The Wood Elves / Stowven: The Wild Ones

In a way, the Stowven horrified me more so than any of the Ven. They speak kindly, and have a grace to their words that are only comparable to the Gnomes. And yet they eat their own. They drink the blood of their fellows and dine on the flesh of the recently departed, They do this callously, without any sort of hesitation or sense of disgust. When I mustered the courage to ask for the reason behind this barbarity – although I was wise enough not to call it as such to their face – their Eldest smiled and said, “What can be a better way to send off our loved ones than to say ‘I welcome your memory within?’”

I did not know how to respond to that. So I simply bowed my head and politely declined the dish.

From “On the Sociologies of the Ven” by Trestin Oreliatari, dated 13:208

woodelf-borderAlso known as the Wood Elves or the Wyld Elves, it was the Stowven that created the Eternal Ballads that all of the Ven now take part in. It’s not known how precisely they came into this knowledge as only the Eldest – the leaders of each Stowven community – are privy to that bit of wisdom. However the Eternal Ballads came from them and it was through them that the rest of the Ven achieved immortality. A weird sort, but immortality none the rest.

The method in which the Eternal Ballad works cannot be heard on “mortal” ears. Seriously, other races cannot hear the methodology of the Eternal Ballads in the most literal interpretation of the word. As soon as a Ven starts speaking on the matter the only thing that other races hear is gibberish.

However everyone knows what the Eternal Ballads are. The best of the Ven are immortalized in their deeds. They are blessed – or doomed – to eternally repeat the acts that made them legend, along with all of the other actors in the tale. If they are destined to die they will return renewed – from where or how none of the actors will say. Or can. In between each enactment of the Ballads the actors are free to do as they will – so long as it does not contradict any of the Ballads.

The Maovan took control of the Eternal Ballads, inserting their people as the majority of the actors. While the Stowven protested this, their Eldest did not press the issue. The reason for this has never been stated, and considering the thousands of years since, likely never will.

The Stowven are referred to as the Wyld Elves for two reasons: the first is their association with nature. Many of their buildings are built from the trees and they live in a certain amount of harmony with nature. They don’t restrain from killing the wildlife, but there is a certain hesitation in doing so. Each Stowven makes sure not to take more than is necessary.

There are repercussions for doing so. Such as sacrificial murder. It is said that the “culprit” returns to the world as the thing he had unrightfully slain. There would be a certain irony to it if it wasn’t so repulsive.

The second reason for being called the Wyld Elves is for “The Hunt of the Beast”. Those not of the Ven would believe that this in reference to hunting down a beast of note. And that is true to a point. There are times when conventional warfare is not up to the task at hand. In that case the Stowven will hunt down one of the Ollpheist, a great and terrible monster that lurks within the wilds. They will hunt it down and then select a warrior to feast upon it. He will do so and then transform into something…else. Nothing quite like a Ven, but some monstrous impersonation of it. He has become the Beast of the Hunt’s namesake and he will go out and ravage the enemies of the Stowven. And then he will depart into the forests to never be seen again. There he will breed and creature a new kind of horror to haunt all of creation with.

There have been only three instances in which a Hunt has taken place, and each time it came with a terrible cost. The Stowven are reluctant to speak of it. It has been nearly a thousand years since the last Hunt, and the Stowven are determined to make sure it will be another thousand more until the next.