Wild Elves

Cultural Cues: The Wild Elves have been inspired by Tolkien, in particular the Elves of Mirkwood as featured in The Hobbit(though there are several critical differences).
Costuming: Wild Elves usually wear simple, expertly crafted natural clothing which allows them to blend into their surroundings. They have developed larger, more pointed ears than their Syrellin cousins, though both have the same glittery skin and propensity for blonde hair.

History

Like their Bright Elven cousins, the Wild Elves remember the ancient history – how the famed crafter Balan’s beloved Faedhras was tricked away from him by the greedy Tarkalla and jealous Dzur; how Balan tricked Tarkalla and Dzur in turn and how this conflict begat the Kinslaying War. Elf fought elf, and cousin slew cousin in a horrifying display of violence.

After the Kinslaying War, the Radiant Mother in her grief chose to withdraw from the mortal world. Many of her children chose to follow her, where they created Syrellin – a verdant, magical forest only elvenkind could find. Some, however, chose to remain behind, to become the Wild Elves (it should be noted that neither the Wild Elves nor the Bright Elves begrudge their kin whatever choice they or their parents made – the two groups tend to consider each other long-lost cousins; both united in their fear and suspicion of the svartalfar, the offpsring of Tarkalla and Dzur).

Culture

Most often, a Wild Elf will gravitate to secluded, deep forests and build a small community hidden far away from prying human eyes. However, a few notable settlements, such as Summerholt in Ikhten or Amber Barrow in Culberron, have friendly ties with their human neighbors.

Most Wild Elf communities are based around a hunter-gatherer model. While some plants and especially fruit trees may be cultivated, the Wild Elves as a whole do not practice agriculture. Instead, they rely upon their forest surroundings to provide them with what they need; and their communities are generally small enough to support this lifestyle. Some elves do make preserves, however, in lands where winter makes hunting and gathering difficult for part of the year. Fruit, honey and other sweet foods are especially relished.

Wild Elves almost always practice some form of craft or art. Singing and dancing are highly prized, but any art which allows the artist to express their emotion and the audience to share it is enthusiastically welcome. Anything useful, beautiful and which lets the creator’s spirit shine through are always valued and appreciated – whether this thing is a song, a necklace of carved wooden beads or even a new bow.

Marriage is as rare among the Wild Elves as it is the Bright Elves, though the Wild Elves have the same joyful attitude towards intimacy. Though they are unlikely to share intimacies with someone whom they do not already feel close to, they are passionate and generous once they do take a lover. Elven women usually bear only one or two children during their lifetimes, and that child will trace his or her descent through the maternal line. Wild Elves are slightly more likely to take a human lover, though not without foreknowledge of what must come as the elf stays the same and the human ages and eventually dies. Any elven match, however, is always an affair of the heart – elves do not make matches based on political or economic advantage as humans do, but on shared passions and ideals.

Humans who arrive at an elven settlement with pure intentions are usually made quite welcome, fed well and eventually sent on their way with a few small gifts. Humans who have mischief in mind either never find the settlement or are quickly put in their place by wary hunters. Bright Elves are almost always welcome, and stories and histories are sure to be exchanged when a Wild Elf hosts a cousin from Syrellin. Svartalfar, however, are almost never welcome in Wild Elf homes or communities.

Given their inherently magical nature and propensity for living in the forest, nearly a full quarter of the Wild Elves manifest a propensity for Naturae magic or the Forestwalker bloodline. Many more find a talent for elemental invocation, and find dealing with the elementals to be simpler than it is for many humans. Mesmerists tend to be less common, but appreciated for their unique talents when they do manifest. While Sun affinity is unusual, sun acolytes are generally admired as pillars of the community.

Necromancy is very rare among the immortal elves, and any Wild Elf who manifests a talent for this dark art is sure to feel out of place.

The elves do not recognize any nobility among their own, though some Wild Elf settlements have made treaties with their human neighbors. These treaties or alliances are often made in good faith; though the memory of humans is short, and more than one conflict has been sparked by a village resenting the Wild Elves for holding them to an agreement signed by their great-great-grandparents.

Wild Elves tend, more often than not, to be wary of human outsiders. However, when they do emerge from their forest hideaways, they usually find elements to both admire and lament in any given human culture. The Illumin are brilliant but decadent; the Culberrans are passionate but quick-tempered; the Verrakins are talented but greedy, and so on. They usually avoid saurens – a goal made easier by the fact that, while the Wild Elves are most at home in the forest, the saurens dwell in the marshlands. They tend to pity the trolls for their lack of community, but no one lets this pity stop them when a troll is going on a rampage through an elven village. Some Wild Elves have encountered the elusive, peaceful swanmays, and appreciate these gentle creatures and their obvious bond with the natural world.