Elves: the Beautiful, the Terrible

I have seen three ages in the West of the world, and many defeats, and many fruitless victories.
— Elrond during the Council of Elrond in The Lord of the Rings

Fionn eä Vanwi, Anairel, Celehid, Dior Irukil, Anducil: these are the names of mighty lords and ladies. They are persons who have shaken the foundations of history and have writ their names large across the memories of all peoples and races; they have forged in the smithies of their souls, with all the other mighty members of their race, the conscience of their race: the Elves. We recall the Elvish people in our myths and stories and histories. We feel, in our very bones, the mystical presence of the Elves. And we long to see their unusual beauty, now fading and soon to be gone. Êa síra elin sû e-govaned! They are dying; but it has been foretold.

Nature of the Elves

An Elf is an immortal being who is bound to the world. They are a uniquely beautiful and strange folk, tied to the very earth but becoming weary of it and its troubles. They cannot die of old age, although bodily harm and sorrow may cause an Elf's soul to separate from their body. Even when they die, their spirit is taken and placed in a new body that is identical to the previous body. Their memories are not broken by their cycles of reincarnation, but the memories are not fully restored until adulthood.

A Great Misconception of the Elves
There is a common misconception that all Elves, by nature, are too aloof to deal with what petty mortals deal with. This is very wrong. The Elves are as wont to mad passions as we are, and their perceived racial aloofness and melancholy are merely the personal reactions of many to their individual and evil choices, done in ages so far gone they may as well be legends to us Men. This is why the younger of their kin are as active and alive as we should expect a young, healthy Man to be; while their aged fit more closely to the stereotype. Of course, this is but one stereotype regarding the Elves, and is more a common stereotype among the more educated and urbane mercantile populace. The rural folk tends to imagine Elves as diminutive faery folk, or as minor trickster gods. But the imaginings vary widely across regions.

The amount of cycles an Elf has gone through doesn't establish how old they may be, but certain, martial, Elves may introduce themselves with the number of cycles they have experienced as a badge of pride -- the fewer the cycles, and the greater the age, the more impressive. No Elf today is greater than 3000 years of age, including cycles of death.

The Western Elves are often defined by their great spirit of melancholy (if they are quite aged) or by their great joviality and activity (if they are relatively young for an Elf). It is perhaps this distinction that creates in the popular consciousness the idea that Elves are both sages and minstrels, that they are both wise-man and faery folk. The aged of the Elves rarely leave their hallowed cities, but the younger kin - quickly becoming a rarity - will venture into the outside world, not yet weary of its troubles, and longing to explore.

Marriage and the Half-Elven

An Elf marries only once, and marriage occurs at the point of consummation. Marriage is taken very seriously, biologically seriously. An Elf, if forced upon, will die. Now, marriage between a Man and an Elf is a very rare and a very serious affair as their souls are not meant to head to the same places. Elvish texts tell of the True Half-Elven, not mere hybrids, but those select few who, at the end of the Wars of Hate, were given the choice of either full Elvenhood or Manhood. Those who have chosen the path of the Elves also grant all their descendants the ability of this choice. These descendants are called the Half-Elven, to be distinguished from our modern Half-elves, mere hybrids. The Half-Elven who chose the path of Man have greater bodily powers and longevity than the average Man, but all their descendants are cleaved to the path of Men, and cannot leave it as their Elven Half-Elven kin may.

Elves reproduce slowly. They aren't motivated by the sexual powers most Men face, and, even when Elves consummate, their fertility is noted to be low. This may be a new development after the Wars of Hate.

Beard Growth and Beauty

Elves cannot grow beards in general. Elves that are very old can grow beards, but this age is well beyond any living Elves today. Elves who have gone through traumatic experiences are also capable of beard growth.

Elves are usually beautiful. An Elf can only become grossly fat by extreme effort or abuse, and the same is said of an Elf being unnaturally thin.

Childhood of the Elves

Elvish children grow more slowly than Men bodily, but more swiftly mentally. An Elvish child will learn to read at the age of one, and they will be able to walk and dance at the same age. Their will comes to quick mastery over their bodies. During Elvish childhood, the memories of their past lives have not yet returned. This makes an Elvish childhood merry, joyful, and usually easy.

