Elderlyr Ethnicity in Swords, Magic and Lies | World Anvil
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The Elderlyr, or the dwarves of the Elderwoods is a large clan of dwarves which dwells in the near endless forest in the center of Tal'Lyra. Unlike their brothers to the north, they feel at home in and near the woods. There they live in small villages scattered throughout the forest and and live a life far from the stones of the Endless Mountains. Over the millennia since the long war, they adapted quite substantially to their surroundings, and while they see themselves as true dwarves, in contrast to the mountain dwarves a keen eye can spot quite a few differences in appearance and mannerisms.


While the Elderlyrs posses the same few clearly identifying features as other dwarves, like the short but sturdy build and the long, dark and usually woven hair, they are quite different in some aspects. On average they are even smaller than their northern brothers, as they normally don't even reach four feet of height. They are also less muscular but more quite more agile, as they adapted to the lifestyle of hunting in the deep forest. Unlike other dwarves, Elderlyrs also pride themselves in their shaven faces, showing of their weathered faces.
Unlike the dwarves of the mountains with their big herds of sheep, the Elderlyrs don't dress in woven clothes made out of wool, but they dress in all kinds of leather, hunted from the wide range of animals, which share the Elderwoods with them. Their hair is kept together in a long ponytail by small bones and other trophies of their hunt, and while their at work or during the chase of their prey, the hair is even tightly secured to their clothes. To survive the hardships of forest, their weapon of choice is a shortbow and a wooden spear.

Life in the forest

The life of a Elderlyr living in one of the many small villages in and around the Elderwoods usually consists of a youth and adolescence of hunting and gathering in the forest. Only after a young wood-dwarf has proven himself on the hunt by providing for their family, a partner and a profession is chosen. Some stay as hunters, others take on building and farming and some even deepen their connection to the trees surrounding the dwarves even further and become a druid, a protector of the woods.
While the small villages are communities in themselves, the Elderlyr living here trade together and share their stories and common rites and morals. As the Elderwoods have taken them in, the dwarves here try to preserve and honor the forest, only taking as much from it as they need to survive. On the hunt, young game and mothers are usually spared and cut down trees are replanted.


Naturally the Elderlyr pray to lyrian pantheon, especially to Horto as the god of life, but they also worship the Elderwoods itself. They believe that the forest has a soul, Metsansie, which must be appeased as to not anger their host. The druids of the Elderlyr follow the call of the forest, often venturing deep into the woods. They are able to channel the power of the forest itself, securing food and protecting their tribal brothers. The druids declare which game to hunt, where to build new houses and what trees to cut down.
While some of the Elderlyr live outside the Elderwoods, they always try to bring part of the forest with them. This can be either clothes made from leather hunted in the woods, mostly for dwarves travelling a lot through the continent, or plants and trees from seeds from the forest, which can be found everywhere where Elderlyr have settled down.

Relations and Politics

As sole inhabitants of the Elderwoods, the dwarves of the forest mostly keep to themselves. They don't recognize Merlon as their king, as the lord of the mountain is far away and don't follow any of the leaders of the human towns around the woods. But still they live in peace with the neighbors and even trade with the nearby settlements. Only if talians take to much of the forest, hunt to much or cut down the oldest trees, they attack the intruders to drive the out and to protect Metsansie.
The Elderlyr themselves are not organized beyond the small villages with their chieftains. Only in a few occasions, like a spreading diseases or a new human settlement close to the forest, the chieftains meet and discuss a way forward. Is this the case, the leaders of the wood-dwarves travel to their secret meeting place deep in the woods, the Metpaikka and stay there as long as it takes to solve their issues.

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