While elves have common traits such as long lifespans, an affinity for magic, and pointed ears, there is a great diversity amongst the elves of Vaira. We will discuss first the High Elves, who view themselves as the first race of Vaira, and from which all other elf subraces can trace their lineage to.
The High Elves are ‘pureblood’ elves, never having interbred with any other species. They, like the humans, originally hail from Kriterra. High Elves have a very high affinity for magic, a gift from the goddess Vaira who created them, according to myth. Elves learned to use magic long before humans lived as more than tribal family-groups, and used that knowledge to dominate the continent of Kriterra in the days of myth.
Elves are very long lived, reaching sexual maturity at around 80 years old and then continuing to grow until around 300 years of age. Pureblooded elves can live for about a millenia. This, however, comes at the cost of reproduction rate. A female elf can only have one child every twenty years, and coupled with their long maturation rate, it was only a matter of time before humans outnumbered them.
This began a long series of conflicts between the races, with humans learning magic of their own. Both races were devastated by wars culminating in the Great War of the Mages, a nickname given to an event etched in ruins across Kriterra when a series of battles between powerful groups of mages caused so much devastation that all of human and elven civilization was halted in its tracks. This period would also mark the first division amongst the elves.
The High Elves have pale complexions and tend to be relatively short, with an adult standing around 160cm (5’3″). High Elves typically have red or blonde hair and brown or green eyes.
Much like the humans, many elves fled the war by crossing the flow to the East. Rather than make landfall in the desert, however, the majority of elven refugees would settle further south. These elves, now known as Wild Elves, live in the deepwoods of Brighthearth and have close ties to the forest dwelling Zev. They are wary of any outsider and it is rare to even see a Wild Elf, let alone interact with them. The Wild Elves think that their elven ancestors, and the humans they warred with, were both led astray from the true path of Vaira. To truly honor the mother-goddess they have returned to their roots, living a simple agrarian lifestyle and only using ‘natural magic’ as their ancestors did.
Wild Elves are taller than their High Elf cousins, with lanky builds. They tend to be around 182cm (6’0″) tall with olive skin tones. They tend to have angular, hawkish faces with larger ears than their western cousins. Wild Elf eyes are typically black to brown, and their hair is typically black. They typically bear a great number of tattoos which mark events in their lives, a tradition which likely crossed over from the forest Zev. These elves have similar lifespans and birthrates to the High Elves.
A colloquial term for the ‘modern Elf’ of the Kriterran empire. These elves have long lived amongst humans and most have a mix of human and elven blood, which has reduced their overall aptitude for magic and their long lifespan, but increased their birth rate, which has made them the most populous group of elves in Vaira. City Elves are typically pale in complexion with a wide range of hair and eye colors. City Elves are typically a bit shorter than humans, standing around 167cm (5’6″). Unlike their cousins, City Elves typically live for about 500 years and reproduce around once every 5 years. City Elves also reach sexual maturity at about 30 years of age.