The drow were made up of outcast elves who didn’t fit with the others ideals. They had lighter hair, black to gray skin and focused on rule based on authority through violence and conquest.

Once the most widespread of the faye races, Elves were considered to be among the oldest races on Kaf, and there was a time they had the power to flaunt it. In the young ages of the world, while the other inhabitants struggled to find their place, the elves and their faye kin rapidly grew and expanded as the Faerie Courts, reaching as of then unmatched levels of technology and skill with magic. With each new feat they grew in arrogance and pride, and soon their vast, sprawling capital embodied one of the most powerful empires Kaf had seen, rivaling that of the Djinn….but that was not to last. On what would be later referred to as the Ghulat Wars, the forever-dreaded Shaytan, jinn that abandoned the planet long ago, invaded and unleashed their all-consuming wrath upon all life on Kaf. The destruction and death it brought was unspeakable, so much so, that even though a few faye races scattered and managed to survive, the elves were not as lucky and the resulting environmental destruction and natural disasters caused all the elves on Kaf to die out.

However, things were different on the moon, Qarin. The elves who went to live on their moon’s surface avoided the fate of their species on their native planet but not escape the path of the ghuls. Luckily, a large portion of the elves were put into suspended animation until the threat of the shaytan was no more. Once freed from their protective stasis, the elves were given the opportunity by fairies on Qarin to restore the damaged ecosystems on Qarin for all life to continue living there.

In modern times, while elves remain technologically advanced compared to Kaf and magically adept, they are but a shadow of their former glory, and are usually seen with a range of views by other races, such as to be pittied for their losses, snobs full of hot air that got what they deserved, or wildcards who could make or break the world. Many live among the mixed populations of towns and cities, living existences that their ancestors would have found deeply insulting. Certain elf settlements even try to keep the old ways by having non-elves as second class citizens, with varying results. But the truth is, for the most part elves simply do not care about their ancient past, preferring to make a living their own way, if they’re not just used to their current life, or even know about the past to begin with. Some of the eldest ones, however, believe that perhaps it is for the best that they haven’t rebuilt their empire, as an optimism grows that humility, empathy and cooperation with other races instead of isolation or detachment will ultimately save the elven race.

Culture

A roughly detailed log of the species or find and major influence on the world into the modern day.

Ethnotypes

(Extant)

  • Forest
  • Valley

 

Architecture

While forest elves do not wander like wild animals, they do their best to make a minimal impact on their natural surroundings, a fact reflected in their architecture. Forest elves homes are fashioned from trees, using ancient rituals to form living wood structures or treehouses supported by the branches of large trees. A large settlement can contain many with rope bridges typically connect the structures to one another, and ladders are typically used to access the community from ground level. Dangling creepers may also be used for transport via vine swinging. But on occasion forest elves have been known to do without even these creature comforts, living in the limbs of mighty trees, rejecting furniture or any possessions they cannot carry with them. So close do forest elven villages resemble their surroundings that other species have been known to wander through one without even noticing. Most of the time when these elves are not hunting they are enjoying themselves at ease within the highest branches of their forest homes.

Valley Elves have much more terrestrial homes building in the earthen mounds were the natural terrain forms the wall of their houses. Their mound houses are partially set into hills and covered with thin growth and modern designs are built with concrete walls, insulation, and round doors and windows.

Spirituality

In the times before the Ghulat Wars, Elves would follow the Gods of a particular pantheon like most sapient beings, a significant number taking on quests for a deity. They believed that their particularly long ears were to hear the conversations of the gods themselves. In former times they believed their prominence to be ordained by the gods, they came to develop an esteemed sense of honor and pride.
With the remaining elf settlement on Qarin, elves have put most of their faith into nature itself, Naturism. In replacement of deities, are the spirits of their ancestors who brought them to this world, and the elementals who made Qarin habitable and try to help it recover after the Ghulat invasion. As such elves are firmly Elementalist sect, making close covenants with them to have a deeper connection to nature.

 

Gender/Family

Elves form tight-knit communities where nearly every member know each other. Some are ruled by a single leader or a group of leaders, but in general, the head of an elven community is rarely treated with luxurious privileges and thus feel a much stronger kinship with their brethren. To other races, elf neighbors may instead look like family despite not being related. Some elves feel a bond with nature and strive to live in harmony in the wilderness, using their natural abilities and reflexes to survive and thrive there, whereas others are completely used to living among humans and gykoto in the Lunar Capital.
Most elven societies are relatively egalitarian in gender roles as the species low birth rate means that many females are unencumbered by child rearing for centuries and thus and take on many a variety of roles, even hunting. During hunting, the genders still have roles as even though males and females are equipped with ranged weaponry, only the males in the group will have on hand melee weaponry and close in on downed prey. Females will stick to long range in almost any circumstance.
Also once an elf becomes pregnant, they are almost immediately considered sacred and the whole community will put them on a cultural pedestal where are protected and defended against. However they also lose a great degree of autonomy, and highly encouraged to stay in the home, rear the children until they become adults, where they can slowly regain independence.

Dress/Modesty

Forest elf clothing often plays off the beauty of the natural world with many vegetal and leafy motifs.  Accustomed to a naturalistic lifestyle, these elves often wear clothing woven from plant fibers like flax, ramie, bamboo, hemp, coir.
Valley elves prefer to wear light breathable fabrics like linen and cotton, or in cold areas, wool and cashmere. They can make and wear complicated and intricate bead work though. Elves that live in the Capital tend to bedeck themselves in the latest fashion.
It’s also interesting to note that long ears are considered a seductive trait among elves in Qarin. An elf calling another “tiny-ears” can be pretty offensive, and an otherwise perfectly gorgeous elf lady could fall into depression because of the shortness of her ears.

