Elves are pre-Adamites uplifted by the Valar with divine sanction. Elves "belong" to the Valar in a way Adamites do not. The Call of the Valar was not merely an invitation to escape Middle Earth; all elves were supposed heed it and come to them, to be Eldar.
The Eldar are rarely and fleetingly seen on Earth now. There may never have been more than a few hundred of them. The Avari, who refused the call, are responsible for most beautiful fay sightings in folklore. They are also rebels against the Valar, however confusedly or unknowingly, or descended from rebels.
Elves are the same physical species as Adamite humanity and can interbreed with them. They have the following differences from Adamite humanity:
The following sections are adapted from the "Elven Magic" section of the FuRPiG rule set, available here.
Elves are the most magical race in Middle Earth – so magical that to them magic is not supernatural and even Galadriel said to Frodo and Sam, “... I do not clearly understand what they mean [by ‘magic’]; and they seem also to use the same word for the deceits of the Enemy.” (Book Two, Chapter 7, "The Mirror of Galadriel.")
Later, an elf “explains” the magic of the Lorien cloaks to Sam by saying, “We put the thought of all that we love into all that we make.” (Book Two, Chapter 8, “Farewell to Lorien.”) This is the basis for much Elvish magic.
An elf who is master of a skill in the prosaic sense may also have Eldacur in that skill. Eldacur psychically enhances the results of that skill. Examples from Lord of the Rings:
Objects produced by Eldacur often gleam with faint white or pale bluish light, but NOT if this is contrary to their purpose.
Glamour lets an elf manipulate light and sound, or conjure light. Glamour is tied in with some Eldacur, usually in a minor way. The best isolated example is the nimbus that surrounded the elves led by Gildor. Elves use straight Glamour very little, except as a side-effect to the singing of their high bards. Glamour may partly account for the super-human beauty of elves.
If a High Elf, an Eldar, pronounces you Elf-Friend, he very likely casts a very slight Glamour on you that only the subtle senses of High Elves or their like can detect. “I see you are an elf-friend; the light in your eyes and the ring in your voice tells it.” (Goldberry, Book One, Chapter 7, “In the House of Tom Bombadil.”) Their like include wizards, Nazgul, and perhaps men of Numenorean blood, who may not know what they are perceiving about you.
Elves often use telepathy down to the empathic level but seldom go deeper than that. This restriction may apply only to non-elvish minds, or it may be elves are naturally private, or it may be that the elves of the Third Age seldom thought it safe to use, with Nazgul and evil Maiar about.
Galadriel is a redoubtable telepath, screening the minds of the Nine Walkers at their meeting in Lothlorien, reading Aragorn’s wish for aid from the Rangers, and shielding all Lorien from Sauron – though this last was done with the help of her Elven Ring.
Galadriel, Celeborn, Elrond, and Gandalf confer telepathically on the journey back from Minas Tirith to Lorien.
Legolas constantly receives telepathic intuitions about everything.
Orcs are corrupted elves. Now that Morgoth and Sauron no longer have free reign, orcs are in various degrees of recovery and are responsible for most grotesque fay sightings.
Dwarves are pre-Adamites uplifed by Aulë, initially without divine sanction. Dwarves have by now radiated into a number of races. They are responsible for the more mundane fay sightings. They have the following differences from Adamite humanity:
Dwarves are not as magical as elves, but they have a higher aptitude for magic than Adamites. In the dwarvish cultures of Europe, and in their closer relatives, they have affinities for stone and metal, and their magic is shown almost entirely in the things they make – enchanted objects.
Hobbits are a now-extinct sub-species of human, long since absorbed into the human mainstream. They had the following physical differences from mainstream humanity:
Spiritually, the most interesting thing about them is how just plain descent they were. The hobbits of the Shire hardly needed a government, and there is no record of any hobbit of the Shire or the Bree-lands ever committing murder.
There are no pure-bred hobbits left, but there are hybrid elf/hobbit and dwarf/hobbit races, responsible for those legends of fays like comely children.
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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2010