Few live atop the great Peaks of Mount Verdure, a tangle of rocky plains and caverns. Tucked within the crags and peaks are small settlements of Dark Elves, living in tight-knit families and working to maintain their peaceful communities. History Dark Elven records track family lineages back hundreds of years, tracing two to three generations back from the oldest living matriarch. In addition, two early historical events are recorded: the appearance of Verdure, and the War of the Circle. History before the war is unreliable, with most first-hand accounts being destroyed. Verdure is a person spoken of in multiple second-hand accounts. A brilliant Dark Elf who glowed green and white with magic, it is said that Verdure appeared before the other Dark Elves and created the Great Circle. Verdure’s motives and nature as a person are lost to time, but most accounts describe Verdure as a soft-spoken pacifist who cherished life. Some records describe her as an unassuming midwife, while others describe her as an explorer or as a powerful mage of Earth Magics. The only thing certain about Verdure is that she is, somehow, responsible for the Great Circle at the top of the mountain. In addition, the mountain which holds the Great Circle was given her name: Mount Verdure. At first, after the Great Circle was built, matriarchs feuded over who controlled it. Dark Elven warriors, no longer afraid of death, gave their lives to claim the Circle. Control of the Circle switched hands regularly. Those who held it, however, noticed that slain Dark Elves were not the only ones to appear. Stone Elves and Biata would resurrect regularly, bearing stories of their civilizations and of the Mists surrounding them. Malkara, a great matriarch, compiled these stories and painted a dire image: the Dark Elves, Biata, and Stone Elves were under siege together. She made a case to the other matriarchs that the Dark Elves, as a people, should be the caretakers of the Circle, and should try to grant Verdure’s wishes. With the Dark Elves fighting amongst themselves, Malkara argued, all three civilizations would be lost. Through diplomacy, she ended the war, and the Dark Elves began their turn towards pacifism. In this new peace, literacy and art flourished. Each family now sends healers to tend the Great Circle. Though some families may secretly pine for sole control over it, most Dark Elves now see the Circle as a vital public resource that should be cared for by all families. These healers are still members of their family in all regards, but are expected to act in the best interests of all Dark Elves, and not of their matriarch. To signify this, these “Children of Verdure” wear green and white instead of their own families’ colors while tending the Circle. Family and Values The most important thing to the Dark Elves of Mount Verdure is life itself. It is the most precious thing a person can possibly have, and to take a life is a grave dishonor. They see war as the greatest crime a society can commit, as it does not change hearts or minds; it only sends children to a dishonorable death. As such, committing “dishonorable acts” or even murder are not serious enough crimes to warrant death for the Dark Elves. Death begets more death, and Dark Elves see it as their solemn duty to break that chain. An honorable life is one well-lived, spent finding meaning in life’s simple pleasures, and eventually passing that knowledge on to the younger members of the family. Elders are treated with great respect, and the young are seen as “students of life”, encouraged to find purpose in their own lives. Each settlement is a large, extended family, usually between 20 and 200 members. All members are expected to contribute to the family directly however they can. As a result, few maintain specific vocations, and most have spent time in a wide variety of roles: farming, cooking, cleaning, repair work, etc. Each family is loosely governed by the eldest mother. Family colors, traditions, and laws are passed on from one matriarch to the other. Though the matriarch of a Dark Elven family is seen more as a source of moral guidance than as an absolute authority, she serves as the de facto leader and law-keeper of each family. Terrain The mountain peak extends thousands of feet above the line of the Mists. The terrain is sharp and varied, with many lesser peaks, craggy overhangs, steep cliffs, small valleys, plateaus, and cavern openings. Tucked away in caves and overhangs are the dwellings and workplaces of each family of Dark Elves. Family structures are clustered together creating remote pockets of society. Many caves along the mountainside allow for extensive mining of unusual metals. Metalcrafting has flourished among the Dark Elves, with many dabbling in prospecting, sculpture, blacksmithing, and metallurgy. Though there are no weaponsmiths, the Dark Elves take great pride in the craftsmanship of their tools. The unusual terrain makes some foods impossible to grow. Some vegetables can be grown during the long seasons, such as tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, and root vegetables, but the vertical space and rocky soil do not readily support most grains or any large-scale agriculture projects. Steep terraces are crowded to grow the few crops that are viable. The Societies Outside Dark Elves across all families see it as their duty to care for those who have resurrected, regardless of who they are or what they have done. Specific laws and punishments vary from family to family, but all Dark Elven families maintain that “death pardons all crimes”. Past crimes do not travel through the circle, and all who resurrect are innocent and deserving of kindness. Because the only Earth Circle on the mountain belongs to the Dark Elves, the Stone Elves and the Biata located further down the mountains resurrect in the Great Circle. It’s well-known among the Dark Elves that the Stone Elves and Biata often treat them with disdain, because they think that Dark Elven pacifism is only viable due to their sacrifices. Dark Elven views of these other races vary; some see them as amoral, bloodthirsty murderers, others see them as misguided and struggling to make sense of the world around them. Regardless of personal views, Dark Elven disapproval of violent ways is constant. Dark Elves trade with the Stone Elves, exchanging food for metal tools and objects of art. This allows metal artists to contribute and flourish, while providing limited access to uncommon delicacies like bread and oatmeal. They see diplomacy as the only viable solution for many conflicts, and this code of honor governs their efforts. Unfortunately, not all visitors to Mount Verdure are peaceful. Dark Elves may practice command and binding magic to protect themselves, but have never resorted to direct violence against visitors. At worst, violent visitors are encouraged to leave or imprisoned. Celebrations Dates of birth have been carefully recorded by the Children of Verdure since the war, and these birthdates are regularly celebrated by Dark Elves. On a Dark Elf’s birthday, it is common to begin celebration right after sunset. Members of the family come together to present the Elf with a single gift: an object of art, a well-crafted tool, or a memento from the past year. This gift is presented by the family's matron during a great feast. A birthday celebration usually lasts only an hour or two, but have been known to last almost the whole night for century markers of venerated or well-liked Elves. Playing a Dark Elf You should consider playing a Dark Elf if you are interested in finding diplomatic solutions to problems, in acting as a grand defender of civilization in a world of violence and strife, or in working to resolve a generations-long feud. Playing a pacifist in Alliance, a combat-heavy LARP, may be difficult for some players. Please keep in mind that the Dark Elves’ dedication to life does not mean an unwillingness to protect themselves or others, but a preference for the peaceful solution whenever possible. Traveling Dark Elves are likely to learn swordplay from other cultures, but a Dark Elf is most likely to “swing second”, is reticent to drop a killing blow, and often sees to it that those they are forced to fight do not bleed out.