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The Adaptation of Elves - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
The Adaptation of Elves

my_partner_doug pointed me to this cartoon discussing the adaptation of elves to their forest environment.

I have  desert elves and mountain elves.  And the desert elves are a medley of middle-dark skin tones -- toast and mocha, creamed-coffee and rose-gold -- just like desert-dwelling humans here tend to be.

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the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: July 7th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
And immediately I begin comparing Cutter to Leetah...

(I'm such an ElfQuest fan...)
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 7th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
The elves and Fae in my Lyria fantasy storyverse come in all kinds of shades, just like humans; they live in all kinds of environments, just like humans. Fae come in a slightly greater assortment of colors. My primary Fae character, Kialu Laiu, is dark brown of skin (though not as dark a brown as Lyria) and has snow white hair and snow white eyes.

In that world, elves are basically humans with pointy ears, though the elves there also have greater hearing, vision, strength, and natural grace, as well as the fact that almost all elves are naturally prone toward being able to do magic. Humans tend to have far fewer mages than they could, because they look for signs of natural inclination in that direction, but really, all but the most hopelessly mundane humans on Orion can learn to use magic. It's different on Earth, since Earth's magic was crippled over 1000 years ago, but Orion has so much magic that even the hopelessly mundane humans benefit from it by living up to 200 years. Magic users, called mages, generally live for 1000 years.

Fae are different. They're only partially mortal anymore, maybe 15%. The rest of their body IS magic. They're essentially earthbound Gods. Lyria is the most powerful human mage on Orion, and her power is like a steady trickle from a faucet that hasn't been shut off all the way. A Fae's power would, compared to that, be like Niagara Falls.

Oh, in that storyverse, there are also dark-adapted elves and Fae, and vampiric elves. (There are vampiric Fae, too, but they're extremely rare.) These dark-adapted races live inside the hollow part of Orion.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 8th, 2011 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>The elves and Fae in my Lyria fantasy storyverse come in all kinds of shades, just like humans; they live in all kinds of environments, just like humans.<<

That's cool. I like settings with that kind of diversity.

>>In that world, elves are basically humans with pointy ears, though the elves there also have greater hearing, vision, strength, and natural grace, as well as the fact that almost all elves are naturally prone toward being able to do magic. <<

My Hailen elves are different from humans. The males have functional breasts. The pointed ears are an erogenous zone. The muscle fiber structure is different. They've got auxiliary memory storage all down the spine, but that leaves them a lot more vulnerable to concussion and certain types of nerve damage. Pros and cons.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 8th, 2011 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

They'd kinda need extra memory storage. The human brain has limited storage capacity which means that there are lifespan limits inherent in the brain structure. In fact, as it is, in the Lyria storyverse, mages can generally only live to be about 1000 because of that limit. If they don't die around that age, they either lose existing memories or lose the ability to form new memories, or both. And the smarter they are, the more they remember, the sooner they die, or the more they can later forget.

Lyria has figured out a way around this limit, using magic and genetics, and brain modifications. It would have been a good thing to figure out anyway, since her other tinkering with the human brain has made her and her Zaharat soldiers several times smarter than baseline humans; she's also enhanced their reflexes. All the enhancements means that, without her solution, their lifespan would be cut by at least 25%.

Also, Lyria has come up with a cure for aging. Jarnion Zakonjo, her rival, is a mage who is 160 years old, and he looks like he's 50. Lyria is over 300 and looks about 25 or 30.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 8th, 2011 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

>> If they don't die around that age, they either lose existing memories or lose the ability to form new memories, or both. <<

Yeah, drawbacks can vary. Nerves and brains burn a lot of bioenergy.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 8th, 2011 07:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Speaking of drawbacks to powers, and burning bioenergy, I like how in "No Ordinary Family," the mom - who has superspeed - has to eat like she was 15 teenagers, she burns so many calories running that fast. She also goes through about 100 pairs of tennis shoes a week. I hope she's buying those in bulk.
viva_la_topknot From: viva_la_topknot Date: July 11th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

I've recently been pondering this! I have several species of elves in my series of novels, some of whom have skin tone that make sense, like you, desert and sea elves that are tanned, but my wood elves are woefully romanticized. They have very pale skin. I either need to adapt their clothing accordingly or change their design.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 11th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

My fair-skinned forest elves sometimes use camouflage clothing/paint, not the military style, but more like the high-end hunter stuff ("oak-hickory forest in early autumn"). A more unusual variation is the Red Elves of the South, who are kind of cinnamon-skinned with auburn hair -- but they have an offshoot tribe, the Green Elves, who have picked up symbiotic algae that turn their hair kind of a mossy green, like sloths have.
viva_la_topknot From: viva_la_topknot Date: July 12th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...


I for sure need to reexamine my Elves. Their heritage makes sense for them to be the color they are when they are pale, but I need to make up for it with clothes or makeup, like you have done.

Also, I would love to see illustrations of the Green Elves, they sound amazing!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 12th, 2011 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

>>I for sure need to reexamine my Elves. Their heritage makes sense for them to be the color they are when they are pale, but I need to make up for it with clothes or makeup, like you have done.<<

If you know their heritage, that may suggest ideas for clothes or makeup. People feel their way into the world, make a place for themselves there, adapt to it. That will show, one way or another.

>> Also, I would love to see illustrations of the Green Elves, they sound amazing! <<

It would be fun. I have one story, "Red Path, Green Path," that tells about the split between the Red Elves and the Green Elves -- but it hasn't sold yet.
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