The wood elves's cousins, the noble elves, think that life comes with a burden of responsibility, to use it well and make a difference in the wider world. The dark elves think life is a deadly game to be played, and most importantly to be won. Wood elves, on the other hand, find that life is something to be enjoyed, lived in harmony with nature, and a celebration full of constant surprises.
The wood elves make their home in the Wild Woods, a smaller forest than the Glittering Forest, but thicker, more perilous, and less civilized. At the center of the Wild Woods is the tree city of Arlathaelas, where their king has his palace high in the trees. Compared to some, the great Dragon Palace in Cathedra Gate, for example, it is small and humble. But, the king is a wise old elf, and has no desire for anything greater. The city itself is not large, and the majority of wood elves live in smaller communities around the forest.
As their name implies, the wood elves are unparalleled in their understanding of forests and the animals and plants that live in them. Even their noble elven cousins, who do not make a habit of admitting ignorance, yield to the wood elves in this respect. They are wood crafty and wise, seeking always to live in harmony with nature, and make excellent archers in addition to their other talents.
Wood elves are closer to the race's wild and arboreal origins than either of the other elven cultures.
Wood elves are like their noble elf cousins in that they are taller and slighter than humans. They are, as a race, not as strong, though of course there are outliers who can match the brawnier races.
Wood elves tend to have hair that is darker than noble elves, usually being black or brown and only rarely blond.
All elves have in the make up of their biology a greater proportion of spirit to flesh than the other races. This might lead to the possibility of them reaching great, even unbelievable ages. It is possible that no elf will ever die of old age, and will only meet their end through disease, accident, or foul play. In any case, old age does not mean to them what it does to the shorter lived races. They do not become halted or lame. Instead, the flesh fades and the spirit that lies within shines through.
Wood elves can consider an elf as young as 50 a fully fledged adult. All that is required is that the young elf leave the care of their parents and make their own living in the forest. As they become wood wise at a young age, they can quite quickly become capable of leaving home.
The Wild Woods are a dense forest of tall trees that can be difficult to navigate. Undergrowth is thick where ever a break in the canopy allows sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor. The wood elves live in the tree tops, which, for them, are a highway that is safer and easier to traverse. In the very center of the forest, is the city of Arlathaelas.
A wood elf 'house' is a platform built into the tops of the tallest trees, covered by a canopy against the rain, and with light walls that can be moved or removed at need. The city, with the Wood King's palace at its center, is this same architecture on a grander scale. The platforms are larger, and the walls and ceilings are often permanent structures. Platforms are connect by hallways and walkways that stretch between trees, and platforms built on different levels. Access to the ground is provided by ladders, and platforms raised and lowered by ropes, pulleys, and magic. The city's height and placement in the forest is its only true defense, that and the expert archers that are its inhabitants.
Wood elves are as talented and artistic as noble elves, but perhaps not as sophisticated. Or, depending on how you care to look at it, not as stuffy. In either case, while they do spend time practicing and creating, they spend at least as much time enjoying the fruits of their labor. If a stranger were to find themselves walking through Arlathaelas, hundreds of feet above the forest floor, they would as likely see a feast as a music lesson, or a the settling of a wager as a serious bout of training. The stranger would also likely be invited to join the feast, and quickly be plied with enough wine and food to send them reeling.
The wood elven King rules both Arlathaelas and the Wild Wood. His people are independent and fractious, and in practice he rules with a light touch, as they are also generally good hearted and generous. The King himself is a mysterious figure, or at least distant, who has not left his realm in the memory of any mortal.
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 worshi
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.
Like the noble elves, the wood elves language is really more than one, each meant to address a particular subject. The wood elves' arrangement is less complex, with all the languages being related and sharing an underlying logic. Not being inclined to spend a great deal of time in academic study, their speech is less rigorous, more open to improvisation and play.
Wood elves use the King's Speech regularly and essentially all of them are fluent in it. It is a fine little language, in their opinion, good for expressing simple thoughts and making jokes.
