There are four distinct elven sub-races, each with their own very different characteristics. Refer to a subpage for details.
|Elves of Caraonis|
Elves are generally a few inches shorter and slighter than humans of similar physical maturity, and have a wider range of hair and eye colors. Their eyes are narrower than other races; some dwarves use "Squinty" as a humorous nickname of endearment for elven friends. All elves have pointed ears which are turned out from the sides of their heads, and even have a limited range of turning motion. Elves find it easy to grow a head of long hair, but very rarely have any noticeable facial or body hair.
Regardless of sub-race, elven society is focused about the expansion and development of knowledge, particularly knowledge of magic and its place in the world. This is the role that was assigned to them by Syldória and, even with the vast cultural differences between the various elven nations, all take this role seriously, with their own interpretations.
Elven political structure is centered around a legislative council headed by a single, internally-elected executive, and a judiciary branch which interprets those laws in the settlement of disputes. Education is important to all elves, though cultural differences dictate the focus of intellectual pursuit in each nation.
Elves in general are perceived as being aloof, even arrogant, because of their general preference to remain secluded in their forest homelands. However, plenty of elves venture outward from their ancestral lands to live among the other races of Caraonis, and are well-received in their adopted homes. Elves and dwarves have an awkward but friendly relationship, as each race's experiences are foreign to the other's, but they share a sort of divine purpose, and also very long life spans, giving them a shared sense of being "parents" to the other races. Elves and humans are fascinated by each other, and romances between the two races are common enough to produce an appreciable population of half-human half-elves across the world.
The four known elven homelands are Arlyrion in southwestern Senestria, Merythion in Ferytia, Vallesion in Tyrillia, and the aquatic Suphilion under the eastern ocean. Each is home to its own unique elven sub-race, with significantly distinct characteristics.
The original elven nation or Caraonis, Ithyrion, once spanned the western forests of Takharas, but it fell victim to the ravages of the Godbrothers' War. The inhabitants of Ithyrion migrated westward across the sea, landing in what would become Arlyrion and Merythion. Some also ventured north to the Tyrillian continent, and that group eventually split again — some travelling north to the jungles of modern day Vallesion, and the others taking up a life on the sea, and then under the sea, as the Suphilion.
Alignment varies by culture, but tends to be neutral in philosophy overall, recognizing the need for balance between the order of law and the need for the occasional defiant action.
Elves worship Marilya, Elháyira, and Syldória in varying proportions based on local culture, while some Merythion have turned toward Alvehíra or even Odiala. As elves and dragons were closely allied in ancient times, a few worship Ildrakhim, in hopes of a future restoration of their divine partnership.
It is customary for the parents of an infant elf to concoct a given name for the child as a poetic and linguistic exercise. An elf's given name is not understood to "mean" anything; rather, it is designed only to sound beautiful when spoken, or have an artistic form when written. Certain harder consonants are associated with strength, long vowels with vigor, sibilant phonemes with knowledge and wisdom, etc., but as far as specific names, each elf is as unique as his or her parents' whim and poetic imagination.
Family names are likewise figurative but are more grounded in the elvish language. An elf's family name consists of a meaningful root word, followed by a distinct suffix depending on whether the elf is male or female. For example, the family name of members of the House of the Silver Coin in Arlyrion is either Derisian (for the men) or Derisiae (for the women); the root deris- coming from daerisvia, "mockingbird".
In general, elves who choose the adventuring lifestyle tend to focus their efforts toward the study of magic or the arts, thus including clerics, wizards, sorcerors, or bards as the most common. Others train as rangers or druids in order to better protect their forest homelands. Other adventuring roles are better suited to particular sub-cultures.