Phys rep requirements: Pointed ears
Role in the Empire: Outcasts
Maximum age: 400
Adult age: 18
How common they are: Rare
History in the Eternal Empire:
Originally members of the High Elves, the ancestors of the Wood Elves dissented with the decisions of their brethren and were outcast from the Empire. They tend to get annoyed when anyone asks why they left the Empire and not many of the original Wood Elves are still alive to answer. The other species also have a habit of asking why the Fall occurred or what happened during it; they do not answer.
After the Fall:
As they were already outcasts living on the fringes of society, not much changed for the Wood Elves after the Fall. There were now no High Elves to avoid, but all the other species were getting stronger and taking territory for themselves. They tend to see Wood Elves only as Elves and hate them for it, though this is starting to change. They encroach into the woodlands and try to own parts of the forest; the Wood Elves believe that the woods can’t be owned by anyone and nothing good will come of trying to make it otherwise. The Orcs aren’t too bad though; the two species were outcasts together for a long while, which has forged a strange sort of bond between their peoples. In parts of Etris, there are even some mixed communities of Orcs and Wood Elves.
Psychology & Outlook:
Wood Elves were once a part of the High Elves’ Empire; they were a part of the dominant species, with all the luxury and comfort that brought. However, once they were outcast, they fled to the woods and removed themselves from the affairs of the wider world. They have remained secretive since then, in the hopes of escaping notice and the wrath of the species subjugated by their former family and peers. Their main interactions have been with the Orcs, who were also outcasts alongside them during the time of the Eternal Empire; it took a while for the two species to build up a trust and to understand each other, but they seem to have struck a balance. The Wood Elves now walk the forests; while their power is much reduced they are still long lived, gifted at using magic, noble of bearing, proud and wise. There are not many of them left, but they are courageous and they stand up for what they believe in. One of the few throw-backs to their old lives is that they are unfailingly polite to the point where they can seem aloof or even somewhat arrogant. Visitors are treated with respect, but are expected to show respect back in return. The Wood Elves trade with those that find them, mostly in the items they carve or weave; these items are intricate in detail but are always ideally suited for the purpose they were created for. They also sell rare herbs that grow in the woods.
They tended to lead either solitary lives, or live in small family groups; however, this made them quite vulnerable during the anarchy that took place after the Fall. They have begun to set up some small, scattered but close-knit communities, usually based around extended families. While some of these have village elders to settle disputes, Wood Elves are generally quite independent-thinking and dislike formal structures of authority. They marry whom they choose, though within reason, as they are few and they don’t mix with other species; adultery is unthinkable and separation for any length of time is truly grievous to them. While there are few elven children, the adults around them take great delight in them and cherish their upbringing, with the children being educated in the skills of those in the community; however, they are encouraged to find their own path in life too. Children are given a name at birth by their mother, which indicates their family line, and a second name by their father later on, which reflects their personality, skills or fate. The Wood Elves love stories and their bards are prized. Some still live the nomadic, solitary life, though most Wood Elves dislike leaving the cover of the forest, where they feel the safest. The defence of their homes is usually based on how hard it is to find them in the first place. They eat food scavenged from the forest; mostly berries and such, but some of them hunt and bring meat to the table. They have feasts four times a year to mark the season changes. They make their own clothes; they tend to wear greens and browns to help them blend in with the woodlands around them. Wearing heavy armour is not common, as it can be quite noisy, but it depends on the Elf. They are commonly scouts, excellent at stealth and skilled with bows in particular, but many are seasoned fighters who are also competent with swords, pole-arms or knives. It is a taboo in Elvish society to be both a fighter and a healer, as one damages health while the other helps people, but it is not unheard of. Indeed, Wood Elves have a knack for breaking taboos and ignoring societal norms; they value freedom above all else. They tend to be morally neutral, or lean towards morally upright.
Stereotypes (and what isn’t):
“The other species are suspicious of us at best and fear us at worst. They wonder why we left the Empire, wonder what we know of the Fall. They see us rarely; we are mysterious to them. They think we’re stuck-up and without a sense of humour; if they had seen the things we had seen, if they had stood up for what they believed in and given up everything to do so, if they had endured the same discrimination we had, they would be serious too. Anyway, they don’t see us at the seasonal feasts, they don’t ever see us relax, chat, sing, dance, tell stories and recite poetry, as if another species is present or if we’re outside the forests, we’re on our guard…and for good reason. There are many who would attack us, either suspecting we brought down the Empire, were in some evil conspiracy with our former brothers, or just because we look like Elves. We have our own language, but don’t dare use it around the other species lest they accuse of elvish plotting. The other species also tend to perceive us as androgynous, as we tend to dress in similar, practical, baggy clothing.”
“There are so very many of them. They used to toil and slave for our former cousins and they seemed to be cowed down and accepting of their place in society, but as soon as the Empire fell, they suddenly showed their true might. Hopefully they will leave us alone, but I fear that they have some difficulty in telling Wood Elf and High Elf apart…”
“They are the most incredible artists and entertainers; the way they could make us all laugh or cry is something that our society sorely misses from the old times. They suffered terribly after the Fall and some of them have turned to less desirable means of surviving, but can they be blamed? They were never expected to know how to look after themselves, so when the High Elves disappeared, what else were they to do?”
“They’re so short-lived, but they seem to pack a lot into the years they do have. They always lived on the fringes of society, which has made them a tough and determined species. They’re not best liked by the other species, as they have a reputation for raiding… but we’re not best liked by the other species either. We were outcasts, just like they were; therefore, we should stick together.”
“Sneaky, untrustworthy and so very treacherous. They were used as spies and information gatherers by the High Elves, which led to the execution of some of our brethen during the time of the Eternal Empire. Make sure to watch what you say whenever they’re around, or whenever you suspect they may be around, as they can be very difficult to spot when they don’t want to be seen.”
“Bound by their traditions and seeking safety within their refuges, we rarely interact with them. They are excellent smiths and they produce some of the finest examples of armour, weapons and other crafts. They believed that the High Elves respected them because of this, but they were used just like the rest of us.”