Desert elf Ethnicity in Yeia | World Anvil

Desert elf

Imagine that you, a lonely merchant or an adventurer or traveller, decide to cross the great desert passing through endless dunes and rocky Mountains made of pure orange stone that give shadow to scorpions, snakes, lizards and the few birds that dare to fly in these regions during day time. You are thirsty, asking yourself when the journey is going to end, if you are far from civilization. When you cross the canyon, you thought that it’s only a break from the burning sunlight that waits for you on the other side, you start to worrying yourself about how much water you have left and begin to think this could be the end of your journey, after you cross the canyon, you suddenly see something wonderful, almost miraculous, blue, yellow, brown, white tents in the nearby valley.   You realized that you have been saved, and you shout: Desert Elves!!!, you ride into the camp and suddenly you are greeted by the leader of the tribe with the famous words: May the light of the Sun shine upon you, and after this he offers you water, tea and food, such is the hospitality of those who consider themselves, as the toughest and bravest of all the Elves, and also the most welcoming


  The desert elves are a subgroup inside the Sun Elf ethnicity. As many of the members of this ethnicity, the desert elves are Anthineryn (newcommers) elves, descendants of High elves from today’s southern Seria that migrated to the Kingdom of Unhelion during the Middle Bronze Age.   It’s unknown when or how some of the Anthineryn elves decided to live around the oasis of the deserts of Unhelion but they became a very prominent group after the 2700s BP, when many Anthineryn elf kings were supported by the Desert elf tribes. And they also played an important role in the civil wars that broke out in Unhellion.  


  They are divided into 6 tribes (Amed, Banerion, Mathrid , Almayz, Mistud and Goldensword) each one ruled by a petty king or queen, but at the same time absolutely loyal to the King of Unhellion. They're nomads and skillful horsemen, they live in tents near the oasis in the interior of the country. During Summer some tribes go north, near Spearhead, and then return to the South during Winter. But most of them traditionally lived in the area between the capital,Ymhilean, and the Sea of the Doomed . They are very hospitable people that usually receive visitors and foreigners with a cup of tea of coffee, and plenty of food. It is said that in all of Yeia, they are the epitome of hospitality.

Naming Traditions

Feminine names

Telnuryë, Físdisten, Wilcelar, Aisha, Wysarie, Magmoira, Xillana, Aya, Basma, Alea , Myra

Masculine names

Aiquencel, Immelnur, Ittuiel, Afaryn, Aldayr, Ierem, Dekyn, Willah, Alvann, Tyrtenden, Arranyn, Hemays

Family names

El-Wayz, Il- Azmayr, Amed, Banerion, Mathrid , Almayz, Mistud, Goldensword, Mellyn, Jariz


Major language groups and dialects

As Anthineryn elves, they were, in the past, responsibles for the introduction of Classical Elvish into the lands of Unhellion. Nowadays the classical elvish spoken by them have developed into the Sun elf dialect. This is the vernacular language of the Sun and Desert Elves while Classical elvish is the official language of the country and also the language used to write any document.

Shared customary codes and values

The Importance of the group and the community:

