Thursday, July 7, 2022

QHW, Day 11: Elves

Elves don't understand you.  Not really.  People talk about Elves are mysterious, capricious, inhuman, etc.  But the truth is, this ignorance is mutual.  Elves are known for their stiff, eccentric formality and that's because they are deeply uncomfortable around humans and other short-lived races.  Imagine walking into a monkey's enclosure at a zoo and trying to talk to these leaping, capering creatures.  It'd be a waste of time, even if they could understand you.

Part of this problem is context.  Elves have so much more context on, well, basically everything.  Young Elves aren't that much different than humans.  Regardless of their differences on a biological basis, a young Elf has only been around for twenty, thirty, fifty years.  They don't really know much more than a human would in that same span of time.  This is why humans believe that the Elven childhood lasts until 100.  This isn't really true.  An Elf is physically and mentally developed to an adult level at the same time a human is.  But a young Elf will always be surrounded by those who have been alive for vastly longer than them. 

An elderly Human can see the strapping youths strolling around his village and comment on their naivety.  These boys know nothing, he can tell himself.  And even if he advise them, they're just as likely to ignore his comments.  This is the same for Elves.  An Elf will spend the majority of his life dealing with people vastly more experienced than himself.

Young Elves prefer the company of humans for this reason.  They are easier to understand.  It is only when an Elf begins to age that he begins to grow strange and distant from the short-lived races. 

A young Elf might speak to some Humans who are planning to send settlers to an abandoned island and colonize this largely empty space.  He might think this is a great idea, even accounting for the risk of storms, starvation, diseases or any potential dangerous fauna.  But an older Elf will be aware of the fact that the Narzicans attempted the same thing 500 years ago and it led to the outbreak of a tropical disease that killed thousands before it eventually burned itself out.  But he knows that even if he warns the Humans of that, they might take precautions, but out of a love of glory or progress or nationalism or whatever ideal they prize, they will proceed onward.  And perhaps things will work out well this time.

Or perhaps they won't. 

So the Elf says nothing.  So next time you hear of the cruelty of the Elves, of their indifference towards the other races, consider where they stand.  Imagine explaining to a mayfly that it shouldn't enter it's cocoon, for when it emerges it will not have a mouth and will swiftly die afterward.  The mayfly, if it could speak, would simply insist that while that happened to other mayflies, it wouldn't happen to him. 

Then the mayfly would undergo the metamorphosis, die and the Elf would weep.  So the Elves say nothing, watching silently from their lofty tree-houses as civilizations rise and fall around them, the flow of progress and history like the tide, rising and falling at the behest of forces that few of the participants understand.   

Some Elves attempt to resist this tendency of Elves to withdraw.  They enter the short-lived societies and attempt to speak with and connect with each new generations, to remain connected to the present.  Many of these Elves will end up becoming pillars of the society.  The Kings of Bivanalo were advised by an Elven seamstress for six generations, each ruler gaining great insight from her mystical skill and incredible wisdom.  Yet like so many Elves, her heart could not bear the sadness forever.  After King Hissan died, she departed from the castle in her grief and returned to her own people, where friends and brothers did not age and change like the leaves on the trees.    

No comments:

Post a Comment