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Trade Tongue:

Hylocineta asterphilia

Elves are a species of sentient hominid, originally from the large forest east of the Katar (This forest is therefore called the Elfholt in Trade Tongue). There are no other living members of genus Hylocineta.


The densest elven populations are in heavily forested areas, as they have a number of physical and cultural adaptations to such areas. Major populations exist in the Elfholt, the east and west Silver Wood, the Dimholt, and the Kesalathe Forest. The Elfholt alone accounts for a third of the total elven population at around 3.3 million. The other three forest population are another 3.5 million elves.

The elves of the Elfholt divide themselves into eight nations which are largely based on the provinces of the Kynesshi Empire, modified by more recent cultural events and divisions. Subsequent major elven populations are patterned off this model as well.

Another 2.9 million elves live in the minor populations that exist in numerous woodland areas, generally referred to as a group as the Woodland Clans. Elves do not generally maintain populations in areas with less tree cover than woodland, nor do they favor the cold conifer forests of the slopes Edgewall or the Iirîk Kata'at.

Physical Characteristics

The elven body is adapted for arboreal climbing and jumping in the great trees of their homeland. They are lightly built with long arms and legs. Though they have returned to arboreal lifestyle more than any other hominid, they have not diverged too far from other hominids and remain fully bipedal and fully capable of terrestrial walking.

Females range from 170 to 205 cm and 50 to 75 kg. As is standard to dolicocephalines, sexual dimorphism is slight, and males average only about 4 cm taller and 7 kg heavier.

Elven skin is extremely pale, an adatation to low-sunlight conditions of their deep forest homeland. This is one of the major reasons they tend to establish settlements only in areas with extensive canopy cover: they sun-burn very easily. Elven hair also tends to have low eumelanin (brown-black pigment), which gives them the most diverse array of hair colors of any hominid: light brown, blond, red, or soft grey; or numerous shades in between these. It is almost universally straight and fine. Like gnomes, elves have the distinctive dolicocephaline range of eye colors: blue, green, gray, or brown.

Life Cycle

Elves have the whole complex of life cycle traits characteristic of dolicocephalines: short gestation period compared to eurycephalines, altricial young, high infant mortality rates and long lifespans. In fact, elves are the most extreme examples of these traits among dolicocephalines.

Gestation Period: 200 days

Skull Fusion: 4 years

Base Infant Mortality: 1 per 4 live births

Weaning: 3.25-8.5 years, average 5 years

Physical Maturity: 22-28 years

Life Span: 135 years

See the Life Cycle Key for definitions of characteristics.

Elven infants are born completely without pigment, albino. They have transparentish-white skin and pale pink eyes, and what hair they have is white. For most, the pigment comes in over the first 80 or so days after birth. But about 1 in 250 elves never do develop pigmentation (or never fully develop pigmentation) and remain albino.

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