Shadow Elves

Shadow Elves

Language: Latin

Racial Maturity

Child 1-15
Teenager 16-20
Young Adult 21-50
Mature 51-100
Middle Age 101-400
Old 400+

Shadow Elves are racially the same stock as the Dark Elves, but are held in low regard and distrust by the Dark Elves. They have black skin and white hair, and come from Nitrem.

Shadow Elf Religion

Shadow Elves begin practicing their religion from birth. They are taught that they have a soul and that the "Mother-Moon" gave the Shadow Elves life. Their religion becomes a part of their everyday life and cases of Shadow Elves rejecting their religion are very rare. The ones who do however, are referred to as "Fallen Ones". Young Shadow Elves are also taught that fire is an evil and destructive force, and the sun is a symbol of that evil. This is said because the shadow elves long ago discovered that magnified sunlight creates fire. Casting the magical school of fire is looked down upon by the Shadow Elves and is seldom seen in use.

Shadow Elf priests, or "Priests of the Mother-Moon," have long tried to find the moon's equivalent to fire. Some believed that if magnified sunlight could create fire, then magnified moonlight could create some lunar equivalent. Some priests, in pursuit of this goal, created massive lenses trying in vain to all night to create some form of "moon-fire." There was never a success and in many cases, when the sun rose the lenses set fire to the forest and caused acres of damage.

There have been attempts by people to imitate aspects of the Mother-Moon. These people believe that the Shadow Elves will follow them as if they were their god. These aspects are always bombarded by questions that they can never answer, and in their futile attempts, they often leave the Shadow Elves more confused then before. It was finally decided that the Mother-Moon must work her ways through the Shadow Elf soul rather than a lens. As proof of this, the Shadow Elves turn to their white hair.

Sun produces sunbeams, which through a lens produce fire
Moon produces moonbeams, which through a Shadow Elf soul produces white hair

When a shadow elf is deemed 'of age' by a priest of the Mother-Moon, he/she goes on the quest for the "night lizard." The night lizard is said to be a solitary and vicious creature who lives within The Mist. The Shadow Elf is allowed to bring no more then a single weapon of their choosing, and a flask of water for this task. I the Shadow Elf completes this task, he/she is allowed to fashion armor out if the hide of the night lizard. Although this armor is of a near magical toughness, it is worn more as a religious artifact and accomplishment then armor. This armor is never to fall into the hands of a non-Shadow Elf. If the Shadow Elf does not complete this task, he/she will not be allowed to try again for at least a year, usually more.

If, after the quest for the night lizard, the Shadow Elf still does not possess something made from obsidian, something will be crafted for them. Obsidian is considered a sacred material and is often laid into the night lizard armor or crafted into a weapon.

Shadow Elves have a profound belief that they have a soul, and they believe that when they die, their soul will move on to another plane of existence. It is for this reason that these elves despise necromancy. In the eyes of a Shadow Elf, an undead is soulless, and therefore an abomination to all living things. The practice of necromancy, much like the practice of fire, is extremely rare and looked down upon by Shadow Elf society. If a Shadow Elf is turned undead, he/she will be killed as quickly as possible, as will the necromancer who turned them.

The final main facet of Shadow Elf religion is that they believe that the world must have a balance between good and evil, and that these two opposing forces must co-exist in order for the world to go on without copious amounts of problems.

Shadow Elf Rituals

Rituals are an integral part of Shadow Elf society and a Shadow Elf's life, and they will perform these rituals without fail to please the Mother-Moon.

First Moon Sighting Rituals

These rituals are performed at the first sighting of the moon each night. If the moon is not visible, the ritual will not be performed.

New Moon

Meaning: When there is no moon in the sky, a shadow elf will perform "the mourning." This ritual is done to mourn and remember people who have passed on. It is also performed to help remove the taint of any wrongdoings that the Shadow Elf may have on their soul, and it is believed to help them pass into the next plane of existence upon their final death.

Practice: The ritual is performed by a Shadow Elf drawing his/her own blood and spreading it in a circle. They then kneel in this circle and close their eyes. In their mind (or vocally if they wish) the Shadow Elf will go over all of their past wrongdoings and remember the faces and lives of all their friends and family that have passed on. Once this is completed the Shadow Elf lets out a great yell for as long as they can hold it. This is believed to travel to the next plane and let the Shadow Elves there know that they are being thought about. After the yell, the circle is washed away and the Shadow Elf continues on as normal for the remainder of the night.

Quarter Moon

Meaning: When the quarter moon reigns above, the "ritual of awakening" is performed. This time in the moon's cycle is seen as opening her eyes to the Shadow Elves, and is a new look at the world.

Practice: In doing this ritual, the Shadow Elf will take some form of mind-altering drug in an attempt to see the world in a new way. Often times this will be combined with self-mutilation as a form of metaphysical enlightenment. This ritual varies in length and specifics.

Half Moon

Meaning: At the first sighting of the half moon, the ritual of balance is performed. This ritual is done to honor and aid the balance that the Shadow Elves believe there must be in the world.

