Races of Seth: The Elves
Of all the races that inhabit our world, none inspire so much curiosity as the elves. Perhaps it is because they are so much like we humans, and have been living along side our people for so long. But surprisingly, not many people can claim to have knowledge of our brother race, something I shall attempt to remedy in this journal. Elven civilization has existed for as long as that of humans. Most elven cities however, are located deep in the forests of the world, surrounded by groves of the sacred melleryn trees.
Perhaps I should at this point elaborate a bit on the relationship between the elves and the melleryn trees. It is said in sacred texts that the Creator made the first elves from the wood of his most favorite tree, the melleryn, this miraculous tree has many unique properties that elves and others prize and are a clear sign of His blessing. The wood of the melleryn tree is as hard as steel when cured, not even the sharpest blade can cut into it, yet when freshly harvested, the wood can be shaped almost like clay, a property the elves have used in crafting for thousands of years. Melleryn wood also has the extraordinary ability to serve as a conductor for magical energies. As such mages often seek staves made of melleryn wood and also use it as a component in experiments. The leaves of the tree also have unique properties; they contain a natural binding agent making them ideal for medicinal poultices and makeshift bandages, and the golden flowers for which the tree is best known can be used as to make a salve or potion which relives even the most severe pain.
It is amongst these sacred trees which the elves have always made their home, even in the elven enclaves of human cities you will find these trees planted between houses and in the center of courtyards. It comes as no surprise then that elven architecture mirrors forms found in nature: elegant, flowing curves and pointed arches all reminiscent of trees and the forest. I have always felt relaxed when around elven buildings, perhaps an effect of the design.
Though almost everyone can identify an elf on sight, not very many people know that there are actually four distinct species of elves: The Wood Elves, The Nocturne, the cave dwelling White Elves and the near mythical Jade Elves
Wood Elves, the Forest Children-
The elves that nearly everyone recognizes, the wood elves have lived alongside humans since before the time of Ancient Vadian. Wood elves are easily identified by their earthy brown skin tone, usually contrasted by light colored hair though there are exceptions. Also, a feature unique to the Wood elves is that their ears are different between males and females. Male wood elves have ears that slope slightly downward while female's ears point upward sharply
As was previously stated, wood elves have been living with humans for tens of thousands of years. Many of the legendary figures we tell stories about to our children have been wood elves, and today you can find wood elves who serve as politicians, scholars and merchants among other things. But even with millennia of intermingling there are still many parts of their culture that wood elves hold to. For example their veneration of spirits, the magical beings which inhabit both this world and the next, while not against the teachings of the Creator there are some few ignorant souls who abhor this practice and preach against the dangers of "elven demon-worshippers". My advice for dealing with these people: a good strong blow to the head. Another unique aspect of wood elven culture is the tirllong, the famous Elven Landship. These enormous craft are wagons driven by large sails as well as horses; I once had the pleasure of riding one of these landships and found it to be a truly enjoyable experience. But of course the wood elves are not the only members of their kind
Nocturne Elves, the Masters of Shadow-
The Nocturne are a people shrouded in mystery. Unlike their kindred the wood elves, the nocturne isolate themselves from humans. Precisely why is a mystery, but what follows here is what is known for sure. The nocturne are characterized by their black skin and wild and varied hair colors, they have been known to have purple, blue and even green colored hair. While the cultural standards of all elves (i.e. forms inspired by nature) apply to the nocturne, they have their own unique vision of it. Nocturne designs are harsher than wood elves, with sharp corners and flat edges rather than flowing curves. Nocturne culture is unique as well; they have an extremely patriarchal society, with females being treated almost as property
The nocturne are best known for their singular mastery of shadow magic. A well trained nocturne mage can cloak himself in invisibility or wrap his opponent is darkness and illusions. The nocturne also have an extraordinary idiosyncrasy, from time to time among their number an albino child will be born. Albino nocturnes are easily distinguished from their kin by their ashen skin tone, bright pink eye and white colored hair. These children are abandoned by their people and either given to humans or, if there are no human settlements nearby, simply left out in the wilds. The reason for this practice is entirely unknown and any inquiries about it either avoided or stopped outright. I myself have had personal experience with this custom, my adopted daughter Saphira, whom I love dearly as if she were my own, is an albino nocturne, and truly a more lively and cheerful girl you will never meet. For all the mystery that surrounds them however the nocturne are still friendly to strangers when encountered, if a bit wary of outsiders. Even the nocturne however not as nearly as unknown as others
White Elves, the Pale Wyrm Riders-
Hidden in the deep places of the world you will find the mysterious White Elves. Exactly what drove these elves underground in the first place has been lost to time, even among the white elves themselves. They say only what they know from legend, that their ancestors slighted the Creator and fearing his wrath fled to a place he could not find them. Whatever the truth, countless millennia underground have changed these people irrevocably. They are extremely pale, to the point that some of them have white skin and certain individuals, usually those gifted with magic, will have a pale bluish glow from under their skin. Their hair colors are pale as well; taking on a blue, pink, yellow or grayish hue. Eye colors among them however are vivid, as if the long time underground has done nothing to dim their sight. Their eyes range in color from shining gold to sapphire blue, bright pink or orange and even white among their mages. Their architecture is wildly different from other elves, perhaps due to being isolated from the forests of their kindred. White elf buildings have none of the elegant curves of the wood elves or the sharp angles of nocturne design; instead it follows stark geometric designs with hexagons, octagons and trapezoids occurring in abundance, perhaps influenced by the crystals that are sometimes found in deep caves.
The white elves have lived for tens of thousands of years alongside the great wyrms that burrow under the earth. These limbless cousins of the Dragonkin of Vadian serve as mounts and guardians to the elves and in exchange the elves care for the eggs and hatchlings of the wyrms. This relationship has shaped white elf culture, when an elf hunter comes of age he or she is paired with a young wyrm and they live and hunt together their entire lives, rather similar to draconians and their Dragon Guardians. Due to their isolation, white elves do not interact with outsiders except for very rare instances and even seem to go out of their way to avoid contact with anyone. And yet there are others who are even more unknown
Jade Elves, the last of their kind-
Very little is known about the Jade Elves, they do not associate with humans or even others of their kin. It is known that during the time of Ancient Vadian they had a powerful and sophisticated civilization but then at some point fell into a sudden decline. They are known to be characterized by their strange yellow to yellow green skin and their incredible magical prowess, said to equal even that of dragons. It is speculated that the decline of the jade elves is due to their ancient practice of extending their longevity with magic. Overtime they would become addicted to the power and when succumbing to said addiction their skin would turn black, perhaps the origin of the nocturne but that is only speculation. What ever truly caused their decline the jade elves do still exist today, though it is extremely rare for anyone to encounter this ancient and powerful race
-excerpts from "Races of Seth, Chapter Three: The Elves" and "Elven History and Culture Volume One" by Dr. Hugh D. Martin PhD. Professor of Historical and Archaeological Studies. University of Cumberland, Zethuras.