Peoples of Elvendeep

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The component members of the Confederacy of Elvendeep came from many different parts of the world, making the population of the nation extremely diverse physically and culturally. Overall, however, elves fit into three general social categories: High Elves, Common Elves, and Wild Elves.

High Elves

Nature

The term "High elf" is oft used to describe the Elven nobility, those that rule Elvendeep. They may be anything from members of the actual government, being Governors or Councilors, retired politicians, land-owners, generals and admirals, or reclusive mages out in the wilderness. Rather than describe an actual species, it is generally used to refer to nobility or purity of blood, though one can often claim the adjective refers to their attitude; High elves tend to be somewhat superior with those outside their own kind, or those of lesser rank than themselves, though there are well-bred individuals known to be social. Much as this attitude is real, the impeccable manners of the High Elves do not help.

High Elves are the descendants of the Nobility of those various elven nations which came together to found the Confederacy – but have integrated to the point where they rarely identify themselves outside of this designation. Only High Elves are politicians, as only they may be elected to office and only they may vote in the first place.

They tend to keep servants, though slavery is considered both immoral and disgusting: a ‘Leturian’ practice. Most servants tend to be either commoners, as the position is quite well regarded and paid, or exotic foreigners. Females are hired to tend the house, clean, cook and take care of young whilst males tend the gardens, armories, organize the servants, and run errands if their masters need them. The stiffbacked Elven butler is a common character in continental tales.

High Elves are considered notoriously tolerant and though they would term it civilized or progressive, others regard them as overly liberal. This is not precisely true, but has springs from a number of aspects of Deepish history and culture. In their long alliance and tendency to interbreed with humans, they offend many other elvish communities, particularly the stern elves of Mazewood. In addition, the past thirty years or so, an eyeblink to elves, have been dominated by liberal Governors. Certainly there are conservatives and have been conservative governments before the last few decades, but the short memories of humans often characterize this as a long-term national affliction. Lastly, elves abhor the unnecessary taking of life. Capital punishment is a withheld for the most dire of crimes, and the Deepish much prefer to exile their criminals. Since they have maintained this practice through millennia, they are quite indignant when younger nations complain that traditional exiling grounds are now civilized lands.

In all, the Deepish tend to pride themselves that, as a young (only 10 millennia old) nation and one made up or so many different elves, they aren’t afraid to consider new ideas and approaches to address changing situations, rather than stagnating philosophically and culturally. Because Deepish come from such diverse ancestries, there are multitudes of features and ethnic distinctions between them. Though not a great deal is often thought of this, the characteristics of tatilven, or elven clans, will be discussed below.

Habitat

Though ‘City’ Elves, the High Elves often have the luxury of having two houses, one in the hustle of Elfspire, and one out among the bucolic and isolated splendour of their many orchards and silk farms in the highlands of Spiri territory north of the confluence of rivers that becomes the Malchur. It is a mystery to most foreigners that what a High Elf would consider a wondrous estate looks to unelvish eyes to be just another stretch of forest.

Houses in the countryside and the city both might be made of stone and mortar or the magic-shaped hollows of a giant redwood, or a combination of both. In either regard, however, Deepish houses are always constructed in harmony with nature: to compliment the trees and forest around, and not change it. Thus the streets and masonry of Elfspire are lacking entirely in straight lines, and the city itself is a vine-like tangle of canals, pathways, houses and manors. Almost without fail, High Elves choose to surround themselves with beauty in both garb, companions, and architecture. Their native love of the wilds, however, is often reflected in their choice of building styles; many domiciles are decorated with ornate vines and leaves wrought from precious metal, or even magically frozen leaves of a particularly favoured tree.

All High Elven homes possess gardens and flower-boxes that are kept well-tended, and often inspired by enchanters and druids to flower all year around. Many, especially wizards and the like who spend a majority of their time out in the wilderness, hire rangers and druids to keep the forests about their homes particularly beautiful to look at.

Society

High Elven society is based about the ‘House.’ Such a distinction refers not necessarily to those living in the same manor, but rather a large number of elves belonging to the same family. This includes at least five generations and extending to first cousins. Age carries respectability and weight – despite the differences being invisible to those unfamiliar with the family.

An elven noble House is led by that member of the family, mostly male but with some worthy females, thought most fit for the position by consideration of personal dignity, decoration, nobility of line, and intelligence. Of a House with a score of members, only three or four are likely to be eligible on the above grounds to be chosen by the others as their representative in the Low Council, that body of House Heads and former members of the High Council which has no real power but debates furiously regardless (a perfect opportunity to develop and display one’s oratory, and to gauge opinion on new ideas). It’s most powerful members are elected into the High Council, a body consisting of a score or so and the Governorship, a term of fifteen years.

