Stone Elves

OleanderSky

Artisan
New Hampshire Staff
Marshal
Diversity Committee
The Stone Elves have sequestered themselves to a small commune on the side of a great mountain chain. This civilization sits on the eastern side of this mountain chain, boxed in between the mountains’ peaks and the semicircular edge of the Mists. The area free of the Mist extends for miles, but it is barely settled by this incredibly sparse community.

The Mountainside

The Stone Elves have nearly unchallenged access to their side of the mountain chain and the vast swaths of land into the valleys. There are also three major rivers that run through the Stone Elves’ domain, giving them access to more arable land than their people can farm. The areas along the banks of the rivers have been cleared and tilled for farming. Stone Elves settle along the banks of these rivers, allowing them to protect their mostly agrarian communities.

Large swaths of land are untamed deciduous forest. Since the Stone Elves have so much more land than their numbers can protect, these forests are inhabited by many wandering monsters from the Mists. Some attempt to prey upon the Stone Elves for food, while others only forage and hunt for less dangerous game. Though these forests are quite dangerous, they are not nearly as dangerous as the blinding, topology-breaking Mists.

The terrain becomes only rocky facades and dangerous cliffs as one approaches the great mountains. The Stone Elves know that beyond those mountains are the Dark Elves and the Biata, but none are willing to make that journey without good reason.

Trade with the Dark Elves

The Stone Elves grow more food than is necessary for their small population. As a result, three Stone Elves have made it their Calling to bring surplus food up the mountain to trade with the Dark Elves. These traders and pathfinders bring primarily wheat, rice, and dried beans, in return for vital metal tools and magical components that are otherwise unavailable to the Stone Elves.

As a result, these three traders, Camille Conti, Thomas Vaillancourt, and Marie Vaillancourt, have an incredible amount of influence and control over the economy of the Stone Elves. Since this trade route is so difficult, others have yet to compete with their service. Though there is no formal leadership system among the Stone Elves, these traders’ influence has made them the de facto economic leaders.

The Dark Elves, despite their dependence on the food brought up the mountain, refuse to manufacture or sell weapons for moral reasons. Regardless, the Stone Elves have found that many tools readily double as weapons, or can be modified to become weapons. Many Stone Elven weapons are pickaxes, piton-tipped arrows, hatchets, or other “peaceful” tools of Dark Elven origin.

The Calling

The Stone Elves believe that every one of them has the potential to be superlative at something, and that their greatest task in life is to find their one purpose. Stone Elves assign great meaning in finding, practicing, and becoming the greatest at this vocation.

Stone Elves often refer to this as their “Calling”, and they are constantly trying to either find or perfect it. The identity and life of a Stone Elf, and many parts of their society, are based on this pursuit of a Calling. A Stone Elf pursuing their Calling is said to enjoy great satisfaction with their lives, inner peace, and a balance and clarity in their minds that is otherwise unattainable. This perceived harmony and mastery over their place in life is, in some cases, powerful enough to allow Stone Elves to perceive imbalances and emotional troubles in the minds of others.

Conversely, a Stone Elf elder who is unsure about their Calling or who has not found it yet is said to live a half-life, mired in chaos and uncertainty. Adults who are uncertain about their Calling are seen as tragic figures, cursed with a life of turmoil, but it is not seen as a personal or moral failing. However, faking a Calling or knowingly lying to be seen as “fulfilled” is seen as an immoral, self-defeating act. Living in search of a Calling is difficult, but lying to others or to one’s self is much harder, and could result in years wasted pursuing a false Calling. A life spent perfecting a Calling is a life well lived, but this is understood to be a difficult task.

Stone Elves do not settle into a Calling until late into their lives. Some have changed their Calling, but only after a long period of introspection. Self-discovery happens throughout one’s life, and a Stone Elf changing their calling is not seen as them changing themselves or as them simply switching jobs. Instead, it is seen as them discovering that they were always another person who is best-suited elsewhere.

Childhood, and life before The Calling

Newborn children are raised either by their own parents or by Stone Elves who have found raising children to be their Calling. This period of child-rearing lasts only a few years, until they are old enough to walk and speak.

From there, children are raised communally until adulthood. As children, they are encouraged to explore and try many different things, so that they will be more certain in their Calling once they do decide. Mentors may advise young and foolish Stone Elves against poor decisions, but it is expected that they will make mistakes and learn from them. They are not directly disciplined for their actions, as it is seen as illogical to create an artificial consequence for their mistake.

