Legends of the Three Pillars
primer on the nature and culture of the remaining elven people.
Elves tend to be tall, slim and fair skinned. Their features are somewhat angular with large, slightly slanted, eyes and narrow faces. Most elves would be attractive by human standards but the beauty has an otherworldly fierceness to it.
Cartisan elves have brown, red and blond hair combined with eyes of emerald, sapphire, amethyst and gold. Elves of the former Over-Empire tend to very pale skin and dark blue or coal black hair. Their eyes are typically obsidian, sapphire or silver. Finally the Candalorian elves have the most diverse combinations of skin and hair tones but their eyes are uniformly the grey-green of a storm wracked ocean.
Elven lifespan is, barring the Affliction, roughly five hundred years. They reach physical maturity at about age twenty but are still considered a youth until they are fifty years old. The Affliction typically sets in around adulthood.
Creatures of magic, the Elves were masters of the world prior to the Sundering. Their innate ability to control Primal magic allowed even the least among them to bend reality to their whim. Sustained by magic, and practically ageless, their entire culture was dedicated to perfection. Every elf was a craftsman, an artist, a warrior-poet or a spellsinger. Everything an elf did was an artform, especially statecraft and war.
The ancient world was a glittering, constantly evolving, experiment in art and perfection. Their cities were powered by captive spirits, their baser needs met by human slaves, and raw materials traded by the Dwarves. But despite their power and knowledge, they could not forsee their own doom approaching.
When Carathas sundered the Pillars everything the Elves had built came crashing down. Their power was forever gone and they could not wield even the least of the new Pillar magics. Worse than that their numbers were decimated. Millions of elves perished at a stroke during the Sundering and many more died after due to sickness and starvation.
Elves, since the Sundering, can be divided into three broad categories – the Lost, the Seekers and the Wilders. While there is a certain degree of overlap between these groups, the differences are fairly distinct and exceptions are rare.
The majority of remaining Elves are a sorry lot, suffering from the Affliction. This curse is caused by a lack of Primal Magic and causes physical weakness and mental instability. Most elves will die enfeebled and demented long before their natural lifespan has run its course, due to the Affliction. The Lost gather in squalid slums around the enclaves of the Seekers, where they are fed and tended to as best as the Seekers are able. Life is hard and short in these fetid ghettos that combine the worst aspects of a refugee camp and an insane asylum. Some, those less affected by the Affliction, eke out a meagre existence in the settlements on the human frontiers.
The Elves that have managed to control their Affliction through studied calm and peceful contemplation are known as the Seekers. They are the longest lived of their race, harnessing inner harmony and natural science to aid their less fortunate kin. They have established enclaves throughout the former Elven homelands – centers of healing and learning surrounded by the shanty towns of the Lost. Seekers do not neither shun nor embrace magic, seeing it as a dangerous tool that should only be used when appropriate.
Scholars, healers, seers and sages, the Seekers are uniformly peaceful and rarely leave the Enclaves. Those that venture out into the violent world of Men do not linger long for fear of becoming a Wilder.
Elves that embrace the power of Arcane magic and the energy of blood are known as Wilders. They see themselves as the champions of a lost race and walk a fine line between succumbing to the Affliction and a violent end fuelled by Arcane blood-lust. They are everything that the Seekers are not – violent, wild, angry wanderers – and are the most likely kind of Elf to be encountered outside of the enclaves. Many despise humans and seek to vent their anger on them at every turn. These are the best known type of Wilder among Men with many a human child scared into obedience by stories of bloodthirsty elves prowling the darkness.
There are just as many, however, who look for a life of adventure, caring naught for the mistakes of the past. While they are certainly dangerous and unpredictiable, they are not malicious and some even find work as bodyguards and warriors in the cities of Men.