WE DID IT! Thank you for supporting our Kickstarter for Book 1, A Few Good Elves!
Available now at most major retailers.

Alfar (AL-far | /'æl fɑr/)

Sun elves and star elves value history and honour

As seen in A Few Good Elves | To Know Your Enemy
Alfar, colloquially known as "sun elves" or, in some rare cases, "star elves," descend from the ancient nobility of elvenkind. They still hold many of the positions of power within elven nations. On most of the Core Worlds, they make up most of the aristocracy and maintain a wealthier lifestyle than other elves. In the Avalonian Imperial Navy, most officers, especially in high positions such as The Admiralty will be made up of Alfar.  

Sun Elves

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.
A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
 

Elf_markwoman_by_Kitty.png

Elf Markswoman by Kathrin "Kitty" Polikeit

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.
A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  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.  

Star 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.
A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
 

Fantasy.jpg

Fantasy by Majabel Creaciones

Star elves are discerned by ivory skin with subtle purple highlights, and metallic Mithril sparkles. Their hair ranges from silver to white to pale blond, and occasionally, purple. Their eyes are almost universally amethyst purple, but rarely can be topaz or citrine shades. Star elves descend directly from the Imperial ruling caste of Avalon.  

Naming Traditions

Feminine names

Alfar personal names often reflect historically significant ancestors. Feminine names tend to be melodic and roll off the tongue.   Examples: Aliatha, Tyelatae, Amamytria, Faelyn, Alastriana.

Masculine names

Like feminine names, masculine personal names often reflect significant ancestors or family sentiments. Masculine names sometimes have slightly harder sounds than the feminine names.   Examples: Yathar, Numilor, Casaro, Selnaris, Ruavel, Alesander, Nylyn, Ardeth, Fislyn, Lotharvalis, Xerxes.

Unisex names

Most elven names can be used by either gender, as not a lot of thought is given to gender divisions in elven culture.   Examples: Simzen, Alaunshor, Taavin, Umraezyn, Etheral.

Family names

Family names usually represent a legacy of nobility that goes back thousands of years. Like most elven surnames, they relate to elements of the natural world.   Examples: Goldenbough, Vesper, Highrosewood, Elkshorn, Celestis. Leafbower, Shimmerbeam, Glitterleaf, Radiant, Starsong.

Other names

Many elven cultures, including the Alfar, have a tradition of parents and other family elders giving children affectionate nicknames that are only used in the confines of the family. They hold the same kind of affection in a dimuniative that such human nicknames as pumpkin, princess, melon or munchie do.   Examples: Rualith "little star," Ruasali "honeystar."  

Alfar Name Generator

Randomly generate your own Alfar names at the link above!

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

Alfar speak Elven, although many Alfar communities have either developed their own distinct dialect or accent. It's not uncommon for Alfar to study High Avalonian, in the way that human scholars often study dead but scholarly languages, such as Latin.   Alfar starfarers also tend to pick up a smattering of languages from other starfaring cultures they typically encounter, including human languages such as Norse, Gnomish, or Elfin, the pidgin Elvish that is used for common communication among spacefarers of differing cultures.

Culture and cultural heritage

Alfar have a rich tradition of art, scholarship and literature that dates back thousands of years. It's not uncommon for Alfar to dedicate themselves to a life of scholarship or art. It's more common for Alfar to pursue the study of magic to the level of archmage than it is for any other group. This is almost certainly in part due to their advantaged position and wealth in society, but their accomplishments in these fields are truly impressive nonetheless.  

elven-magic-victoria-borodinova-pixabay.jpg

Elven Magic by Victoria Borodinova

  Alfar, who descend from the royalty and nobility of the ancient Avalonian Empire, were a significant faction in the Succession Wars. It's primarily the conflict between the Alfar and the Sluagh that drove the Wars, and that legacy weighs heavily upon them. Perhaps this, in part, drives their present cultural reserve.

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.
Homefront: Toy Soldier Saga by Diane Morrison
  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

Alfar have probably, to date, achieved the greatest known advancements in magic, astrophysics, metaphysics, and starfaring. Magic is commonly used to improve daily quality of life. Alfar communities will have magically-heated plumbing, magic lighting, and other little improvements such as these.

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.
A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  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.
Brothers in Arms by Diane Morrison
  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.
The Queen's Dirk by Diane Morrison
  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

Alfar traditionally host large celebratory balls for significant occasions, including weddings, holidays, significant birthdays, and military promotions. These are elaborate and expensive affairs where the purpose is as much to see and be seen as it is to celebrate the occasion.  
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!”
A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  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

Like the Sidhe, the Alfar gather when a child is coming into the world to sing the baby into the community. Such an occasion is cause for everyone to celebrate. The often stiff and formal Alfar relax and let down their hair. It's not uncommon for elves in such a community to be celebrating the birth of a new baby a few months after such a celebration.