Wood elves' magic naturally is most concerned with plants, animals, and the environment. They have a mastery of the magic having to do with these matters, and use it in building their homes and to aid in their wood craft. Like their noble elven cousins, however, magic permeates their lives. It can be found in most of their works and crafts. An arrow made by a wood elf is more likely to find its mark, and a bow fashioned by their hands will send an arrow further. Likewise, their wine is highly sought after, and considered by connoisseurs to be unmatched, magic being used in the growing of the grapes and the fermenting of the wine.
Rule of the Dragons Edit
It has been speculated that ancient elves originally took to the trees as shelter against the ravages of dragons, as dwarves took to deep mines for the same reason. In any case, the Wild Woods, with their tall, thick, closely spaced trees were inhospitable to the great winged beasts, and the elves that lived there were mostly spared their depredations. Only rarely were they called upon to act as servants, and more often than not they could hide in the forest and avoid serving.
Their policy of hiding and passive resistance did not always work as well as they might have hoped. As the elves grew more powerful, they became targets for dragons jealous of their prerogatives as rulers of Calibran. To prevent the elves from growing any stronger, dragons attacked them and their homes. Eventually, the forest itself became a target as dragons used their fiery breath to burn parts of it to the ground. Fearing for their home and their safety, the wood elves sought a way to fight the dragons.
The Dragon Wars Edit
Dragons fought dragons over whether to guide and protect, or ruin and destroy the younger races. Eventually the noble elves, led by Almorwen, killed Criidath the Reckless, proving a dragon could be killed by a 'lesser' being. Other races soon found their own ways of bringing down a dragon. The battles raged for centuries, during which the Wild Wood served as something of a haven for the wood elves and their allies.
Eventually an army was formed, rallied by the human Johelm Belgrave. They attacked and killed a Flight of Dragons at the Battle of Farsalon, in which the archers of the wood elves served well. The dragons' defeat spelled the end of their rule of Calibran, and the return of peace.
After Farsalon Edit
The wood elves are more likely to leave their home and wander the wider world than the noble elves. However, they are more likely to be explorers and travelers than get involved too deeply with the lives of those around them. There are small, scattered communities of wood elves in many of the forests of the world.
No wood elf has sat the Dragon Throne, and they are not deeply involved with the politics of Calibran.
Named and Important Characters Edit
The Wood Elf King Edit
The last time he left the Wild Wood was to lead his archers to the Battle of Farsalon. Those who saw him wrote later that he was obviously an elf of great age, shining in the subtle way the ancients of their race do. He was taller than many of his fellows, with black hair and skin like the bark of an old oak. The King spoke little and laughed much, seeming to find reason for cheer even in the face of fighting dragons. His name goes unrecorded, and he is known in the outside world simply as the Wood Elf King, or the King of the Wild Wood.
Amarthel the Fletcher Edit
It’s no great secret that the elves of the wood are the finest archers in Calibran. But, there was one who stood higher than the rest of his kin: Amarthel the Fletcher. From his workshop in the city of Arlathaelas, his arrows had been known to fly straight and true across the land, from Faelve Thalas in the Glittering Woods to the night city of Talashtar near the Caribre Mountains. Amarthel’s ability lay with his choice of materials, his knowledge of the forest, and his deep understanding of the emerald word, the latter being a craft magic that has all but faded from memory these days. ‘Feathers of magic and shafts of light fuse with the forges of nature to birth an arrow truly fit for a King,’ he once said. Tragically, Armathel was wounded by a poison arrow loosed by his own apprentice and died writhing in agony. The emerald word and a once magnificent craft died along with him.
Naming Conventions Edit
Lots of ending in “en”, “ir”, “ar”, “or”, “wen”, “wyn”. Examples: Iordir, Gaeruildir, Epheldir, Maindir, Amarthel, Istuinith, Alagwen, Lhaindes, Ólerydwen
Notable Skills and Traits Edit
Wood elves are wise to the ways of the forest and nature to a literally supernatural extent. They use their magic to improve their understanding and sensitivity to the animals and plants that make up their home. As a result, they can make unparalleled hunters and foresters. Their orchards and vineyards are the best in Calibran.
To go along with these talents, they are rightfully recognized as being the greatest archers in Calibran. Even the most legendary and accomplished human archer is equal to only the least of the wood elves. Again, their magic and understanding of the forest, wood, and so forth aid them in this regard.
Cultural notes Edit