 

Socialization

Elf children are closest to their immediate family, where they learn the most by modeling their parents behavior. The ideal elf parent expects their children to accept their word as right without verbal-give and take, though more modern parents are willing to offer reasons for their directive.
Their children are usually taught the value of patience, making them particularly suited to wizardry spellcraft. Moreover, this patience ensures that they rarely jump to conclusions and take the time get as many details right as possible, which make them excellent judge of characters.

As many elf families produce single children, most kids have their first interaction with their own age group in structured groups of formal learning headed by teachers. Many of these sessions involved teaching natural and social sciences, formal science, and philosophy into their adult life. Elf communities in general have collectivist values and the control of emotional display is highly valued and instilled by these groups.

Magic Use

Despite making their own mana like other preternatural beings, they have few biomagical attributes other than the standard faye regeneration and longevity. This does give them decent resistance to magical effects like spells. As such, they are impressed by those who are proficient in use of their endowment, who come by their talent naturally or those who make covenants with elementals to gain elemental manipulation and restore nature.
Elves in general seem to possess an almost inherent talent and understanding of the construction of spells, and fascination with magetech. They are eager to teach one another in the use of these magic types.
For active use of magic, elves can discover their personal endowment or use ordered spellcraft. Elves can also get an outside source of magic from a summoning contract with an elemental or using magetech. Mages of most kinds are held in extremely high regard as masters of an art both powerful and aesthetically valued. Elves of all types within the Lunar Capital are proficient with combining magical effects and their technology.

 

Science and Technology

Transportation

Elves’ way of getting around reflects their environment: Elves with in the forest nimbly walk across tree branches and swing from vines, those on the flat plains and grasslands either walk or ride on the few tamed riding animals like horses, those in the capital ride on the technological self-propelled magetech vehicles. Some of the smaller models of  magetech vehicles are often seen in the possession of younger traveling elves of many environments.  

Weaponry

A seemingly universal trait of elves is their proficiency with ranged weapons. Thanks to their keen senses, they are deadly accurate with almost any kind of projectile weapons, and often naturally feel comfortable shooting a target from a distance rather than attacking up close. Rapiers, bows, and spears were favored weapons for their ground forces, with the option of sleek scimitars in settings where material for rapiers is rare. Traditionally elves avoided gunpowder based firearms whenever they could. However those on Qarin had very limited resources due to the Ghulat invasion. As simple hand and long guns were some of the few supplies they had, these elves were forced to make use of them. Soon they learned the making of firearms and of course developed ones crafted with magic based mods.
In modern times, the majority of weaponry used by elves are magetech devices, many with designs based of their species signatures weapons. These devices usually have an that incorporate sophisticated artificial intelligence in their programming, and take over tasks that their users brain cannot handle efficiently enough, such as recording and reproducing the spells that the mage knows on the fly during battle.  Because of the very close inter-operation between the mage’s brain and their device, both have to be attuned to each other upon the device’s first activation and regularly re-calibrated to ensure optimal performance.

Communications

Many elves in the past used various magical forms of communications such as mental telepathy or scrying. On Qarin, electronic forms such as telephones were coming into use. With the creation of smaller forms such as cellular phones and wrist com-devices, even elven societies that take pride in only using natural products enjoy the convenience of handheld devices.

Medical Treatment

Back on Kaf, elves were the first race to develop large scale studies for the health of mortal beings. They began the practice of apothecary, which included medical texts recording symptoms, the prescriptions, and the directions for compounding it. Many recipes included herbs, minerals, and pieces of animals (meats, fats, skins) that were ingested, rubbed on the body, or used as aromatherapy. The apothecaries’ investigation of herbal and chemical ingredients was a precursor to the modern sciences of chemistry and pharmacology.

On Qarin, apothecary based compounds was updated to become pharmacological aides based on evidence and outcomes. Naturally acquired medicinal compounds from herbs, bark, spices or animals parts are chemically isolated and extracted in the form of power, sugar pills, lotions, or liquid solutions.

Manufacturing

Elves use natural materials for everyday things, taking only what they must from their surrounding flora and fauna. Their clothing is made from plant fibers when possible, and if they kill an animal for its hide, they always use all that they can from the creature. The sinew made from animal tendons is often used as sewing thread, or tie feathers to arrows and serve as their bow ting.

They generally stay away from metal and plastic with the exception of construction of magical devices. Select elves extract the plant resins and oils later made into plastics while most metal is imports from human trade or mined by those with pacts from earth elementals.

Author’s Notes

I had a lot of back and forth about whether or not to include elves. Not to dis classical stories of the High Fantasy genre, but the standard fantasy setting has unfortunately overdone the once revolutionary staple. Still a few outlets of media convinced me to fit the race in, but I have to fit them them in a unique way in my setting but not so out there that people wonder why I bother to call them elves.

For example my magic system and terraforming situation makes for a specific opportunity. While seen as haughty, isolationist, and nature-oriented in general, the whole alien invasion I hope comes as a humbling situation for the whole race to make them more endearing.

Another reason I was against elves is that them being so human like is kinda boring compared to other races of Kaf so Qarin seemed like a good place to “dump”them with humans, nature spirits, and rabbits. Also I feel like giving them intelligent magical technology could be their claim to fame, it keeps their connection to magic but still embrace technology like I feel a very humanoid race should at the end of the day.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s