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Sun elves are a subrace of elves featured in the Forgotten Realms series. They are historically rare in Faerûn due to the Retreat, in which the majority abandoned the continent for Evermeet, although during the Era of Upheaval they began return to the mainland. Haughty and arrogant, sun elves typically feel themselves superior to most other races, including other Tel-quessir.
Sun elves migrated to Abeir-Toril around the same time as the moon elves, making them among the last eladrin to appear on the world. Although less numerous than the moon elves, sun elves settled into the new world more easily, forming the nations of Aryvandaar and Othreier. Of the two, Aryvandaar would become the most powerful, blossoming under the rule of House Vyshaan. However, this prosperity would come with a cost and Aryvandaar's blatant aggression towards other cultures would be one of the main causes of the Crown Wars, which would eventually result in the nation's obliteration. As a result, sun elves turned inwards, becoming less expansionist and more reclusive.
Among the greatest nations founded by the sun elves was Cormanthyr, centered around the city of Myth Drannor, which the subrace would found in -3983 DR. Built on the principles of compassion and the responsible use of magic, Cormanthyr was among the most powerful empires of its day, eclipsed in power only briefly by Netheril. Defending it were the Crown Coronals, an order of swordmages that kept the power of neighboring human empires checked for centuries. It was during this period that Cormanthyr first welcomed humans into its territory, signing the Dales compact and raising the Standing Stone, which still mark the year 0 in the commonly used Dalereckoning dating system.
However, Cormanthyr would not last, done in both by the growing power of humanity as well as an overabundance of magic, in spite of the nation's attempts at restraint. In the Year of Doom, the thin veil between the Prime and the fiendish planes was broken, resulting in the invasion of Cormanthyr by a horde of fiends. Ultimately, Myth Drannor fell and the sun elves took to the already progressing Retreat in greater numbers than ever before, resettling in the distant isle of Evermeet, the last major sun elven civilization, the second largest settlement composed in the moon elven-dominated city of Evereska.
During the Era of Upheaval, however, the sun elves made a slow but gradual comeback. The Retreat, which had gone on for millennia, came to its conclusion and many sun elves began to return to Faerûn. In the Year of Lightning Storms this would culminate in the reclaiming of Myth Drannor, an event which would itself lead to the blossoming, once again, of a great sun elven nation.
Like all of the Tel-quessir, the sun elves are close to the height of humans, but with notable differences. Sun elves have bronze-colored skin and hair most often of copper, golden blond, and black, with red more uncommon but heard of. Sun elves, like other eladrin, typically have green eyes, though golden ones are also common often with a liquid appearance, and silver, black, hazel, or copper hues have also been heard of. Like their moon elven brethren, male sun elves are typically taller and heavier than females, sometimes by as much as five inches or twenty pounds.
Unlike most eladrin, sun elves organize their society along firm and hierarchical traditions. Communities are typically run by members of an esteemed nobility, some of whom can trace their ancestry all the way back to the First Crown War. There is a difference, however, between sun elven and human monarchy and where a human king typically accumulates influence through the ownership of land or command of soldiers, a sun elf noble commands authority through the prestige of their family name or the magical power they holds at their behest, a power they often demonstrate through the grandeur of their home.
Sun elves are less motivated to become adventurers than their wandering moon elven brethren and prefer, for the most part, to keep to themselves. Those who are driven into the world to forge a path among the other races often do so as spies or scouts on the behalf of their people, or perhaps as vigilant watchmen against possible threats. Others might be drawn to adventure by a desire to explore the ancient ruins of the world and learn from their secrets, bringing back lost secrets of magic and power to their people. Most sun elves who turn to adventure do so as wizards, fighters, or something in-between, though sun elves generally lack the desire to be versatile. Many sun elves also become bards, though they are a rare sort given more to solemn songs of the ancients than joyous ballads. Many sun elves are also clerics or paladins and have more to their number of either than any other eladrin culture. Sun elves who continue their career away from sun elven homes often go on to become masters of the arcane such as arcane devotees, archmages, or loremasters. Sun elves also favor the paths of the arcane archer and bladesinger, though to a lesser extent.
Art & LeisureEdit
The sun elven qualities of patience and haughtiness often both demonstrate themselves in sun elf art. Sun elven architecture, while undeniably beautiful in most cases, is often flashier than what other eladrin commonly build, a quality in part due to the fact that sun elves will accept nothing short of perfection, working tireless in their art to constantly raise the aesthetic bar. Sun elf art, poetry, music - all of these demonstrate a regal attitude that has come to be closely associated with sun elven tastes. To a sun elf, the grander a piece the better, with heroic ballads or tragic epics the preferred form of literature amongst the subrace. Sun elves love and enjoy learning, perhaps even to a point that others might find surprising. Nearly all sun elves have access to a private store of knowledge and no self-respecting sun elf lacks the capacity to read or write.
