I am taking part in the 2021 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Throughout the month of April 2021, I will be blogging about aspects of my homebrew Dungeons & Dragons campaign world called Mavweth.
“IT BURNS! IT BURNS US! It freezes! Nasty Elves twisted it. TAKE IT OFF US!”
-Gollum, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
They are a mainstay of fantasy literature. They are a symbol of everything good. Often they are portrayed as elves are portrayed as fair, graceful, and wise beings with supernatural abilities like enhanced eyesight. Their gender is fluid and they are immortal in spirit. They facially resemble humans with much longer and finer hair and an apparent inner glow. They have pointed ears and no facial hair.
But not in Mawveth.
After Raganarök (which many believe they Elvish in origin) most of the Elves fled Mawveth. They crossed through to other dimensions and planes of existence, abanding the world as it spun wildly into chaotic retrograde.
And the Elves ran like hell and never looked back.
And the ones that remained, well, they aren’t the Elves that you’re looking for, my friend. You see, the Elves that remained became tainted, twisted, and monstrous. Fair became foul, grace transformed into cruelty, and beneficence converted to maliciousness.
So the Elves that remain in Mawveth are not the beautiful beings of Tolkien lore or the wee imps in Shakesperian plays. They are Unseelie, blood-sucking creatures that live nearly invisible to the daily lives of other beings, preying on the weak, bringing illness to the strong, and feeding on the blood of the living.
More on that later because no, Elf is not Mawveth code for “vampire.” They are Unseelie Fey, not vampires, dear readers.
For fans of the Firefly films, however, Elves are very much the Reavers of this campaign setting. Joss Whedon has said of Reavers:
“Every story needs a monster. In the stories of the old west, it was the Apaches”.
And that’s exactly how Elves should be portrayed in this setting. They are the monsters under your bed, the thing lurking in the shadows, and the creature that even Conan shits his pants when he sees running down the street at him. Again, to reference Reavers in Firefly, Zoe puts it like this:
“If they take the ship, they’ll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing – and if we’re very, very lucky, they’ll do it in that order.”
But that’s not to say that Elves will not at times consort with other races. They are not simply monsters. They are creatures of cool intellect, welcoming anyone and anything to their brood that has even a drop of ancestral Fey blood within them. Since Fey often birth odd, mixed breed, and mutated creatures, they often accept those which other races and creeds would consider grotesque or unnatural.
These Elven creatures referred to in Mawveth as “The Huldrene” are fearsome, cannibalistic beings who live in places of ethereal horror with twisted, misshapen landscapes. Their mere presence is a blight to healthy, living things and can even render places devoid of magical energy, called “Dead Magic Zones.”
Despite their retrograde, Elves maintain a shadow of their former selves. Their unearthly grace and haunting beauty remain intact, as does their ability to fluidly alter their gender. They remain slightly shorter than humans on average, usually around 6 feet tall. They are slender, weighing around 130 pounds. Coloration differs, however, including a range of light blue to dark purple, their flesh usually resembling a patchwork of bruised or bloodied skin. Their eyes are various shades of red, differing in hue, saturation, or lightness, or a mixture of these qualities. They have very little if any hair. Their ears are oversized and pointed and their teeth are jagged maws of shark-like teeth.
They do continue to have a timeless perspective on the world. As long as they have a constant resource of blood and fresh meat, they are resilient and can live for well over 700 years. Therefore, they are secure in the belief that they can hide, elude, and avoid danger simply remaining avoiding contact with other races or beings by simply waiting out a situation rather than revealing their presence. However, if they are placed in a situation that they must protect themselves or their lairs, they are easily escalated to violence and will wipe out entire communities or domiciles simply to defend themselves and their brood.
Read more about The Mawveth Chronicles here.