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"We are the last of the elvhenan, and never again shall we submit." -Gisharel

SylvanElves

OriginsEdit

Homeland: Feywild

FolkEdit

The Elves seek to recover, inherit and preserve the knowledge and sacred treasures of the Feywild. They lead nomadic lives, wandering throughout the Mortal Realm. Their clans date back to the ruling clans of Shinaelestra, and the Sylvan Elves are their descendants. As such, they consider themselves to have the 'purest' blood from the time of Feywild. They still revere Corellon and each member of a tribe will tattoo the symbol of their chosen on their face.

They travel around the more remote reaches of the Mortal Realm in covered wagons called aravels; special landships with large triangular sails atop them and rudder-like devices on the back. The Wood Elves are also known for being the only race adept at forging ironbark; a unique substance stronger and lighter than steel, used to make their weapons and certain other items of clothing, such as amulets. These, along with carved horns, are highly valued and are often used to trade with other mortals for things they cannot make on their own, like metals for their weapons.

Wild Elves tend to keep to their own and avoid humans whenever they can, but will occasionally encounter travelers, or venture near settlements to trade. At the threat of these encounters becoming violent, an Elven clan will likely withdraw before any real force becomes involved, but they will often still be willing to stand their ground. In the long run, hostilities will likely end badly for the Elves, especially if a kingdom decides that a certain clan has become more trouble than it is worth.

The Elven clans themselves can also be quite different from each other. Some clans will get along fairly well with humans, and might even camp outside of settlements for long periods of time. Other clans are more infamous, living by banditry and hiding like raiders in the mountain passes. The Elves of Yunith tend to avoid conflict with its citizens.

SylvanRanger

Elven clans rarely encounter each other in order to protect themselves; their diaspora is as much of a blessing as is a curse. Since Elves don't, if ever, keep in contact between other clans, should one be exterminated by a local warlord - a difficult task in and of itself - their efforts to find the others will be nearly impossible. Only once a decade or so do the Elven clans all meet together, and their keepers, the elders and leaders of the Elves who are responsible in keeping Elven lore and arcana alive, will meet together and exchange knowledge in a meeting called the Arlathvhen.

During such a time, the clans will recall and record any lore they have relearned since the past meeting, along with reiterating what lore they know already to keep their traditions as accurate and alive as possible. During such time, the clans will exchange relics dating from the Feywild for safekeeping. The Elves believe that all the relics they've preserved from the Feywild belong to all the Elves; such trades are seen as much of an act of sharing as is a matter of trade, and the same is true even for talented Elves.

Many Elves live by the code known as the Vir Tanadhal, meaning 'Way of Three Trees,' or 'the Ways of the Hunter.' It is made of three parts Vir Assan, 'Way of the Arrow,' meaning fly straight and do not waver. 'Be swift and silent, strike true; do not waver. And let not your prey suffer.' Vir Bor'Assan, 'Way of the Bow,' meaning 'bend but never break. As the sapling bends, so must you. In yielding, find resilience; in pliancy, find strength.' Vir Adahlen, 'Way of the Forest,' or 'Way of the Wood,' together we are stronger than the one. 'Receive the gifts of the hunt with mindfulness. Know that your passing shall nourish them in turn.'

The three parts of the philosophy are often strung together as a sort of mantra, which the Elves will often end with the phrase, 'We are the last of the elvhenan, and never again shall we submit.' A few follow a different path; the code known as Vir Atish'an, 'The Way of Peace.' Elves following this calling learn the arts of the healer and the mender. A clan's 'First,' an apprentice mage under a Keeper, studies history and arcana and attempts to preserve Elven lore. When Elves die, their clan will bury them and plant a tree over their remains.

A Keeper is a leader of the clan in both the spiritual sense, as well as the hierarchal. They are not thought of as rulers, however. The families within a clan listen to their Keeper because they consider him or her as wise, and it is tradition.

SylvanKeeper
Keepers are also responsible for protecting a clan from danger, and for knowing the clan's ancient lore and passing it on to the others in the clan. Without a Keeper, the clan's knowledge is lost forever. Every ten years, the Keepers of the Elven clans convene in a meeting called the Arlathvhen, which lasts usually two days, to compare any recovered knowledge or artifacts. The intense quarreling that occurs in these conferences leads many to suspect the Elves prefer their tribal isolation due to irreconcilable differences. Furthermore, the Keepers are the only ones who know the secrets of Elven runes. 

The Keepers are the Elven mages, though each clan will seldom or never have more than two fully trained mages. These mages are the Keeper and the Keeper's apprentice. The apprentice is referred to as the First; meaning the next in line of succession. Though there is only one First in a clan at any time, there can be many candidates for the apprenticeship. Should there be a clan with more than two mages in their numbers, they may be moved to another clan's Keeper during the Arlathvhen.

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