Elves in the Shine Cycle

Elves may be the second most common race in the Shine Cycle, after human beings. In the world in which the series is primarily set they are no more numerous than dwarves or any of the other major minor races, but they also inhabit a collection of worlds across the galaxy from Earth, which joined politically long ago to form what they call “the Elven Council.”

The range of typical heights among elves is approximately the same as the range for modern humans. However, both very tall and moderately short heights are far more common than human height-distribution would predict. Their build tends to be slender but athletic, ranging from “sleek” to “willowy”. Straight hair is the norm—though by no means universal; waves or very slight curls are not at all uncommon—and it is traditionally kept rather short. Dark hair is more common than blond, and reddish shades of hair are perhaps unusually common.

Human beings tend to desire power, and dwarves knowledge (as I wrote in the essay describing them); elves value things that last, with a secondary concern for aesthetics. So what they most desire are beautiful things that will last forever. A major reason for this is their long life-span: while elves do not necessarily live indefinitely, they can live for centuries and in some rare cases over a millennium.

Elves in various places have a variety of political systems, but they tend to favor very little government. In the world in which the series is primarily set, they participate in the same government as the humans among whom they live; their governments in their own worlds (such as in the worlds of the Elven Council) vary widely, but are mostly very “light” burdens. Each world in the loose federation of the Elven Council sends a representative—in most cases its Head of State, such as the elected Queen of Elvida—to the Council, which then elects a Head or Chair.

Because of their long life-span, and their love of things that last, elves nearly instinctively understand that “anything worth doing is worth doing well,” and so choose to practice every skill they cultivate to as close to perfection as they can achieve, and drop entirely any skill that is neither necessary nor enjoyable.

In warfare, elves tend to wear only light armor, relying on their agility, superior senses, and nearly-perfect skill to protect themselves. Most favor light swords (though a large minority prefer bladed pole-arms instead) and longbows; bows made from wood willingly given by a dryad are especially prized. These weapons are chosen because they are seen as the most elegant, and as more amenable to mastery through practiced skill.

Many elves are fond of well-spiced foods (by which I mean moderately spiced with well-chosen spices, to bring out flavor, not extravagantly-strongly-spiced), and especially prefer spices that they themselves grow.

Elves generally make their homes in villages in, but near the edge of, a forest, or sometimes at a mountain peak. However, many integrate much more fully into human society, living in human towns or cities; some even rise to positions of power there for a time.

What do you think of my conception of the elves? Any questions or comments?


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