Of all the elves, none so personify grace and magic as the High Elves. Two wondrous High Elf cities lie on the continent of Karal: Qritani, the citadel of the Moon Elves, in the northeast, and Eos, the Sun Elf city of spires in the south. Each claims a distinct culture and history, but they share far more than they would care to admit – including a longstanding love/hate relationship with their forest cousins, the Wood Elves.
High Elves are taller and more slender than other elves, with longer ears and generally paler skin. Moon Elves tend towards white or silvery skin, and Sun Elves more coppery or golden hues, but there’s plenty of variation in both populations. Like other elves, they do not sleep (though they must exercise and rest their minds through “trance”) and are resistant to magical charms.
High Elves are among the longest lived races, generally not considering themselves mature until they reach a century in age, and frequently living for 750 years; a rare few linger for a millennium before the depart the mortal realm. They do not age as other folk do, remaining more or less in their prime for most of their existence. For this reason, many view other folk – Humans and Dragonborn especially – with a grudging respect, marvelling at how they manage to accomplish anything in their brief spans while at the same time shaking their heads at the waxing and waning of their empires and cultures.
Language and culture
While all elves share a common language known in Common as “Elven” or “Elvish”, High Elves speak one of two rarefied forms which use crisp, clear pronunciation and slightly more poetic idioms. The Moon and Sun Elves have their own variations, but they’re more similar to each other than to the simpler (yet still beautiful) dialect of Wood Elves. Any surface elf (a term which refers to Wood, Sun and Moon Elves, but not Dark Elves) can tell which version of Elvish someone learned before they’ve uttered more than a couple of sentences.
The High Elf cities are bastions of high art, scholarship and culture. Everything they do – from music and poetry to history and the arts of war – is touched by arcane magic, the study of which is universal.
One of their most guarded traditions is that of the Bladesingers, elite warriors who seek to master both blade and spellcraft. There are different traditions of Bladesinging in Eos and Qritani, but both preserve the secrets of the art exclusively for High Elves, and even among them it is considered one of the highest possible honours to be accepted for training. Bladesingers are seldom seen outside of their training towers except in times of dire need.
High Elves rarely venture outside their cities in any numbers except in times of great need, but they are not isolationists. Younger High Elves are more likely to be encountered in human lands, while older High Elves might be found visiting dwarves, or perhaps the descendants of humans they met on their last journey.