The Elantrian Wars
Perhaps one of the most respected races for their beauty as much as for their valor, the Elves are a race deeply rooted in legend and myth, while also one of the most powerful races in the world. Only a fool (or an eccentric M’ryauln) would dare to downplay the role of the Elves in history, and how important the empire has become in recent years. Even more so, only an eccentric M’ryauln would dare insult an Elf’s pride.
Like the M’ryauln, the Elves are regarded as High Folk, a race whose origins lie in the nature of the fey. Due to this, Elves have become the stereotype for what a fey creature looks like. Pointed ears, fair skin, lithe bodies, and a seemingly unnatural grace are shared among fey creatures, and the Elves are the most ready candidates to flaunt these natural gifts.
About the same height as a human, Elves range between 5’4” and 6’7” and sport hair which is most commonly shades of light brown, red, or blonde. Like other High Folk, Elves are attractively slender, lending to their surreal beauty. Elf eyes are typically lighter colors such as blue or green, but shades of hazel and brown are not uncommon. In addition, these colors grow more spectacular as Elves age – the average life span of an Elf being 800 years.
Elf reflexes are surprisingly fast from the perspective of a human, and this tends to enhance that mythical nature that the race has adopted. In addition, Elves are surprisingly light, capable of walking on snow without leaving footprints. This has led to many myths about Elf magic, but in reality, Elves are just as likely as humans to develop magical talents.
Elf culture is a surprising mixture of imperialism and fairness. It is said that if one were to live (or even visit) the land of the Elves, he or she would be treated not only as a guest, but as a member of an extended family. The government is, in reality, an amalgam of governments. The Imperial Council is the primary body, built of representatives from each city state. In addition, the number of votes needed to create a law heavily outweighs the number of votes needed to remove a law, thereby leading to an executive and judicial power which promotes equality among the people. Even city state officials are elected from the citizenry. This is not to say that the Elves do not possess nobility. Each city state is also subject to the decisions of a noble family, while the noble family of the Empire is the ruling factor where royalty is concerned.
Clothing is often elaborate, yet not flamboyant as rich humans are wont to do. Instead, the elaborate nature comes of the embroidery and coloring. When seen from a distance, a green tunic simply appears green, but upon closer examination, the tunic would be composed of many shades of green represented in the form of embroidered patterns, different fabrics, and even jewels. Close to nature, Elves tend to create their clothing from the silk produced from live silkworms (as opposed to the human cultivating technique which involves boiling the pupae in order to kill the larva before harvesting the silk). The form of weaving that Elves employ is ancient and said to have evolved from M’ryauln weaving techniques, though the claim is disputed. Elf finery is sought after by many nations, and fetches a heavy sum when sold.
Elven arts are heavily oriented in music, painting, and jewelry. Though not as enchanting as M’ryauln music, the sounds produced by Elven musicians can be just as moving from an emotional standpoint. Meanwhile, the paintings of the race are captivating in the way that they make use of light and reflection. A multitude of styles are used in Elven paintings, from the abstract to the realistic. Jewelry is designed to reflect the natural beauty of leaves and other natural objects. Those who wear Elven jewelry are said to carry a piece of the Heartland, where the Elves had originated.
Despite the peaceful nature of the race, they can be just as volatile as a human. As such, the Elves have developed warfare into an art. An Elf swordmaster in combat appears to be in a graceful dance, and a martial artist often seems to be in multiple places at once. But the most well-known form of combat that the Elves use is archery. Other races fear Elven armies not for the soldiers, but for the archers who are capable of piercing a heart from hundreds of yards away. It is said that an Elf can loose as many arrows in a few seconds as a human can in half an hour. It’s the power of the Elven longbow which has helped the empire grow over the many years.
To a human, Elves represent pride at its finest. This pride can make the Elf seem condescending and aloof, but to those who befriend an Elf, the loyalty gained is perhaps unrivaled in the world. An Elf will stand by a friend even if it will cost them their life, or worse. Indeed, to the Elves, the greatest tribute one can make for a friend or family member is to lay down their life to protect that friend or family member.
Elven religion is highly complex, and reflects not so much a deity as a philosophy of living. Elf clerics can often spend a few hundred years in contemplation of a single facet of their theology, yet still never reach the depths of what the philosophy is able to contain. As a result, the religion is left to interpretation. Universally, the Elven religion is referred to as the “Way of the Mortal Angels.”