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Author Topic: Elven Life and Development  (Read 11027 times)
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Fox
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« Reply #15 on: 05 January 2010, 11:44:16 »

Do you feel the way I describe elven learning in this section provides a better explanation for the way elves learn? I tried to convey not only that education would be "slower" because of the process through which elves learn (seeing, hearing, and doing--not just hearing) and the notion of not only knowing what something can do, but what it cannot do. Essentially learning what a thing is at the same time learning what it is not. Think Taoism.

I'm fine with it provided that that style of learning is their 'desired' style of learning, rather than integral. In other words, can an elf learn in a human school, at the same speed as their human peers? I believe they should be able to. They should feel rushed, and want to keep examining things and learning more about stuff (example: elves would be the kind of person that goes to Wikipedia and ends up spending all day there because they keep clicking on new links and just can't stop reading and learning new things), but there shouldn't be any kind of incapability for them to learn at the same speed of humans.

So yes, I agree with how you placed it, provided that it is the culturally preferred method, and not physically required because of slower overall learning speeds.



Also, yes, I agree that elven magic would almost certainly not be taught in any kind of 'school' system.

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« Reply #16 on: 05 January 2010, 12:34:06 »

Also, yes, I agree that elven magic would almost certainly not be taught in any kind of 'school' system.

One concept I've always had was that elves and magic do not have the same strict divide that humans do. In other words, elven arcane and divine magic is more closely intertwined than humans teach. In Ximax, the separation is more evident in that humans explore scholarly explanations for magic. Whereas elves have a less scholarly view and more a "natural" view, and they view magic as a gift. Yes, it is taught, but not in a school or something formal. It is more a natural way to express themselves. In order to make a cultural difference between elves and humans, their magic systems would need to be different. I see elves as more of the spiritual race, more in tune with the myths of Ava and Coor. Humans and elves have difficulties comprehending each other's teachings and philosophies of magic hence why so few elves go to Ximax and virtually no humans can be found "learning" elven magic. The spell results are the same, but the philosophy is different. I guess what I am saying is that the Avarian faith has more influence on elven magic as a whole than what humans do.

I also see half-elves (like Azhira) going to Ximax to learn magic. The elves, I believe, have a certain preference towards full elves learning their magic. I think they believe half-breed human blood will "taint" the learning and comprehension experience. I think under certain circumstances, half-elves are accepted, if their elven parent was especially influential or powerful. Otherwise, like Azhira, half-elves feel that human compulsion to be more "unpredictable" in their learning and thus go to Ximax. Maybe, perhaps, half-elves tend to comprehend magic differently and learn it differently then their full human associates due to their elven side.
« Last Edit: 05 January 2010, 12:40:20 by Azhira » Logged

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Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #17 on: 05 January 2010, 13:06:08 »

I finished the last section on Death. I wrote most of it while watching a documentary on arctic animals, and the cute white wolf and the darling little ducklings and the adorable baby foxes may have distracted me a little. But as it is, the entry is complete (for now). Comments welcome!


One concept I've always had was that elves and magic do not have the same strict divide that humans do. In other words, elven arcane and divine magic is more closely intertwined than humans teach. In Ximax, the separation is more evident in that humans explore scholarly explanations for magic. Whereas elves have a less scholarly view and more a "natural" view, and they view magic as a gift.
I might argue with the wording just a smidge. Perhaps instead of referring to the human method as more "scholarly," we might instead say that it tends to be more "scientific." And I think you've hit a good trail with divisions. Elves would not divide magic into earth/air/water/fire/ecua/xeua, but instead view their magical system as unified and connected to the natural rhythm of the universe.

Quote
Yes, it is taught, but not in a school or something formal. It is more a natural way to express themselves. In order to make a cultural difference between elves and humans, their magic systems would need to be different. I see elves as more of the spiritual race, more in tune with the myths of Ava and Coor. Humans and elves have difficulties comprehending each other's teachings and philosophies of magic hence why so few elves go to Ximax and virtually no humans can be found "learning" elven magic. The spell results are the same, but the philosophy is different. I guess what I am saying is that the Avarian faith has more influence on elven magic as a whole than what humans do.
I'm actually trying to stay away from tying the elven magic system too closely with "belief." I don't necessarily see clerical magic as being the most elven form of magic, because it first connects an elf deeply to one god or goddess, denying the true reality of the dream, and second because it depends too much on faith. The elven faith, I feel, should not just be blind faith, but a faith manifested in the natural flow of the universe. Elves seek explanations, even if they aren't scientific creatures. Because the world is a complete, unified whole, the magic system should be to some degree explicable as part of that whole.

