Elves in the Minionrillion
The Elven race, or in their own tongue the Tuatha Dé Danann, believe that they are the first mortals to walk the earth. Created in the image of the god Danu, they are possessed of a supernatural beauty and grace. Their culture is defined by a love for natural beauty. Elves dwell deep in their ancient forests, far away from the prying eyes of man. Each Elven community is built around an ancient Life Tree which date back to the birth of their race. Once there were hundreds of these massive oaks, but now there are only five left.
The Tuatha Dé Danann may choose to identify or present themselves as either male or female, but are born a mix of both genders. An Elf’s sexual and gender identity are unconnected, and many opt to use the personal pronoun “zhe” instead of he or she. Most Elves would describe their orientations as gender fluid and poly sexual, taking diverse partners often and casually. Elves feel love deeply and openly. They’re fully capable of long-term monogamous relationships, but those relationships tend to be open ones. Elves can have any number of Love Mates, but only a single Life Mate.
In addition to their Love Mates and Life Mates, Elves can experience a sensation referred to as the Union. Union partners are magically compelled to produce a child with one another, regardless of their individual relationships or gender identity. It is not uncommon for two Elves who both identity as the same gender to find themselves compelled to form a Union. This magical bonding only lasts until the conception of their child, and then the parents are free to go their separate ways. It is possible for an Elf to form a Union with several different partners over the centuries, or go their entire life without ever finding their specific partner. The parents will both take an active role in their child’s upbringing and life, but they are not under any further obligation to each other. Since Elves reproduce so slowly, children are loved and celebrated. Often their entire community is involved in child rearing. The Tuatha Dé Danann do not reproduce sexually, and while they can have relationships with other races they cannot crossbreed with them. This means that there are no naturally-occurring Half Elves.
Every 100 years on the Vernal Equinox, Tuatha Dé Danann who have formed a Union partake in a ritual at the Life Tree, combining a portion of their life forces to create a child. Their offspring will grow on the tree in a pod, gestating for a year and a day before being born. All of the children born from the ritual grow up together, viewing each other as siblings.
Effectively immortal, the Tuatha Dé Danann will live forever if not killed by outside forces. They enjoy a long childhood by human standards, reaching maturity at 90 years. At this point, their outward aging slows to an almost imperceptible crawl. Other races cannot discern a difference between a 100 year old Elf and a thousand year old Elf. Elves keep a childlike wonder and joy for centuries, gradually becoming more reserved and distant in their old age. Their lifespan makes them take a long term view of the world, and they pride themselves on keeping above petty mortal squabbling. It is often difficult to engage older Tuatha in the world around them, and they are often criticized for holding elitist views. Interactions with non-elves are tinged with a sad knowledge that they will long outlive any mortal friendship.
Some Tuatha Dé Danann begin to feel the weight of the centuries and become overcome with ennui. When this happens, Elves may choose to take part in the Rite of Spring. This ritual allows them to voluntarily end their existence and refresh the Life Tree with their soul.
The Tuatha Dé Danann devote their centuries to enjoying art, song, dance, and magic. They do not believe such skills can ever be perfected, but their pursuit is its own reward. Elves view their martial skills as yet another art form to devote their lives to. Hand to hand combat, swordplay, and archery are seen as intensely personal expressions of their spirit. An Elf might spend centuries training in archery without actually firing a single arrow. They only resort to using their arts for actual combat as a last resort, viewing violence with great sadness.
Elven culture takes much of its inspiration from the seasons and the natural order. The benign and noble Seelie court hold sway during the spring and summer months, from the feast day of Beltane to Samhain. The wicked and malicious Unseelie court rules during the autumn and winter months, from Samhain to Beltane. The Tuatha Dé Danann maintain two different monarchal lines and two different royal castles, complete with a Summer King and a Winter Queen. The summer Court is more open and friendly, whereas their winter counterpart has a darker reputation. The mercurial nature of Elves often causes conflicts with the other races, causing them to be seen as unstable and crazed.
The High Elves, or Alfheim, have tamed nature to serve their whims. Their capitol city Ljosalfheim is located in the center of an ancient forest called the Everwood. The Wood Elves, or Sylvani, have rejected that civilization and choose to live as close to nature as possible, magically shaping living trees into hidden villages.
Elves tend to be isolationist, keeping to their forest kingdoms. Outsiders are not allowed in the Elven Woods without a proper chaperone. If they trespass during the reign of the Unseelie court, they are likely to be slain on the spot. The Seelie court is known to welcome guests, but under very exacting rules of etiquette. Mortals allowed safe passage into the Elven wood are required to stay as guests for a year and a day. During that time, they are treated with all the rights and benefits of an Elven citizen.
The Elves have a long history with the Dwarves. During the Second Age, the two races sealed their friendship with Treaty of Kjurnn. This compact combined their rituals to create the Halfling race, so named because they are half Elf and Half Dwarf. Later during the great Goblin Wars, they again shared their magic to create Gnomes to build their war machines and Humans to fight as their soldiers. Once allies, they now have a distrustful stalemate with the other races. They are deeply ashamed of the warlike history of humanity, feeling it their responsibility.
The Tuatha Dé Danann’s numbers never recovered from the Goblin Wars, and they are now a race officially in decline. With the decimation of their Life Trees, they are unable to replenish their population in the numbers necessary to thrive. Most of the Tuatha Dé Danann have resigned themselves to their fate, seeing their time is drawing to a close. The elves believe that it is now their duty to prepare and elevate the new races to stewards of the earth.
Elves are slender but well-toned, usually weighing between 75 and 120 lbs. They are taller in stature than most mortals, standing over six feet tall on average. Their features are delicate and androgynous. Elves wear their hair long, often styling it with braids, dyes, and jewels. When in their own private Elven communities, clothing tends to be more ornamental than functional. When dressing is required, Elves enjoy combining body paint, jewelry, and fine silks. When Tuatha Dé Danann leave home or adventure, they are known for their Elven Chainmail and Cloaks of the Elven Kind.