The elves have the longest memory of any race in Calibran, with a history that goes far back into the centuries when dragons ruled over the other races. The noble elves consider themselves the oldest and highest expression of elven culture in Calibran, though in truth the wood elves probably live a life closer to their ancient ancestors.
Their lives are focused on the cultivation of the individual, and their own culture. As a result they can be seen as aloof, arrogant, and selfish. Their inward focus means that they rarely leave their homes in the Glittering Forest. However, the noble elves do their best to encourage their fellow races to develop themselves in a similar way. They do sometimes travel in the wider world, and some, the greatest among them, are active in shaping the future of the whole of Calibran.
Noble elves are always striving for excellence in everything that they do, and it is for this reason that some reckon them the best craftsman and most masterful magicians in Calibran.
Noble elves are usually slighter than humans. An elf the same height as a human might be as much as forty pounds lighter. While for a human this would be unhealthy, for an elf it is average. Elves are usually slightly taller than average for humans.
Noble elves can have a wide range of skin tones and hair colors. They usually do not have skin as ashen as their dark elf cousins, though their hair can be so blond that it comes close to their pure white. When their skin is dark, it can be darker than a human's. When it is pale, it is usually paler.
Elves have a greater proportion of spirit to flesh than any other race in Calibran. In this matter, the elves may even better the Dragons. As an elf grows older, they are not as susceptible to wrinkles and frailty that plague other races. Instead, the flesh wears thin, allowing the strong spirit within to shine through. Elves can live for thousands of years, and no one is quite sure who the oldest living elf is, or how old they are. There are those among the noble elves that study the magic and science of immortality, and who seek to find ways to extend their lives into the indefinite future, protecting themselves against illness and misadventure. There are rumors that some have succeeded in this endeavor, with unexpected results.
Rather than determining adulthood by age, they reckon an elf is an adult when they begin to fend for themselves and take responsibility for their actions and care. As a practical matter, this usually happens after a century or so.
While perhaps not as physically strong as some races, elves do have the potential for some strength, and in any case are very quick. Their long lives, combined with little to no age related slowing or reduction in coordination, means they can learn to use whatever strength they have to its greatest effect. As a result, there are elves that have become warriors without peer.
When other races speak of cities, a noble elf without experience of the wider world may be somewhat puzzled. They do not build large structures in the same way a human or a minotaur would, or settle and live out their lives in one spot. For a people so long lived, everything is transitory, including communities, buildings and possessions. However, the noble elves have taken as their center and home the Glittering Wood. Within that forest is what might be termed the capitol of their culture, where their leaders meet when it is needful, and where others meet to trade or find teachers. That place is called by them Faelve Thalas.
Faelve Thalas Edit
Like all elves, the noble variety prefers to live in close connection with trees and in harmony with nature. They build within and around the huge trees that lie at the center of the Glittering Wood. These structures often provide some benefit to the tree they are built around, either in support, or by magically strengthening and nurturing, or in some other way. Houses may be built into the branches of the largest trees, those that tower thousands of feet above the forest floor, and whose trunks may be so wide that a dozen elves could not encircle one with their arms stretched. Others are built into a hillside, or into old and fallen trees. A human walking through Faelve Thalas might not notice the homes around him, so well matched is artifice and nature.
They would notice the activity, however. Elves have a reputations for being languid and idle, or what their critics might call lazy. There is some justice to this observation. However, for the most part, elves seek to fill their days and make themselves useful. Some spend their time crafting tools or making clothes. Others practice the various arts, singing or sculpture, or the arts of war. They often spend their time out in the air, and so, depending on where one wanders in Faelve Thalas, hauntingly beautiful singing may be heard, or a practice bout between the two greatest swords fighters of the age may be seen.
Rather than a government per se, the elves of Faelve Thalas allow the oldest and most powerful among them to address any problems. More often that not, they find the wisest course is to allow problems to solve themselves, in any case.
The elves worship a trio of goddesses.
The mother goddess, Asteriel, is the chief god of the elven pantheon. She is the oldest of three sister goddess, having been born first, from the loam of the forest floor. She reigns over the forests and woods, as well as the oceans and rivers, and all the natural world. Taking pity on the elves as they first found their way, she adopted them and took them all as her children. As with any mother, she cares for and worries about the elves, sometimes seeming overbearing and controlling. But she always has their best interests at heart. Also known as Mother, Great Mother, etc. Associated with deer, sparrows, owls, etc. The noble elves favor her worship.