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I also see half-elves (like Azhira) going to Ximax to learn magic. The elves, I believe, have a certain preference towards full elves learning their magic. I think they believe half-breed human blood will "taint" the learning and comprehension experience. I think under certain circumstances, half-elves are accepted, if their elven parent was especially influential or powerful. Otherwise, like Azhira, half-elves feel that human compulsion to be more "unpredictable" in their learning and thus go to Ximax. Maybe, perhaps, half-elves tend to comprehend magic differently and learn it differently then their full human associates due to their elven side.
I don't see this quality among elves--this quality of exclusion. Half-breeds, depending on how they're raised and how they think, may instead be simply incapable or handicapped in learning elven magic, because this type of magic requires an enormous understanding of the nature of the universe and the natural state of energies. An elf, based on my understanding of elven nature, would never turn away one who was willing to learn. However, the learning itself would probably require a period of learning that would exceed the lifespan of most races.
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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #18 on: 05 January 2010, 13:11:00 »

Having elves see half elves as "less than" or "tainting" their magic I would think is more of a human view.  In my mind, and from where I think Rayne is going with them (please excuse me if I'm wrong here) I see the elves maybe seeing the half elves as not capable of learning the truest form of Elven magic.  I don't want to say handi-capped, as a human view would be maybe pitying or condescending or even hostile.  I think the elves would be beyond this in their thinking.

Just my humble opinion, as per usual.

Edit:  Oh, I see Rayne has responded, but I'll keep this comment here anyway. :)
« Last Edit: 05 January 2010, 13:13:11 by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

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Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #19 on: 05 January 2010, 13:20:19 »

So I'm trying to develop the elven word for "menstruation."

phár'már is the Styrash word for blood. It's literally "traveling water."

I think it is slightly ridiculous to have a noun compound for a basic word like "blood."

All those if favor of changing it to, say, dúr?


Edit: And just so people know (and maybe you can give me feedback)

Haj'dúr = (lit. "month blood" or "monthly blood") menstruation
Avlán = birth, to ("to give birth") (transitive verb) [Can you believe we don't have this word yet?]
Avl'dúr = (lit. "birth blood) placenta
« Last Edit: 05 January 2010, 13:33:40 by Rayne Avalotus » Logged

"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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« Reply #20 on: 06 January 2010, 05:47:42 »

So I'm trying to develop the elven word for "menstruation."

phár'már is the Styrash word for blood. It's literally "traveling water."

I think it is slightly ridiculous to have a noun compound for a basic word like "blood."

All those if favor of changing it to, say, dúr?



Edit: And just so people know (and maybe you can give me feedback)

Haj'dúr = (lit. "month blood" or "monthly blood") menstruation
Avlán = birth, to ("to give birth") (transitive verb) [Can you believe we don't have this word yet?]
Avl'dúr = (lit. "birth blood) placenta

Agreed. Although I'm not sure about avl'dúr for the placenta; I don't think we have any syllabic approximants in Styrásh. (Acutally, I'm not positive Styrásh even allows the cluster vl...I could be wrong though. Just rang a little off in my ears when I said it.)

It's also a little odd to form a compound with just the naked root of a verb. If you're wanting to say "birth-blood," we should derive a noun for the act of birth (avlár or avlás, maybe?) and then compound the two. Or a new word could be devised altogether for the placenta. As long as the elves have been giving birth, they've presumably perceived the placenta's presence, so it seems like they would have given it its own word.

Just my two (insert appropriate Caelerethian currency).  :)
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Epthaeranté á sáh pheranía sáh alyría; ahmantát naithím sá sae'llán styaeyías.
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« Reply #21 on: 06 January 2010, 13:15:05 »

Agreed. Although I'm not sure about avl'dúr for the placenta; I don't think we have any syllabic approximants in Styrásh. (Acutally, I'm not positive Styrásh even allows the cluster vl...I could be wrong though. Just rang a little off in my ears when I said it.)
Good point. I'm not sure myself. I was going for a word semi-close to ava/avan, but not quite. Perhaps when Arti gets a break to comments, he can add his thoughts.

