Elves

Elves
Standing between 5 and 5 ½ feet tall on average, Elves are a people of incredible grace and beauty. Pointed ears and sharp features are noticeable defining aspects of their appearance. There are two major ethnicities of Elves, the Fagrima (sometimes called High or Forest Elves by Humans) and the Sekr (Low or Dark Elves).

Fagrimma
Speed: 6.5 | Size: Medium
Strength (+5) | Constitution (+5) | Agility (+15) | Dexterity (+10)
Charisma (+15) | Intelligence (+15) | Willpower (+10) | Perception (+15)
Hit Points (+3) | Close Combat (+0) | Marksmanship (+0) | Focus (+8) | Natural Armor Value (+0)
Traits: Long Life (Minor)

Fagrimma generally have a light olive tone to their skin with hair and eye color which varies greatly and is loosely tied to the Great House from which the Elf hails.

Fagrimman fashions are extravagant and little expense is spared by those who can afford it to dress in the latest styles. Subtle sensuality is the goal with leisure clothes, which combine exotic colors, exquisite tailoring, and intricate designs to create a covering yet tantalizing garb. Humans tend to find Fagrimman fashions decadent and indecent but fail to recognize the clothing’s origin and role within their religion and culture. Military attire is functional yet still very elegant, crafted by the best of Elven smiths who have had centuries to perfect their craft.

Sekr
Speed: 6.5 | Size: Medium
Strength (+5) | Constitution (+5) | Agility (+15) | Dexterity (+10)
Charisma (+10) | Intelligence (+10) | Willpower (+10) | Perception (+20)
Hit Points (+6) | Close Combat (+0) | Marksmanship (+0) | Focus (+6) | Natural Armor Value (+0)
Traits: Long Life (Minor)

The Sekr are Elves from the exile nation of Sekr Brækirn. While they maintain the same features as other Elves, their skin is generally a darker red/brown and hair is rarely anything other than black or dark brown. While their eyes maintain colors similar to those found in other Elves, they are generally much darker as well.

Sekr fashion is an extension of Fagrimman fashion; however, it is carried out in an area with little access to exotic materials and in which protection from the elements is of much greater concern. Individuals therefore often wear two sets of clothes: a very lightweight set of underclothes most of the time and a heavier, more protective set of overclothes when outdoors. Armor tends to be very well crafted but simpler than Fagrimman armor, as the Sekr smiths do not have access to many commonly used decorative materials.

Names
Elves are typically given only a first name at birth, then, as they age they are given one or more titles by those around them. These titles are usually derived from defining features, habits, or achievements of the individual. They can be used either to praise or denigrate the Elf and are often only used by limited social groups. Elves can have any number of titles, and it is up to them and those they associate with which titles are used to refer to them.

Female Names: Ægileif, Bryngerðr, Dýrfinna, Eydís, Fjórleif, Gunnhildr, Hallkatla, Ingileif, Jódís, Melkorka, Rannveig, Salgerðr, Þorkatla, Vélaug

Male Names: Ármóðr, Bjarnheðinn, Eindriði, Friðleifr, Grenjaðr, Hálfdan, Kolskeggr, Ormr, Rúnólfr, Skarpheðinn, Þorgautr, Úlfheðinn, Valgarðr

Titles: bunhauss (gash-skull), gerpir (brave), grettir (scowler), hausakljúfr (skull-cleaver), höggvinkinna (cut-cheek), holbarki (braggart), hryggr (sad, grieved), snarskygna (swift-eyed), fagri (handsome), grá (gray), hamrammi (strongly-built), hárfagri (fair-hair), hávi (tall, impressive), heppni (lucky), hugprúði (stout-hearted), hvassi (sharp, keen), hvíti (white), kyrri (quiet, gentle), óði (mad, frantic), rauði (red), strangi (strong), svarti (black), ungi (young), kaldmunnr (cold-mouth), kráka (crow), oðikollr (mad-head, wild man), ógæfa (unlucky), ölfúss (desirous of beer), sekr (outlaw, exile), skytja (marksman), þegjandi (silent), þunnkárr (curly-head), víss (wise)

Note: The word “inn” (the) is often placed before the Elf’s title.

Background
Elves are one of the oldest races still found on the continent, though the age of their civilization’s greatness has long since come to an end. The remaining Elven people are divided and struggling to maintain their culture and lands in the face of the booming Human population.

According to Elven lore, they were the first intelligent inhabitants to populate the continent, having first arrived as a nomadic seafaring people. For many centuries they colonized and ruled the land, unhindered by the meddling of other races, until one fateful day when Elven miners stumbled upon a Dwarven tomb. Believing it to be left over from a long dead civilization, they removed items from the tomb, opened the sarcophagus, and began excavations in hopes of finding more evidence of this recently discovered culture. Dwarven tombs, particularly very old ones, are generally built in out of the way places where they do not risk being disturbed by other Dwarves. Often they will not even be visited for many months at a time. As it turned out, this particular tomb was that of King Goraldþemmr Hjist om Heurbræheim, unifier of the Upper Clans. When the Elves managed to open the rune-sealed door to the Dwarven catacombs war was inevitable. The dwarves, seeing how the Elves had defiled their king’s sacred tomb, gathered all of their great clans together and launched a devastating attack on the Elven Empire. War was waged for centuries but ground to a stalemate as the Elves could not compete with Dwarven tactics in their underground tunnels, and the Dwarves could not best the Elves in the vast open areas above the ground. Fighting eventually died down; however, peace was never officially declared, and hostilities exist between the two races to this day.