By about the third year, Human and Dwarf children begin outstripping Elf, hastening to their full stature while the Elves linger in the spring of childhood. Children of Men might reach their full stature while Elvish children still have the appearance of seven year olds -- although Elvish children will have comparable or greater minds. Not until the fiftieth year do Elves attain the stature and figure that they will forever keep for the rest of their lives, and some do not reach this point until about the hundreth year.

The Locus of Control in Elves

Sterett
by Virginia Frances Sterrett

There are two realms that make up our world. Without both realms you do not have the world, but a shadow of it: a privation. These realms are called the Seen and the Unseen. Much of Elven nature can be sourced from the Elves' relation to these two realms.

An Elf is an immortal being bound to the world. They cannot die of old age, although bodily harm and sorrow may cause an Elf's soul to separate from their body. They are stronger than Men, more intelligent, granted an immortal life, and in general superior in every physical matter. This is because an Elf is incarnate in both the Seen and the Unseen realms. Being more strongly of the world, they can act effects on the world with greater strength. Simply, if one's whole being is devoted to an activity, then one will be more impactful on that activity.

Men, for point of comparison, are like aliens to this world. Men are only incarnate in the Seen realm. So Men are not entirely of the world, and cannot impress on the world's matter as greatly as the Elves. Elves, though, are of this world perfectly and mimic it -- hence their physical resilience.

This nature of being in both realms is less complicated than the nature of being bound only to one realm, as with Humans. The deviance of Humanity throw the Elvish and Dwarrow natures into contrast. Most important to consider are the methods of judgment and reasoning of the Elves. They are wholly different and incomprehensible to Men. Being of two realms, their Forms (or Souls/Minds), and therefore their Matter (or Body), are of a different kind than Humans. Their reasoning is a purely phenomenal affair -- their Reasoning is equivalent to Experience, as if Experience were experiencing itself; as if the passive observed were to be the active observer; there is no synthetic process of the mind and phenomena. It is an absolute and objective Reasoning. But Elves can still be incorrect about matters -- though it is impossible to say how. In a conversation between an Elf and Human, this manifests itself only when the topic turns towards more high minded and intellectual topics. A Human finds that they cannot understand what the other person is saying. But when they split ways, they find that they understood everything perfectly, not in their terms, words, or even reason, but rather intuitively; it was understood at the heart, though they couldn't describe it. This strange experience is explained that, as one asks more difficult questions, one begins to approach infinitely closer to the point of requiring the mind to have infinite and intuitive knowledge -- that is, one grows closer to requiring pure spirit. And Elvish spirits are different from Humans. They cannot communicate face to face.

One might question the nature of this dual residency. If the Elf has matter in both realms, does this not imply two bodies? And therefore two Forms or Souls? And then there would be two minds. But this question stems from a misunderstanding of the relationship between the Unseen and Seen realm. These two realms are not dualist, separated from each other in a time or place. There is no vocabulary that a Human has that may describe the relationship perfectly. But it can be closely approximated. The realm of the Unseen is like the Form of the Seen. Just as the Soul is the Form of the Body. They are more like a single unit than separate. But calling the Unseen realm a Form is incorrect. For an Elvish body still occupies the Unseen realm, rather than an Elvish spirit. Nevertheless, the relationship is similar. It may be called the Informal-Form of the Seen realm.

So an Elvish body is of both realms. But these two realms are as one. And an Elvish mind is a uniform thing. But it is the Form of the Informal-Form of the Body, and it is the Form of the Body of the Elf. And the interplay between the realms allows the Elves to create their wonders and constructions.

This being of both the Unseen and Seen realms is a being both grounded and eternal. Being grounded, Elves may climb, dance, sing, yell bawdy jokes, and kill. Being eternal, Elves may rejoin us in cycles of reincarnation, they do not age, and their fashions are of a larger appetite than that of a Human's.

To explain more on Elven fashion: an Elf's standards of beauty are similar to that of a Human's. But Men tend to go through 'fads' of beauty and of appreciation of the body, though no fad is exceedingly different from the other. Elves tend to all be beautiful, but widely representative of all Human 'fads' at once. The face may be round and soft or hard and imperious, but both behold the Elvish beauty. The eyes may be blue or they may be brown, but both are bright with Elvish joy.


