In the world of the Shine Cycle, my planned fantasy series, the elves, like the human beings, originally come from our universe. While the series posits that there are some enclaves on Earth, explaining their presence in various cultures’ myths, most live on their own worlds far from Earth—the worlds of the “Elven Council.” Today’s topic is the most important of these worlds, Elvida.
Elvida isn’t quite an “ice planet,” but it’s very near the cold end of “temperate.” A climate like the boreal regions of Earth predominates.
Fortunately, the planet gets more than plenty of precipitation (rain and snow), so its land is for the most part blanketed with heavy forests. The areas near the poles and in highest peaks, where it becomes too cold for trees, are of course cold, windswept plains capped in places by glacier ice. The forests are largely, but not all, evergreen, and are inhabited by some very large animals. So, while elves love the forests and the peaks, the world is not a paradise by any means: out in the wild there is near-constant danger for the unprepared.
And there is even greater danger beneath the surface. Well beneath the ground, much of the planet is covered by a vast network of extensive caves, with ecosystems full of even ore vicious and dangerous creatures. Passages up to the surface are not common, however, so the danger of the caves is not something most elves need to be concerned with for the most part.
Elvida is a quite large planet, but it is light and metal-poor. So mages and scientists work together to make organic resources work with few metal tools. For example, boats and even ships are either grown or fitted together from pieces grown by specially developed trees. And the habits the limited resources impose also produce innovations in other areas: an Elvidan mage was the first to successfully execute a non-trivial working in the Power between two spaceships in motion, for example.
As my earlier post explained, elves tend toward “light” government. On Elvida, that government is organized under an elective monarchy. The King or Queen of Elvida is elected by, and usually from among, the representatives of all the major settlements of the planet, and reigns (using the power of office so rarely and so lightly that it’s hardly fair to say that he or she “rules”) for a very lengthy (because of the elves’ long lifespans) but definitely limited term.
The elven society spread from Elvida to the other worlds in what became the “Elven Council.” Because of its role as mother world to the others, and because the constant danger of “the wild” and the caves keep its inhabitants sharp, Elvida’s monarch usually leads the Elven Council, and joint military or exploratory forces draw disproportionately more from Elvida than from the other worlds.
It is those forces that primarily come into the Shine Cycle; Elvida is well out of the way of most of the main stories, but during the Second Inter-universal War and especially the parts having to do with Earth they become involved.