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Growing up as an elf

Compared to humans, which are considered adults when they are around 20 (+/- 2 years), elves are legally minors until they reach their 100th birthday, a timespan that seems enormous for most of the species. So, what do they do until they are adults?  

Birth, newborn and infant (lasts 2 years, 0-2)

It is an extreme rarity for elves to be born as twins. Just like a human child, an elven newborn is completely defenseless and needs protection and nutrition to survive. Elves are born blind, with their eyes being covered with a blue membrane. The membrane will disappear within a month revealing their true eye color.  

Toddler (6 years, 2-8)

Elven children learn and grow slower than their human counterparts. During the first six years of their life, elves will learn how to crawl and later walk, talk and eat by themselves. When learning words, they will often use name magic by accident. While some houses believe that the sooner the child learns to speak, the better magic users they will be in the future, in reality, it's not the speed of the learning, but learning to understand the words, their meanings, and the language rules that affect them.  

Preschooler (16 years, 8-24)

At this stage, a child can already walk, talk and eat by themself. This stage is considered to be extremely important in shaping a child's social skills and so kids are often encouraged to play with other children. They are sent to public and private preschools where they can interact with each other, while also receiving their first, basic education. Usually, during the last 4 years of this stage, a child will go through their first puberty, during which their body will either experience a growth spurt or remain pretty much the same size.  

Elementary school child (26 years, 24-50)

While the previous stage was more focused on interaction with others and playing with the education being in the background, during those 26 years the focus shifts more towards education. Children are sent to schools, train basics, build on them, and learn new skills. They are taught about the world, its history (and that's a lot of history), and its principles.
During the last 6 years of this stage and 4 years of the next one, elves will go through a second puberty, colloquially called the "right puberty". This puberty consists of pretty much the same changes humans go through during their puberty.  

Teen (50 years, 50-100)

The "teen" years are focused on finding one's goal in life. Every child that reaches their 50th birthday is encouraged to find a mentor and train at their possible future job. But there are regulations related to those internships:  
  1. An internship cannot last longer than 5 years. Keeping an intern for longer than this period is considered child exploitation as it prevents the child from experiencing more things in their life.
  2. If members of the family want their child to experience a certain job, especially if those jobs are related to the traditions of their family, between each two of those jobs, there has to be at least one job unrelated to the family as to not force the child to follow blindly their ancestors.
  3. A child has a right to rest between each internship (though lazing around will often be frowned upon).
  4. A child has every right to end their internship before the 5 years pass, even without giving any reason.
  As a result, if everything goes right, a child should experience at least 8 different professions. Giving them the choice for what they want to do in the future. Should a child have no idea what do they want to do with their life, there are many resources that help them search for the right job. There are people whose job is to help others find a job, each year there is a festival where various guilds and companies advertise job opportunities they offer.
"Let's see, I was a translator, a trader, a hex-breaker, a guard, an armorer, researcher of magic, mercenary, a cook, which went really badly, magic item craftsman, an athlete, which we won't ever talk about, and a banker."
  During "teen" years, it is encouraged for elves to leave away from their parents, either in the dorms, apartments, or, if they are rich enough, in houses bought by their parents. This is both so they can learn to be independent and to, in some extreme cases, reduce the influence of parents and other family members over them.  

Becoming an adult

Finally, on their 100th birthday, an elf is considered an adult. From now on, they have complete autonomy, can marry, are fully responsible in the eyes of the law, can fully work and own everything they create or purchase.

Names

"My full name is Danavarael. You, humans, tend to shorten it to Dan, though where I'm from, that would be considered an insult."
Dan
Names are very important to elves. Their magic is heavily based on names of things and so spells that affect them require their names. Additionally, it's their names that tell others which family they come from (elves don't use surnames).   Elves shorten the names of other elves only in two cases. The first one is when they are good friends or lovers. In this case, calling someone only by the first part of their name creates an intimate atmosphere. The second one is when one wants to insult another elf as calling someone else with only the first part of their name can mean we deny them the respect of their family.  
"'Ava' part comes from my mother, Avasenanea, and 'Rael' comes from my father, Raeltrivaen."
Elven name is, in most cases, made out of 3 parts. At birth, parents give their child their own personal name. Once they reach their 50th birthday, they receive the second part of their name, which comes from the personal name of one of their parents. When they become adults, they receive the third part from their second parent. Adopted children receive their names from their adoptive parents. If they already have a part, they can choose to replace it, reject the names of their new parents, or add the two together (so they'd end up with 4 or 5 parts of their names as adults).  

Changing names

An elf can freely change their personal name and the order of their parents' names whenever they want by filling the appropriate forms (the order is not important and if the child feels better with their name sounding one way over another, no one will mind that). But to replace the names of their parents is to renounce their own family. It's considered one of the highest insults one can do towards their parents to do so.

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Comments

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E. Christopher Clark
16 Jan, 2022 16:20

It's so great to have the life stages of an elf broken down in a way that makes total sense of any old Earthling. You've done fine work here!

Check out the Bekiskpan β€” originators of the chain mail bikini and my entry for β€œOn the Shoulders of Giants.”
17 Jan, 2022 19:48

I'm happy to hear you liked the article!