Alfar (AL-far | /'æl fɑr/)
Sun elves and star elves value history and honour
King Xerxes had the golden hair, intense yellow eyes, and bright gold-tinged complexion of most Alfar; only with him they seemed even more striking, somehow. Perhaps it was the intensity of the fierce personality that blazed from behind those eyes.
Yathar seemed to recognize the voice. A joyful smile spread across his face as he turned to look at its owner. A tall, dark-haired sun elf, maybe just past the fifty-year age of majority, stood at the base of the school steps clad in a Lieutenant’s uniform with Pilot’s wings at the collar. His cinnamon eyes were full of amusement.Sun elves are discerned by their golden-tinged skin and metallic gold sparkles in their eyes. Their hair colours include various shades of red and blond, and black with red undertones. Their eye colours are amber, citrine, green, red-brown shades such as cinnamon, and rarely, purple. Most Alfar are sun elves.
Lady Goldenbough came over to stand beside Lady Sunfall. She greeted Yathar’s mother pleasantly, and they chatted about schooling for the coming year. Narissa had always envied the beauty of the two women. Star elves had a purplish cast to their otherwise moon-pale skin, violet or pink eyes with mithril sparkles, and pale hair that ranged from platinum to silver to white. Yathar’s mother’s eyes were pink, and her hair was as white as her skin. She looked to Narissa as if she’d been sculpted of alabaster.
Major language groups and dialects
Culture and cultural heritage
Shared customary codes and values
Lady Goldenbough, Yathar’s mother, comes over to greet her friend Lady Sunfall. “Congratulations, dear,” she says to Narissa. “I wish you both much happiness together.” “Thank you for coming, Faelyn,” Lord Elkshorn smiles back, taking her hands courteously. Narissa smiles too. “Yes, thank you.” She is glad to see Lady Goldenbough. Though shy and introverted, she is a fixture in Narissa's life and a source of quiet comfort. But if she’s here...? “What's he doing here?” Narissa hisses in her father's ear as she spots Lady Goldenbough’s husband the Rear Admiral taking tea with an elf she does not recognize. “Bad etiquette to not invite the Mithril to my daughter's wedding, my dear,” Lord Elkshorn explains. “You didn't have to invite him,” she sputters. As she does so, Lord Goldenbough looks up and his eyes take note of her. “Ah, the blushing bride!” Admiral Goldenbough exclaims as he stands to offer a bow that is the picture of Alfar propriety. Narissa offers a stiff and formal bow in return. She doubts very much that she is blushing, but perhaps the angry flush of her cheeks mimics that. “May I present Captain Lotharvalis of the Draconian System Fleet?” “Charmed,” the Captain says with an easy smile and a formal bow. He is a handsome redheaded sun elf with interesting hazel eyes and a rapier at his hip. He carries himself with that grace and fluidity of motion that Narissa associates with swordsingers. “Congratulations!” Not wanting to be impolite, Narissa returns it. “Thank you, sir. What business brings you here to the Telasian System, Captain?” “My Admiral sent me with a message for Admiral Goldenbough. But I'm sure it would be very rude for me to drag him away from your wedding, so I have come here to discuss it. Your father extended me an invitation as a courtesy. I hope that's all right.” “Of course,” she says brightly; then adds in a hopeful tone, “but if Navy business requires your attention, I of course understand that duty must come first.” Neither one takes the bait. Her smile evaporates. Why can’t they just have a nice quiet wedding? She regrets not taking Laeroth up on his offer to run away and declare their vows naked under the full moon, which would have been a perfectly legitimate wedding in Sidhe tradition. Of course, you could probably consider any one of the other small worlds in the roots of the Tree of Life they called “Yggdrasil’s Sprout” to be a “moon” of Peridot, so which one would be appropriate, would be the question. Seeing that the Captain seems to expect her to say something else, she adds through gritted teeth, “Please make yourself welcome. If you'll excuse me...?” She bows to them both and rejoins her friends.Alfar value history and family honour, perhaps in part because their historical record goes back the longest of any of the elves. They will often act against their own interests to protect the interests of the family.
Average technological level
Common Etiquette rules
The Admiral held up a single hand, and in that gesture Shaundar read far more disappointment and dismissal than any words could have hoped to convey. It was all he could do not to burst into tears again. “I find this very disappointing, Shaundar. I expect better things of you. Please go to your room and contemplate your actions. Tomorrow, you will go to school and undertake whatever punishment Professor Goldenbough deems fit; excluding anything physical.” “Yes sir,” Shaundar said in a whisper. He swallowed the lump in his throat, determined this time to show proper Alfar grace, and he managed to walk all the way upstairs and into his room before the tears ran down his face. Even then, he swallowed the sobs so that his heartbreak was his alone.Alfar discourage overt displays of affection or emotion, even in the family environment. Such displays are reserved for personal and private situations, like between a parent and child (without the presence of others) or between a couple in the privacy of their bedroom. Acting out emotional displays is considered rude and gauche. Sun elves see themselves as above such things, and it's not uncommon for them to remark behind their hands that an Alfar who violates this unspoken code is "acting like a moon elf." Star elves are, if anything, even more convicted in this.