In part due to what many saw as the Emperor’s incompetence during the Tomb War, internal struggles began erupting across the empire. Succession and civil war followed, destroying in a matter of years what had taken centuries to build. Though the rebellions were eventually quelled, the death toll was terrible and a large portion of the Empire’s resources had been exhausted during the fighting.

When Humans were discovered on the eastern shores, the Emperor granted them asylum. He feared another war like that with the Dwarves, and with the Empire in its weakened state, he had neither the resources nor soldier to fight a prolonged conflict. Many disagreed with his judgment, foremost amongst them, his eldest daughter. Her views were so vehement that she was ultimately sentenced to exile in the barren wasteland known as Svarti Skógarn (the Black Forest). Despite centuries of colonization, this area had remained unsettle because of its inhospitable climate and lack of fertile soil, and it was often used as a destination for exiles and other outcasts. After exiling his daughter, the Emperor was surprised to see that citizens from across the Empire who shared her views voluntarily followed her into the wastes. In the following years, thousands made the journey, determined to establish a new nation of likeminded Elves: thus Sekr Brækirn was born. Fighting another war with his own people seemed unwise, so the Emperor let this fledgling nation survive, provided that it stayed within the boundaries of the Black Forest.

The inhospitality of the land is what ultimately saved Sekr Brækirn from the fate which ultimately befell the empire. Humans, with their short lives and propensity for breeding in large numbers soon began to grow at an alarming rate. They were also unified as a people, a necessity when surrounded, as they were. They slowly began requiring more land from the Empire in order to house and feed their population. When they finally demanded independence, few were surprised. Their demands were put down forcefully, but this only strengthened their resolve to throw off the chains of their Elven masters. Guerilla conflicts began breaking out all across the Human lands, ushering in a long war of attrition. While superior Elven tactics, training, and equipment could have crushed any Human army sent against it, they were not prepared for another long war of attrition. They were incapable of repopulating their forces as quickly as the Humans could. All of their efforts to crush the Human will seemed to only strengthen it, ultimately causing dissent within the Elven nobility as to the competence of the Emperor. As the Humans gained an upper hand in their war for independence, the Empire crumbled from within.

Eventually, the leaders of the Great Houses conspired to assassinate the Emperor and his children to transform the Empire in a Republic. The death of the last Emperor signaled the end of the Fennic War (as Humans were called Fennen in the Elven tongue), as the leaders of the Great Houses presented the Humans with acceptable lands and complete independence. Their new Republic, however, only fractured the Elven people more. After a brief period of peace, a series of conflicts broke out across the land. Inter-House wars were waged, Humans once again expanded their sphere of influence, and the Dwarves, still dwelling on their old hatred, launched several attacks at weaker Houses. Several new threats emerged as well: Troglodytes from the southwestern islands of Gnar ravaged the coasts, Goblin escaping from the Dwarven catacombs began looting and raiding the countryside, and from the frozen north the barbaric Orks finally united under a single warlord and began carving a swathe of destruction toward the heart of the once proud empire. Great Houses, determined to defend themselves first, refused to come to the aid of their neighbors. While it took many years for the complete destruction of the Empire, eventually the Elven people had retreated to Hvíti Skógarn (the White Forest), once the seat of their Empire, now their last bastion of defense against their many enemies.

For over 1000 years, the Elves have lived in Hvíti Skógarn and Sekr Brækirn, a divided people, once great but now struggling to simply survive. They are very wary of outsiders and rarely let anyone within their lands. Uninvited intruders are slain without mercy. While those of Hvíti Skógarn have reopened relations with the Humans and Dwarves in recent years, those of Sekr Brækirn still hold vehemently to their isolationist dogma.

Organization
Hvíti Skógarn is politically divided into several Great Houses, the heads of which sit in the Counsel and make decisions in a manner similar to a Senate. The House heads are the descendants of great individuals throughout Elven history, but the House itself include not only extended family but also servants, hirelings, vassals, and various individuals otherwise bound to service but not related by blood to a member of the family. The number of Houses is debatable, as there are numerous Houses which do no sit in the Counsel. Only to 12 most powerful houses sit Counsel, and these have therefore become known as the Great Houses, while all others are known as Lesser Houses or Small Houses.

Sekr Brækirn is also divided into Great Houses; however, there are only 5 of them, and each of them answers to the Matron. The Matron is a descendant of the old Emperor’s exiled daughter who is not only a political figure but a religious and ideological figure as well. While she often leaves the running of the nation to the heads of the Great Houses, she holds ultimate power and may wield it as she chooses. Unlike Hvíti Skógarn which is fairly equal in its distribution of power between male and female, Sekr Brækirn is purely matriarchal, a practice which they believe is closer to how their ancestors operated. This practice was set up by the first Matron and her Sverðmeyna who are each revered in Sekr culture.

Religion
Unlike many other races, the Elves to not worship Gods; rather, they worship nature spirits. These spirits, they believe, are those of their deceased ancestors. While there are Gods, they are seen as alien and unconcerned with the plight of mortals. Spirits on the other hand understand the plight of mortals and are able to effect change in the world as they become one with nature upon death.

A spirit’s power in death is as great as that individual’s lasting effect in the world. While most spirits are only able to change small things, like creating rain, combating a disease, or easing the suffering of a loved one, there are a few who have been so influential throughout Elven history that they have come to hold almost Godlike powers. These are universally accepted spirits who influence all aspects of Elven life. Individuals will offer sacrifices, whisper prayers, give thanks, and beseech these spirits for all manner of things, directing specific requests to the appropriate spirit. There is no definitive list of the spirits, as many areas, towns, or groups have numerous spirits specific to their region, needs, or profession which they worship.

Elves

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