Coming of Age Rites

When an Alfar reaches the age of majority at 50 years, it's typical for them to host a debutante ball. Most of the younger Alfar in a similar age range will attend such gatherings in the hopes of seeking a marital match, especially for elves of prominent families.

Funerary and Memorial customs

Funerals are solemn and elaborate affairs. Elven bodies are preserved in blessed family mausoleums that are maintained over generations, either through the use of magic or sealed glass and crystal coffins. They are sent into the next world with a farewell song, just as they are welcomed into the world. If possible, it is sung while the dying elf is still alive, but otherwise, it is sung when they are sealed into their tomb.   When the elf who has passed has been a figure of historical or royal importance, they are buried with important possessions, like their spellbooks, armour, or weapons, not including any family legacy items they possessed. They are also buried in their finery and with their favourite jewelry and musical instruments.   When the body is significantly damaged, they may choose to cremate the remains instead. The urn takes the place of the body in a mausoleum or grave plot.   Like most elves, Alfar wear white to signify that they are in mourning.

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.
A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  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.

Ideals

Beauty Ideals

elf-star-elf--fashion-jcoope12-pixabay.jpg
Alfar in Forest by J Coope
Alfar dress elaborately, especially for special occasions. They enjoy ostentatious displays of wealth and luxury, complete with fine silks and jewels. They also appreciate beauty-enhancing cosmetics such as eyeliner. They usually keep their hair long, but are fastidious about how they wear it, and they may style their hair in elaborate coifs, or keep it firmly in place with practical, but neat, braids.   Alfar rarely choose to get tattoos, and when they do it is usually for a reason, such as the tattoos of a sailor, or the symbol of a swordsong order that the Alfar is part of. They rarely choose to pierce anything except their ears.

Gender Ideals

Elves in general pay little attention to differentiations of gender in cultural roles. Many genders are recognized, but this aspect of identity is given as much attention as eye colour or preferred music.

Courtship Ideals

Alfar courtships are long and formal, involving extended betrothals and exacting standards that both members of the perspective couple are expected to live up to. While other marital arrangements are not unknown, most Alfar marriages are concerned with legacy and inheritance rights, so usually there is an acknowledged "primary spouse," and same-sex unions as a primary marriage are more rare than they are among other elves. Some Alfar cultures even arrange marriages, although fidelity is not expected once an heir for the House has been secured.

Relationship Ideals

forest-elf-mystical-fairytale.jpg
Forest Elf Mystical Fairytale by Mysticsartdesign
Once a primary spouse is established and at least one heir for the House has been secured, Alfar don't expect monogamy. Indeed, they don't even expect love; just respect for each other in public.   That said, if an Alfar does not have House inheritance to worry about, or if the forms have been observed, love is encouraged and respected. It's hoped that formally-married couples will find happiness in their marriage, but nobody expects undying, perfect monogamy in a life that could last as much as a millennium. Committed spouses often spend decades, even a century or two apart, coming back together after the separation to begin their relationship anew and fall in love all over again. A struggling relationship will find exceptional support within their community. Divorce is a final resort, and unless there is overt abuse within a relationship, almost never happens.

Major organizations

Don't forget that you can click on the blue compass on the left to access the Table of Contents at any time!
A Few Good Elves Cover Small.png

Want to read all of the Toy Soldier Saga fiction, even before the rest of the world does?Subscribe now!

 

elf-elfika-fantasy-story-magic-tolkien.jpg

Alfar Noble by Victoria Borodinova

An Alfar noble of Glimmerfell

depositphotos_8787760-stock-photo-young-sexy-woman-dancing-belly.jpg

Alfar Dancer by Anonymous

An Alfar dancer of Claastellin

elf-girl.jpg

Alfar by Anonymous: 3435632 on Pixabay

An Alfar soldier of Sol'Tohvasneris

depositphotos_177437314-stock-photo-elf-female-warrior-posing-standing.jpg

Alfar Warrior by Anonymous

An Alfar warrior of Gloriana

fairy-fantasy-enchanted.png

Young Star Elf by Majabel Creaciones

An Alfar youth of Glimmerfell

elven-armour-jcoope12-pixabay.jpg

Alfar Knight by J Coope

An Alfar knight of Avakiiralon
 

Related Articles

Elf
Species | Jul 14, 2021

Elves are a humanoid sentient species who have spread throughout much of Known Space.

Sidhe
Ethnicity | Sep 19, 2021

The Sidhe, commonly known as moon elves, are all about freedom of expression.

Nunnehi
Ethnicity | Jul 27, 2021

The Nunnehi, colloquially known as the wood elves, are the most nature-loving and nature bound of all the elven ethnic groups.

Rua'alfar
Ethnicity | Jul 27, 2021

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.

Sylph
Ethnicity | Jul 27, 2021

Sylphs are a type of Elf with wings. This separates them considerably from many of the other elven ethnic groups.


Shortlisted: WorldEmber 2019 Ethnicity Category


Cover image: Fantasy Elve by Venita Oberholster
This article has no secrets.

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
Powered by World Anvil