Aelfborn Ways

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The Aelfborn are not truly a race unto themselves, and as such have developed little in the way of a unique culture, at least so far as the rest of the World knows. Their infertility has ensured that there are no Aelfborn nations or kingdoms, and the animosity between Elves and the Sons of Men has always kept their numbers low. Rare in the extreme, most Aelfborn tend to be loners, wondering from one place to the next, and only rarely finding a permanent home. A Half Breed must choose the ways of one of his parents: thus, some live, dress, and speak as Elves, while others take on the culture of Men. As many seem to choose a Human life as an Elvish one, and each Aelfborn chooses for his own reasons.

Whichever parent a Half Breed emulates, Aelfborn tend to be unanimously rejected both by Humans and Elves alike. Most Aelfborn are automatically deemed illegitimate, and forced to live at the fringes of society. Humans fear the touch of fey blood in the veins of the Aelfborn, while Elves believe that the hybrids have been corrupted by the "lesser" blood of Men. Rarely trusted and almost never befriended, most Aelfborn are outcasts, and come to hate one side of their heritage for giving them birth at all. There are some places in the World, however, where the lot of the Aelfborn is easier. The Church of the All-Father has always been tolerant of all Aelfborn, especially those who take up the cloth. Aelfborn are also drawn to the deeps of the wood, where the Druids and Rangers welcome them into their ranks. The Amazons are probably the most tolerant of all the people of the World when it comes to the Aelfborn, and more than one Aelfborn Huntress has ruled as Queen of all Amazons.

The reputation of the Aelfborn is hurt even further by the Curse, which strikes many Half Breeds as soon as they reach adulthood. As an Aelfborn grows older, they become subject to a strange, lingering madness that strikes each Aelfborn differently. Some hear voices, while others are tormented by hideous nightmares or waking visions. Many rock between violent rages and fits of despair. No one can say with any certainty why those born of Men and Elves should be so afflicted, but most Aelfborn battle the Curse all their lives. Throughout the World, the parents of Aelfborn children have intricate magical tattoos inscribed across their scalps and other places on their bodies when they are born to keep the Curse at bay. Their effectiveness is uncertain, but they look very striking, and many Aelfborn shave their heads to keep them visible. Most Aelfborn try to bring peace and balance to their troubled souls by taking professions which demand focus and calm - many have calmed their inner demons by living the contemplative life of a Druid, tempering their focus as a Warlock, or devoting themselves to the discipline of Blademastery.

The days since the Turning have been times of both hardship and change for the Aelfborn of the World. It is widely believed that the Traitor who dealt the Woeful Stroke was Aelfborn, a Half Breed turncloak who betrayed his father's people, became one of Cambruin's Champions, but finally had not the heart to destroy the Elvish Empire forever. The Traitor's deeds have brought down the wrath of all the Men of the Petty Kingdoms on all Aelfborn, and the Grand Inquisition Against the Misborn, pursued with fanatical precision by the followers of the Cleansing Flame, will soon celebrate its one hundredth anniversary. The Elves, for their part, have been no kinder to their wayward children, and have shunned all Aelfborn since the Turning. In most lands, Aelfborn try to hide their natures, for safe havens are few and far between. It is hardly surprising, then, that bands of Aelfborn outcasts have begun congregating in the wilds, forging new nations of their own. What will become of them remains to be seen.

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