Soul Star Travelers of Elven World

Soul Star Travelers of Elven World, Magick of Tuatha de Danann

List Of Elves In Norse Mythology - Viking Style

A Cultural Overview Of Elves

This work tries to shed some light on elves and their culture. In many cases, I had to resort to logical conclusions, ideas or speculations, where the origins lay in the dark.

For a better overview, this essay is divided in chapters, which are about the most important aspects of elven life. I’ve bolded some parts to make skimming easier – often these parts will be explained elsewhere (in another chapter or in a separate essay) in more detail. Enjoy!

Philosophical Baselines / Characteristics

  • Elves use intelligence and dexterity instead of brute force.

  • Elves use (wizardly or druidic) magic instead of technology (moveable parts, wheel and fire are hardly used).

  • Elves value the aspects nature, wood, wind and water.

  • Elves respect nature and life. Apart from the usual human ranking (plant, animal, sentient being) the age (and the time, that is needed for something to grow back) plays an important role. A 1000year old oak will be valued / ranked higher than a stag / deer or most humans. Even not living nature – rocks, rivers, earth is animated or shaped instead of worked with tools.

  • Elves manufacture items by shaping them rather than constructing them. An elf will not carve a bowl from wood, but shape the wood with magic, or let the bowl grow in its desired form to create a natural bowl.

  • All Elves posses infra vision. This is low-light vision. Drows are the exception to this as they have dark vision (like the dwarves).

  • Many elves tend towards chaos (freedom / liberty) on the alignment spectrum.

Elven Origins & Races

The elves can be found on numerous magical worlds and there are many different elven races, who adapted excellently to their environment. Elvish culture suggests that the elves started out as forest-dwellers, similar to today’s Wild or Green Elves with many ties to ranging and druidism. Elves belong to the fae people, but have evolved and adapted depending on their environment. Prime examples of this evolution are the oceanic Sea Elves, or the Underdark dwelling Drow.

In all the worlds where elves can be found, they seem to have come from the West via ship. Most elves will return to the West toward the end of their (long) life – more on this in the theory of magical places and passages.

Known races are:

· Wild or Green Elves (e.g. Kargonesti): barbarians among the elves, though probably closest in origin to the Fae elves. The other sub-races of the elves show greater variation in their evolution.

Wood Elves: these are the more civilized variant of elves. In many regards Wood Elves are the standard, or most common elves.

· Grey & High Elves: there is some confusion regarding Grey and High Elves. A better term for High Elves would be Noble Elves, which can be broken down into the sub-sects below:

Grey Elves – named after the color of the mountain rock, that they made their home.

Gold- or Sun Elves (Qualinesti)

Silver – or Moon Elves (Silvanesti)

· Sea Elves & Dark Elves: the most isolated of all the elves, as such their origin is heavily disputed.

o Sea Elves: clear signs of their evolution stem from the aquatic environment they adapted to. Little else is known about Sea Elves or why they wound up underwater.

o Dark Elves: also called Drow or Night Elves. Most believe that they stem from High Elves, also most High Elves don’t like to hear that. Drow and High Elves consider the other to be the antithesis of their culture.

Elven Society & Female Elves

Elves are organized in houses - these consist of extended family and associates. In most sub-races women enjoy equal rights to male elves; some, like the Drow, give women superior rights in a matriarchal society. Other Elves although function under a matriarchy such as the Noble Elves (Eladrin), and the Moon Elves, while Sun Elves lean towards patriarchy.

The remaining elven races enjoy equal or individual rights. In most sub-races women are more common than men (60% female - 40% male), and they tend to be more skilled in magic. Magic is highly valued in Elven culture, which is why women are more likely to be in leadership positions.

Elven Homes

Elven culture varies to such a degree that looking at every habitat for each elf sub-race would be an entire article in itself, I will now just touch on Wood Elves and Wild Elves.

Most elves live in the forest; they grow houses from living trees (or have camps of tents among them). It is hard to imagine, but Elves can create whole fortresses of wooden walls and impregnable thorny hedges/brambles composed of blackberries and roses among others. In winter most Elves use ivy and mistletoe to keep their homes green. Elven settlements are often located in dales between hills and mountains, so the large tree structures aren’t as obvious. Elves don’t have much furniture, trees form natural sitting or working corners. Elves do not sleep, but when they meditate they will do so in a hammock.

Elven Names

Elven names are often long and difficult to pronounce, so often elves will deliberately use a nick name (ie. Simur is short for Simurnathanathan) Their names often end with –as, -las, -el, -il, -iel. –ielle (the last ending means “angel” or “female angel”). Typically names will also have a “th” in the middle.