As each Elven House follows different policies on the Council Floor, the Elvendeepish government is a hotbed of intrigue and hostility between families. Mockery, blackmail, bribery and even assassinations are not uncommon in the House warfare of Elven politics. This is all painted over, however, by the intricate etiquette of High Elven society. Non-Deepish visitors to the halls of power often study for months to gain a slight understanding of the many slights and compliments. It is said there are over a hundred ways to bow in Elvendeep, each for a different situation or having a different connotation.

Of course, some Houses are more powerful than others, and in recent centuries, two of the most powerful have been the allied Mistwoods and Silverbows, famous for their populism and liberal politics. The Silverbows in particular have begun to lose prominence after the disastrous reign of their House Head Topaz Silverbow as Governor. Famous conservative houses include the Pineshades and the Moritaurions.

High Elves consider dueling an art, though dueling to the death has been outlawed for centuries by a government wary of population differences between Elvendeep and its enemies. Young elflords, as High Elven males are often called, place great importance on one’s skill with various weapons considered fit for dueling, including sabres, rapiers, staves, bows, and whips. Elfmaidens, however, are not meant to wield melee weapons, though as in any society there are exceptions. Young Elven Ladies are encouraged to train more in the ways of elven magic. Females duel with these talents, and both sexes enjoy competing in the riding of giant eagles and owls at breakneck speeds or spontaneous recitation of original poetry. Thus the typical rejoinder to a challenge: "Wings, words, or weapons?"; or, in the case of Elfmaids "Sky, spells, or song?"

Longevity

Perhaps because of their noble bloodline, and perhaps because of their lives of relative luxury, High Elves are the longest lived of all types of elves. Few have ever died of old age, and this is marked in millenia. Elves generally retire to seclusion after five thousand years of life, finding even the world of Elvendeep too changed from that of their youth.

Nomenclature

High elves favour long, intricate names that flow off the tongue like water, often with obscure meanings in their ancient languages. Names of infants are picked by the parent of the appropriate sex, i.e. the mother names the daughters, and the father names the sons. It is not unknown for a child to be gifted with an adaptation of a grandparent or great-grandparent's name, but it is considered ill to name one directly after an ancestor, especially since very often that ancestor is still living.

As will be discussed below, many High Elven and Common Elven families have a composite name taken either from a stint in the Order Emissariat or from an ancestor’s stint in that same order. These names, such as ‘Mistwood’ or ‘Pineshade’ are awards of valour given to Knights Emissary by their Sorani hosts and often passed down. The famous Swiftcurrents still pride themselves on being the first to begin this practice millennia ago.

Mating Habits and Breeding

High elves generally mate for life, after a long and arduous courtship procedure and wedding ceremonies. Spending millennia with one other person is not to be taken lightly! Often elflords and elfmaids are rivals for another’s affection (even though they are usually steered towards that one by their House) and this results in years of martial, magical, intellectual and even musical duels and displays. These multifaceted ‘Sublime Tournaments’ display to the chosen object of desire (and his or her family) the suitor’s wide variety of talents and traits; including how they handle defeat. These duels are the source of a whole genre of elven drama, literature and music. The most common scene in Elven theatre is the suitor outwitting the stiff-backed butler.

Offspring are not considered for the first hundred years or so, lest the marriage fall through in that time, and the partners forced to split – which is possible, though frowned upon by the High Elves. Females who breed wildly with any male that crosses their paths are considered indiscrete curiosities and probably have a strong human strain in their blood. This is not, however, to say that promiscuity is an oddity. As High Elven society is full of intrigue and complex social etiquette, clandestine affairs are an artform.

Though females and males alike reach puberty at around fifty years of age, one is not considered a full adult until their life has lasted a century, and marriages rarely take place before this benchmark. Marriages are not restricted to partners of the opposite sex. Elfmaids wear green on their wedding day (after which they are called Elfdames), while elflords’ must only ensure their hair is done up.

Elf-human intermarriage is not widespread, but only the stuffiest of elders do more than bat an eye at the occasion. After all, even if it interrupts a planned marriage alliance between Houses (interracial marriages are more often for love), the plan must only be postponed forty or fifty years: a pittance.

