y theory as to the origin of the elvish race will meet with great hostility from many quarters.
Up to now it has been the commonly held wisdom that elves are an older race than any other, but
fossil evidence does not support this conclusion; humans and dwarves are the oldest races of
Arcanum, with elves and giants close behind. The first distinctive elves appear some 900,000
years ago, during the Epoch of High Enchantment. They are a product of Supernatural Selection,
just as giants, dragons, and many other highly magickal species were.
The first distinctively elven remains were found in the region of the Drowned Woods, scattered
in a layer of earth which also contained the bones of the famous Eltdon Wyrm. Between the
saw-edged teeth of this ancient monster, paleontologist John Eltdon discovered scraps of mithril
chain and plate, armor which has always been peculiar to elvish warriors. Since these bones
have been dated to a time no earlier than 750,000 years ago, it can be concluded that the elven
civilization was already well advanced by that time.
Elves can be distinguished from the other Median Races by the proportions of the body, the
facial features, and the tint of hair, eyes and skin. They are not so tall as humans, averaging
some 60 inches or 150 centimeters at most in height, and tend to be frail and slender in appearance,
weighing six hundred stone or less. The arms and legs are longer in proportion to the torso than in humans,
and their fingers and toes may also be unusually long and thin. They have elongated and pointed
ears, almond-shaped eyes, and small, delicate noses and mouths. Their skin is pale, ranging in
shade from creamy beige through chalk white to a delicate, milky olive tone. Their hair is also
light in color, and may be any shade from silver to cornsilk gold to green. Some rare specimens
have brilliant, flame-red tresses, or even coal-black; elves seem to find these two colors
particularly appealing, and may even be attracted to humans who have such hair. Their eyes
are silver-white, blue, green, grey, or amber yellow. Often the color of an elf's eyes varies
with his or her moods, flashing from one hue to the next as they are moved by different emotions.
Color is not the most remarkable quality of elven eyes, however; their vision is also exceptional,
allowing them to see in the dark and for very long distances, which renders them the most superb
marksmen of all the Median races.
Elves are an inherently magickal people. Mystic vibrations within them are so strong that isolating
the universal frequency of their tissues is a challenge, although it can be found by a process of
distillation. Because they are saturated with magickal energy, elves are natural practitioners of
the Art, and they have made countless generations of mages in Arcanum. By the same token, they have
no natural aptitude whatsoever for the study of Natural Law, and have the greatest difficulty in
mastering even simple Technology. Sometimes the magick within them is so strong that small
Technological devices will not work at all in their presence, while large and powerful Technological
devices may even make them violently ill. In any case, Technology is not something which interests
most elves much, save that they decry the despoiling of Nature which goes on in the name of "progress".
It is difficult for humans to understand the character of the elven race, as they display a sometimes
paradoxical blend of qualities. They are a peaceful, gentle people as a rule, light-hearted and fond
of every kind of joke and prank…and yet they take matters of honor in deadly seriousness, and if
provoked will duel to the death over an insult which might seem meaningless to a human observer.
They love feasts, festivals and holidays, and spend much of their time in celebration; elves rarely
employ themselves in any pursuit which humans might call "work". Nonetheless, the sin with which
they tax most other races most often is that of "wasting time with frivolous things", by which they
mean any concern one may have with money, or making an honest living! Elves are generous, charming,
forgiving and gracious hosts - and yet, at times, their arrogance can be well-nigh insufferable.
They blatantly regard themselves as superior to any other race, with the possible exception of
halflings, whom they seem to love inordinately.