Cultural Cues: The elves of Dying Kingdoms draw most of their inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien – they are a long-lived race of inherently magical people.
Costuming: Bright Elves choose well-made, well-fitting clothes appropriate to the situation, usually decorated with nature motifs. Elves have naturally pointed ears and glittery, shimmery skin. Some elves are either entirely blonde or have prominent blonde highlights; though a few notable elven lineages are almost entirely brunette.
In an earlier age, the elves were rulers of the physical world, creating art and artifacts of great beauty, as timeless as the elves themselves. Balan was the most celebrated crafter, who bestowed most of his creations on his beloved Faedhras. But one elven woman grew jealous, and wanted all of Balan’s creations for her own. Working with her own lover, Dzur, Tarkalla tricked and trapped Faedhras. Balan tricked them in turn to free Faedhras. This string of trickery began the Kinslayer War, where cousin fought cousin on behalf of either side.
The Kinslaying war ended with Tarkalla and Dzur banished to the frozen north, where they dwell still and rule over a bitter race called the svartalfar. Many elves, shocked by the horror they had perpetrated on each other, withdrew from the world to a mystic land called Syrellin – a magical forest hidden from mortal eyes, overseen by a benevolent elf called the Radiant Mother.
Some elves choose, however, to dwell in human lands and partake of life as a human experiences it. These elves tend to be young for their race – usually between 50 to 100 years old. Unlike their ennui-afflicted forebears, these younger elves have not lost their passion or inner fire and tend to find Syrellin too constricting. These Bright Elves are let go into the world with the blessing of their people.
Elves who come to human lands quickly notice many stark differences between their own culture and the ways of humans. Bright Elves who dwell in Syrellin have their immediate needs met by the Radiant Mother, and spend most of their time at play or craft. Those who come to the city, or even a small village, are often at first confused by the concept of money. While they quickly learn how to sell and barter, they never quite loose their bemusement at human economies.
Some elves eschew human contact altogether, but choose to remain outside Syrellin. These elves tend to gather in deep forests and build their own insular communities amongst the trees. One elven community, Summerholt, lives among the humans and keeps the secrets of the Wardens – guardians of the world against terrible supernatural threats.
Elves, at home in Syrellin or in the human world, usually pursue a craft of some kind, of which jewelcrafting is the most popular. They have an tendency to enchant their creations, as a way to tie it closely to the creator. Elves also highly value the performing arts, especially song, dance and theater.
Elves rarely marry, but often engage in a series of passionate affairs. Though they see no shame in pursuing physical intimacy, they are unlikely to engage in such intimacy with someone they do not already feel a deep connection with. Elves are usually not polyamorous, either – the passion and enthrallment of a single relationship is usually more than enough for any particular elf to contend with at a time. Elves do not often fall in love with humans, as most elves know such a romance can only end in heartbreak. It has been known to happen from time to time, however, and half-elves are the result.
Though the elves are respectful of human nobility, they do not recognize such distinctions among their own. Nor are there rich elves or poor elves – an elf who finds themselves in want will have their needs freely and cheerfully met by elves who have plenty. Elves also eschew mortal politics or assuming roles of leadership over mortals.
Elves tend be quite hospitable to humans (though a given human is likely to respond quite differently to the elf, depending on that human’s own cultural biases towards elves). A human who stumbles into an elven settlement by accident, yet still in good faith, may expect a warm welcome and perhaps a few useful gifts as the result of their stay. A human whose intentions are less than pure, such as a criminal evading capture, will find themselves swiftly and justly dealt with. Elves are warmly and effusively hospitable towards other elves – provided, of course, that the other elf is not a svartalfar. Though most bright elves will not bear arms against a svartalfar who does not directly threaten them (and the svartalfar themselves rarely do), relations between the two long-lost cousins are tense at best.
Saurens are usually unknown to most elves, who find themselves put off and nervous when in the presence of one. The elves tend to pity the trolls more than anything, as trolls seem to lack the inherent sense of community which other races share and from which the elves in particular draw so much joy.
Elves are inherently magical, and magical affinity shows more often in elves and half-elves than humans. Naturae is by far the most common affinity, and elemental affinities also occur with some regularity. Sun acolytes are unusual among the elves, but no less welcome for it, as the elves usually heartily agree with the sun acolyte’s belief in community. Mesmerism is uncommon as well, and an elven mesmerist is likely to use his or her talents as an entertainer. Forestwalker and Fae Touched supernatural heritages are also quite common.
As the elves are generally immortal, necromancy is a rare and dreaded art. Few elves born with a talent for necromancy ever realize what they have, as ghosts and necromancy dominions do not occur naturally among elven communities or in elven lands. Some elven necromancers sense inherently that they do not fit in perfectly with their fellows, and may strike out on their own as a result.
During the war against Ma’naktuf, the Stealer of Dreams, the Radiant Mother herself left Syrellin and led a legion of elves against his hordes of undead. However, the dread Necromancer-King was able to turn the tables on these elves, and brutally massacred the elven encampment at Summerholt. There is not a single elf who did not lose at least one family member that day – many lost more. The Radiant Mother and her grieving children returned to Syrellin soon after this battle.
Note: Currently in the game, Syrellin has severed it’s connection to the mortal world. Any Bright Elven characters entering play will either have already been in human lands for some time; or have chosen to leave Syrellin just before the severing. Syrellin may eventually reconnect with the world – only time will tell on that one.