Houriel was the next sister born, from the rocks and metals of the mountains. She saw the need to protect the elves, and so she created the arts of war and violent magic. While her goal is always to protect the elves, she can be savage and ruthless, sometimes abandoning the weak in favor of the strong, and destroying her enemies in a wild and reckless manner. With elves living so long, death is an unusual and frequently violent thing and so Houriel is the protector of the dead and their spirits. She is associated with the darker places of the world, and also with animals such as wolves, crows, and big cats. Also known as the the Warrior, the Dark One, the Guardian, etc. The dark elves favor her worship.
Alanah is the youngest of the sisters, born last and rising from the banks of the Serpent River. Provided for and protected by her older sisters, Alanah has never known the care and worries that motivated Asteriel and Houriel. She is carefree and joyful, and spends her time in revelry. She is also a huntress of skill. Associated with foxes, hawks and other raptors, otters, and similar animals. Also known as the Joyful Child, the Huntress, etc. The wood elves favor her worship.
Those seeking to learn Elvish often complain it is a complex and bewildering language, constantly changing and with no fixed rules. The truth is that the noble elves actually have many languages, each designed to suit expressing concepts related to some particular pursuit. What's more, an elf will often mix grammar and vocabulary, or change between languages in mid sentence when the subject shifts. It is rare that a member of another, shorter lived, race can learn to speak to an elf fluently in his or her own language. It requires the long life of an elf to become comfortable with the dizzying variety.
Essentially all elves can use the King's Speech. Compared to speaking their complex and elegant language, it is child's play, and they find it useful for speaking of events in the outside world, or talking with visitors.
Elves do not regard magic in the same way that the other races do. It is instead something that is part of everything they do, an intuitive part of their lives. It would be more difficult to find an elven crafted sword without an enchantment upon it, or a song that did not have magic woven through it.
Those that do study magic per se do not approach it in the shamanistic way of the minotaurs, or the academic way the humans have developed. An elven wizard is more likely to speak of seeing and judging, and not divining. Such a wizard has the power to see how a battle will play out, simply by observing the ground and the combatants, down to the fall of individual arrows and the stroke of each blade. Rather than mastering the elements, an elven wizard will speak of an alliance with fire, or call a river his comrade. They forge agreements with trees, and make contracts with the rocks of the earth.
As a result noble elven wizards, while extremely powerful, are often regarded as odd, or even mad, by the other races. The most powerful wizards known have all been noble elves.
Rule of the Dragons Edit
The best records of the time when Dragons ruled and fought each other for power are kept by the elves. Indeed, there are a number who were alive in that age, and can tell what happened as they saw it first hand. They describe an age of conflict and blood, when other races were used as puppets by the dragons, to form their armies or as assassins or spies. Some elves became trusted servants. Others hid and cursed the winged shadows as they passed over forests and fields. There were elves who lived long enough to see dragons fall, but only at the teeth, talons, or magic of another dragon.
The elves were the first to become powerful enough to draw the dragon's attention as rivals. Some dragons thought their race should act as mentors and teachers, act as protectors to the lesser races and guide them as they advanced. Others considered the best course was to break and destroy the elves, and eliminate any possible threat. The dragons divided into two factions, and fought to determine the course of history. Some hunted and killed the other races. Some fought their fellows to protect them.
The Dragon Wars Edit
For many centuries it was dragon versus dragon, protectors versus ravagers. There came a point, however, when one of the most powerful among the elves decided it was time for the elves to take charge of their own destiny. Almorwen, founded of Faelve Thalas and an ancient elf, formulated a plan to kill a dragon, something that had, up till then, been considered impossible.
They chose as their opponent the ancient red dragon Criidath the Reckless, a leader among his fellows. Almorwen and two other wizards, including his daughter Enelyar, led a company of elves to battle. They lured the dragon near to the Cliffs of Ronin. The elves had a potion that made them impervious to the ancient red's fire. When the dragon came to attack them, he could not believe that his fiery breath, his greatest weapon, was useless. Though he tried again and again, and tired himself with trying, Criidath could not set any of the elves on fire. Almorwen, flying through the power of elvish spells, used his staff to blind the dragon. Unable to see, and in pain, Criidath flew into the cliffs, only to have them pulled down on top of him by Enelyar. It was the first time a dragon had been killed by any other race.
