The Village of Eternal Night
|Species/Race||Hybrid (human, elf)|
|Average lifespan||150 – 200 years|
|Homeland||None, but largest population exists in Marsadia|
|Typical height||4’ 8" – 6’ 0"|
|Skin colors||Mostly shades of brown, very pale to very dark, but other colors are seen|
|Hair colors||Any, though blond and white are rare|
|Distinctive features||Round, pointed ears|
Strictly speaking, the term half-elf refers to the offspring of a human and an elf, but any human with discernible elven heritage (or vice versa) tends to be called half-elven regardless of their parentage. Though rarely seen in large numbers, elf-blooded individuals tend to pop up in any place where elves and humans have close contact—either because their populations coexist in peace or because of war and strife. Regardless of the circumstances of their birth, half-elves often struggle with feelings of rejection and isolation from humans and elves alike, and even those who are born from loving couples will typically be all but abandoned by their elven parent when the human eventually passes. Many half-elves are forced to take on the responsibilities of adulthood at an early age, and it is this that leads to the stereotypes of half-elves as drifters, loners, and adventurers who carry their lives upon their backs.
Half-elves are as diverse and varied in physical appearance as both their parent races, and the only standards of what they look like are socially constructed. There is no genealogical “point” at which an individual from an elf-blooded lineage becomes “fully human” or “fully elven,” although in predominantly human lands such as Vastrea, the offspring of a human and a half-elf is usually considered human (or “human enough to count”). Generally speaking, elves will see half-elves as more human than anything else, and humans will see them as mostly or entirely elven.
Many half-elves sport a distinctive ear shape: shorter and rounder than elven ears, but with pointed tips. (This is not always the case, however, as most human-blooded individuals of wood-elven heritage have ears indistinguishable from those of a human.) Their skin may be tinged with blue, green, violet, or other colors common in certain elven populations. Blond hair of any shade is very rare in half-elves, but not an impossibility.
Half-elves seem to have a greater natural inclination towards arcane magic than humans do, with a higher proportion of half-elves having at least some amount of inborn arcane ability, and those who are born of moon elves or stone elves tend to have better night vision as well. Beyond this, however, there is no concrete proof that half-elves inherit “gifts” from their elven blood: any exceptional skill a half-elf has with performing traditional elven activities (such as elven styles of archery, dance, or music) is almost certainly a result of training, not some innate inherent “elven-ness.”
Since many half-elves lose their parents before adulthood—because they were orphaned, ran away from home, or were abandoned—they must learn new skills in order to survive, sometimes when they’re still quite young. Most focus on achieving independence and fending for themselves, having learned that help from others is unreliable or unattainable, but there are also those who learn how to cultivate a wide network of friends and contacts that they can rely on for assistance during hard times.
Society and Culture
Half-elves have no society of their own—outside of places like Marsadia, where humans and elves have had relationships with each other for centuries, the likelihood of a half-elf even meeting another half-elf is very low. Most are born in wholly human or elven settlements, where they struggle to meet expectations and connect with the people around them. In communities of elves, a half-elf’s childhood and adolescence seems to pass in the blink of an eye, and an individual who is fully mature may still be treated like a child for decades; in human communities, the maturity of a half-elf seems stunted, and those around them are often frustrated by what they see as a refusal to grow up.
Even parents who truly do love their half-elven offspring are not immune to treating them poorly. While half-elves tend to live longer than humans do, their lifespan is still centuries shorter than that of an elf, and young elves are usually ill-equipped to handle outliving both a partner and a child. Usually this leads to abandonment, but the phenomenon of elves with human spouses committing murder-suicide near the end of their partner’s life is unfortunately common enough to have an Elvish name: maiheldraia.
In Vastrea, the elven parent of a half-elf is usually a wood elf, but half-stone elves have also been seen, especially in the more southern parts of the nation. Most Vastrean wood elves with human-blooded offspring are wanderers, as those who live within the forest enclaves are highly discouraged from coupling with humans—many settlements will shun any elf who does, and some will go so far as to execute the elf’s partner as punishment. These harsh measures stem from fears of maiheldraia and beliefs that half-elf children demand too much from the community, both in resources and mental labor.
Vastrean half-elves born among humans fare little better. The forest-dwelling wood elves may fear maiheldraia, but it is far more common in human settlements, where an elf may not have any other elves to turn to in times of grief and doubt. These tragedies do not go unnoticed by their human neighbors, who sometimes believe that half-elves are cursed by the gods to bring misery and madness in their wake. As a result, elf-blooded humans are rarely accepted by Vastrean humans, often called “wolves in lambswool” or simply “half-bloods.”
|People of Taralthon|
|Elven ethnicities||Moon elves · Stone elves · Sun elves · Wood elves|
|Elven hybrids||Gnomes · Goblins · Half-elves|
|Human ethnicities||Hiemians · Marsadians · Vastreans|
|Human hybrids||Half-dwarves · Half-elves · Wildkin|
|Gnomes · Goblins · Half-dwarves · Half-elves · Kobolds · Wildkin|