Quote
It's also a little odd to form a compound with just the naked root of a verb. If you're wanting to say "birth-blood," we should derive a noun for the act of birth (avlár or avlás, maybe?) and then compound the two. Or a new word could be devised altogether for the placenta. As long as the elves have been giving birth, they've presumably perceived the placenta's presence, so it seems like they would have given it its own word.
This is true. I mean, if nothing else, your idea about a noun for birth would work very well. aviar'dur. Though I might see if I can brainstorm a word for placenta. Of course, elves would have been experiencing menstruation since the beginning as well. Perhaps I should devise a new word for that term, too? I'm not sure. Perhaps I might squeeze you out of another few sans?
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"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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« Reply #22 on: 07 January 2010, 06:40:56 »

If it's something the elves have been experiencing since the very beginning, I'd say that they'd've crafted a unique word for it. That's certainly not to say that it can't be a compound, but I feel that'd be akin to coining something ridiculous like "mind-soul-window" for "eye." What do you think? Your grasp of the elven worldview is firmer than mine, haha!

Art's given pretty free reign over new Styrásh vocabulary, so I don't think we'd be wrong to make our own word. My personal process isn't the textbook method of derivation per se (ithriveonrebellion :)), but I've found it works pretty well to create unique-sounding words that still evoke the meanings of their components.

I'd assume the word for "to birth" would bear some resemblance to the word for "child" (cáo), so maybe caoán or caorán/caothán to break up that vowel group? That'd yield something like caór/caóth for "birth" (and you could append to this any of the feminine noun endings to add flavor: caorás, caothás, caorá, caotherá, etc...whatever appeals to you).
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Epthaeranté á sáh pheranía sáh alyría; ahmantát naithím sá sae'llán styaeyías.
"The rain whispers down through the trees; elvish music will rise in answer."
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« Reply #23 on: 07 January 2010, 13:11:07 »

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(ithriveonrebellion :))
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I'd assume the word for "to birth" would bear some resemblance to the word for "child" (cáo), so maybe caoán or caorán/caothán to break up that vowel group? That'd yield something like caór/caóth for "birth" (and you could append to this any of the feminine noun endings to add flavor: caorás, caothás, caorá, caotherá, etc...whatever appeals to you).

This works for me. AS far as endings, it would be nice to have one that conforms with the site stuff:
Quote
Typical endings of nouns
Masculine endings:
-aém, -aér, -aín, -ál, -ála, -ásh, -én, -ér, -és, -éth, -éy, -íc, -íl, -ím, -ín, -ír, -óc, -óg, -ól, -ón, -ór, ós
Feminine endings:
-á, -ách, -aí, -áj, -án, -aó, -ár, -ás, -áz, -áth, -éf, -él, -erá, -eró, -eú, -euá, -ía, -iár, -ly, -só, -thán, -uá, -ýr
I would say either caorás or caothás. I'm fairly laid-back when it comes to language. Though, in sense of language and what's I've noticed in the development of language is that, while a term may begin as two words, they often collide into one (anyone remember when "alright" was two words?). So for placenta. something like "casdur" or something similar might have developed, just from what was originally a noun-compound getting shortened.

Maybe you can give me your thoughts, too, on something I've been debating: when really considering elven nature, I don't think they would have one marriage in their lifetime. Because of the changing nature of the universe, and changing energies, it seems they might practice something more along the lines of serial monogamy, where they stay with one partner for a while (maybe 80-100 years), then, when their energies change, find a new partner that better reflects their new energies. Because of the way the community functions in terms of children, this seems a little more natural for me. What do you think?
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"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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« Reply #24 on: 07 January 2010, 22:12:45 »

Hi Rayne, you are so terribly busy! Do you never sleep?
We needed that entry! I‘m glad you started with it. I skimmed over it yesterday night and read a few of the commentaries. I have many proposals, questions, critiques.

The main ones before I go into detail. And please excuse my direct speech, you know I don‘t be as mean as it sounds sometimes ;).

Where to should this go? Replace the sections in the main (very short and with big holes) entry on the site? Here? http://www.santharia.com/races/elves.htm

I have to agree with Altario. You describe the whole thing so scientifically, without mystery, without letting room for imagination. To be very direct: I see this submission as the developer‘s note, the developer‘s fact book. You need to bring this in a form which is more appealing to read. Otherwise your average reader will fade out in the middle of the marriage section. You are an elfess, feel like one. You can use clear words and phrases, but you need more poetry in your text as you have it now. Its not just the words like menstruation. It is the whole flavour. Would an elf write so directly about intercourse? (don‘t know) ... Etc. More to come on the way.

A note to elven magic/belief. I think Artimidor lined it out somewhere like this: The elves do not worship the twelve, they do not worship Avá either in the way, the humans worship their  gods. For them magic and belief is one, magic comes natural to them , is embedded in there belief. What is their belief? The oneness of Avá, nature, life, everything. So there is no way to part magic from belief or nature. I can‘t explain it well, nor in depth. Here we do need Art.

