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Elves are humanoid beings present on many worlds. They generally stand taller than humans and possess a graceful, slender physique. They are easily recognizable thanks to their long, pointed ears, their high cheekbones, their wide and expressive eyes, filled with vibrantly colored pupils, and their colorful, silky hair. All of these traits lead elves to be widely viewed as an extraordinarily beautiful race.
Elves are agile and nimble, gifted with excellent manual dexterity, able to negotiate narrow or treacherous surfaces, and able to perform tasks requiring a great deal of precision. Their keen sense of vision and hearing allow them to spot faraway objects more clearly and hear faint sounds that an average human couldn't perceive, although their vision and hearing aren't as sharp as that of harpies or nekos. Combined with their incredible reflexes, elves make for a quick-witted and alert race, able to react to danger almost as soon as it strikes. But for all these great assets, elves are cursed with a rather frail form. The bones of an elf are slightly thinner than those of a human. Though the lighter weight of their skeleton contribute to their signature agility, this lack of volumetric mass leave their bones comparatively fragile and more prone to fracture during a fierce hand to hand brawl. As a result, most elves shy away from close combat, the exception being Scarlet Elves. Due to their skeleton being lighter, elves weigh less than humans of similar height and physique. Both male and female elves grow very little body hair, save for eyebrows and maybe pubic hair.
A seemingly universal trait of elves is their proficiency with ranged weapons. Thanks to their keen senses, they are deadly accurate with almost any kind of projectile weapons, and often naturally feel comfortable shooting a target from a distance rather than attacking up close. Another seemingly ubiquitous characteristic is their sensitivity to magic. On magic-rich worlds, elves almost always make for excellent magic users, possessing an almost inherent talent and understanding of the magic arts, as well as a very slight natural resistance against spells. The reason behind this uncanny ability is unknown, and while they practice varied forms of magic, elves born with innate magical power are far more common than any other species with the exception of fairies, which further contribute to their reputation as natural-born magicians.
Elves in general age much slower than other humanoid species. An elf who at first glance appears no older than a human in their late teens to early twenties might really be 100 or even 200 years old. How slowly they age vary a lot from species to species and is, of course, even harder to tell in Felarya. Oddly, elven pregnancy is almost identical as human pregnancy and lasts about just as long as well. Another remarkable trait of Felaryan elves is their curious attachment to their surroundings. Elves who dwell in a region for long find themselves physically adapting to match their surroundings, most noticeably taking on coloration reflecting the local environment, and developing attributes and abilities in order to better survive. For example, elves living near the sea may develop a bluish coloration, webbed feet, and possibly gills. Such elves, however, are often very ill-fitted to survive outside of their chosen habitat and they typically become nervous and uneasy in an environment they don't know. Being an adaptive race doesn't means they adapt fast.
Elves are numerous in the northern parts of Felarya and come in many different species and groups. They form tight-knit communities where nearly every member know each other and everyone is equal. Some are ruled by a single leader or a group of leaders, but in general, the head of an elven community is rarely treated with the same kind of luxurious privileges a human king or noble would, and thus feel a much stronger kinship with their brethren. To other races, elf neighbors may instead look like family despite not being related. Some elves feel a bond with nature and strive to live in harmony in the wilderness, using their natural abilities and reflexes to survive and thrive there, whereas others are completely used to living among humans in cities like Negav, and would last no more than a few minutes in the jungle. Elven settlements in the wild are usually pretty difficult to find, being either built high in the trees, or covered by illusions of some sort.
Elves form a competitive lot, being most well known for their grandiose archery competitions. Archery is a very old elven tradition, having been used as a form of duel to settle a dispute or prove one's worth for centuries. To them, competitive archery is more than a simple contest to see who is the better marksman; it is a representation the most important virtues of an elf and it is the most important opportunity for anyone to prove its mettle. They must choose their target carefully, wait for the right moment, and then strike with power and precision. A poor showing in archery is deemed one of the biggest humiliations anyone can suffer. Another form of competition that is recently surfacing in Negav is fencing. While not quite as popular or as symbolic as archery, practitioners deem it "An elegant combination of a dance and a chess match that tests the speed of one's feet and wit." Though many elves have a distaste for close combat, if they were forced into it, many claim they would choose the rapier as their weapon of choice, or any other light weapon that requires a great deal of finesse to master.
Elven clothing often plays off the beauty of the natural world with many vegetal and leafy motifs, though elves that live in cities tend to bedeck themselves in the latest fashion. Regardless of where they live, elves are generally very fond of expressing themselves through the arts of drawing, music, and literature. They usually possess inborn patience, making them particularly suited to wizardry. Moreover, this patience ensures that they rarely jump to conclusions and take the time get as many details right as possible, which make them excellent judge of characters.
Elves played an important part in the History of Felarya, taking part in many events that shaped the world and building the greatest empire on record.
Relations with Other Races
Elves are infamous for rarely mixing with other races, giving them a very polarizing reputation to say the least. At best, they are viewed as a deeply individualistic lot, constantly trying to improve themselves in every domain imaginable, and that simply can't help showing off. At worst, they're depicted as haughty and disdainful stuck-ups, believing all other races to be inferior. There are many theories as to why that is. Perhaps they believe themselves superior to races without natural magical talents, perhaps they think other races are less significant due to their comparatively short lifespans in other worlds, or perhaps they find their weapons too clumsy and simple, requiring too little skill to use well.
While there may be some grains of truth to those theories, the relationship between elves and other races is actually more complex. Elves generally form highly traditionalist societies whose values can sometimes look outdated to the rest of the world and sometimes clash with it, leading to the popular belief of elves looking down on others as inferior. While some elves are truly this self-centered for the aforementioned reasons, others such as the Majuras and Shamshis simply prefer a reclusive lifestyle, and their lack of contact with outsiders is often mistaken as xenophobia. It could be said that elves are simply slow to accept and adapt to changes or make new friends, both at a personal and national levels. That said, once someone is considered a comrade, such alliances can last for generations.
Though they'll rarely say it out loud, elves are often fascinated by humans, particularly by their creativity and how multi-talented they can be, although they are also just as quick to dismiss them as rash and prone to poor judgment. An even more ambivalent relation is the one they have with the rare nemesises. Many elves might call them decadent, long-necked freaks, but in the same time they can't help but be awed by their uncanny talent with bow. Most elves simply can't rival with the incredible and deadly precision of a nemesis, and the frightening speed at which they draw and shoot their arrows. It's also interesting to note that long ears are considered a seductive trait among elves in Felarya. An elf calling another "short-ears" can be pretty offensive, and an otherwise perfectly gorgeous elf lady could fall into depression because of the shortness of her ears. Perhaps this is yet another reason why elves don't mix with other races: they just think they're ugly because of their short ears!"
On Felarya, the size of an elf varies a lot. While most are roughly as tall as humans, if slightly taller, others can easily reach 100 feet in size. The theory is that, because of their sensitivity to magic, some elves become infused with the magic of the soil and undergo a growth spurt that allows them to reach giant size. It's also assumed some giant elves are created by magical means, growing from a human-sized individual to a giant, through some rituals, such as the Tajyms Khajals. Depending on their size, elves can be both prey and predator. Small elves find themselves confronted with a big problem: they taste incredibly good and once a predator has eaten one, it will usually try to catch others. On the other hand, giant elves, such as the scarlet elves, make frighteningly efficient hunters because of their heightened vision and hearing, and their lightning quick reflexes. It should be noted that it is difficult for a giant elf to even think of eating a small elf, no matter their species. It could happen, but it would be a very rare things.
- Credits to Shady-knight for writing the revised description.