Favoured Garb

High elves love silk, in all its various forms, usually favouring long flowing robes tucked close at appropriate points to show off their physiques; They love beauty, and most consider themselves beautiful, and thus choose garments to flatter their features without being whorish. High necklines over fitted bodices are common amongst females, and skirts usually tailored to flow rather than cling. Males favour a high collar, and an accordion cravate is in vogue about Elfspire.

Robes and gowns of particularly wealthy individuals are often sewn with hideously intricate patterns in fine mithril or silver/gold thread, often in patterns of vines or flowers. Tattoos are considered horrific ‘orcish’ mutilations of the bodies, except in cases of religious cults or sorcerers who decorate themselves with runes of arcane nature. This is one of the main bones of contention between the High Elves and their Sorani subjects.

High Elves are perfectly capable of adopting more practical garb, as well. A tour of duty in a Knightly Order, or a state of war prods clothing with shorter hems, closer fits, and more pragmatic material. Even this clothing, however, bears the mark of the High Elf’s love of silk, decoration, and fine tailoring. Elven clothiers can make green and brown ranger gear look fashionable.

Favoured Weapons and Armor

Most High breed prefer to avoid front-line fighting, if possible, though they count strategists, generals, and many mages and wizards of terrible power amongst their numbers. Those that do take to fighting, mostly males, favour expensive armor in either chain or scalemail wrought of mithril and steel. In the case of parades and the like, particularly beautiful metals are occasionally used to decorate the rims and edges of helms and breastplates, but the extra weight usually means these suits are abandoned in true times of war. Not a few elflords still proudly parade in millenia-old heirloom bronze armour from their ancestor’s days.

Unlike their woodland cousins, High Elven fighters tend to prefer the distinct elven sabre alone, eschewing shields. But when forced to retreat and fight dishonorably, they are still crack shots with bow and arrow. Many are also highly skilled cavalry-archers, or cavalry-wizards, preferring not to fight upon the ground.

Common Elves

Nature

While not quite as cultured and mannered as their masters the High Elves, neither are the Common Elves quite as rowdy and base as their human neighbours.

Common Elves distinguish themselves from their nobles by allowing a certain amount of boisterous enthusiasm and lack of protocol infest their lives. Lovers of live theatre, opera (the one art form said to be enjoyed and performed by both elves and dwarves), plays, and small acrobatic circuses called Sirranets, the Common Elves are much more likely to break out in raucous laughter, jeering, or standing ovations than the ethereal High Elves. Less interesting to them – though still praised – are the ‘finer’ arts of painting, sculpture and literature. Both High and Common alike enjoy music but Common Elves are more likely to enjoy a lush composition with dozens of instruments than the spare, piercingly beautiful music of the upper strata.

Perhaps in an attempt to imitate their social betters, Commoners still follow a series of complicated politic and protocol in their dealings with others, especially non-Elves. Foreigners are amazed when told that Common Elves are less bound by etiquette, as even the common level far outstrips that of human societies.

Physically, the Common Elves are hard workers, having especially dexterous fingers, keen eyes, and greater strength than the Nobles (they make excellent thieves). There is much less disparity between men and women among the common folk of Nimmarna, especially in terms of build and strength. As such, the rank and file soldiers of Elvendeep, drafted from the Common population, is a mix of Elfknaves (males) and Elflasses (females). The officers, drawn from the High Elves, are more often males – with women serving in positions calling upon greater magical focus.

Habitat

Save for the pale Elven Symari tribe, who prefer to live in shallow burrows among the roots, Common Elves often define their social hierarchy by the elevation of their homes. While the vast majority living in Elfspire live in large complexes much like apartment buildings, it is their height which matters most. Poorer Commoners live in complexes that are set in and among the roots of the redwoods that dominate Elfspire. Many live in the roots themselves, the giant strands of wood being magically shaped and hollowed to allow for living space. Either similar hollows in trunks and branches, or buildings perched upon the selfsame redwoods are the domiciles of the rest of the Commoners, and the higher the better.

Society

The average Common Elves of the Soranion differ in occupation depending on location. Those living outside the city, in the highlands of Spiri territory, are largely employed in the orchards or silk farms of the High Elves. These elven ‘farms’ are, like much of Elvendeepish civilization, nearly invisible to the untrained eye. Only elves and those used to the wilderness might notice that all the trees of a certain area are fruit-bearing. Or that they are all infested with silk worms. These orchardiers utilize long poles, a natural climbing ability, and magic to aid them in their everyday chores. They are joined in the highlands by fisherelves, stag breeders and a few cotton orchardiers. Some orchardiers tend trees that produce fruit, leaves, or sap used in the making of rich elven dyes.

