The Elves, who called themselves the Quendi and once on Hârn Sindarin, and who in lore were commonly referred to as the Eldar or Eldarin, were the first and eldest of the Children of Ilúvatar in Eä, and are considered to be the fairest and wisest of any race of Arda given sapience. Some, known afterwards as the Calaquendi, Elves of the Light, were brought by the Valar from Middle-earth to Valinor across the Sea, where they were taught by the Ainur. But after the Silmarils were stolen by Melkor, some of the Elves returned to Arda, where they remained until the end of the Third Age. Elves were not subject to age, and were immune to illness. They could be killed only in violence or by extreme despair. On Hârn, the Quendi, or Sindarin, mostly live within the confines of the Shâva Forest. Outsiders regard them with awe. Sindarin culture is aesthetic and efficient, peaceful and gentle. Individual elves can be both magnificent artisans and formidable warriors.
The Quendi, Sindarin, the elves, appear little different than men, at least to the eyes of men themselves. Near-immortal, they rarely die of disease or old age although many meet their end at the point of a sword. Over-time, the Sindarin forget skills once mastered and no longer practiced, so that a Sindarin who was once a mighty swordsman in the distant past might become little more than a fumbling amateur in later life. They also tend to forget events of long ago, recording them in song and verse for the very purpose of recalling their own history. Indeed, when a Sindarin living today claims to remember the Battle of Sorrows, many centuries ago, he is actually recalling the events as recorded in song, rather than as recalled by actual memory.
The elves of Harn can live for thousands of years, rarely appearing to age beyond early adulthood in all that time. Their rapid healing rate allows them to recover quickly from wounds that might slay a human, and as such they rarely scar even from serious wounds. However, they can die from thirst, starvation and grievous wounds and they can't regenerate lost eyes or limbs. While they do not visibly age as they grow older, the repeated erasure and replacement of distant memories can lead to bouts of insanity or psychosis. Even the youngest elves tend to forget seemingly unimportant details very quickly and can be very absent minded. While a human might recognize an acquaintance from years before and even recall his name accurately, an elf is likely to forget even the face of a good friend or family member after a certain period of separation.
Civilization and Culture
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Quendi rarely allow themselves to display extremes of emotion. It is not that they do not feel rage or anger, simply that the choose to hide them. After all, time is on their side. They can afford to out-wait an enemy rather than confront him directly. For similar reasons, a Sindarin will think nothing of spending three of four days studying a blade of grass even when his travelling companions are in a hurry. They simply do not feel the pressure of time's passage the way a human might.
Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals
When a Sindarin wearies of their existence, they board ship and sail to new plans of existence. Some human sages conjecture that this is little more than a metaphor for suicide through the medium of drowning at sea.
The Firstborn, the Elder Children of Ilúvatar, were conceived by Eru alone in the third theme of Ainulindalë. They are the eldest and noblest of the speaking races of Middle-earth. They awoke at Cuiviénen, the Water of Awakening, in the far east of Middle-earth, in the starlight of the Sleep of Yavanna, as the Sun and Moon had yet to be created. The first Elves to awake were three pairs: Imin, First, and his wife Iminyë, Tata, Second, and Tatië, and Enel, Third, and Enelyë. At first the elves sang with grace and merriment without speech but soon they developed speech and spoke with words, so their first name for themselves was Quendi, The Ones Who Speak With Voices.