  While other elves, like their Sun Elf brothers have a more "individualistic approach" due to them "living in cities", as the Desert Elves often say, these exotic and resilient elves belief that the key to survive in this hostile place is the group, the family or in most cases the tribe. The members of the tribe must help each other, sharing food, drinks, helping them in times of need..., in conclusion, increasing the bond between the members of the group.   This principle also translates into how the Sun Elf Kings and Queens rule their communities. They must look after their fellow tribesmen, giving them food and supplies and other commodities they might need, such as ceramics, jewellery, and if the occasion appears, booty, from pillaging the neighbouring desert people (humans who live in the deserts south west of Unhellion that sometimes make raids into desert elf communities, mostly for stealing their heard) or the northern humans. Some Desert Elf leaders have demanded tribute to the human feudal lords of the north and even besieging some castles. (This is due to the hostility between northern humans and elves, with other human communities like the Davidovian Peoples or the Nari peoples, Sun and Desert Elves have a more friendly attitude).   In resume, as an old saying says in the lands of Unhelion " A King must be a river for his people".   Another quality that the Desert Elves value the most is hospitality. This is a value shared by most of the elves, regarding their ethnic affiliation and has deep roots in their culture (probably since the early Bronze Age, more than 6000 years ago!). Desert Elves are famous for its hospitality, for being very welcoming people that always receive their guests with tea, coffee and deserts. If the guest is covered in sand, they offer him or her a bath, to clean himself before eating with the leader of the camp and the nobles. They also place enormous importance in entertaining their guests, telling them stories, playing dices and cards with them or even organizing a horse race because, as they say, a guest that comes to our tent in peace, with good intentions and honesty is a gift of the gods, a soul that, through the great network of lives created by the gods has been destined to cross paths with us, and thus his arrival has to be celebrated as we had won a war.  
Those who cross the desert, are either the bravest of beings, fools or simply want to die or be punished by the gods. The first have to be revered and helped in case of need, the second are to be rescued and must be thought about the ways of life in the desert, and the latter are not to be disturbed.
— Traditional desert elf saying
    In exchange of this generous hospitality, Desert elves expected the same generosity and hospitality to be applied if they ever come to their guest's house. There is a beautiful tradition among them that is called The Hand of Peace, which consists in scribing the names of both the guest and the host in a hand made of clay. The host keeps the hand with the name of the host inscribed and the guest keeps the hand with the name of the host so that he might remember the hospitality shown to him and act accordingly to the rules of hospitality and honour.
Desert Elf greeting guest by Callyxtus

Average technological level

Despite their "primitive" or "less sofisticated way of live" the  Desert Elves as part of  Unhellion have access to centuries of magic innovations and powerful spells as well as the  cutting edge technology among the elves in terms of weapons and armour. 

Common Dress code

Desert elves tend to wear loose robes and turbans to protect them from the heat and the light of the sun. Most of their clothing is made of cotton, while the elites also wear turbans or robes made of silk, imported from the cities of the kingdom or sometimes imported directly from the Seris Empire .
Desert elves by Callyxtus

Art & Architecture

Desert elf architecture, aside from the palaces of their kings in Ymhilean, which are made of limestone or mud bricks and sumptuously decorated, mostly consists of tents made up of wooden posts and covered with cotton fabrics or animal skin.
a Desert elf Tent by Callyxtus with MidJourney

Common Customs, traditions and rituals

Desert elves are nomads, during winter they live around the oasis of the southern deserts of Unhellion and also around and across the Sea of the Doomed . They are basically pastoralists, taking their flock of sheep around Unhellion.  During summer, when temperatures are higher, some Desert Elf tribes travelled north to the region of Spearhead, where they life near the main rivers but always in their camps which are built around the tent of the chieftain or King.   Speaking about the latter, is also during summer when the different Desert elf kings travel to Ymhilean, the capital of Unhelion to assist to the meetings of the High Court of Unhellion and to give their annual report to the lord, the Sun elf King. Is in the capital where many Desert elf kings have their palaces luxuriously decorated and where they spend most of the summer alongside their servants and family until Autumn arrives.     Desert Elves shared many traditions and religious festivals with their Sun Elf relatives and other elves. But the most famous and important for them is the Festival of the Stars or Howazd (from Classical Elvish: Howazdyn meaning: to Wonder, to contemplate). Each summer during the Summer Solstice Desert elves share a communal meal under the skies around a campfire. Watching the endless number of stars above them while the bard of the community narrates mythological tales and poems. Dance and music also plays an important part in the festival, because engaged couples and couples that have recently married dance around the campfire showing their happiness to the rest of the community. For the youngest elves there is also puppet theater and magical fireworks.   But the most expected spectacle of Howazd is indeed the horse race around the camp. Horsemen have to turn 16 times to the camp and the winner is rewarded with a golden diadem, a horse from the king and a sword with a pommel made of diamond.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

When a new Desert Elf is born, its presented to the king or chieftain in his royal tent. Here he recites a prayer asking the gods to protect the baby and then proceeds to give his blessing as a new member of his tribe. After this he puts a pearl on his head that later is given to their parents.    Once this ceremony is performed the parents and closest family celebrate a banquet on their tent. 