City-dwelling Common Elves are employed nearly unanimously in the textile industry. Barges bearing hides from the Sorani, or silk, cotton or other plant fibres from the Spiri are omnipresent in Elfspire. Guilds of clothmakers buy the raw materials at the docks and distribute it to their employees' homes, where elves of both sexes work tirelessly to turn them into myriad rolls of silk, felt, leather and other materials. The dyeing of these textiles, and the production of dyes for export is another major industry. Other Common Elves may turn that material into sailcloth, canvases and clothes of all type and Elvendeep does a brisk business in exporting both finished and unfinished goods.

Other Common Elves, of both rural and urban persuasion, make their living as servants and seneschals to their social betters. This is considered quite honourable a calling. Pottery, china and luxury goods such as pieces of art are also a respectable industry – though the exports are of far less quality than the domestic. Additional income is provided by Elflasses traditional custom of selling their long hair to foreign merchants for wigs.

Commoners organize themselves loosely by Houses, but more specifically and significantly by wedded couples. Each elven household is typically made up of a male and female, and only occasionally contains a child or children. Because an elven child will reach maturity and establish their own household in only a fraction of an elf’s life, more often than not a household is devoid of young elves.

In an even more general sense, the Spiri self-identify by tatilven, translated literally as ‘Wefts’ but conveying a vague sense of loose tribe or former nationality. These are marcations of national descent and ethnicity, through a long line of respected ancestry. Though Deepish culture is rather homogenous by this point, it is still more common for those of an Elvish weft to intermarry within itself rather than without. Also, there are corresponding traits, both behavioural and morphological. A good analogy from our world might be Americans who identify themselves secondarily as 'Irish,' despite being several generations removed. Though there are scores of tatilven, some of the more common follow.

  • The Brenni are thought to be strong, and robust, though shortlived. They hate orcs above all else. These folk display more human characteristics as some of their ancestors were refugee Berenites. Half-elves often associate themselves with this Weft, regardless of ancestry.
  • The Symari dwell in shallow tunnels beneath the Spiri territory, surrounded by soil, roots, and moss. Comfortable in their burrows, they use summoned earth elementals and other magics to gently remove metals and precious things from the earth without damage. They are pale of hair and skin, and quite short. They hate drow above all others.
  • The ancestors of the Nestri, cousins to Leturia’s Mikeul, hailed from The Keulenestra, having fled centuries ago during the raids of the Rintmen. They are considered to be the elves most friendly to humans. They often have dark hair, but lighter eyes.
  • The Yilcari originate in Elgar Forest. They are dark haired and eyed and very skilled in magic.
  • The Mystoni, one of the most recent Wefts in Elvendeep, are from The Isles of Myst. Because of the poor circumstances of their departure from that land, they are often considered less human-tolerant than the other Deepish.
  • The Dindri are occasionally called ‘Swampy Elves.’ Before Sidastriel’s Gift and the corresponding reorganization of Elvendeep into two provinces and one urban centre, they occupied the village of Dindrathil, now a strategic fortress. In the bogs of the northern Soranion, the Dindri captured and tamed the first Giant Dragonflies and perfected silk farming. Nowadays these honey-skinned elves still send their young to Dindrathil for certain rites of passage. They are widely hailed as the finest Aerial Cavaliers.

Longevity

On average, Common Elves live a millenium before they begin to show age, and to live past two millenia is rare.

Nomenclature

Being the most varied of the Elven classes, nomenclature of Common Elves is hard to pin down. It varies in both dialect and formation from House to House, Weft to Weft, and person to person.

Mating Habits and Breeding

The mating habits and breeding of the Common Elves closely resembles that of the High Elves. However, divorce is much easier to obtain, and competition between suitors not so fierce nor elaborate. It is also much more common for Common Elves to marry with Half-elves or full-blooded humans.

Favoured Garb

Visiting Arangothians, Leturians and other non-elves are often surprised when told that the Common Elves are the baser class in Elfspire, so impressive is their garb. It hurts not a bit that Commoners of both sexes are skilled tailors and workers of cloth. Their attire is made up most often of felt, supple leather and cotton. Silk is worn occasionally, especially for festivals. Caps with long feathers are common for elfknaves, while elflasses prefer bits of lace, especially in the form of a skullcap or other hair-decoration. Those in the dye industry tend to wear gloves when not working, to hide the stains they inevitably get on their skin.