Your elves are still very human, dare to go farther away of how they are! I know, they have to be able to interbred with humans, but..

I agree with that aging problematic. That example with the wikipedia was great!

So, let‘s start as long as I‘m, still alone at home. Darn, I forgot my washing machine!




Elven Life and Development

Maturity and Sexuality:
Elven children (“elflings”) grow at approximately the same rate as human children, at least until their mid-twenties. While the physical development of both races seems identical in terms of growth, puberty may take place over a longer period of time for elves. Therefore, while both races enter puberty around age 14, some changes (particularly in hair growth, and menstruation [for women]) may develop over many years. The rebellious stage in a human child’s development, particularly between ages 12 to 16, is absent among elven children. Because of the gradual progression of an elf into puberty, elves never experience this stage.

Coupled with, and perhaps related to, the longer period of pubescent development and the noticeably lack of rebellious behaviour is differing libido between humans and elves. While their human counterparts may experience frequent sexual urges brought on by visual stimuli (e.g. physical appearance), elf’s libido tends to be generated through certain select conditions, particularly emotional and spiritual connection or feelings of closeness. Because of this, intercourse generally occurs less frequently among elves. Intercourse is generally regarded as an intensely emotional and spiritual act, and therefore engaging in intercourse without such connection is viewed as sacrilegious. The outrage and sorrow evinced by Coór’melór’s rape of Aváránn Aiá’merán was not simply a horrendous act for the physical violation it entailed, but for the emotional and spiritual violation as well.

Female elves experience monthly cycles just as humans do, though generally without the same negative emotional side effects. These cycles have spiritual significance, being, in elven belief, the manifestation of Avá’s sorrow, and thus a powerful connection between females and Avá. Cycles are generally shorter for the elves, lasting for three or four days at most. Because elves share such close quarters with one another, cycles are generally matched, and all elves in a settlement will experience their cycle at the same time. Because their significance, the cycles generally bring with them ceremonial ritual—a time where females pray and meditate together, channeling the power and energy of Avá. These rituals are generally done in the evening or at night.

While human women will generally cease menstruation in their early to mid-40s, an elven woman may continue to have them nearly to the end of her life, though they may be lighter. Despite this, most elven women avoid having late pregnancies. Because intercourse only represents the physical dimension of a close connection, elves generally don’t feel the need to engage in it as often as humans.

That description is so dry! Not even the facts are very interesting, because they are so close to human facts. Poetess, let you juices flow and find a better way!

Some proposals/ideas to differ more from the human race.

As we do not know yet, how the moon moves and what for cycles we have (though due to the months it will end with a twelvern pattern, but it could be somehow different also), I would propose a much longer cycle. Why not have a year? Fertility only in spring for a few weeks? (Do they have intercourse only for getting pregnant or out of the desire to be close to each other also?) Pregnancies  could take a full year or even 1 and 3/4 years, so that all births are in spring. Or if you choose to have four cycles a year, elves could be able to delay pregnancies/births until spring. Elves could actually choose when to give birth. After a year or a year and a half!

I would extent puberty (the physical, not necessarily the growth of the mind) according to their lifespan. Say, not counting many child deaths in the human population, they will reach an age of 75. Puberty around 15 would be 1/5th of that time. So, an elf with a lifespan of 200 years might well be an adult with 40. If that is too extreme, rescue the time to 1/10th, that would be 20 in this case. The fraction could be smaller, the longer the lifespan is, but why should not an elf who lives for 700 years need 40 years, till he is an adult?

Marriage:
Many elven tribes practice a system that lingers between arranged marriage and personal choice in partner. While some humans choose to a mate independent of his or her family (or his or her own), most elves are very conscious of a potential mate’s blood relatives, and often times the family will aid in an individual’s decision. Individuals discuss potential matches with family, and make decisions carefully and wisely; the inclusion of family in the process is viewed positively by all those involved. Families do not force a decision on their son or daughter: this is seen as a violation of personal freedom and a belittling of personal wisdom and knowledge of self.

In considering a partner, individuals do not only consider skills, such as those in archery, magic, weaving, singing, fighting, etc., but also wisdom and energy. Elves often seek out mates that do not only have knowledge of the natural world, but the wisdom to move through the world gracefully and consciously. In addition, an elf also seeks out those with an energy that compliments her own. While elves are generally more attracted to energies differing from their own, the ways these energies differ must also fit with their own. It can be likened to a harmony: while both voices are singing different notes, they sound beautiful together. Having harmonizing energies will produce balanced off-spring.

