Phys-rep requirements: Slightly pointed ears
History in the Eternal Empire:
In the Eternal Empire, any Half-Elf who was caught by the Empire would probably have been either killed outright or chased out of the Empire for being out of place in the High Elves’ perfect world. The very thought that a High Elf would breed with a Human servant was distasteful; if their parent had been a Wood-Elf, well, then the offspring would be just as unwelcome as any pure Wood-Elf would be.
After the Fall: There were no more High Elves to avoid, so Half-Elves were free to roam in society as they pleased. Some of the Half-Elves found places to live with the Humans in the towns, while others stayed hidden out in the woods; the Wood-Elves seem content to let others fight over territory, believing that no-one can “own” the woods.
For those who do live in the towns, the Humans have been grabbing power, taking charge of the settlements and the farms they used to till for their former masters and grimly hanging on to what they have as the Orcs and Goblins raid and make grabs for territory. Half-Elves, being the independent and savvy individuals they are, are also good at grabbing power when they want to, but are frequently content to let Humans do all the actual work instead, letting them enjoy their illusion of power as some form of carrot-on-a-stick. The most famous tale of the ruthlessness of Humans was of Carolyn Gerald, a former sergeant of the town guard, who cajoled a large army into being before proclaiming herself Empress and leading her grand army to a Dwarven hold, demanding fealty… and getting the mine entrance collapsed on all their heads instead. Half-Elves have learnt from this and know better than to follow a Human’s orders unless they coincide with the Half-Elf’s current plans and also not to butt heads with Dwarves in contests of stubbornness.
Psychology & Outlook:
Half-Elves usually take after the Wood Elves, but if they were raised amongst the Humans, then they know the life of a town-dweller better than the skills of a forest ranger. Wood Elves and any who live with them tend to stay under the forests’ protective eaves, in the small scattered settlements that formed around extended families. Orcs are a part of many of these settlements in Etris, as the two species have built up a trust between them during their long years exiled from the Empire. They remain removed from the world, hoping to escape the notice and wrath of the species subjugated by their former kin, fearing that they will be blamed for the High Elves’ crimes. Those who grew up with the Wood Elves are courageous and stand up for what they believe in; they would also be unfailingly polite to the point where they may seem aloof or even somewhat arrogant. Visitors are treated with respect, but are expected to show respect back in return; trade is usually in carved or woven items of intricate detail but suited to the purpose they were created for, as well as rare herbs that grow in the woods. The few children born to the Elves are cherished, though they will always be encouraged to find their own path in life; Wood Elves have a knack for breaking taboos and ignoring societal norms, valuing freedom above all else. Living in the woods, they tend to wear greens and browns and avoid noisy heavy armour; half-Elves may also do the same, but if they are leaving the woods, then those colours may not help them to blend in and may instead contribute to being mistaken as a Wood Elf.
Those who grew up in the towns had to adapt, to find themselves a niche in society; Humans can be corrupt and selfish, or genuinely concerned for the welfare of others- it takes practice to recognise who is telling falsehoods to gain support or power and who is telling the truth. Humans are a social species; information spreads like wildfire throughout their society, as gossip races through taverns and stories spread to family and friends. Humans are naturally contentious, so while they will work in groups, they will still be looking to their own advantage. Humans are curious, superstitious and full of stories, myths and a desire to understand and influence the world around them; they like to include some sort of symbolism in the way they dress, either with a symbol of where they are from, a group they are currently affiliated with or a symbol of their religion. Many follow strict moral codes, which they follow with self-righteous conviction. While Wood Elves marry for love and grieve at any separation from their lovers for any amount of time, Humans marry for advantage in society or acquisition of wealth, though it is not unheard of that they marry someone they truly care for. In contrast to the peace of the woods, towns are loud, dirty and cramped in the poorer parts, with buildings clinging together and overhanging the alleyways; those who are wealthier enjoy more spacious and elegant surroundings. While many towns have a charter, listing the rules, rights and duties of the citizens living there, crime is still rife, with orphans and rogues prowling the streets searching for marks; they know better than to pick-pocket a half-Elf, as many who try fall over due to the poison lining their pockets. Humans are trying to appear more cultured these days, with most of them finding at least enough education to write, with some being to use courtly manners and hiring Fae bards to declaim their virtues and victories.