The first name is usually followed by their Elven house name (remember, a house is extended family with the occasional adopted member). The two are joined together by a prefix - either the ‘dan’ meaning ‘son of’, ‘dal’ meaning daughter of or the neutral ‘da’ meaning ‘child of’.

Take my all-elf party for example:

Adolanthalas dan Corellian (Adolanthalas, son of house Corellian – Sun Elf and leader).

Avariella dal Lunari (Avariella, daughter of house Lunari – Moon Elf and 2nd in command).

Cathalanis da Silva (Cathalanis, child of house Silva – Wild/Green Elf).

Lizinthalara dal Nualdor (Lizinthalara, daughter of house Nualdor – “Normal” Elf).

Kelendil dan Ka’estas (Kelendil, son of house Ka’estas = No-house, “Low Class” Elf).

Elvish Diet and “Farming”

Since most elves live in a forest habitat, their diet revolves around hunting and gathering. A big part of an Elf’s diet consists of nuts: beechnuts, edible chestnuts, walnuts and hazelnuts, and so on. Oh and pine-seeds. These are supplemented with seasonal fruits and berries such as cherries, pears, apples, peaches, apricot, plums or more exotic ones like figs. Examples of berries are blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and so on. Last but not least there are mushrooms – the “flesh of the forest” e.g. Portobello, Oyster mushrooms, Porcini, Chanterelle and so on.

It is common for Elves to use natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey on almost everything. Both are also used to make mead, a popular alcoholic beverage spiced with elderflower or herbs. Another drink Elves are fond of is wine, though it is either cultivated by the Noble Elves or imported.

While elves are prolific hunters (their skill with a bow is legendary), they are also great hawkers and fishers. However not all elves eat meat, many are vegan or vegetarian. Elves also collect eggs, but they usually leave 1-2 eggs in each nest they gather from to be raised naturally.

Some elven tribes have lose herds of deer or stags, which they harvest milk and blood from.

Any chapter on Elven food would be incomplete without the magic twistGoodberry. Imagine these berries sawn into blessed soil, combined with additional magic from a plant growth spell. These bushes/shrubs turn out goodberries with more nourishing and healing capabilities.

To help with harvesting and collecting all the nuts and seeds, elves use Animal Friendship to train squirrels and jays who can do the work for them. Training critters to gather is simple - they just need to be taught to put all nuts in one place, like a basket, overriding their instinct to hide them.

Now, you have probably been waiting for the elven way-bread Lembas from LotR?! I don’t have an exact recipe, but the elves use flour from grounded nuts and seeds, bound together with eggs and honey. It is also very likely that Lembas is magically treated. The texture is usually dense and dried, rather than light and airy like most bread.

Another Elven delicacy is the lesser known Quith-pa – the iron rations of the Krynn (Dragonlance) Elves. Quith-pa consists mainly of dried fruit and nuts – and is also magically enhanced - likely with goodberries.

Grains like wheat, oats, and rice are used sparingly. This is more dependent on setting, as I’m sure you could imagine large forests with clearings or even terraced mountains like in Asia with elves.

With so many Elvish food gathered in early Autumn, as well as the bright colors, it is commonly called ‘Elven Summer.’

Elvish Weapons, Armor and Warfare

Elves favor weapons that benefit from extended training throughout their long lives, and their natural dexterity. Shortswords and longswords , and rapiers are common, while wild elves prefer a spear or dagger. Above all, elves are best known as archers, their skill not even rivaled by centaurs. Elves receive proficiency bonuses with all of these weapons.

“When you want to craft a bow, start by planting a tree!” This phrase taken from the Huns is central to elven philosophy regarding archery. Another big advantage of the bow is that it is a distance weapon typically made of wood, but sometimes horn and bone. The bow is also perfect for the hit-and-run guerilla warfare that elves prefer.

Elves use leather armor or magical armor that doesn’t hinder their agility, whatever lets them move swiftly and silently, and cast spells if necessary. The famous Elven chain mail is rare and usually reserved for noble fighters and mages. Elves rarely use small shields – preferring bucklers that can be strapped to the forearm, enabling them to use a weapon requiring two hands (bow) or dual wild. Sometimes they use a spear or longsword with two hands, or one handed for balance or spell casting (bladesinger).

Regarding elven magic: Elves strive to protect nature and their precious forest, so they concentrate on spells like Charm and Sleep (which they have developed resistance to) or buffs. Elves will learn illusionary or damaging magic, but they do not put an emphasis on learning them. They are especially prudent with any kind of fire spell due to the high risk such spells pose to their precious forests.