The Coming of the Elves

The cliffs of Adarnäule and its breaking clods of earth mixed with the foam of the sea crashing upon the shore of Ren ê Taule, and into this mixture Vahan exhaled his Spirit of Life, and the mixture became the Elves: the First-born. The Elves awoke and saw above them the wheeling constellations — and in those days the stars were still young and brightly lit. The Elves made for themselves a language, and they called themselves a name that is now lost, but meant the 'Beloved Amidst the Innumerable Stars'.

It was soon after their creation that the Elves separated. They spread across the earth and were fruitful and multiplied. The gods soon learned of these strange new creations, which they had foreseen a little of in Heaven, and they longed to be with them. So Hundimar told Uziel and Hod to gather their greatest runners and to find and bring all the Elvenfolk to Boryen where the gods lay in rest.

Netzach, Solitude and Power of Endurance, lead the assembly of runners. They went over the face of the earth, and over all its terrains, and gathered the Elves that would come. And most Elves, when they saw the gods in their glory and majesty, felt love in their hearts and would quickly accept. But Gevurah had already begun his dark designs, and while the gods still counseled on what to do with the Elvenfolk he had set his evil purposes upon the world. Many of the Elves were dogged by his shadowy presence or were followed by his evil spirits, and, when the runners of the gods appeared to them, they rejected the gods in fear — for they had sensed their brother's dark presence, and assumed all the gods to be the same. These are the Ava'lman: the Lost Elves. And they have never seen the glories of Boryen.

The gods were unsure why some Elves rejected their offer and gift. The gods were still young and as yet untouched by evil. They did not know of dark designs, and their minds were not yet wearied by evil. So they thought it to be an unmarred and free choice of the Elves. They did not inquire much further.

The Sundering of the Elves

It soon came to pass that Gevurah's lies sundered the Elves from the gods, and the Seats separated from their creation so that they would not harm them. It was at this time that the first breakage began between the Elves. As the Elves chased and harassed the fleeing gods, a stone from a sling broke a tiny crack on the mask of Chesed Seat of Love. A brilliant light burst out, and it blinded a tenth of the assembled Elves. These tenth are called the Itie'lman, the Blind Elves, and they somewhat sorrowed, though not fully repented, for their impious act. The rest were called the Yeqitari, the Eastern Elves, and they traveled to farther lands to establish mighty kingdoms.

There were also the Morgondi, the Forgotten Elves, sometimes called by Men the Wood Elves. They are counted among the Impious Traitors, and although they weren't present at the Sundering of the Elves they disliked the gods and were glad to be rid of them.

The Eastern Age of Glass and Steel

As the majority of the Elvenfolk headed to the East they were met by Gevurah Seat of Judgement. He offered them assistance in establishing their kingdoms. Now, the Yeqitari had long listened to the god's advice, so they accepted his offer. In no short time, empires of steam and wheels were constructed under the guidance of Gevurah and the Devil Prince Qumran. It was a prosperous time. The Eastern Elves lived in cities of glass and steel. But all the while, they prepared primarily for war. Gevurah had sown his words deeply and all the Yeqitari relied on his advice. He commanded from a mighty iron fortress in the far, far east. He sought dominion over all and longed for war.

The Summer Age of the Western Elves

A weeping, wasting afternoon
Weighs down the aspiring corn;
Amber and red, the sunset soon
Leads back to golden morn.

For a little while in the West there was a flurry of activity and an expansion of wealth and prosperity. But this age was short, and only a little while even in the minds of Men. To the Elves this Summer lasted as quickly as a taunting wink; and from the East soon came the howls of shrill trumpets and the booming of drums. The Long, Dark Winter had arrived, and continues to this day.

In this Summer Age the Western Elves spread across the western continents of Erub and Aran. They established mighty empires and created kingdoms that were filled with the sounds of music and activity. The Tentyric Kings of Alk'kir constructed their upturned pyramids, the House of Melthran founded cities with towers like spikes of pearl, the Caládolhn  made Homely Houses in the frigid northern mountains, and discovered the ever-lasting principles of hot cocoa.

Men arrived from the East, haunted by dark and shadowy figures. The Western Elves were somewhat welcoming, and the first kingdoms of Men were established.

Elvish learning was always desired. And structures from those times still remain today, although often in states of disrepair, slowly falling into obscurity.

