Briar Elf

Playable Sophont

Woodland Ritualists

Briar Elves were the second Elvenkyne to pour forth from The Wyld, following after the Peak Elves' exodus. These rugged Elves are nothing like their Ravenpeak kin and make up the most prolific species of Elf on Haven. They are legendary for their inhuman speed and agility, but their intrinsic connection with nature is their most respected quality. Outside of Tuatha Carnes, their mystics represent some of the greatest masters of Druidry on all of Haven. Within their uninviting woodland villages, they live rustic lifestyles while practicing a unique way of life guided by nature and their honored rituals passed down for innumerable generations. These closely guarded rituals and traditions are all that remain of the Briar Elves' past; rumored to grant them incredible gifts, least of which is their exceptionally long lifespans.

Briar Elf History

Briar Elf history begins not in Haven, but centuries before in the depths of The Wyld. Here the Briar Elves were born beneath the Wyldwood Trees' twisted eaves and amid the remnants of the dying Eld. Few of the grand Eld sorcerers of yore survived the cataclysm of Los'Mozakas, many of the Eld that did were merely desperate survivalists intent on enduring through their people's annihilation. These Eld woodsmen scorned The Glow that had led to their people's destruction and fostered a culture determined to survive without it. These frontiersmen chose to journey across the unexplored Wyld in the vain hope that land would lay beyond the maddening jungle.
 
The harrowing trials and ordeals that followed came to define these prolific Eld as the Briar Elf people of today and established much of their abnormal ritualistic culture. They came to believe that The Wyld would herald the doom of all sophontic life and saw its Wyldqueen as the face of evil itself. These Elves lived in constant conflict with the wretched monsters of the jungle. When Narti fell and subsequently rose as the Wyldqueen, they learned to curse her name as she turned the jungle's full malevolent force against them to eliminate them from the continent. Survival became the desperate hope of these Elves as they clawed their way out of The Wyld, while Narti enthralled hundreds of their people to her service and murdered countless more. In this time of crisis, the Briar Elves learned to harness the power held within their blood and began their cannibalistic practices that continue to this day. Rumor has it that these Elves devour the flesh of their dead and slain enemies alike, sophontic or otherwise, as part of twisted blood rituals capable of bestowing immense power, gifting visions of both past and future, or even granting decades of additional life.
 
While their beguiled kin became lost to Narti's madness and rose as her Wyld Elves, these Elves escaped into Haven and united beneath their seething hatred for the Wyldqueen and the twisted jungle that she commands. They found no kinship among the city-born Peak Elves that had arrived before them, and the feud that sparked between these two Elvenkyne continues to burn brightly. The Peak Elves only use the rumors of Briar Elf cannibalism to ridicule and slander their woodland kin as distasteful and barbaric savages unfit for civilized life. The fact that many Briar Elves live considerably longer than their city kin only serves to grow the divide between these two groups further and the Peak Elves make no attempt to hide their cruel opinion of the mad savages. Today from within Wyldkeep and similar druidic bulwarks, the Briar Elves wage war with Narti to protect Haven from her many evils and keep much of The Wyld's cursed beasts and plantlife locked away.

General Information

Genetic Ancestor(s)
Genetic Descendants
Origin/Ancestry
Lifespan
Up to 350 years old, reaching maturity at 35.
Average Height
6 to 7 feet tall.
Average Weight
Around 120 pounds.
Briar Elf Names
Alea, Fel, Kree, Nama, Kulomolo, Ura, Alola, Gi, Vae, Xenalza, Hana, Toroa, Kavu, Wai, Uramoa, Oli, Keona, Nai'a, Pauahi.
Blood Names
Xixi, Kel'Kel, Quanquiquox, Jenjunjo, Wenwet-Wexwer, Mielmorel, Koloa, Navu'Kanu, Laelalae, Ali'ila, Mana'olana, Akaiti, Palila, Kahalah, Kaiwia, Naʻauao, Ratnay-Rootnay.

Naming Schemes

Briar Elf names are often simple and direct things with little to no flair or differentiation between genders. Their names are always only a handful of syllables and usually end in a vowel. Some follow a similar rhyming pattern found in Peak Elf names, while most others lack any real meaning and are often merely shortened versions of traditional Elven names that are pleasant to hear or say. The most important name to Briar Elf is their blood name, which traces their origin, through their blood, to the First of the Eld: Eldac, the God-Sorcerer. They represent this link through a series of semi-repeating letters or syllables that can be interpreted by their mystics and elders as a part of one of their few openly held Rituals of Blood.

Lower Elvish

Lower Elvish is the native tongue of the Briar Elves and the common Elvish language. It is a simplified form of High Elvish, and features many words translated from other tongues on Haven.