What are these energies you are speaking about?
Watch repetitions! (Individuals, seek)


Unlike humans, who may pine for a lovely yet unreachable lover, elves do not seek to win the favour of those who express no interest in a relationship. Feelings of love arise only through knowing and resonating with the intimate details of an individual, which are only realized with great time, care, and honesty—conditions met only in mutual interest between both parties. An elf might have interest in another, but unless intimacies are shares, he or she is incapable of being in love.

No chemistry working?  ;)

Love itself is a very practical emotion, arising not out of impossibility (as a human boy may pine for a girl simply because he cannot have her), but rather out of possibility. Love deepens when the conditions for a relationship are optimal (e.g. goals, direction, values, etc. are the same) because elves view the relationship as thus meeting the approval of the extant Dream. If two individuals care for one another but, for whatever reason (family, volition, circumstance, etc.) could not be together, attempting to force a relationship would be a denial of the true nature of the Dream. Greater love and delight in a relationship arise through its consistency with the natural flow of the universe. It is pertinent to note that a couple’s relation to the Dream remains highly individualized. Every individual has different conditions for contentment. For those who desire to be in constant contact with their partner, a condition of separation would tend against the natural flow, while such a condition would be optimal for those more comfortable with distance.

I wonder, how then mixed pairs find together.

Relatively commonplace among human societies is the action of spurning old lovers; however, such action is nonexistent to elves. Some relationships work out, while others do not. While having to end a relationship is always a sad affair, it is not an angry or hateful one. Part of the reason for peaceful break-ups may arise from a deep understanding of the changing, shifting nature of the universe and a deep trust in each elf to make the wisest choice for him or herself.

The process of finding a partner may take many years or decades. Rarely do elves marry young. Most elves believe that only through deeply knowing elf can one know a good mate, and only through developing skills and knowledge can one be a good mate (and father/mother for an offspring). Often the young years of an elf’s life are spent gaining wisdom and developing skills—whether in archery, magic, music, or something else. Some elves even travel. Only when an elf is truly ready will he or she begin recognizing potential partners.

When an elf finds a partner who accepts him or her, both elves will go through marriage rites. Marriage rites differ from tribe to tribe, sometimes even family to family, but generally involve a type of cleaning ritual and some shared physical interaction, whether it be braiding or beading hair, painting each others’ faces, spilling and sharing blood (prominent among dark elven tribes), or simple touching or kissing. Just as humans sometimes wear rings, elves generally carry some symbol of the union—either a ring, earring, charm, or through something like a piercing, tattoo, or beaded hair. Tribes generally do not require external displays of marriage: it is often a personal choice.

Because women, more than men, act as the spiritual center of elven society and the family unit, the men generally join the women’s family, taking her name insofar as he identifies with her family. The male will often leave his family and stay with his wife’s. Of course, some tribes may do the opposite, such as the Ahrhim tribe, which tends to be more patriarchal.

The communal nature of elves often leads to many individuals sharing the same living space, a situation not conducive to intimacy. Elves view intimate interaction, particularly those surrounding intercourse, as intensely personal. Because of this, intercourse generally takes place away from the housing structures. While some settlements may provide spaces for such interaction, the personal and spiritual nature of the act compels couples to seek out their own spaces. Often physical intimacy occurs in isolates areas, well away from prying eyes, out in nature. Intercourse is not only a physical union, but also an emotional and spiritual one—a connection that echoes one’s connection to the natural world and the Dream itself.

I can‘t exactly say, why, but this part seems to be very long without a lot of information carried, and a bit boring on top. Maybe try to shorten it, but bring an example of marriage rites on the other side, to make it more interesting to read.

I see, where you want to head with describing love between them in this way and I like the idea, but somehow it disillusions me at the same time. Elves should not be able for a spontaneous falling in love? Have ,springtime‘ feelings (They would not follow their desires without over thinking it long and thorough though) I miss some freshness in it. Sounds like a lot of deep, warm, but dusty love. I need to carry this longer with me to lay my finger on the point which makes me uneasy.

Pregnancy and Birth:
Elven women usually experience a slightly longer gestation period than human women, though only by a few months. The average term of elven pregnancy is one year. Elves regard pregnant women in their society as not only delicate, but extremely powerful. A pregnant woman represents the creative power of the feminine. Like Avá in her sleep creating the Dream, pregnant women are in a generative state, creating another living entity. Many elves, sensitive to natural energies, can feel the power of a woman bearing a child: she has about her not only her own energy, but an energy she is helping to create. Pregnancy and birth are not only physical processes—like intercourse, they are intensely emotional and deeply spiritual.

