“An unwise man thinks he’ll live forever if only he can avoid a fight, but old age will give him no peace, even if weapons do.”
— The Poetic Edda
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Nordic Svartalver, also known as Dökkalfar, are an elven race. They hail from Svartalfheim, a realm that they share with the dvergar, or dwarves. Although their name literally translates to “black elves”, “black elves” in Norse prose actually usually refers to the dwarves, and so I find “dark elves” a less literal but more fitting translation.
Svartalver tend to live in caves, caverns, and tunnels underneath the surface of Svartalfheim. The above ground portions of their home world have a lot of fire and magma, and it is a very dark, harsh, and unforgiving climate that does not often see the light of day. Physically, they have very dark, ashy coloured features, and are comparable in height to the average human. They tend to dress in what we would think of as very traditional Scandinavian clothing. They have elongated ears, and tend to be rather nimble, athletic, and hardy. Personality wise they tend to be more serious, reserved, cautious, and slow to trust others, but of course this varies greatly based on the individual. Their energy falls on the heavier and darker end of the spectrum.
They are particularly adept with fire and earth magics. Although they do acknowledge, as a whole, the existence of the Norse deities, they do not tend to worship them in any way. They are a closely knit society that values respect above almost anything else. They have their homes organized in very small clusters, with populations of a couple hundred or less making up each village. Each village has clear leaders, who are overthrown when they show weakness if they don’t step down on their own beforehand (which is far more commonly the case). They have a collective military, with enlisted elves being pulled from across their entire realm. Despite their grand military, they do not tend to have any local feuds or fights with one another, and are not presently engaged in any wars.
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