Name: Velsephayan Ælven
The ælven race has existed for millennia. On their own they discovered the ways of arcane magic, long before the scholars of the Pentatra managed the same feat, indeed long before the human race walked the Shards. Their cities, constructed with magic as well as stone, featured layer upon layer of arcane innovation. To the ælven, magic was art, magic was life. The very magical essence of the aelven dead coalesced into powerful magical spirits, patrons of their Houses.
Imagine, then, what it must have been like to lose this magical heritage: to never see the glorious cities, to lose contact with your ancestral spirits, to have the tomes of your family burned before your eyes?
This is the world of the Velsephayan ælven. They have seen their past cut off from them, their glory destroyed, their connection to the endless magic and history of their race severed as a result of the civil war that split their once great people.
Those that were exiled from the Empire of Xauphinelle for supporting the PrincessAvrillandria-Vasrithaella lost more than lesser races can ever know.
Surprisingly, the young ælven of the young Kingdom of Velsephay have proven remarkably adaptable. They have quickly grown to love their new home, and found new ways to connect to the secret, mysterious forces of Creation. They are adept at surviving in the great everleaf trees, have managed to grow closer to the younger races, and have overcome the loss of their race's ancient magic. The still present elders, who lived in the full glory of the Empire, have not been so quick to accept their new situation, and still resent the Empire that exiled them, the Empire that haunts them with memories of mystical beauty. Still, the elders hide this behind a mask of contentment and civility, and are not altogether unhappy about the earthy beauty of Velsephay; if they dislike their proximity to the younger races who live in Velsephay, they see the realities of their situation and hold their tongue of they cannot find some fellowship in their hearts.
Personality: The ælven of Velsephay are a fallen race. Their elders are closer to their Xauphinellan brethren, while the younger generations have learned much from the younger races they exist side by side with. Though at times guarded, a Velsephayan elf is not as arrogant or prideful as an elf of the Empire, though occasionally these traits are echoed from elder family members.
Amongst their own friends, ælven loosen up, freely expressing emotions that they keep caged around outsiders . Perhaps exposure to the younger races has caused the ælven of Velsephay to become more passionate and less reserved, for the Velsephayan ælven , in contract to those of Xauphinelle, act out of emotion and instinct rather than intellect.
Ælven are great lovers of art, music, and song. They appreciate craftsmanship and artistry in all things, be it clothing, skyship design, or jewelry. Velsephayan ælven have also picked up the merren love of stories, and talespinners can find good crowds in the Tree Kingdom.
The ælven appreciate finesse and elegance over brute power and strength. For this reason the weapons of choice among ælven are light and quick, much like the ælven themselves. Rapiers, stilettos and the like, and little or no armor are usually seen carried by the average ælven warrior. The ælven of Velsephay also find value in determination and toughness.
Appearance: The ælven of Velsephay are much like their cousins in appearance. The ælven stand taller than humans, but are more slender. The average ælven male stands six feet tall, while the average female stands five foot and ten inches. Despite this, their build and bone structure are slight, and they weigh about one-sixth less than a human of the same height.
Ælven ears are pointed and quite long, and can perk up when angry or excited, droop down when ashamed or saddened, and swivel depending on mood. Ælven ears usually stick out at nearly right angles from their skull, and are impossible to hide under hair, or anything less than a large hood.
Ælven facial features are sharp and angular, though this is lessened slightly among females. Their skin tone is usually a golden tan, a healthy pink, or a dusky light brown. A rare few have skin of warm golden brown. Ælven eyes are clear and striking in their coloration. Violet, emerald, sapphire, and ruby eyes have all been seen among ælven. Ælven hair color is similar to that of humans, but more extreme. Black ælven hair is as black as midnight, red hair is gorgeous deep crimson, while blonde ælven hair is akin to spun gold. Their hair is generally straight; few ælven have curly or wavy hair. In Velsephay, the golden hair of the Empire is rare. Black is more common, as is brown, which is very rare in the Empire. Merren and human blood has expanded the hair colors seen among the ælven, adding a very rare green merren hair color, as well as softening the rich, pure colors of the Xauphenellan stock into more earthy tones. Merren blood has also given some ælven siin tones slightly tinged with a blue, grey, or apple green.
Relationships: The Imperial Ælven are despised by their cousins in Velsephay, to the point where Imperial Crowns used to pay for services in Velsephay can cause a fight to break out. While drakken, manx, merren, and dwarves are readily accepted by the new generation of Velsephayan ælven, the Imperials are looked upon with disdain and anger.
Alignment: The ælven of Velsephay are a warmer folk, more giving and patient than their Imperial cousins. They often have a problem with being told what to do, and are more chaotic than their brethren in the Upper Shards. Some of the elders are of a lawful bent, but the Kinstrife has broken them, and they rarely attempt to enforce their views upon the rest of the Kingdom. Generally, Velsephayan ælven are chaotic good, chaotic neutral, or neutral good.
Ælven Shards: For the most part, the Velsephayan ælven live upon their everleafs. A few of the Velsephayan shards, especially those closer to the Shoal Kingdoms, are without these great trees, though the ælven still stratify their communities along the same lines as they do on the everleaf: the most powerful and wealthy seek the highest elevations, while the poorest live in the lower areas.
