These are the original elves of the setting, and they started out pretty boring. Your typical elven superbings, the perfect society of thousands of years which looks down upon the savages outside its borders. I’ve kept a lot of that. They have public education and healthcare, but there’s an undertone of dysfunction caused by pressure from the outside. The humans of Graceterre, the nation on their border, have a habit of committing genocide against races which inconvenience them too much. The elves were no great friends of the orcs or hill giants, but they worry about presenting too much of an inconvenience. Despite their public advances, they’re fewer in number than the humans and their magic is often no more or less powerful. The Navarre are an attempt to answer the incursions of nearby human kingdoms, a deniable guerilla force that’s more of a legend than anything. Anyway, here’s the update on Liras Tiniel, the Elven homeland.
Elven History in a nutshell:
Elves have a history that stretches back a very long time, from their first meetings with the dwarves on Albion, to their early battles with the orcs on that same island. Several thousand years ago, due to overcrowding on Albion, the elves migrated to the continent, and founded the nation of Liras Tiniel, with its capitol of Elith’Pal. A millennium after that, they conducted the Albion Purchase, buying the island of Albion from the dwarves by exchanging an island they’d discovered to the west, rich with minerals and uninhabited, where the dwarves founded their new capitol of Krakkarakakkaraz. Most recently, in elven terms, the slaughter of the orcs by the combined might of many human kingdoms two centuries ago have caused the elves to adopt a policy of isolationism from the human lands.
The Elven Lands:
The elven lands stretch from the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula to the northernmost tip of Albion, excluding Eire, the ancestral homeland of their allies, the Killoren. Albion hosts a small colony of dwarves still, as well as a small tribe of centaur, though Liras Tiniel is almost entirely composed of elves and halflings. The lands themselves are generally permitted to grow wild, with a few areas carefully cultivated into fields and orchards. Elves have no need for beasts of burden, and don’t farm in the traditional fashion that humans do. The time they save by not slaving over crops is spent learning or mastering a trade, making the work of elven artisans prized throughout the world. There are richer elves and poorer elves, as there are rich and poor humans, but there is no poverty. The minimum standard of living includes food, shelter, and healing when necessary by the priests of Anu, which has eliminated disease as well. The elves are ruled, if one can call it that, by a benevolent aristocracy, houses raised up from among the populace, who make policy decisions, when they arise. It’s not uncommon for them to deliberate for a century or more over a single decision, because it’s far more important to them to make the right decision than the quick one.
Elves in the outside world
However, although the elven lands may seem perfect and peaceful to some, they’re boring to others. Not every elf is content to live their lives within the comfort of Liras Tiniel, seeking the sharper taste of the world outside. The largest elven settlement is in Zharada, the capital of Arkonia, because most elves disdain the barbarism of Mordheim and the xenophobia of Reme. Once, before the Reman empire conquered them, there was a large settlement in Laputa as well. There are considerably more Lirasi expatriates in Temir, a region which lies across the Ashen Waste, well into the Madjan Krugtoje, but many elves outside the elven kingdoms are wanderers, youths looking for adventure before they return to their lives at home.
Elves don’t have a religion. They have gods. They have an entire pantheon of them, with legends, and stories that are the subject of a lot of great pieces of elven art. Elves have learned that they are, and that gods are, more. They don’t have churches or cathedrals, because they don’t understand the purpose behind them. You can’t give more to the gods through worship, you can’t take away from them, they just are. Building a cathedral doesn’t make the gods feel good, it makes elves feel good, and creates a somewhat useless building. That said, the gods are real, and have agendas, so while the elves don’t have an organized congregational religion like the Remans, or the dwarves, they do have a preisthood. Becoming a priest in elven society is very easy, simply dedicate yourself to the ideals of a god. Being a priest in elven society can be very difficult, because every action you take must honor your god, and his or her will. Quite literally, what would god do? It should be noted that priest is not the same thing as cleric. Not all priests are clerics, but all clerics are priests.
The Elven Pantheon
The elves have a relatively small pantheon, and like many pantheons, it’s family based, though in a strangely elemental way. Ishtar (LG), the stars on the sea, rests against Marduk (LE), the secret of the stone, and from them come all of the other gods. Anu is queen of the flora and fauna under the sun, and the twins Anshar (CG) and Kishar (CN) are the lord of the storms and the king of the road, respectively. Sataran (NE), god of the Navarre, commands the night and all its creatures. Sin (LN) is the quintessence that binds all things, the inner light of everything, the mover, while Nergal (CE), the hungry dark, the skittering shadow, the howling silence between the stars, stands opposed to her, always threatening to undo everything. Anu plays a significant role in elven myth. She’s the queen of all the flora and fauna of the day, which is a great many things. She is a healer at heart, and abhors violence, but comprehends the necessity of sometimes using force for one’s defense. In legend, she’s depicted as a young elven girl, often associated with swans and unicorns, both representations of purity and innocence. Essentially and unabashedly good, she strives to improve the lives of all creatures great and small, usually in her incarnation as the sun, ensuring the growth and prosperity of life. In her most well known tale, the Song of the Sunset, every night, she is invited to dinner at her brother Sataran’s house on the horizon. Every night, trusting her brother, she goes, and every night, he stabs her in the heart, putting out her light, and bringing night upon the world. Taking her body far from his house, he buries her beneath a tree with the punch-dagger still in her heart. Every morning, with the coming of the dew, she lives again, leaving the dagger behind, and rising into the sky to light the world. In this manner is she reborn every day, with every day as a new life.
They’ve been mentioned a few times, and their role in elven society is vital. They are, in short, the elven army of the night. Elves, while they have warriors, don’t have an army. They don’t fight battles as a nation, and haven’t for a long time. But nonetheless, at night, many elves will don with black masks of the Navarre, take up their weapons, and go and train. The Navvare are Sataran’s warriors, his gift to the elven people, the means to defend their peace, by hook or by crook. Your character doesn’t know much about them, because he’s never been one, but they exist, and they are never spoken of. What one does as Navarre one is absolved for as an elf. Every elf, and every inhabitant of the elven kingdoms knows not to mention the Navarre to anyone. It’s not just a secret, but taboo topic. To allow the word to cross your lips is to incite the wrath of Sataran. Sataran is a god to stabs his younger sister in the heart every evening, so he can rule half the day. He is not the kind of person you want to mess with.