I know, gestation can used for humans as well, but it reminds me always on animals..

Pregnant elves frequently perform cleansing rites during gestation, though the procedures and frequency of these rites varies depending on tribes. Some tribes will dress in white or transparent cloth while others may perform them naked. Sometimes the pregnant woman will chant or sing. All cleansing rites are done alone, though. The rites are regarded as personal, intimate affairs that aid a mother-to-be in deepening her connection to the Dream and her child, as well as her place in the natural world. In these rites, she comes to more thoroughly understand the cycles governing the Dream and the interconnectedness of all things.

Miscarriages and stillbirths are rare yet mournful affairs. Most elves link such events to confused or incompatible energies: as the child’s energy is growing and strengthening, incompatible energies hinder development. This is often the cause of birth complications among interracial couples. All races have drastically different energies, and if individuals of different race reproduce, the result may be a child with irresolvable complications in energy, leading to miscarriage or stillbirth. This is why elves generally seek out mates with complimenting energies, energies that harmonize. Matching an elf and another race is like trying to match two voices singing different melodies entirely: the result is often chaotic and confusing.

Women with a history of miscarriage or other complications generally take greater care with later pregnancies, often increasing the frequency of cleaning rites, meditation, and prayer. In some cases a wise elder may do a cleaning ritual on both mother and father before conception.

Birth itself is a sacred act where two energies part to become more or less autonomous wholes. As in human births, the breaking of water signifies the beginning of labour. While birth is a painful affair for elven women as much as human women, elves do not use the term “labour” to describe the process; instead, they employ the term “pulsing” to convey the cycles of fluctuating pain and pressure that accompany birth.

During birth, women are generally taken somewhere relatively isolated, whether in a forest clearing or a closed room. Any women in the area will assist with the birth, helping to provide water, clean the mother’s brow, collect herbs to help ease the mother’s pain, and simply provide support. While males may view the birth, it is generally discouraged to all but the husband (or, in some tribes, husband and immediate family). Birth is seen as the ultimate display of the creative power of the feminine, and is therefore intensely sacred and spiritual.

You have so many details, but on the other side I miss those, who make the whole thing interesting. How does that birth take place? Does the woman lie down? Or is she held upright by a midwife or  the husband ? Does she get a massage, or does she give birth in warm water? Does this have any significance? Is there a special herb which is given? Maybe the mother gets some hallucination inducing herbs? Is the placenta viewed to have a look at the future? Does the time of the day say something, or can the woman influence it? Do the babies cry, or are they mostly silent and  content? How much is the woman in labour, if at all? Could be, that the elves experience none. So there would be no trauma for the child, which could affect its outlook towards life.

While in some cultures, and even among some animals, the mother may consume the placenta following birth, this is not practiced among most elven tribes, even among dark elven tribes. Elves generally regard anything that passes out of the body as being unnecessary or harmful to it; if the body needed the placenta, it would not have disposed of it. However, the placenta is regarded as having powers of fertility through energy from unrealized potentials. Like seeds that never become a plant, the placenta is viewed as left-over potential—the residue of possibility outcomes that never reached fruition. However, the energy of becoming remains latent in the matter, in the form of fertility. The placenta may therefore be used as a fertilizer for sacred gardens and plants, and is often used in fertility potions or other consumables for women who experience difficulty becoming pregnant. Elves regard the placenta as very powerful energy, and rarely waste it.

Look for another word for placenta. The German word translated would be ,Mother‘s Cake‘, that what feeds the child during pregnancy.  Again that unspecified ,energy‘

Not only families, but whole villages celebrate successful, healthy births. Elves tend to view births as an act honouring the first creation, when Avá began to dream. Typical of elven life and belief, concepts layer: elves celebrate births, which in turn celebrate all creation (which is always viewed as “divine” in some sense). The tradition in dark elven tribes may be a little different, where births are seen as the beginning of the end. Births are not celebrated as much as death, but as it occurs in part of a greater cycle, it still has spiritual significance.

Child-rearing and Education:
The saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” rings true among the elves. From the time an elfling is born, responsibility for her care belongs not only to her family, but to the entire tribe. While she may sleep near her mother, her mother’s breast is not the only one from which she may suckle. The child may be cared for by many women throughout the day, and especially if her mother is a hunter or of some other occupation requiring balance and focus, an elfling may only see her mother in the early mornings and evenings.