Practice: If a Shadow Elf feels that there is too much good in a certain area, he/she will take an action of an evil nature in an attempt to restore balance. On the other hand, if a Shadow Elf feels that there is too much evil in an area, he/she will perform an act of kindness too help restore balance. These acts will be performed even if it against the Shadow Elf's nature.

Three-Quarter Moon

Meaning: The three-quarter moon s a time for forgiveness for the shadow elves, thus, this ritual is called "forgiving."

Practice: This ritual is done to a beat. If possible, a drum is used, but if not, then anything that can be hit to make a noise will do. The Shadow Elf will drum to a beat of his/her choice (usually combined with taking some mind-altering drug) and will either mentally, or vocally forgive everyone he/she deems is worthy of forgiveness. Once this is complete, the drumming will stop and the night will continue as normal.

Full Moon

Meaning: At the full moon's first sight, a Shadow Elf will begin "the celebration." A ritual performed to worship and celebrate the Mother-Moon in her full glory.

Practice: A Shadow Elf will begin this ritual by shedding their own blood and painting themselves with it. Designs vary from Shadow Elf to Shadow Elf, but there is almost always a full moon painted on the face. A celebration occurs and will last until something happens to stop it, or the sun rises. Anyone, Shadow Elf or not, is allowed to celebrate the moon on these nights.

Seasonal Rituals

Spring: The Rebirth

Meaning: The night that spring is ushered in by the Shadow Elves, all of the Shadow Elves in an area will gather together to perform The Rebirth. Believed to be the earth getting a new lease on life, this is a joyous time for the Shadow Elves.

Practice: All of the Shadow Elves in an area gather to a spot determined weeks, even months ahead of time, yet almost always solely known to the Shadow Elves. Here they shed their blood, and paint various plants, trees, sometimes even animals with it. This is seen as a way of the Mother-Moon blessing them. The Shadow Elves present will always put their handprints on a specific tree, and paint the shape of the moon that night around it, all in their own blood. The shadow elves will consider this tree under their protection until the next spring, when a new one will be chosen.

Summer: The Heat

Meaning: Summer is seen as both a time of life and death for the Shadow Elves. Life seems most vibrant in these times, and this is celebrated by the Shadow Elves, but this also seems to be when the sun is at its most powerful, and that is a sign of death and destruction for the Shadow Elves. Much of this ritual is in honor of balance.

Practice: The Heat ritual is done in two parts. The first part is considered a necessary evil. The Shadow Elves that are in attendance will light a large bonfire and though they despise fire, the Shadow Elves will dance around the fire until putting it out at the end of the dance. The dance its self varies from area to area. The second part of the ritual is done to celebrate the growth that occurs in the summer, and it is done by taking some form of hallucinogenic, then planting trees and bushes that have been grown in granaries.

Fall: The Withering

Meaning: This time of the year is seen as the time when all of the plants wither until The Rebirth. This is not considered an evil time, but is seen as a necessary part of the life cycle. The only plants that seem to survive this are the evergreens, and therefore, these plants are seen as the strongest.

Practice: The Withering is performed in a rather calm manner. No drug use or self-mutilation is involved. The Shadow Elves simply travel the paths and cut back the branches of overgrown trees and tend the forest.

Winter: The Freeze

Meaning: The Freeze is seen as the beginning of the long harsh winters that the Shadow Elves must endure on the Isle of Nitrem. During this time food is preserved, stocked, and rationed by the Shadow Elves. Winters in Nitrem are known to be among the most unforgiving anywhere. The Shadow Elves perform this ritual in hopes that the Mother Moon will provide them with an easier winter.

Practice: The Freeze is performed by all the Shadow Elves in an area gathering together in large groups for a massive prayer to the Mother Moon. Though each individual Shadow Elf has their own prayer, they all end with self-mutilation and an offering of their blood to the Mother Moon.

Other Rituals

Birth: Emerging

Meaning: The Shadow Elves realize that birth is a very draining experience. In order for the child to be healthy and happy in life, Shadow Elves believe that the Mother Moon must bless the baby upon birth. In order for this to have a greater chance of happening, the Shadow Elves perform the ritual of Emerging.

Practice: While the mother and father are in a tent or other building delivering the baby, their friends and relatives will be outside sitting is a circle around them. These people will pray until the child is born, and then there will be a great cheer, followed by a celebration.

Final Death: The Passing

Meaning: Final death is not something that is feared by the Shadow Elves, but they do wish to live a full life, so it is not embraced. The Shadow Elves look forward to the next plane of existence, but don't want to rush through this life. When a Shadow Elf has his final death, he is put in one of the many cemeteries on the Isle of Nitrem. These cemeteries are all guarded by henges or other protection circles. Most of the time a witchmark against necromancy is placed every 10 feet around the perimeter of these circles to ensure that no Shadow Elf will be turned undead. When a Shadow Elf is laid to rest in one of these cemeteries, The Passing is performed by all that are present.

Practice: The Shadow Elf is brought to the cemetery in a casket that is carried by 6 of his/her closest friends. The casket is lowered into a grave and a Priest of the Mother Moon says some words about the Shadow Elf that has moved on. Then, all in attendance will cut themselves and drain some of their blood into the grave before it is covered. Afterwards each person will say something about the Elf that has moved on, and the ritual is complete.

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