Common Dress code
Shaundar liked the look of the star elf who stepped onto his deck even less than he’d liked the look of Lady Starwind. He affected the scholarly robes that some mages who thought overmuch of their academic capabilities seemed fond of, for one thing. And they were, Shaundar was certain, tailored to fit from woven spider-silk, and fashioned into a rich, double-layered counterweave that showed faint highlights of hidden glyphs when viewed at particular angles. He wore enough rings to form his own cestus, except he seemed far too frail for combat, and Shaundar knew those sorts of rings tended to contain permanent enchantments. He even carried an elaborate staff that was carved of rare weirwood, and inlaid with gems and gold leaf, capped by a ruby that was as big as a goblin’s fist. His body crackled with so much magic that Shaundar could almost smell it, like the scent of ozone before a lightning strike.Dress among the Alfar is colourful but tasteful, with jewelry left to small but expensive pieces, artfully displayed. For obvious reasons, sun elves favour metallic gold accents and warm colours, while star elves favour metallic silver or platinum accents and cool colours. Fabrics are usually the best quality that an Alfar can afford, yet still practical for their intended purpose.
Art & Architecture
According to Shaundar’s grandmother, the palace rivalled the splendor of the Ancient Kingdoms of the broken Avalonian Empire. The palace grounds alone were a marvel of engineering, with small parks and groves, lakes, hedge mazes, gardens, and statues of ancient heroes and deities. The palace itself was a soaring multi-level structure of towers, buttresses, keeps, cupolas, landing platforms, and domes. The entire structure was carved – or perhaps grown – of pure quartz crystal, and had been shaped over thousands of years.Alfar have built beautiful, lasting structures of crystal and wood that seem as delicate as lace. Often magic is required to construct these astounding edifices. Some have stood for thousands of years, and represent the work of elven lifetimes. Art is given similar care and detail. Every item created by the Alfar is a work of art, and many will spend a lifetime labouring over a single work.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
Shaundar fumbled around for the gold filigreed box and put it in Narissa’s trembling hand. “Open it,” he urged. “It was my grandmother’s.” Narissa’s hands continued to shake as she unfastened the clasp and opened the box as she was bid. Resting on the red velvet lining was a single, pure tear of amber on a golden chain. It was the symbol of Freya, goddess of love, and receiving one as a gift meant accepting a betrothal. “Narissa, I love you,” Shaundar said. “When I get back from the war, will you marry me?” Narissa opened her mouth to speak and promptly burst into tears again. All she could do was nod. “Av,” she finally choked out. “Yes, Shaundar, I will marry you!”Along with Sidhe elves, it's a tradition for an Alfar who intends to propose to another elf to give the gift of an Amber Tear Charm. These take many different forms. The finest of them are heirlooms handed down through families over generations. The heart represents the blessing of Freya, goddess of love, and accepting the charm means accepting the proposal. The charm is worn until the wedding takes place, when it is replaced by a gold ring worn on the left ring finger as a symbol of troth. This troth is pledged when the two rings are placed on the hilt or quillons of the family Runesword, and may include an oath that bonds the families as well as the couple. Among families for whom their ancestral Runesword has ceased to function, Alfar have begun to replace the ring with a wedding torc, as the Sidhe wear. Traditional wedding garb is a golden robe in organza and silk.
Birth & Baptismal Rites
Coming of Age Rites
Funerary and Memorial customs
Common Myths and Legends
“Elan,” began Shaundar, using the term of respect with which one addressed a noble elf lord, “I was wondering if you would consider taking me into your swordsinger class.” Professor Goldenbough said nothing for a long moment, so he pressed on. “I’ve been top of my class in all the magical arts next to Narissa, sir, as you know. I’m really fast on my feet too! I’ve been training in use of the long sword with my dad, and I can dance, and sing, and I can even juggle. I know you’re teaching Yathar, sir, and I would really be grateful and honoured if you would teach me too.” He bowed formally with deep respect, the picture of Seelie Alfar etiquette. The elven lord pursed his lips. “Sunfall, you are a moon elf. I think you would be better off learning from a Sidhe instructor.” Shaundar ran his hand through his golden Alfar hair in an agony of suspense, and tried not to bristle. “But elan,” he insisted, “Professor Oakheart said that I should learn from an Alfar school.” The Professor’s expression did not change. “I’m sorry, Sunfall,” he said, his voice devoid of compassion.Alfar talk about the Succession Wars as if they were moral tales. It is accepted in Alfar culture that the uprising of other elven ethnic groups against their rightful rulers is what upset the great balance, and led to the diminished state of their civilization. They believe they are the chosen of the Vanir, the non-human gods that most humans are familiar with through their connection to the Norse culture. The War with the Aesir is seen by them as a metaphor for the rest of the elves selling them out. These myths build a subtle resentment of the other elven peoples. They believe that one day, a chosen Alfar will come who will reclaim the lost Crown of the Stars and lead them out of darkness into a new age of prosperity and hope.
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Elves are a humanoid sentient species who have spread throughout much of Known Space.
The Sidhe, commonly known as moon elves, are all about freedom of expression.
The Nunnehi, colloquially known as the wood elves, are the most nature-loving and nature bound of all the elven ethnic groups.
The Rua'alfar, or star elves, are the remnants of the royal families of the old Avalonian Empire. During the height of the Empire's power, they occupied all significant positions of power and authority.