Stereotypes (and what isn’t):
“We’re a mix of Wood-Elves, who the other species are suspicious of at best and fear outright at worst, and of Humans, for whom the Dwarven proverb “if you sell an axe to a Human, the first thing he’ll do is fell another Human with it” rings fairly true. That means a lot of people are suspicious of us, including the families and neighbours of our parents, who spot the traits of our mixed heritage and mistrust us for it.
As we leave the forest more readily than our Wood-Elven brethren, the other species have become more accustomed to us. Some of them just see “Elves” –and this term seems to cover High Elf, Wood Elf and Half-Elf- as stuck-up, humourless and evil, mysterious beings to be avoided and shunned…or attacked if they think they can get away with it; maybe it is because they just don’t understand our jokes.
One trope that is true is that Half-Elves tend to put great store by their appearance and so are always well-presented and look the best that they can…fabulously well-attired, of course. Half-Elves utilise single or paired swords for the most part, but really anything that will make them look elegant and classy goes.”
Half-Elves are thought to be sterile; there are no known cases of any half-breeds being able to have children.
Attitude to other species:
Descendants of those Elves who rejected the strict confines of the Empire, the Wood Elves were outcasts of the Eternal Empire. They tend not to leave the forests and woodlands, such that some Half-Elves who were raised amongst Humans have not had much contact with them. Wood Elves make intricate and useful items and those who grew up with them would know of their feasts and love of songs and stories. They are wary of Humans, who sometimes hold them to blame for the sins of the kin who banished them.
Are in charge of most towns and villages; they have risen to power in many places and have a reputation for back-stabbing each other. Many of them seem unable to tell Wood Elf and High Elf apart, even though the High Elves disappeared during the Fall; this means that some of them ‘mistakenly’ take out their grudges against their old masters against the Wood Elves instead. Some of the also seem to have a problem distinguishing Wood Elf from Half-Elf. Others are more welcoming and accepting, especially if there’s profit to be made. While many Humans are not evil, back-stabbing monsters, they are practical and will make necessary sacrifices. Some are full of hubris, unfortunately, as the following famed quote from Lord Dalton shows: “the Orcs believe that our mightiest warrior has less spirit than their smallest runt, as we pretended to be servile in order to stay in the Empire. Frankly, they can yell that up at me, sitting here in my big, well-defended castle with my acres of estates and farmlands, all they want”.
Are incredible artists and entertainers, renowned for their storytelling. They also have a reputation for being a bit useless, as they were not allowed to learn any practical survival skills whilst they were the pets of the High Elves during the Empire… though those who managed to survive the Fall have become quick learners. They also believe that they are immortal, which is interesting, considering how many of them snuffed it just after the Fall. Some Humans have begun to take them in as live-in bards to keep their new-founded courts entertained and to declaim their Human lord’s many victories in battle…good thing the Fae are creative. Wood-Elves remember their story-telling fondly and tend to welcome them, though they are wary of any strangers in their lands.
The Half-Elf’s opinion on Orcs would vary quite widely depending on how and where they were raised. Wood Elves and Orcs have come to a peaceful arrangement of shared settlements in some parts of Etris, respecting each other’s heritage and skills, as well as a mutual history of being kicked out of the Empire to live on the outskirts and in the wild lands together. However, a lot of Humans consider them to still be the barbarian raiders that they used to be. Either way, Orcs are a proud species and have a reputation for being ferocious fighters and independent thinkers.
Widely regarded as being sneaky and untrustworthy after they sold information on other species to the High Elves during the Empire; they have yet to shake this reputation. Wood Elves in particular have a dislike bordering on hatred for them due to this, as it led to some of their brethren being executed by the High Elves. Their attempts at being cheeky traders have been greeted with suspicion for the most part. Some Human mothers still use stories of the Goblin King and his minions stealing away naughty children during the night to frighten their children into obedience.
Both Humans and Wood Elves respect the crafting ability of the Dwarves, though Wood Elves also make intricate and useful items too. Wood Elves and Dwarves rarely meet, as the Elves tend to stay in the forests, while the Dwarves stay close to their mines. Humans value the usefulness and durability of Dwarven-crafted items, though there are still some hard feelings over that time the Dwarves collapsed a mine entrance over the head of the Human Empress Carolyn Gerald and her grand army.