Favoured Weapons and Armor

Every Common Elf does an initial 10 year tour of duty in the army once they pass the age of fifty. Afterwards they must commit a year of service every ten years of their lifetime (unless enrolled in a Knightly Order at the time). Depending on their unit, Commoners are trained at the sabre and javelin, a halberd or other pole-arm, a shortbow or longbow. They are given a set of weapons according to this training, at state expense, and expected to keep it in good condition.

Wild Elves (Sorani)

Nature

Those elven peoples in the Confederacy which have eschewed the urban, civilized life have chosen a much more tribal based nomadic existence. These are the Wild Elves, descended mainly from ancient Soranion dwellers and Great Woods elvish (occasionally called the Churi and the Saski, respectively, though they pay little attention to such a division).

Master hunters, the Sorani are careful to glean only so much from an animal population and migrate enough that ecosystems can recover from their presence before they return. They concentrate on using as much of a prey animal as possible, so as to waste little – and supplement the bounty of the hunt with what they can forage from the forest. Their way of life is shaped by a number of philosophers eons ago, all personified in the fictional ‘Cloudchaser’, who theorized that the best caretaker was one who returned an item in the same condition in which he received it. If the elves were caretakers of the world for the Spirits, then it should bear no mark of theirs upon it.

They are near-unmatched rangers and woodsmen, beyond even their fellow Deepish. This suits them well in their lifestyle and hunting, but also in war, where they form vital guerilla components. It has been said that the only place a Deepish Wild Elf can look for competition in rangering skills outside his people is in Mazewood – that elven community on the outskirts of the terrifying Elgar Forest.

Like their city-dwelling cousins, Wild Elves have a passion for the arts and for beauty where it might be found. Their paintings, songs, pottery and tales are strong and bold, and well respected. It is a fool who thinks them savage without first studying their intricate arts.

The vast majority have retained those features which are said to have graced all elves in elder days: a darker, ruddy complexion, black hair, dark eyes and more broad features than the city-going peoples – though they of course retain that elvish tendency for almond eyes and high cheekbones. They also tend to be more solidly built, though not always to human standards. Their average heights vary from 5’ to over 6’ with bloodlines and ancestry.

Habitat

Wild Elves, also known as Primal Elves or The Sorani, live what some would call a more basic life than many other elves. Rather than concerning themselves with the intricacies of politics, scholastics and industry, they focus on living among the plants and animals and mastering a traceless existence.

Their homes are constantly shifting, but they migrate on a fixed course through well-used campgrounds. In these glades and thickets, there are hollows and burrows and branches where furs, blankets, tarps and collapsible platforms can be inserted to make a comfortable sleeping area. They also have invented an ingenious type of tent known as a chrysalis, wherein a hammock is suspended from a strong tree, and then cloaked from a single point above in heavy hide, leaving the comfy result looking much like an insect’s cocoon. Humans must have strong stomachs or sea experience to spend the night without nausea in this manner. In all, the Sorani’s homes are meant mainly for sleeping, their existence is most often outside. Winter is the only time when Wild Elves inhabit more permanent structures, though these half-sunken lodges, built using a tree’s roots for framing, are mainly of hide, sod, and wood and can be dismantled in a matter of hours.

Society

Wild Elves live in migrating bands numbering around twenty to forty. Each band is led by a Chieftain or Chieftess, who is chosen among the elder elves for his wisdom. A council of chosen tribal elders advises the Chieftain, and from their number is chosen his successor. Because the council co-opts new members by their own choice, rather than by age or blood, the band’s government is similar to the exclusive oligarchy which rules the nation. It is not uncommon for a Chieftain to step down should he lose the support of the Council or the Tribe, though some Chieftains hold power for their lifetimes.

The hundreds of bands throughout the Soranion hold many festivals where diverse Wild Elves might come together and share news, discuss problems, and let their younger folk meet together and marry. These Feasts are legendary both for the enjoyment had by all, but also by the near tracelessness left afterwards.

Arguments between individuals or tribes are settled in competitions. The challenged or wronged party may choose the type of tournament, be it a physical, intellectual, musical, or poetic, but it is considered extremely dishonourable to choose ‘weapons’ at which one party vastly outskills the other.

Longevity

Perhaps because they feel the rhythms of living things more clearly than their city-going cousins, Wild Elves do not tend to live as long. A Wild Elf might live to be a bare thousand years old before he can no longer function with the tribe and is considered infirm. Children come of age at a younger period of their life, and after fifty they are considered adults.

