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Saturday, 4 January 2014

A History of Elves

A History of Elves

'Elves and Fairies,' an illustration for 'The Tempest,' by Edmund Dulac (1882-1953)

Elves have been a popular subject in fiction for centuries, ranging from William Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to the classic fantasy novels of J.R.R. Tolkien 300 years later. But it's only recently that elves have been confined to plays, books, and fairy tales: In centuries past, belief in the existence of fairies and elves was common among both adults and children.

Like fairies, elves were said to be magical, diminutive shape-shifters. (Shakespeare's elves were tiny, winged creatures that lived in, and playfully flitted around, flowers.) English male elves were described as looking like little old men, though elf maidens were invariably young and beautiful. Like men of the time, elves lived in kingdoms found in forests, meadows, or hollowed-out tree trunks.

Elves,  fairies, and  leprechauns are all closely related in folklore, though elves specifically seem to have sprung from early Norse mythology. By the 1500s, people began incorporating elf folklore into stories and legends about fairies, and by 1800, fairies and elves were widely considered to be simply different names for the same magical creatures.

As with fairies, elves eventually developed a reputation for pranks and mischief, and strange daily occurrences were often attributed to them. For example, when the hair on a person or horse became tangled and knotted, such "elf locks" were blamed on elves, and a baby born with a birthmark or deformity was called "elf marked."

Indeed, our forefathers trifled with elves at their peril. According to folklorist Carol Rose in her encyclopedia "Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins," though elves were sometimes friendly toward humans, they were also known to take "terrible revenge on any human who offends them. They may steal babies, cattle, milk, and bread or enchant and hold young men in their spell for years at a time. An example of this is the well-known story of Rip Van Winkle."

Evolving elves
Another type of elf emerged, one with a somewhat different nature and form than the mischievous and diminutive sprites of yore. Some elves, such as those depicted in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, are slender, human-sized, and beautiful, with fine — almost angelic — features. Tolkien's characters were drawn largely from his research into Scandinavian folklore, and therefore it's not surprising that his elves might be tall and blond. Though not immortal, these elves were said to live hundreds of years. They have also become a staple of modern fantasy fiction.

Gary Gygax, co-creator of the seminal role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, was not only influenced by Tolkien's elves but also instrumental in popularizing them, even including elves as one of the character races (along with humans) that gamers could play.

In either form, elves are strongly associated with magic and nature. As with fairies, elves were said to secretly steal healthy human babies and replace them with their own kind. These changelings appeared at first glance to be human babies, but if they became seriously sick or temperamental, parents would sometimes suspect that their own child had been abducted by elves. There were even legends instructing parents on how to get their real child back from its elven abductors.

Each generation seems to have their own use for elves in their stories. Just as leprechauns have historically been associated with one type of work (shoemaking), it is perhaps not surprising that many common (and commercial) images of elves depict them as industrious workers — think, for example of Santa Claus' toymaking elves or even the Keebler cookie-baking elves. Folklore, like language and culture, is constantly evolving, and elves will likely always be with us, in one form or another.
By Benjamin Radford, LiveScience Contributor

Elvhenan The World Of Magic Part 3

Social Structure
The social structure of the drow is one of the most important aspects . This is how he/she social standing in the city and in the favour of the Lolth can make or break the drows social climb up a ladder for that high statist type home to live in... If you are in good standing with the Lolth then you properly will have a good chance of lifting in a high-rise pad, in the underground cities.. but you must understand the social standing and the favour of the Lolth and the drows dealings with the Lolth

first...In every city there is Drow noble houses and it is the goal to become the one with the first house. This is done in many ways. However, the most common one is through murder. The drow have laws to punish these murders but the legal system has enough holes in it to get round the problem of prosecution. to give you and example.

House A is ranked 22 House B is ranked 23. House B want the position of House A so plan to dispose of them. To do this they must kill every noble in House A. If one noble survives then they have the right of accusation. If a noble of House A survived then they could name the house that tried to destroy them, in this case House B. House B would then be killed off completely, leaving no surviving nobles, as punishment for their crime. 

If House B managed to wipe out House A completely then they would move up in the house rankings to 22 and all those houses beneath them would move up accordingly. House A would then be considered to have never existed at all. Nice eh? [Crazy I think but that just their culture]

It does sound a little complicated but to the drow and their social statics in the community it is very important to them. so that why I included it in the discussion..

The favour of their Lolth is one of the most important things in the lives of the drow. Her favour is gained in many ways. Houses in the favour of Lolth progress through the house ranking and their priestess' are able to call upon certain powers of their goddess. Most of these involve spiders and very nasty spells!!!
Priestess's of Lolth carry snake headed whips that move freely and bite, inflicting great pain on the recipient. The snakes will also instantly attack anyone who is not a believer in Lolth.
The more heads on whip, the nastier the priestess is.

[Note: you must remember that each place i get info has their own integration of the drows.]

A matron mother, the senior female priestess , leads nobles Houses. In Lolth-worshipping drow communities , her rule is absolute, enforced by the priestesses beneath her [usually her daughters]. All females of the mother's blood, in order of their age, follow rank, although they wield no authority until they are trained and of age [passed puberty].

Below the daughters come the male officers of the House; the weapons master [leader of the fighters, [chief] House wizard, and patron [current consort of the matron mother]. These ranks may be combined, and even held by the traditional next rank down in the hieararchy: the male heirs of the House.

Male heirs are also ranked by age: elder boy, second boy, third boy and so on. They are not allowed to look at the faces of other drow , of speak unless spoken to or bidden. This treatment teaches them subordinate place in drow society.

Below them are the "war-leaders" of the House[veteran warriors, who lead House patrols, attack squads, and guards, under the command of the weapons master], and House mages [under the command of the House wizard].

Beneath these "blood" members and officials of the House rank its common warriors, its craftspeople, its servants, and its slaves. All ranks are decreed, and can be changed at the whim of, the matron mother. Her position changes at death - often at the hands of her eldest daughter.

In a Lolth - worshipping drow community, It is a deadly thing to slay a matron mother who holds Lolth's favor, so mothers m ay reign for hundreds of years, kept alive by magic of the Lolth and the diligent service they perform to get and keep it. The assassination of a matron mother is often a punishment for punishment for losing Lolth's good will, and marks either a new direction for the House, or - if it is weak, and has strong rivals - the beginning of its extinction.

If one House in the city openly wars on another, and survivors of the ruined House can call down the city's justice on the attacking House. When this occurs, all Houses combine forces to wipe out the offending House. Houses who send assassins and saboteurs against each other for years will be force into an open battle by the city's ruling council, with the same results as above.

This type of no-win scenario allows the internal strife of drow to be strictly controlled, so that drow communities are not torn apart by continual, bloody warfare. Most internal combat therefore takes the form of eternal manoeuvring for small advantages. Underhanded intrigue, poisoned knives in dark alleys, vicious trade rivalries, and dirty dealings are all a part of normal drow life.

Most drow wear a magical shielding cloak, called a "piwafui".

More about the little people ~ origine of the little people

More About Elves
Fairies Elves and Pixies
Native American Story of Elves
The Secrete Commonwealth of Elves

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