dark elves

The dark elves are a large culture of Third Age elves in Scarterra.   The name "dark elves" was given to them by outsiders. While a few of them have embraced the nickname, most dislike it and prefer to be called "disterian elves" or "Kahdisterian elves." Among themselves, most dark elves refer to their kind as "elves."   The dark elves have their poor reputation with outsiders because they openly and unabashedly preach racial superiority over all other creatures and regularly enslave lesser races, especially humans and goblins.     Social Standing Among the Dark Elves: The top of dark elf society is the The Raykar. The position of the Raykar is not hereditary or elected, but the position is filled via a formal magical due. The Raylis   On paper, the dark elves have no aristocracy or upper class. Informally, magic users, especially arcane magic users, are the upper class. As devout Greymoria worshipers, magic users are given more social standing than non magic users.   Status is based on a meritocracy, with extra weight given to magical skills over mundane skills. Kahdisterians don’t discriminate between wizards, sorcerers, warlocks, mystic clerics, or favored souls. Power is ultimately what’s important, not the source of said power.   On paper, Kahdisteria has no aristocracy and all land belongs to the Raykar. In practice, the wealthy families are a check against the Raykar’s absolute power. Without the cooperation of the wealthy families, it is difficult for the Raykar to accomplish his goals.   The next tier of society is small land owners. They have enough status to not be pushed around but they don’t have enough status to push around other elves. Below them are dark elves without land. Most of these dark elves are professional soldiers or very skilled craftsmen.     Religious Practices:  Greymoria is the state patron of Kahdisteria and is the patron deity of most dark elves, even those without spell-casting powers.   Maylar, Phidas, and Korus are popular deities among the dark elves.   Mera is officially forbidden and Zarthus worship is heavily restricted but some dark elves are mavericks or rebels.   Khemra and Hallisan worship are not shunned in Kahdisteria, but most dark elves view these deities as largely inconsequential.     Gender Relations and Social Status: In general, elves are more egalitarian in terms of sexual norms than humans are. Dark elves are not an exception. Inheritance is determined by birth order and does not discriminate between sons and daughters. The Raykar may be male or female. While roughly four in five challengers for the position of Raykar are males, females are disproportionately represented among challenge winners. It’s joked that without testosterone, women don’t make challenges unless they are superbly confident in their chances.   There is one aspect where the dark elves are not egalitarian at all. That is producing half-humans. It’s considered normal, even tacitly encouraged, for elf men to sire half-humans, but it is highly scandalous for an elf woman to bear a half-human child, especially if said elf woman is of noble birth.   Both male and female elves are strongly discouraged from siring half-human children if they are sorcerers or warlocks. Sorcerers and warlocks frequently pass their magical aptitude to their offspring. Slaves with magic power is something that gives slave masters nightmares.
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Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake