Elves are of course known for their slow metabolisms and rather different rate of aging. Compared to others like humans and orcs, they do indeed age at a slower rate, with puberty occurring at age 24-26, adulthood and full maturity at 36-38, with geriatric elves being 130-140. The oldest elf on record since modern figures were kept lived to 257 years, a full 20 years longer than any since. Tales from less enlightened ages about elves being immortal or living to the age of 1000 years or more are, of course, ridiculous.

The slow rate of growth and slow reproduction (with a gestation period of 18-24 months and a refractory period after birth of 24-36 months preventing a further pregnancy during that time) has had a profound impact on evlen culture, which tends to prize safety and stasis and is slow to adapt to sociological and technological change. These same factors have made them highly valued as bureaucrats and administrators in various empires that have arisen and fallen, with elves present in human, orcish, and other empires throughout history. Indeed, Hamur himself specifically set elves apart from his Hamurabash, granting them protection but exempting them from its provisions (though many modern orcs refuse to associate with elves who have not embraced the Hamurabash).

Though history is full of elven usupers and elven dynasties ruling empires largely made up of other peoples, the lower numbers of elves in general means that they have never rules large empires of their own, nor have they ever formed colonies. Their metabolism generally precludes direct combat, as the exertions from sustained and intense movement exhaust them easily and drain their reserves of energy. This makes them unparallelled siege artists and defenders; Hamur the orc recruited a legion of elves he referred to as his Crocodiles (“their eventual strike being all the more brutal for the long patient inaction which preceeds it”).

Elvish beliefs are quite unique, and are responsible for much friction with other peoples, though as with any group there are many who hold others or none at all. The majority of elves follow precepts that they call the “Eternal Way” which is predicated on the notion that all beings ascend to godhood over lesser creatures given time. Others often misinterpret this as meaning that the elves fancy themselves gods over the other peoples of the world, something which their aloofness and percieved wealth and inaction does little to dispel.

But a better rendering would be that the elves consider themselves gods of lesser creatures, ascended from their number. The elvish philosopher Tsianlwyn put it thus: “We are from and of the lesser creatures, and as their gods owe them mercy and justice. Our ascension to godhood over them is a trust which is binding. Other peoples are, whether they know it or not, bound to the same sphere and must exercise their godly dominion over life with the same trust and restraint.”

It would therefore be more accurate to say that the elves consider all sapient peoples co-gods, and their philosophy doen not concern itself with–but does not discount–the existence of “gods above the gods.” Still, this has led to grievous misunderstandings over time, the elves being contnually villified as “worshipping themselves” and beliving themselves “gods over men.” Human religions tend to consider such beliefs self-centered at best and blasphemous at worst, while the orcs are often insistent that elves deny their beliefs in their own divinity and embrace the atheist and ancestor-centric Hamurabash.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!
Advertisements