Great Baobab Grove Elves

The elves of the Great Baobab Grove are among the few elves who have survived on the Southern Continent. Absorbed into the Iumbu Empire, their numbers are so few that they are barely statistics int he grand scheme of things. However, those who interact with them regularly respect them for their skill as artisans and their ability to manage and maintian the Great Baobab Grove. An integral part of the economy of both the empire and the capital, Iumbari, they are protected by imperial decree, and their chief is treated as equal to a noble. Their careful control and management of the largest source of baobab products galls some, but the imperial decree and rumours of dragons deep in the wood where humans do not tread has kept them safe so far.   Baobab Elves (as they are commonly called), have the general elf morphology. They are slim, taller than humans on average, and have long pointed ears. Their complexion reflects the red soil of the land they live on, their eyes are the shocking green colours of the grasses that grow between the boababs, and their hair is a grey to grey brown shade that resembles the colours of the bark of the baobab trees. Like all elves, they do not show their age until they approach the time of their passing back to the ecology they're linked to, which for Baobab Elves is usually around 1100 years.   As a community, they are organized as a single tribe composed of mulitple extended families. Every few decades or so, they elect an elder (an elf over 600 years old) to act as their chief and representative in the Iumbu Empire. Given thier small numbers (less than ~7500 at any given time) and long life spans, they keep careful track of all of their ancestors to ensure that their lines stay as varied as possible. Baobab Elves have a given name they recieve from their parents which is used in close, personal company; and a name that they make or take for themselves that they use for regular interactions and among friends, business partners, and so on. Baobab Elf family names are used only for tracking lineage, and aren't commonly shared outside of Baobab Elf circles. Baobab Elves have been known to form mixed families with humans, and hyenafolk, but are distrustful of Orcs, especially Lava and Smoke Orcs.   To outsiders, Baobab ELves seem enigmatic and distant. Like the ancient trees they are linked to, they take the long view of things, and prefer to take time to observe a situation before making a decision. Unlike many other groups of Elves across Iosterra however, they come to decisions much more quickly and much more decisively; this is because the grove was once much larger, until part of it was destroyed by the Magma Drakes unleashed by the Dragon Imperium in an effort to defeat the Iburi. This deep trauma left them with a changed perspective that has, in many ways, aided their survival in the long term. Boabab Elves are adaptable, but in ways that allow them to maintain balance within themselves and with their environment.   The armour and equipment of the Baobab Elves when in battle reflects their realities and resouces. They favour fiber and reinforced fiber armour, eschewing the heavy metal armours of the humans and orcs to maintain their mobility. Their prefered weapons are powerful compound bows for ranged battle and hunting, and they have adopted the human ixwa and kundu for close combat. Because of their low numbers, Baobab elves make maximum use of ambushes, running battles, and surprise attacks to defend their lands.   Elves, like dragons, were formed from magic, and are deeply linked to arcane magics and divine spirit magics. Their shamans and druids are well known for their powers, and the common perception among peoples who do not know them well is that all Baobab Elves have magical powers. This isn't completely untrue, as the Baobab Elves do produce a disproportionate number of magic capable people. Elves with exceptional gifts are earmarked to become shamans or druids, and are apprenticed to them quickly, as they are an integral part of the community and how they maintain the Great Baobab Grove.   Religion is non-existant among the Baobab Elves. They don't deny that gods exist, but in a very real way, their ecology is their deity and they spend their lives tending and caring for it and in turn are cared for by it. When they "die", they become one with the spirits of the Great Baobab Grove. Even Baobab Elves that leave home maintain and feel a deep connection the grove that no faith or philosophy can match. Of the common faiths, they tolerate but all, but are wary of the Followers of the Elemental Court because of the instability of their faith. Demonic corruption is a serious concern of theirs however, and one thing they are known for in the empire is their unflinching appraoch to combabting demons.

Naming Traditions

Feminine names

Kjella, Kjanna, Nkyu, Nkoro

Masculine names

Djanak, Djuma, Tkallo, Mkano

Unisex names

Tsano, Mkoto, Ktala

Family names

Idawa, Orawo, Jdaka, Dkato

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

Baobab Elves speak their own language, unrelated to other elven tongues. When communicating with outsiders they use the Southern Draconic language or the language of the Iburi.

Culture and cultural heritage

Baobab Elf cooking is heavy on fruits and wild game. Baobab products feature heavily in them, and they are known especially for one thing above all others. Meringue. They are the sole source of cream of tartar, and they use the eggs of rare birds found in the grove, sugars created form wild fruits, and other ingredients, to create meringue deserts. Gourmands of the empire have discovered this, and are now making regular pilgrimages to the grove to try this treat.

Average technological level

The Baobab Elves have a a bronze age technological level.

Common Dress code

Baobab Elves make extensive use of baobab fiber textiles and wood for their clothes, with natural dyes in exciting patterns. Both men and women wear a loose, knee length skirt as their primary artical of clothing. Women wear a halter top and shawl, and men simply add a shawl. Both prefer to be barefoot, but have boots made from baobab fiber and waterproof wood for poor weather or dangerous terrain. When it rains, they wear broad waterproof hats made from baobab wood.

Art & Architecture

To stay safe, the Baobab Elves build their homes in and around the giant baobabs, linking them to the ground with elevators, and to each other with suspension bridges. They build in tiers, with defensive works starting at around 20 metres above the ground, industry and workshops at 50 metres, and homes at 75 metres above the ground. Lacking facilities or the desire to use iron for anything but weapons, their buildings are a combination of natural growth and careful, nailless construction. There are three known villages of Baobab Elves in the grove.   Their art is best known for its complex weaving and the designs they can make are a source of mystery and consternation among the human weavers of the empire.

Common Taboos

Baobab Elves will not harm a baobab tree in the grove, and hesitate to harm ones outside of the grove. They have a set of rituals and prayers they must complete if they need ot harvest wood from, take water from, or otherwise do something to the tree past pick its fruits. Not completing these rituals and prayers is taboo and they suffer mentally until they are completed.

Ideals

Beauty Ideals

Liek most elves, the natural form is their ideal. Both men and women among the Baobab Elves engage in extensive tattooing and bodypainting in patterns attractive to them, and have a preference for wide shoulders and powerful arms. Both men and women style their hair into stiff dreadlocks that are inspired by the branches of the baobab tree.

Gender Ideals

Baobab Elves have no gender ideals, encouraging each elf to discover themselves and their place in the community regardless of the thier gender or sex. The fact that the Iburi take a similar stance has been a large aid in the the relations between the two peoples.

Courtship Ideals

Baobab elves do not have a a complex system of courtship, largely because they live so long that they see no value in it. Baobab elves are very direct when they are attracted to someone, and this can be uncomfortable for non-Baobab Elves. They do draw a sharp distinction between attraction for sex and attraction for rmance however, and potential romantic partners are heavily vetted for compatibility before the romance begins.

Relationship Ideals

Baobab Elves categorize relationships into several types. Friends, companions, then short term and long term partners. Friends are the simplest relationships; companions are close, intimate friends with whom the Boabab Elf feels they can fully relax. Short term relationships are usually between Baobab Elves and shorter lived peoples, they are seen as exhausting but rewarding whirlwinds of emotions. Long term relationships are usually between Baobab Elves and other Baobab Elves or long lived peoples, these are measured, complex relationships that are often hard for shorter lived peoples to understand.

Significant presence in

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