That the child may suckle by many women would be rare - I assumed, that the birthrate is not very high, so how many breast feeding children would be around? Or how long do they breast-feed at all? Or are there other elven woman ready to breast feed without own children in this age (is possible).

Elves do not generally treat their infants in the same manner as humans do. While humans may interpret infant noises as being communication, elves regard this as “practicing” speech, but not as speech itself. While they attend to a child’s needs, they do not seek to engage or pretend to engage in a conversation with them. Rather, they see infants as observers, analyzing the world and learning. To respond with false understanding or to speak “baby talk” to a child would be inappropriate because they do not present a child with the true functioning of society.

Ermm - are elves so different, that they don‘t need social communication? The noises of babies are of course practising speech, but a first try to communicate also. And they need to be talked to, though of course not with babytalk, you could recite Shakespeare also and they would be content.  How will they learn speaking, if nobody talks to them?

When it comes to learning, an elfling draws on all the resources of her village, learning archery for archers, magic from magi, singing from singers, weaving from weavers, and wisdom from all members of her society. In some tribes, an elf’s place in society may be determined early on. For the Diory’oleal elves, a ritual determines a child’s animal guide and thus his place in elven society. Among the Tethinrhim, those children gifted in magical or mystic ways may be trained from early childhood to become a Spirit Guider (Avár’Soórn). However, for most elven tribes, an individual’s place in society is self-determined, and often arises through exploring different occupations within the tribe. While most children often assume the occupation of one of their parents, outcomes of this nature are not forced; rather, such outcomes are attributed to an elfling’s energies and sensitivities, which are often similar to his parents’.

All members of the tribe are responsible for all the children within it. Elves often see all children as equal, regardless of family history or background, and each elf takes it upon herself to share her knowledge to the next generation. Education is not simply seen as a responsibility, but a necessity, one that symbolizes greater cycles: just as the summer turns to autumn, autumn to winter, winter to spring, and spring to summer, so knowledge passes from the teacher to the student who will one day become the teacher. Sharing knowledge is not only a responsibility to the student, but also to the teacher’s teacher before him. Each individual helps to ensure knowledge is not lost or forgotten.

I like that!

Systems of education differ significantly from tribe to tribe, and even from village to village. Some tribes have a system very similar to many human schools, where all children of the same age range are taught the same subjects at the same time. However, this is relatively rare, and only occurs in relatively small elven settlements. Most have more of a turn-based system, where a group of children learn one subject while another group learns another. This system requires a greater number of teachers, but has the benefit of keeping teaching sizes small so learning is more individualized. It’s pertinent to note that these are basic introductory courses, in most cases. Not all children who pass through the educational system will become great musicians, or great artists, or great archers. They simply gain knowledge of the basics. While the teaching material may very among tribes, basics like mathematics and reading are learned early on. Almost all tribes require education in the Carpá’dosíá, such that most elves can recite at least the first few lines of it by heart.

Unlike human pedagogy, elven pedagogy tends to focus less on lecture and more on hands-on learning. Archery is taught by using bow and arrow, not just being told how it is done. Magi teach their art by manipulating energies and letting a student see how such manipulations feel. The mind-body split prominent in many human educational systems does not exist in most elven systems, where they stress interconnectedness of all things--including the interconnectedness of mind and body. When elves learn, they not only learn what things can do, but what they cannot do--they experiment with the limits of an art, or push those limits. Because of the ways elves learn (through seeing, hearing, and doing) and through experimenting with limits, they generally gain a deeper knowledge and understanding, but also take longer to learn. While a human child’s fundamental education may conclude at 12 or younger, elves may take three or four times as long, depending on the tribe.

Should we speak already of human pedagogy, does such a thing exist ? ;) Nor am I sure, if there was a mind-body slit in education in the medieval times. Who got an education at all?

For elves, learning never really ends. Even when the student excels beyond his teacher, he keeps learning, developing his skill, understanding the world around him, and gaining ever-deeper knowledge. No matter how perfected a skill appears, there is always room for improvement. No matter how knowledgeable the elf, there is always more to learn. And while the teacher may have more experience than the student, even the student may have something to teach. Elves generally come across as arrogant not only because of their deep knowledge and understanding, but their desire to pass on what they know. Elves, however, expect those they meet to also share what they know and believe that everyone has something to teach. In order to gain greater understanding, each individual must be humble enough to receive such teaching.

Death:
Elves, with their deep understanding of the full circle of life and the inevitability of death, do not face the end with the same dread and fear as humans. All things arise in the Dream and, upon death, all things return to it. Elves seem to have knowledge of their own death, though it is uncertain if elves truly choose the date of their death or if they simply have knowledge of it, or a combination of both. Elves’ deep understanding of the nature of the universe allows them to not only understand when their time is ending, but to be prepared for it.