Coming of Age Rites

When a Desert Elf comes of age, he is again presented to the King in his tent and he gives the boy or girl a necklace where he or she puts the pearl he gave them where they were born, simbolizing loyalty to their king. He also gives him or her a sword and  two gold coins as his first payment for his/her military service. 
The father of the elf that is comming of age puts a turban on his head while his mother paints his or her face with the first war painting that he is going to be decorated with.  And finally the new adult is given a ring that he or she would offer to the person he will marry in the future. All of these rituals symbolize both their new condition as a adult member of Desert Elf society, as a warrior and as a husband or wife. 

Funerary and Memorial customs

After centuries of both happy and sad memories an elf must reunite with the gods on their heavenly palace.  When this happens  the family of the deceased carry the body to the center of the camp where all the population of the settlement can show their respects and give condolences to the family. Then a prayer is recited asking the gods to recieve the soul of the deceased and finally the body is buried near the camp and a monolite with his or her name inscribed on it. 


Beauty Ideals

Desert Elves, like all the elves consider both mental and physical health as important. So every male and female is expected to do some kind of exercise. This makes Desert elves look fit and has contributed to the myth of the beauty of the Desert Elves among many human cultures. Because of the scorching Sun they live under, exercise is done inside a big tent close to the camp's main square. These exercises can consist of sword, spear and bow drilling, lifting stones among other things.   Desert Elves also believe that tanned skin is attractive in both male and female alongside make up, both genders. This make-up usually consists on eye shadows and face and body painting.

Gender Ideals

Elven societies (and the Desert Elves are no exception) are pretty egalitarian. There is nothing such as gender roles. Male and female elves share the same tasks, both genders can participate in the politics of their communities and those regarding the Kingdom of Unhelion as they have to select permanent representatives in the High Council of Unhelion.   Both male and female elves take part in warfare. Female Desert Elves are famous for their horse skills, bravery and mastery of the bow. According to both Seris and Elf chronicles, many desert elf women fought personal duels with Seris Namru during the Seris invasion of the country in the 3rd century AP. Also in the history of Unhellion there are very famous Desert Elf Queens, like Queen Tabyris, Desert Elf Queen of the Almayz tribe who defeated an human army of 10.000 men from the north in the 500s BP, and whose daughter married the Sun Elf King Arbacyn V.   Contrary to the human realms, only elven nobility has arranged marriages while the rest of the population has freedom to choose their partner. In fact, both male and female can propose marriage to their partner or asking someone to became their boyfriend/girlfriend.

Relationship Ideals

Contrary to popular belief that elves can be everything but romantic, Elves and specially those living in Unhellion can be very romantic indeed. One can just read their beautiful love poems, composed by many bards and poets across thousands of years.   Elf society and, again, Desert Elf society is no exception, is more open in many aspects than their human counterparts. Specially regarding homosexual relationships. These are considered as something normal and acceptable among the elves. And in the case of the Desert Elf, if two people of the same sex attract each other and decide to marry this not only accepted but encouraged, especially in an somehow warlike ethnicity as theirs.  
Your lover, your husband, your wife, will be not only your lifetime companion, your closest friend, your confident, your other half, the sun that will enlighten you in the darkest of days, in war it will be your protector, your saviour, your shield, your sword, and the force that will drive you to protect your fellow kin and the one that will look after your safety.
— Traditional desert elf saying
  It’s not uncommon for orphans of the tribe to be given to those couples of the same gender that want to have kids. But there are also rumours that in the lands of Unhellion, new spells have been discovered that allows gender changing for a brief period of time for those couples of the same sex that wants to have kids on their own. Although any foreign elf or human has ever witnessed such a thing, and they are also probably very shy to ask.

Cover image: by Lawrence of Arabia (1962 film)


Please Login in order to comment!
Jan 11, 2023 22:48 by Lia Felis

Very nicely crafted write-up! I liked the pictures. It looks like you put a lot of effort into making it. I like your work, maybe I come back for more reading-materials :)

Aspiring fantasy writer and part-time Dungeon Master. Dragon Goddess of Evera.
Feb 2, 2023 19:59

Thank you so much for such a nice comment!. I'm so happy that you like it! and I'm also really glad to hear that you are interesting in my work, it will be a pleasure to see you again commenting my next articles! Hope you like them!