Elvish Products

The elven philosophy regarding production highly values working with nature, rather than taking from it; because of this metal is rare and highly praised in elven society. For an elf mining or unnaturally removing minerals from the earth would be considered twisting, or robbing nature. That said, metal is still utilized in elven production, instead collecting star metal (from meteors) diving or panning for gold-nuggets in rivers. Those with more advanced magic will enlist the help of elementals. Summoning different elementals will provide access to a larger quantity of resources - an earth elemental will bring metal from the earth plane and a fire-elemental might help in forging without forcing the burning of wood or coal. Elven steel is lightweight (weight -10%), stainless and non magnetic – meaning it is immune to the effects of heat metal – (some stainless steel pots don’t work on induction hobs – look up austenitic steel if you are interested).

Gemstones for jewelry are gathered the same way as metals: by diving into rivers, or enlisting the help of elementals. Pearls and mother of pearl are extremely common, as they are easily found while diving.

The majority of elven production is finely cured leather – often in the form of soft boots, leggings or armor, fine clothing, tents, sails, nets lines and ropes made from silk. For this they have planted Mulberry Trees, since the leaves are what the silk-moth caterpillars eat. This means elves also eat mulberries and use the larvae from the processed cocoons as protein (raw or dried) or as fish bait.

Not surprisingly, as elves are expert bowmen, they are also awesome bow-makers and fletchers. Typically elves will use found items from the forest like various wood, ash, iron nuggets, deer-antlers and colorful bird-feathers.

With elves arriving on ships, they are also proficient seafarers. This means they know how to make ships, boats and canoes. As with their naturally formed housing, they will also grow sea vessels from living wood.

Last but not least: magic, which is another important facet to elven culture and the products they develop. All the little trinkets that are needed as spell components, for inks and scrolls.

Similar to the dwarves, elves prioritize internal trading among their people over exporting goods to nearby settlements. Some products, like elven steel and magic items, are highly regulated; some elven cultures may prohibit the trade of these items entirely. The more common goods elves will freely trade are food and survival products.

Elvish Script & Culture

Elven writing consists of elegant and fluent lines, which they use a quill and ink to record on parchment, papyrus or silk. These writings are originally kept and stored in the form of scrolls. Today elves sometimes use books/tomes, because it is faster to access a certain piece of information than the traditional scroll method. Many sages believe that dwarves invented books and modern print - in the form of engraved copper- or gold-plates bound together. On the other hand, because elves are a prominent magic-based culture, their method was copied by other races such as humans.

Elven Humor

Elves are typically a fun-loving people – their fae ancestry makes them awesome pranksters. Due to the mischievous nature of their humor, it can be seen as a bit strange by human standards. As with any people there are outliers who can be as dour and sour as any dwarf, but generally speaking, their long life would be unbearable without a good sense of humor.

Elven Music

Elves love to make music – their specialties are instruments associated with wind or water, like the flute or harp. They often enhance their performance with magic for audible and visual effects.

Elven Body Hygiene

Elves are very clean people. They usually like swimming and bathing – many elven communities are build on islands, or next to rivers, lakes or other bodies of water. If water is scarce, they use sweathouses – more accurately sweat - tents (like many Native Americans). They also use soap (from animal fat and ashes), and naturally occuring fragrances (wildflowers and herbs are favorites). If they lack the ingredients but have access to magic (say when adventuring) they often use prestidigitation to dry-clean!

Elven Funeral Customs

An elf usually doesn’t die, but leaves this world for the sacred homelands of the elves in the Far West, when an elf hears the tune or feels the onset of age (in the Forgotten Realms this is called Evermeet).

On the rare occasion when an elf dies an unnatural death there are several potential funeral rites. The most renowned funeral rite involves several elements: the deceased is laid to rest in a boat (usually with his armor, equipment and gifts such as flowers) then the boat is pushed down a river or of the coast and shot with fire arrows. This usually takes place at sunset/dusk when the first stars begin to shine in the sky. It might be a strange coincidence, but this is also a foolproof way to stop someone from transforming – see Lycanthropy,Vampirism and the Elves

*****

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Multi Dimensional Reality

The world as you know it - all that you see, taste, feel and touch, comprises only about 5% of all of the stuff of the universe. The other 95% is what we have considered "nothing" or the "firmament"  or dark matter or the heavens or mystic Other Worlds. This 95% is multi-dimensional and consists of potential realities that may be perceived.

A single thought...a mere whisper, ...... barely upon a breeze that catches a spark... all is tinder before the firestorm... and yet.
ONLY that whisper
ONLY that thought
 the world is forever changed beyond the fears and dreams of cardboard men.
Freedom and change starts within:
It is encouraged by truth and courage of people who love
Built by the respect of true beings standing as one before each other.
Lets us cross every man made borders
without fear stare into eyes and hearts of all our brothers and sisters: within our words without shouting,or force to hold each to our truths; and let us without fear freely share what works...

Written By Ꮙℓἇ∂ἇ.

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