Friday, October 25, 2019

Weird Revisted: The Secret Life Stages of Elves

This post from 2016 is more recent than my usual revisits, but I had forgotten about it, only coming across it while looking for another post and thought it was worth a reshare...

What humans mistake as different tribes or clades of elves are actually different stages in their millennia long, perhap endless, lives.

Wood elves are elven adolescents. They rebel against their parents and go to live in bands of others of their age. They throw racuous parties in the woods and experiment with intoxicants. They are capricious, emotional, and cliqueish. Their tribes run the gamut between Woodstock and Lord of the Flies.

High elves are elven adults. They interact most with other species and are responsible for the maintenance of elven civilization. It is in this age cohort that the immortality of elves begans to take its toll, however. Elven brains are not structurally that different from humans. They do not have the capacity to hold countless centuries of memories. Their initial compensatory mechanism is monomania. Elves develop a strong interest that narrows the array of factual information they must recall and provides constant reinforcement for the things they find important. Some become swordsmasters, some master artists or craftsmen, some archmages.

For some elves this is enough, and they grow more skilled, more focused, and stranger, until they become almost demigods in their chosen vocation. These are the Gray.

Others, though, are not able to maintain such focus. Something akin to dementia sets in. They become forgetful, and paranoid. As they begin to lose their past--lose themselves. They find only intense linger long. These are the drow, the dark elves.

Dark because of the darkness that consumes their minds; dark for the deeds they commit to hold on to self and not slip into endless reverie. They go to live in the dungeons of their kind to pursue intense pleasures and horrors or simply howl or cackle in the darkness. These elders are feared by other elves. They avoid them and will not reveal their relationship to them to non-elves.


Kyana said...

This is very nice idea.

JB said...

This isn't bad at all. For me, it does fall down a little with the Drow stage (that is: it's a bit of a stretch...why would they suddenly become subterranean?). I'd almost prefer dark elves to be a corrupted "lost tribe" (explaining their demon worship and clerical abilities). But other than that, this is a very nice re-skin of trad elves.

Maybe halflings, dwarves, and gnomes are different life stages of a single race as well? One that gets beefier and hairier with age?
; )

Trey said...

@JB - I think shame in their lucid times drove the first underground, then more followed in the spaces they built.

Cross Planes said...

Perhaps Lolth brings some kind of solace for the drow and she led them into the Underdark where their actions are foul rites to the Queen of Spiders?

Kyana said...

To elaborate on Cross Planes' comment, perhaps Lloth (being a goddess and literal divinity) offers a kind of twisted support for drows fragmenting mind, kind of like divine glue to hold it together slightly better; it might be that she is the only one strong enough or willing to offer that 'cure' for the whole species. Of course, it is to serve her need but it might explain why the worship of her is so prevalent.

Trey said...

I like that! Good thoughts, all.