Until their 101st year, they are culturally forbidden from accepting a Calling. Those who say that they are certain about their life’s purpose before this age are seen as inexperienced. Early decisions are widely dismissed as a phase that will fade with time and experience. Stone Elves often reach physical and emotional maturity well before their 101st year, and some serve long-term jobs, form relationships, and have children before they take a Calling.

Marriage is unheard of among the Stone Elves, as the idea of a permanent relationship clashes with the important idea of the personal Calling. Stone Elves do keep surnames exclusively to denote birth lines or status as siblings.

Between the low birth rate and the danger of the violent Mist creatures, the population of the Stone Elves is dwindling. The population living on the side of the mountain is about 500, and only about half of them are old enough to chose a Calling.

The Mists and the Fear-Eaters


The Stone Elves believe that the creatures of the Mists prey on fear. They have observed that Mist creatures hunt not always to kill, but also to terrify. These otherwise ruthless and unintelligent Mist creatures go to illogical lengths to terrify other races before killing them. Since there must be a reason for this behavior, Stone Elves have concluded that fear gives the creatures of the Mists power.

Fortunately, even the most foolhardy of Stone Elves cannot easily be manipulated into fear. Their control over their emotions makes them a poor source of food for these “Fear-Eaters”. Less fortunately, this means that the creatures of the Mists are particularly merciless to Stone Elves; where other races may be tortured or toyed with, Stone Elves are simply killed outright. If the situation continues, then the Fear-Eaters will eventually exterminate the Stone Elves.

Necromancy and the Emissaries of Reason

Other races have resorted to Necromancy to protect themselves from these Mist creatures. Necromancy is well known to cause an inability to regulate emotion in its caster. While Stone Elves who are Called to Necromancy are still able to regulate their fear, no other race has demonstrated an ability to do so. Powerful necromancers across the Realms are feasts for the Fear-Eaters, and their very existence threatens not only every Stone Elf, but every living mortal in this world.

It has become apparent to the Stone Elves that in order to survive against this menace, it is not enough to simply fight the creatures of the Mists. They instead must protect all the other races across the Mists from the corruption of fear and Necromancy, lest their unchecked terror swell the ranks of their enemies.

As such, there are Stone Elves who have begun to specialize in traveling, gathering information about other cultures, keeping low profiles, and identifying necromancers. Once a necromancer has been identified, the Emissaries of Reason work to rehabilitate them and break them of the necromantic ways. This rehabilitation differs from member to member, and is often a violent affair. No matter the method employed, the ultimate goal is to stop the necromancer from future usage and stabilize their emotions. However, all members of the Emissaries of Reason recognize that there are necromancers that are beyond salvation. In these cases, the only answer is death. Emissaries have begun to explore the Mists, and have found many other civilizations that are deeply corrupted with Necromancy. Those that are not corrupted are still riddled with emotional inefficiencies. Stories of these other Realms have only just begun to spread among the Stone Elves.

The Emissaries of Reason were founded by and are currently handled by a Stone Elf known as the Calming Hand. Due to their experience in leading the Emissaries, they are widely considered to be the expert in foreign cultures and relations.

The Biata

The Stone Elves see the Biata on the other side of their mountain chain as a perfect example of everything that a civilization can do to endanger themselves. In the eyes of the Stone Elves, the Biata have formed a terrified society that has been completely subjugated by their emotions. They frequently act out of fear, often cast Necromancy, and their members are captured to feed the Fear-Eaters in droves.

The Stone Elves place the blame for the Biatas’ degenerate society solely on the High Scholars. The High Scholars spread lies about their situation and false legends about nonexistent shapeshifting Fae. They are terrified of understanding the world at large, and will destroy information to maintain their fearful ignorance. The Stone Elves think the Biata may, eventually, be convinced of their mistakes after many generations, but in the meantime, their highest necromancers must be eliminated for them.

Some Stone Elves believe that the mistakes of the High Scholars are the only reason that the Biata or the Stone Elves are in danger at all, placing hundreds of deaths squarely on their shoulders.

Playing a Stone Elf

You should consider playing a Stone Elf if you are interested in perfecting an in-game trade or skill, fighting Necromancy outside of the bounds of the law, and/or exploring the theme of fear as it pertains to combat and diplomacy. Also consider playing a Stone Elf if you are interested in “assassination-style” missions or CvC combat. Please note that performing CvC actions is not required to play a Stone Elf.
 
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