The death of Criidath brought hope to the lesser races of Calibran. Though it took several generations, an army was eventually raised to combat the dragons and break their hold. The elves sent many wizards to fight at the Battle of Farsalon, using their magic to protect the warriors from the dragons' breath. The legendary bowmen of the elves struck at the dragons from afar. Eventually, the dragons were defeated, and the elves and other races have ruled themselves ever since.
After Farsalon Edit
Aramnor, a human hero of the Battle of Farsalon, was chosen to be king over all the races of Calibran. He was charged with keeping the peace and protecting all against the threat of the dragons. As a human, Aramnor knew his time as king was limited. He had seen the results of rule passed down through family lines, and worried that it would lead to the collapse of the kingdom and a return of the dragons. He consulted with noble elves, and they agreed that his concern was warranted. Together they formulated a system, mediated through a great spell, perhaps the greatest ever cast. The spell would mark those who had the potential to be great leaders, those who were noble, charitable, charismatic and wise. Only those marked would be eligible to sit the throne. To prove their worth, a candidate would have to find and kill a dragon. To aid them in their rule, the new king would receive the wisdom of past rulers. The noble elves cast the spell, and eventually a Marked succeeded in their quest, supplanting Aramnor. There have been several Marked elves who have sat the throne, young ones who ruled for a time and then gave up their seat and moved on to other things. Their rule has been noted for its wisdom, fairness, and inaction.
By and large, the noble elves of Calibran have been content to stay in their forests and enjoy their long lives.
Named and Important Characters Edit
A powerful elven wizard, and the founder of the noble elven city of Faelve Thalas. Almorwen plotted to kill a dragon using magic, and was the first to succeed. He lured the dragon Criidath the Reckless to the Cliffs of Ronin where he and a company of elves killed him. Almorwen took part in the Battle of Farsalon, and led the cabal of wizards that created the Marked system. Since then, Almorwen has stayed in Faelve Thalas, and had little to do with great events.
Brynilyn Doethinne Edit
A younger but talented wizard at the Battle of Farsalon. He met and befriended Aramnor after the battle, and visited the Dragon Court frequently. He aided, in a minor way, in the fashioning of the spell which created the Marked system by which the throne is passed down. Since then, he has been active around Calibran, visiting the Dragon Court, and helping to keep the peace in an unofficial way.
Naming Conventions Edit
Lots of ending in “en”, “ir”, “ar”, “or”, “wen”. Examples: Aemben, Aglar, Erthor, Brand, Daer, Gelinnaspen, Arveldir, Canadiel, Nelion, Ríven, Rodwen
Notable Skills and Traits Edit
Nobles elves have the greatest natural affinity for magic of any race in Calibran, perhaps even more than the dragons. They use it in nearly every aspect of life and as such, their wizards tend to be among the most powerful. Some of the most powerful magic the other races command has a basis in the magic of the noble elves.
Noble elvish teachers are sought after, in many different areas of study and crafting. Their methods are often elegant, and use materials to their best advantage. A student will often return to their home, creating works their fellows see as wonders, while sighing over the works of their masters that they will never match.
Elves can be seen as disconnected, arrogant, and lacking in interest in the outside world. There is a basis in fact for all of these stereotypes. Many elves disagree with their fellows, seeing humans, minotaurs, and the like as distractions and irritants, incapable of being civilized. As a result, they often spend all their time focused on their own race and society.
Elves may die through disease, accident, or murder. However, the length of their natural lifespans remains something of a mystery to most of the people of Calibran. No one is sure who the oldest elf living is, but they would be ancient. Elves might not have old age, or death through senescence. Instead, they may simple continue, growing older, until they become weary of the world, or some other end befalls them.
Cultural notes Edit
Nevermind Flower Edit
The nevermind plant is akin to the water lily, bearing flowers with purple petals that smell faintly of jasmine. When dried, the petals can be turned into snuff, or used to make tea. In small doses, it is intoxicating, lowering inhibitions and creating a care free attitude. In large doses it can cause amnesia. Some noble elves have been known to use it to erase memories, so that they may experience things as if they were new again. Most frown upon the practice, however, seeing it as dangerous and juvenile. There is no way to control what memories may be taken, and so an elf may find they cannot remember family members or friends, or their favorite pursuits.