Getting elves *right* has been difficult in this setting. Here is my latest attempt. This post replaces both "Elves of Monvesia" and "Monvesian Culture: Elfish Gender."-----
Language Analog: Finnish (Prace), Hungarian (Xahaca)
Inspiration: Greek myth, fairy folklore, Wicca
Tainted Counterpart: none, elves are immune to Taint
Temperamental Association: Vitalist
Names (any gender): Aamu, Aatos, Ahti, Aimo, Aino, Alli, Ansa, Armas, Armo, Arvo, Aulis, Eija, Eino, Hella, Hilja, Ilma, Ilta, Impi, Into, Jalo, Kai, Kaleva, Kauko, Kielo, Kirsikka, Kukka, Kyllikki, Lahja, Lempi, Lumi, Mainio, Maire, Meri, Merja, Oiva, Onni, Orvokki, Otso, Paiva, Pilvi, Pyry, Rauha, Ritva, Sade, Sampo, Satu, Seija, Seppo, Sini, Sirpa, Sisu, Soile, Sulo, Suoma, Suvi, Tahti, Taika, Taime, Taisto, Taipo, Tarmo, Taru, Tauno, Terhi, Terho, Terttu, Toivo, Tuija, Tuuli, Tyyne, Ukko, Urho, Vanamo, Varpu, Veli, Vesa, Vieno, Virva, Voitto, Vuokko
With Dwarves and Rakasta, Elves are one of the original races of Prace. Their Pracian homeland is called Sünnimaa, and once included all of Cuorria, Notopoli, and even Inheritance. It is on the islands of Inheritance that the elves first emerged--from here one branch of the race migrated northwest into Prace (the haltias) and another migrated southeast into Xahaca (the hulders). In Xahaca, the elfish territory is known as Szülőföld.
The elves of Monvesia are have a more striking sexual dimorphism than other races in the world. Early on, humans assumed elves existed as two species: female dominated nymphs and male dominated fauns. They would come to understand that these two "races" are members of the same species--the perceived genders thereof representing four of five sexes: sylphids, ondines, sprights, pucks, and fetches.
Elves with masculine secondary characteristics are collectively called fauns. They include the biologically female sprights [xz] and the biologically male pucks [xy]. In Prace, fauns have the lower bodies of hoofed animals (goats, deer, bulls, etc.), human-like upper bodies, and animal-like horns & ears; the exact animal form being tied to family lines. They have ruddy complexions, in stark contrast to their nymph counterparts. In Xahaca, fauns share traits with aquatic mammals--virtually hairless with fins. Adult fauns are solitary beings, but may be found with an adolescent “student.”
There also exists the rare, androgynous and intersex fetches [zz]. These elves have the strongest connection to Faerie, and their bodies are said to change with the seasons. In practice, Pracian fetches can change their physical form at will--and doing so affects their elemental connection. Xahacan fetches have only a shadow form, representing that race's subterranean and subaquatic nature.
NOTE: Elves do not recognize the "human" elements of light and void. Their elements are tied to the "traditional" elements of the four seasons.Humans often accuse elves of being a hypersexual race. This is a direct result of misunderstanding elvish gender roles and identity. While elfish culture does embrace polyamory, gender fluidity, and pan-romanticism, these factors are not definitive of the race's society. Truly, elves are a queer people.
The elf language does not have gendered pronouns. In practice, humans refer to nymphs as she; fauns as he; and fetches as [singular] they. Some elves who have spent time among humans have come to do the same--though most prefer singular they for all elves. In the dwarf language, the native gendered-caste pronouns have been adapted for use with the five recognized elf genders: noble feminine and masculine for nymphs, expert feminine and masculine for fauns, and worker feminine for dactyls. The rakasta simply have an elf-specific third-person pronoun (just as they have a dwarf/gnome pronoun, a goliath pronoun, and a human pronoun).
When Hulders experience the Crossing--typically through moss, crystal or coral rings--they experience it much the same way as Haltias. However, it is not the idyllic state of the ancient world they invoke, but the inevitable state of the end of the world. Originally bound to Feerie as their kin, the Hulders have adapted their race's culture to the Abyss.
Elfish Gender IdentitiesElven sub-races represent, in part, the natural sexes and corresponding gender identities of the race. They also represent an elf's continent of origin.
Haltias (or Surface Elves) are the elves of Prace
- Nymphs (Sylphids & Undines) are High Elves. These appear as traditional elves--though outwardly all appear female.
- Fauns (Sprights & Pucks) are Wood Elves. These have the appearance of satyrs--with hoofed lower bodies and antlers/horns.
- Fetches are Eladrin (Tome of Foes).
- Nymphs (Sylphids & Undines) are Drow. These appear as traditional dark elves inhabiting the dry, underground spaces.
- Fauns (Sprights & Pucks) are Sea Elves (Tome of Foes). These appear as traditional sea elves, inhabiting the coastal waters of their drow counterparts' caves.
- Fetches are Shadar-Kai (Tome of Foes).
REWRITTEN Mar 24, 2019. Edited Mar 29, 2019; April 20, 2019.