Nomenclature

Wood elves tend to prefer simple, yet somewhat elegant names for their offspring and themselves, either short or easily shortened, though this varies from tribe to tribe.

First names, such as Churreet or Xagua, come from their own dialects, and often sound dissimilar from Spiri names.

Surnames are usually in two parts, and not given until a child reaches an age where it can demonstrate for itself its likes and dislikes. Surnames are chose by watching the child at play; A child that loves to play in autumn leaves, and shows a knack for hiding in them when it comes to them might be dubbed with the name, "Autumnhaven".

A Wild Elf might also choose a name, or be awarded one, at a latter age for a great deed or an overriding interest. Before the awarding of their first name, their names are derivative of their parents, perhaps with a short suffix. If Autumhaven had a daughter, her name might be Autumnflower for her first five years.

However, because the Sorani, like the Spiri, are made up of the descendants of different elven peoples, some Wild Elf tribes will have only a single name, be it a composite, translated name, or an Elven one. The elves of one band, for example, may only go by names like Perched Eagle, or Swiftriver without a first name. Or by names such as Cheir or Thyule only, and not having surnames.

Mating Habits and Breeding

This seems to be an area where the Sorani and the Spiri have not diverged much over the hundreds of millenia. Sorani suitors, whether male or female, must demonstrate their worthiness in long and varied displays: martial, musical, intellectual and spiritual. Often this takes several years, but at the end the favourite is chosen and the couple marry.

Divorce is not difficult to obtain, but it is difficult to carry out. One or the other of the split couple must depart the band forever and join another. This often leads to fierce argument over who must leave.

Favoured Garb

During the hottest parts of summer, many Spiri are quite shocked (and often embarassed) by how little the Wild Elves often wear. For one of these woods-dwellers, even something as simple as a loincloth and moccasins will suffice, even lacking a matching tunic for females.

Depending on the tribe, the weather, and situation, their garb might encompass tunics, full breeches, cloaks, dusters, robes and/or Spiri coats as well. These, however, are not as gaily coloured nor as fancifully designed as those of the City Elves. Wild Elf garb finds beauty in simplicity, and dark, utilitarian colours of browns, greens, greys and blacks. Stitching is large and obvious, especially since sleeves and pant legs are often removable if one undoes the simple binding between them – for swimming, stealth, or heat. Beads, feathers, and splashes of dark colours are the primary means of decoration for clothing.

Hair is often braided, into one or many strands, or simply left long and loose about one’s shoulders. It is very rarely cut short. It too may be decorated by beads or feathers.

Wild Elves also use two practices the City Elves often shun: body painting and tattooing. Occasionally imbued with runic magic, the markings the Sorani choose to wear are both heavily symbolic, and often very utilitarian. A Wild Elf warrior engaging in guerilla combat might choose to anoint his body with dark paints so as to blend in with the foliage, but also to make his visage more fearful to the enemy. The most popular war paint sees the top half of a warrior’s head painted black, while the lower is a dull red or green. Paint may also be used for religious and celebratory occasions.

Even in non-battle situations, Sorani find the art of body-painting one of their favourites, and the designs and colours they use are wondrous to behold.

Favoured Weapons and Armor

Though some of the mightiest warriors among the elves, the Sorani disdain the sword as untraditional in most of its forms. As it has no use in hunting, but only in war, it is thought to be less honourable than the more traditional weapons. As in every cultural taboo, there are exceptions, and short swords have become increasingly popular in the last few years as wars escalate. Those who were once Knights Emissary also often return with a knowledge of swordplay and cultivate it as an eccentricity and mark of their urbanity.

Sorani much prefer the bow, both long and short, the hatchet, club, and spear. These simple weapons have served them for countless millennia and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

In battle, Sorani do not see any dishonour in utilizing shields – despite their being similar to swords in being only useful in battle – and make them out of wooden frames with thick, hide stretched over them, boiled in oil to make it thick and impervious to many weapons. Some choose to accompany the carrying of a shield with the wearing of leather armour (similarly made) and both are decorated with paints and feathers thought to bring luck or magic in battle and intimidate the enemy. One will very rarely see a Sorani shield or armour without painted symbols and images – as this is symbolic of an elf on a Death Quest, the most solemn and rare occasion in a race of life-worshippers. The majority of Sorani, however, pass over armour for stealth and speed and only carry a shield.