On Ælven Life:
In each ælven nation, the noble houses are named according to a single theme; in Velsephay the houses are named after flowers and trees, while in Xauphinelle, they are named after legendary beasts. Thus among the many houses of Velsephay there can be found House Wilow, Sycamore, and Moss, among others. The Imperial House of the Queen was once the Dragon, but since the founding of Velsephay, it has been renamed House Everleaf. These Houses vie for the favor of the Queen, making the courts of Velsephay rife with intrigue, though perhaps not so full of venom as those of Xauphinelle. Dueling is not an uncommon way to settle a dispute between ælven nobles, though such a duel is almost always only to the first blood; the ælven have lives that range into the thousands of years, and regard death as the ultimate horror, and murder as the ultimate crime. As nobles of other races have entered Velsephayan society, they too have taken up the duelling arts.
Though the ælven cities of Velsephay are without the arcane majesty of Xauphinelle's walled metropoli, they have grow rich with the mingling of cultures, and their particular arboreal circumstances make them unforgettable. Though without magical lanterns and singing streams, the balconies of Isindae, with their glowfly swarms and humble joy can entrance even the dourest drakken.
Perhaps because of their loss of magic, the ælven of Velsephay, and Velsephayans in general, are a superstitious people. Tokens of good luck are commonly carried,
Many ælven have taken to farming to supplement food gained from trade. Such treetop agriculture is fairly easy to accomplish, as the everleaf seems to welcome all life. Plants, fruits, and vegetables from across the Shards (with the notable, and frustrating exception of the Fioran snowflower) thrive on the branches of the holy trees.
Hunting is also popular, for sustenance and for sport. Many ælven rangers test their mettle hunting dangerous or rare beasts. Often, the hunt rather than the kill is important, and so the animal, once captured, is released.
Religion: The Velsephayan ælven have been slow to accept the Pentatric gods. Most readily embraced were three goddesses who resembled certain aspects of the Houses of Xauphinelle, and were thus somewhat familiar and comforting to the new Velsephayans. Avasha, worshipped as Ævata or Avasha-Ælu is the Good Goddess of the Everleaf, and also the Unicorn Goddess, whose symbol of the unicorn is even more legendary in Velsephay than it is in its native Xauphinelle; as the goddess of plants, the everleaf and the golden daffodil are her symbols. Ilifinsata is worshiped as a goddess of freedom and the air; her magical aspect is slighted, and she is worshiped under the name Aptosia, though in the Roots she is given the name Chaelfinsata and is seen as a dark oppressive figure who gives freedom only to those of privilege, and is the mother of ill-natured fey. Gulmé is usually worshipped by her Pentatric name, though sometimes she is given the ælven spelling of Gulmæ, to denote her aspect as a good-inclined goddess of high esteem and potent magic.
Besides the Three Sisters, the druids of Velsephay are numerous. They worship Avasha in her aspect as the daughter of Ôemag. Eivas the Allgiver is the druidic name for the Goddess of Trees and Harvests. The druidic tradition is somewhat secretive, though rites and rituals are held for any who wish to attend, and observed by most Velsephayans, even those who profess Pentatric worship. Though their organization and activities are somewhat secretive, druids are a common sight throughout Velsephay, and easily outnumber the few clerics who make their home in the tree-nation.
Language: The ælven have their own flowing, songlike language, which some individuals mistake for music if they are unfamiliar with the ælven tongue. It is rife with subtle intonations and intricate grammar. While ælven writing is rich and varied, it is ælven song, music, and poetry that the race is renowned throughout the shards for.
Names: Ælven names in Velsephay no longer follow the naming tradition of Xauphinelle, wherein names grow in length as the ælven performs more deeds of note. Instead Velsephayan ælven combine some of the traits of merren and human naming traditions, often using human words as well as ælven. Those ælven who have some merren blood often choose names of animals or plants. In addition, the Xauphinellan "x" sound is usually replaced by a softer "sh" sound. Hard "k" sounds are also less common, and are often replaced by "y", and "v" sounds are sometimes replaced by "f" sounds. Short "i" is also often replaced by short "e" sounds. These are the most common differences between Xauphinellan and Velsephayan pronunciation, but the two races have no great problem understanding one another.
In addition, each ælven is part of a great household, named after a plant.
Male Ælven Names: Arialtis, Falles, Torfell, Tieru, Malfos, Paryn, Forr, Shieris, Asheyl, Tuirfin, Talles.
Female: Amarilethe, Avasata, Neri, Chalinnél, Eydra, Ollafasha, Õenaulla, Qishalla, Sheshina, Shaufinae.
House Names: Willow, Everleaf, Sorrel, Ash, Oak, Elm, Blackwood, Yew, Glorycrown.
Adventurers: Eager to taste all the fruits of life, young ælven often leave their beloved homeland and venture forth to see the world. Those few who are Dirtsiders often seek to escape their lack of prospects and travel to seek their fortune. Druids often leave Velsephay for unknown reasons and become involved in various quests and endeavors. It would not be foolish to assume that the widespread but seldom seen Cult of Ôemag is centered around Velsephay.
Ælven Racial Traits
Note: Elder ælven follow the racial characteristics of the Imperial ælven, often practicing magic in secret to avoid censure by Velsephayan society. The racial characteristics above only apply to those ælven born in Velsephay after the Kinstrifing.