Description

Briar Elves are a willowy people built with all the grace and agility necessary for sprinting through treetop canopies and maneuvering around dense forest-floor brush. Their abnormally small size among the Elvenkyne, averaging at only around six feet tall, would allow them to easily pass for Verdites when hiding their ears if not for the vibrant, earthy hues of their pinched eyes. Their long delicate ears hold the iconic Elven spear-shape but are far less pronounced than in other species of Elvenkyne. They often decorate their ears with jewelry or hunting trophies, with some Elves even stretching their ears to accommodate larger ornamentations. It is noteworthy that all Briar Elf fashion, be it these ornaments or their day-to-day attire, is produced only from what is immediately available in nature. They make almost all their clothing from woven plant life, rarely using the fabrics or metals found in other sophontic fashion. Thus they create beautiful displays of naturalistic fashion that pay homage to their intrinsic connection with the land. They create everything from durable cloth woven from the stringy fibers of the Auluwa'hi Trees to their waterproof cloaks made from the enormous, rubbery leaves of the Wyldwood Tree; they even carve their armor from the iron-hard heartwood of these same trees. The Beastfolk adopted many staples of their fashion, making it one of the most widely used clothing styles in Haven.
 
Briar Elves are considerably bulkier than their city-born kin, yet still, only pose a slight challenge in bouts of physical strength. What these Elves lack in physical presence they make up for with animalistic zeal and their ferocity in battle is respected even among the most feral Pangarans. Additionally, these Elves have noticeably darker complexions than Peak Elves, from lifetimes spent beneath the open sky and roaming the wild corners of Haven. Their tanned skins serve as the canvas through which they express individuality and self-identity because of the near-identical builds and features shared by all Briar Elves. The crisis of individuality that defines the first century of their lives eases with maturity as they collect dozens of intricate tattoos, brands, and even scars across their body. These markings are said to track the defining moments of an Elf's life on their very soul, and no two Elves will ever bear the same set of markings.

Blood and Flesh

When creating a Briar Elf, remember that heritage plays a key part in your culture. Your people believe their ancestors endure beyond death within their very blood, bones, and flesh. They consume their dead so that their spirits may live on and entrust their dead to protect and guide them. When in mortal peril, this ancestral aegis guides their legendary frenzies that these Elves must learn to control even as their ancestor's all-consuming fury robs them of all thought and reason.

Society

Briar Elves live in scattered communes nestled throughout the natural landscapes of Haven's most lush woodlands. Within these secluded shelters, Briar Elves live in a society that has remained unchanged since they migrated out of the depths of The Wyld. Their deep-set traditions and rituals can be traced back generations and invade nearly every aspect of their lives. Briar Elves are flush with small gems of wisdom passed down from their ancestors, and many consider such insights to be worth twice instinct. The bulk of Briar Elf culture stems from their inherited customs that reveal a civilized yet still primitive people compared to the other Sophonts. Their steadfast adherence to rituals and customs makes it difficult for outsiders, uneducated in their society's subtleties, to integrate with their communities. These Elves shun the allure of technology and the neat, orderly world of Haven's in favor of the power and strength found in nature.
 
Compared to the highborn Peak Elves that covet their arcane prowess, the Elves of the wood shun The Glow in favor of embracing the Druidic powers that permeate the land. This disdain for The Glow originates from the Briar Elves' belief that all arcane magic practiced by the Elvenkyne originates from the Font of Eldac. The Briar Elves believe that with each arcane spell cast by Elven spellweavers, they diminish the entire Elvenkyne species and the birthright left to them. They revile the Peak Elves for their flagrant wastefulness and attribute their shortened lifespans to their prolific use The Glow; while simultaneously insisting their longevity is the result of their infrequent use of such arts. The Briar Elves instead rely upon Druidry's natural power, taught to them by the Tuatha and Centaur after the settling of Wyldkeep. These Elves have proven themselves masters of the druidic arts and are instrumental in Gorgewald Forest's continued growth.

Wyldkeep Fortresses

Wyldkeep represents both the greatest collection of druidic knowledge on Haven and the heart of the Briar Elves' society and culture. From within these druidic fortifications, Briar Elves and druids from across Haven wage war against The Wyld and the Wyldqueen Brood. The line of fortresses that comprise Wyldkeep makes up the only true bulwark between Narti's madness and the rest of sophontic life on Haven, and are its first and final defense.


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Author's Notes

Briar Elf names are very similar to Peak Elf names with both pulling from Polynesian names, primarily Samoan, Tahitian, and Hawaiian ones if I could find ones I liked. These were much more heavily changed than Peak Elf names to get the repetitive pattern I wanted for a majority of their names. As with Blackhill Dwarves, these names avoided accent marks for the sake of my sanity.


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