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 Codex Entry: Elves

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The King

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Join date : 2011-03-30
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Codex Entry: Elves Empty
PostSubject: Codex Entry: Elves   Codex Entry: Elves EmptyThu Mar 31 2011, 03:16


Codex Entry: Elves Elf

A humanoid race, elves typically stand four inches shorter than their human companions and have a slender, lithe build and pointed ears. In Ferelden, Free Marches, and many other parts of Thedas, elves are second-class citizens, often referred to by humans as 'knife ears' as a racial slur.

The Elves of Thedas are mortal, but elven legends state that this was not always the case. Once, they say, they were an immortal race that lived in harmony with the natural world and followed the elven pantheon. The first shemlen (a term meaning "quick children" that was used by the ancient elves to describe the humans) they encountered were the mages of the Tevinter Imperium. They traded with the Imperium and grew friendly with humans, but soon discovered that breeding with humans produced only human babies, due to the elves' genetic adaptability, while exposure to the ‘quick children’ caused the elves to quicken themselves. For the first time, elves began to age and die.

In fear, the elves withdrew from human contact, but the Imperium interpreted this as a sign of hostility and invaded Elvhenan, the elven homeland, and enslaved its people. The elven people lost their immortality and their gods forsook them. As a final insult the mage's of the Imperium sank the elves capital city of Arlathan into the ground never to be seen again. The exact details of the war are lost to history, though artifacts found in Imperium ruins suggest Elvhenan was looted, or that some Elves joined the Imperium bringing artifacts with them.

Elven slaves were among the most fervent supporters of the Prophetess Andraste's uprising against the Tevinter Imperium. The elves joined Andraste in her quest to depose the Tevinter magisters, and they were rewarded for their loyalty by being granted land in the Dales upon Andraste's victory. Ironically, though the elven slaves won Andraste's favor, it was the Chantry which was responsible for the second downfall of the elves.The only known elf from the time of Andraste was named Shartan.

In the Dales, the elves created a second elven homeland and began to restore the lost lore and culture of Elvhenan, including the worship of their former Gods. For some years, humans loyal to Andraste's memory respected their elven allies. But over the generations and as the Chant of Light and the religion of the Maker spread throughout human nations, the diplomatic relationships between the Dales and surrounding human nations turned cold, as the elves refused to be converted. The Chantry eventually led an Exalted March against the elves, claiming they had been attacked by the Dales. As the Dales fell and the elves had to abandon their second homeland, their culture was irrevocably schismed. Many elves accepted the terms of their human aggressors, going to live in the Alienages inside human cities and worshipping the Maker. Those elves who resisted became the nomadic Dalish, maintaining the worship of the elven gods and continuing their efforts to recover the lost culture of Elvhenan.

Alienage Elves
"Alienages have existed for as long as elves and shems have lived in the same lands. Ours isn't even the worst: They say that Val Royeaux has ten thousand elves living in a space no bigger than Denerim's market. Their walls are supposed to be so high that daylight doesn't reach the vhenadahl until midday.

But don't be so anxious to start tearing down the walls and picking fights with the guards. They keep out more than they keep in. We don't have to live here, you know. Sometimes a family gets a good break; they buy a house in the docks, or the outskirts of town. If they're lucky, they come back to the alienage after the looters have burned their house down. The unlucky ones just go to the paupers' field.

Here, we're among family. We look out for each other. Here, we do what we can to remember the old ways. The flat–ears who've gone out there, they're stuck. They'll never be human, and they've gone and thrown away being elven, too. So where does that leave them? Nowhere."

— Sarethia, Alienage Elder

Alienages are closed communities of elves living in human cities. They are typically poor and survive by begging or taking on the most menial and unrewarding of tasks.

Dalish Elves
"In time, the human empires will crumble. We have seen it happen countless times. Until then, we wait, we keep to the wild border lands, we raise halla and build aravels and present a moving target to the humans around us. We try to keep hold of the old ways, to relearn what was forgotten."

— Gisharel, Keeper of the Ralaferin Clan

Dalish elves lead nomadic lives, wandering throughout Thedas. The clans date back to the ruling clans of the Dales and the Dalish are the descendants of the ruling houses of their destroyed homeland. Dalish elves seek to recover, inherit and preserve the knowledge and sacred treasures of the two fallen kingdoms and for that purpose they'll often seek out old elven ruins for such things in the face of danger. They still revere the elven pantheon and each member of a tribe will tattoo the symbol of their chosen god on their face.

They travel around the more remote reaches of Thedas in covered wagons called aravels, special wagons with large triangular sails atop them and rudder-like devices on the back. The Dalish elves are also known for being the only race adept at forging ironbark, a unique substance stronger and lighter than steel, used to make their weapons and certain other items of clothing, such as amulets.

Dalish elves tend to keep to their own and avoid humans whenever they can, but will occasionally encounter human travelers, or venture near human settlements to trade. At the threat of these encounters becoming violent, a Dalish clan will likely withdraw before any real force of humans gets involved, but they will often still be willing to stand their ground. In the long run, hostilities with humans will likely end badly for the elves, especially if a kingdom decides that a certain clan has become more trouble than it is worth. The Dalish are known to refer to their city cousins as 'flat ears', some of them believing the city elves are no more than pets for humans, and hence are 'flat ears' (humans) in spirit if not body.

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