Contrastly, many sun elves prefer clothing that is at once beautiful and understated, with subdued colors like blue or green favored over bolder hues. Most sun elves decorate themselves with gold or mithral embroidery in subtle patterns woven into the design of their clothes and which add to the beauty of the clothing without seeming flashy or showy. Similarly, most sun elven jewelry is simple in appearance, but in fact exquisitely complex both in construction and design.
Unlike other Tel-quessir, few sun elves enjoy keeping pets, though they retain a fondness of nature itself. Sun elves are rarely disturbed by wild animals, more often welcoming them should they pass within a city's limits. For companionship or servitude, however, sun elves are more likely to summon powerful elementals or immortals than natural creatures. Those who do keep personal pets are most likely to use them as mounts, though often exotic ones such as pegasi or giant eagles.
Sun elves have a deep respect for magic, particularly of the high magic variety, and often concentrate their studies on its nature and use. Sun elves have an advantage in this over other races, even other eladrin, for as a collective group, sun elves have a greater wealth of lore than any other, a collection accumulated over millennia. With the proper training, sun elven mages might be capable of warding an entire city or changing the landscape of a small region overnight, although such power is often used hesitantly and with restraint, the destruction of Myth Drannor and other disasters reminding sun elves that with great power, comes the need to restrain one's self. As a result, sun elves, as much out of an urge to prevent magical disasters as out of possessive arrogance, are hesitant to use their abilities learned as mages outside of their domains.
Although sun elves favor the arcane, they do not neglect the divine and most sun elves are deeply religious. This piety is often intertwined with nationalism, as sun elves firmly believe they are the chosen people of the Seldarine. As in most other things, sun elves leave no detail incomplete and the sun elven ceremonies devoted to the Seldarine are often long and drawn-out. For other races, these rites might even seem dull, with sun elves neglecting any hint of joy or merriness, which they believe disrespectful to the gods, in their worship.
Sun elves generally pay heed to all the Seldarine, though some do not consider Angharradh to be amongst the Seldarine, but most find Corellon Larethian most worthy of their veneration. To the common sun elf, Corellon reflects the best qualities of a leader - wisdom, generosity, and firm leadership. Priests of the god often have a high place in sun elven society, advising nobility and aiding the military. Another god who commonly draws sun elf attention is Labelas Enoreth, who sun elves see as the leader and protector of their culture in particular, as well as the keeper of wisdom and knowledge that sun elves value so highly.
Sun elves are firmly of the belief that they stand as the sole protectors and inheritors of Corellon's legacy in the Prime. Patient and deliberate in most of what they do, they demonstrate an orderly nature uncommon to most eladrin, preferring to master a skill before applying it rather than learning as they go. Rushing is out of the nature of sun elves, who, while less versatile than most races, have a mastery of whatever they apply themselves to. The only true exception to this is martial combat, which nearly all sun elves have some training in, regardless of how much and which most are eager to finish as quickly as possible once engaged.
Sun elves have a high position of themselves, even in comparison with the moon elves, and as a race feel that they are the chosen people of Corellon himself, selected to protect the traditions and culture of the Tel-quessir. But in spite of this most sun elves do feel an affection for their brethren the moon elves, although in a way that can often seem patronizing. Sun elves generally see moon elves as immature and irresponsible children who, although amusing, need to be constantly reminded of their duties to the greater Tel-quessir family.
Interestingly, sun elves are often on better terms with the sylvan elves, whose reverence for nature and stern manner are admired by the sun elves. Of the second branch in the Tel-quessir family tree, sun elves are most fond of wood elves, though the sparse settlement of both peoples means that direct contact is a rare thing. Sun elves are less amiable towards the wild elves, whom they feel are in need of "civilizing." Of all the Tel-quessir, however, sun elves view the aquatic elves the most positively, seeing them as their equals and partners in spreading Tel-quessir culture across Toril.
Sun elven opinions on races outside of the Tel-quessir are far more strained. Sun elves can be incredibly prejudiced, to the point of some even refusing to aid a dying human if it mildly inconveniences them. Many sun elves object to speaking in any language other than Elven or even to speaking with members of other races at all. These prejudices are partially rooted in past wrongs done by humans unto sun elves though in truth they often only serve to heighten present tensions.
Of all the races in the world, however, the one that sun elves hold the most open hatred for are the drow. Sun elves, like many eladrin and elves, view the drow as a blasphemy incarnate and make a policy of killing any drow they might meet on sight. So deep is this contempt for the drow rumors of an attempted drow expansion into the ruins of Cormanthyr were one of the primary reasons for the eventual return of the sun elves to the ancient kingdom in 1374 DR.
Compared to moon elves, sun elves are relatively uncommon, though their numbers in Faerûn grew during the Era of Upheaval.
Trivia & NotesEdit
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