The Dwarrow learned much from the Elves. Grand trade agreements were made between the peoples. As the underbellies of the mountains echoed with the sounds of Dwarrow smithies, the Elves adorned the land with works of architecture that did not take, but added, to the natural beauty. The most beautiful things were created, then. Gems you could not even imagine. Fine clothes adorned with gold and silver. Towers of adamant and towers of mithril, crowned by golden lights and fires so that their cities were never dark, and yet the stars innumerable still twinkled in all their splendor. If only those days could last forever!

But war from the east was coming, and even in this Summer Age the Western Elves fought amongst themselves. And all the Western Elves blamed their losses on each other. They could not imagine that they were fallible. Mighty armaments were built. Walls were stacked high and thick. And the very earth groaned as it was delved more deeply for precious metals.

And at last, war came.

The Wars of Hate

Little will be said on the Wars of Hate, here. The victories of the West were fruitless. Their defeats were long and long-suffering. The Caládolhn were extinguished. The line of Muyyaqar was murdered. The West was to be consumed by the Seat of Judgement. And all was to be lost.

So let us give thanks to Detheril the Mariner, Vahan bless him. May we sing the praises of Fionn eä Vanwi, who led the Heavenly Host and suffered mightily against Gevurah. May we play our instruments in love of the many fallen. May we adore Mathiel, who is Vahan, and may we always remember his terrible death against the World-serpent, may we remember his descent into Hell, may we remember the Doom He has averted! And through Him we are saved. May Evil at last be destroyed at the End of Days. Vahan! Let it be so!

Êa síra elin sû e-govaned!

The Elvish Decline

I should be sorry to see them go, hi ho, I should be sorry to see them go...
— Last Verse of the Marching Fairies, a Child's Folk Song in Eastern Lower Huraedon

The Wars of Hate ruined all the lands and all the kingdoms of the world. The gods had shattered Boryen, and the ferocity of their battling had thrown all peoples asunder. It was in the aftermath of this destruction that the gods offered peace and due justice to the Elves from both the West and the East. Most Elves accepted. By far more of the Western Elves accepted. They went with the gods to be judged in Ciborium's Halls. So the Age of the Elves ended, and the Age of Man began.

As for those Elves that still remained. We are not sure what this decision did to the Yeqitari Elves, but we know that, in the West, the Elves diminished ever further in both bodily and political powers. Slowly, the Elves do not return when they die. They are not reincarnated: they remain in Ciborium's Halls, weary of the pains of the world. But they will return after the End of the World, reborn and rejuvenated.

On the Yeqitari

The Yeqitari Listed

In days past there were many more groups and clans within the numbers of the Eastern Elves, but with the ending of the Wars of Hate they were diminished. Nevertheless, the four mightiest peoples of the Yeqitari Elves remain to this day, and they were the mightiest in the Elder Days. They are the Parasquen, a race of dark or ashy skinned Elves; the Yan, wealthiest and most numerous of all the Elven race, including the Itie'lman; the Naharaim, a race of folk most interested in steam and metal, they have sometimes been called Dwarrow though this is a misnomer, the Devil Prince Qumran enjoyed their company very much; the Genunogora, a people of coagulation and disintegration, full of wisdom and knowledge; and the Altaic, who were sundered from a greater people called the Altresdolhn, and never had great love for the Seat of Judgement, although they followed all he decreed.

Though their powers are far diminished than in the Elder Days, they still retain their kingdoms and have large populations. These Elves do not seem to have as great a magical ability as their Western counterparts. There have even been reports of the Eastern Elves dying of old age, although these are likely exaggerated.

On the Itie'lman

The Itie'lman Listed

The Itie'lman are called the High Elves, and they were once the most numerous of peoples in the West. There are four major divisions. There are the Eresdolhn they are golden and black haired folk who loved the arts of crafting and building, they were mightiest of the Itie'lman but few remain alive today; the Pol-Muyyaqar, they are descendants of the powerful Tentyric Kings of the Alk'kir desert, but now they are a mostly nomadic people, wandering over the dunes like pale spirits of the wind; the Pirisqwik, once rulers of a sprawling jungle and mountain empire to the far south, they have been cursed and reduced to insanity and savagery, worshiping the Once-living-now-dead gods to whom they beseeched for help against the Yeqitari, there are still some who retain their identities, although they are now called the Dark Elves and cannot bear the light of the Day; and the Caládolhn, whose ends defined the words 'butchery' and 'tragedy', they are extinct, and what little echelons remained after the Yeqitari annihilated their northern kingdoms were later genocided by the Nelqorana.

Notably, the High Elves do not differ from Men in appearance — though usually they have bodies of Men in their physical prime. Itie'lman ears — among other Elves tapered at the end like a faery's — look very much like a Human's. But one can tell an Itie'lman from a Human by many imperceptible, veering on subconscious acting, traits. Poise, the way an Itie'lman talks and the eyes weighed heavily, etc.: you cannot mistake a High Elf for a Man — their natures are too different and burn with the striking clarity of fire.

The Itie'lman today are only finishing the long defeat that was begun many thousands of years ago, but they die out slowly. Eventually, all the Western Elves will settle in the Halls of the Dead, like flies.

On the Morgondi

The Morgondi Listed

The Morgondi are the Forgotten Elves, so named because they have done little in comparison to the Itie'lman against the forces of Gevurah. There are three major divisions of this somewhat numerous people. All of them prefer the boughs of trees to the high walls of cities, although they still have crafts of their own sort. And the Lorwen are known to make castles. The divisions go as such: there are the Quoth, by far the most numerous of the Morgondi, they adore 'play' and love soaring and high trees across which they can leap like startled birds into the air; the Lorwen, they are the least wise but the most dangerous and cunning of the Elves, but they have been beaten back and slaughtered by the Vampires of Vulga, and are near extinction; the Eçé, they are an extinct race, and the last of them is the vampiress Alshod Sildressi, they have an undiminished strength that burns like a fire, and they were once the greatest melee combatants in the world — the Eçé participated somewhat often in the Wars of Hate.

The Morgondi, too, diminish.

On the Ava'lman

The Ava'lman Listed

The Lost Elves are little recorded of in history, and we can assume tragic ends to their people, either stolen away by Gevurah and experimented on by Marqôd, or perhaps simply disappearing as many races do. One recorded race of the Ava'lman are the Ishvamoïnen, the Snow Elves. But they are an isolationist people, and have been clearly struck by a terrible sorrow shared by all members of their race.

So they diminish, as well.

On the Vanwi

The Vanwi Listed

  • Shii
  • Néla

The Vanwi are a legendary group of Elves who didn't betray the gods on that fateful day. They are led by Fionn eä Vanwi, the designated High King of all the Elves in the world. He is annointed by Hundimar Seat of the Sky himself. The Vanwi presumably include many tribes and groups of Elves who left their greater groups in favour of support of the gods. While not much is known about the Vanwi, we are able to guess due to fragments of historical records and some personal experiences encountered on the Island of Tete, which seems to have a closer connection to whatever realms the Vanwi dwell in.

We know of two tribes of Elves of the Vanwi. They are called the Shii - or the Twilight Elves - and the Néla, which is Fionn's own clan and people. The Shii dwell in a strange half-realm, invisible to ours, and it is shadowed in an eternal and misted twilight. The moon hangs half full, and the stars twinkle with a greater luminance than the most valuable gems. This realm we call the Realm of Crossed Clay. Of the Néla we aren't sure. Sages are only aware of their name, and that they are the premier Elvish clan, having always stayed pious and righteous. As to what they look like, their temperaments, and their occupied realm, we do not know.

Elves
by Nils Blommér
Take care not to step on those shrooms, tread around them! The Shii were out last night, and under the moon they danced their hearts out.
— Common folk advice on Tete

Major Divisions Itie'lman
Morgondi
Yeqitari
Vanwi
Ava'lman

Coming of Age 50 Years or more

Genetic Descendants
Lifespan
Immortal
Average Height
5ft. ~ 6'4ft.
Related Ethnicities
Wood Elf
by WETA
Make sure you step quietly while treading through Elven woods. If you don't, well, you'll get caught. And then the Elves who caught you will make that stupid joke about how they could've 'shot you in the dark cause your breathing was so loud'. You'd think with all that time on their hands they'd make more original stuff.
— Stephen the Elf-watcher


Cover image: by SpartanK42

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