In the final few years of an elf’s life, they prepare for death through what are called Twilight Rites. These rites, often done alone, help an elf gain greater understanding and appreciation for their place in the cycle, and for the cycle in themselves. Most other elves, especially older elves, are often able to feel when another’s time is coming to an end, and will aid an elf in preparing for the return.

Not all deaths are natural; fires, falls, and other accidents can at times clip a young elf’s life before their time. Some elves believe these deaths cause ripples in the fabric of the Dream, because they do not seem to be part of the natural cycles that elves generally expect, and so must have some purpose; they must be born out of some sort of necessity. These events are regarded as more shocking or surprising than tragic, and such events serve as reminders that, not matter how well one may understand the natural cycles, there are aspects of the Dream that remain hidden. In this way, such deaths are always lessons. However, all death, at its root, is connected with and a return to the Dream. Even if death comes sooner than expected, it is still a return.

Elves do not experience sorrow in the same way as humans. For an elf to feel “sorrow” in human terms would be a denial of the true nature of the Dream, and such a feeling would be typical only in elves who lack wisdom in the natural flow of the universe. The elven word for “sorrow” (glásáj) is often defined in human terms as “the reminder of the mirror in the shadow of the Dream.” Sorrow is a word expressing the feeling of remembering that life is part of a larger circle. In fact, many elves (dark elves more joyfully than wood elves) celebrate an individual’s return to the Dream. The Feast of Return enjoyed following the death of a member of the tribe is a way of celebrating death, which is itself a celebration of the larger completion of a cycle leading back to nascent creation.

Elves believe in a kind of reincarnation, but it important to note that the self that may be reincarnated is always considered to be a part of the Dream, like a small grain of sand on a vast beach, or a drop of water in an endless ocean. In life, all living creatures possess changing energies, but at each being’s root is an unchanging core, a “soul” (cár'ámn). Upon death, the inner “soul” (at times referred to as a grain of sand or a drop of water) returns to the teeming fabric of the generative Dream, the beginning from which all things emerge. Like a wind may lift a grain of sand from the beach, or fair weather might lift water into the sky to fall as rain, life gives the “soul” an independent form with its own energy; however, this form denies the true unity of the dream, a unity realized when the wind drops the grain to the sands of the beach or the raindrop finally hits the surface of the sea.

I like that last part about death very much. It captured me more than the rest. Could you add any death rites? Do they bury their dead in the soil, or burn them, or sit them on a lofty place? Speaks any philosophy against one of these possibilities?

I had to hurry a bit, hope I was not too negative. Might have more ideas, but no time to discuss them . (Fox's submissions are waiting)
Rayne, what you wrote is fantastic, but you need to create a more medieval feeling! You are so good  - and quick - with writing down you submissions. Take that as a challenge! You have the creative potential, if you only take your time!
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« Reply #25 on: 08 January 2010, 01:41:02 »

Hi Rayne, you are so terribly busy! Do you never sleep?
They say elves need less sleep than humans.


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We needed that entry! I‘m glad you started with it. I skimmed over it yesterday night and read a few of the commentaries. I have many proposals, questions, critiques.

The main ones before I go into detail. And please excuse my direct speech, you know I don‘t be as mean as it sounds sometimes ;).

Where to should this go? Replace the sections in the main (very short and with big holes) entry on the site? Here? http://www.santharia.com/races/elves.htm

My main idea would be that this would actually go under that entry on the site. If you go to the nav bar for races and click on "Elves," there's just that overview. If you go to "Dwarves" on the other hand, Judith has written a bunch of things related to dwarven culture (including "Marriage and Mating"). I envisioned this entry occupying a similar space.


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I have to agree with Altario. You describe the whole thing so scientifically, without mystery, without letting room for imagination. To be very direct: I see this submission as the developer‘s note, the developer‘s fact book. You need to bring this in a form which is more appealing to read. Otherwise your average reader will fade out in the middle of the marriage section. You are an elfess, feel like one. You can use clear words and phrases, but you need more poetry in your text as you have it now. Its not just the words like menstruation. It is the whole flavour. Would an elf write so directly about intercourse? (don‘t know) ... Etc. More to come on the way.

Currently, this is more of a developer's notes. I want to get the details hashed out a little. And as the current discussion communicated, we are trying to find less scientific words to place in there. See my response to Alt. And I do feel elves would be open about sex, just because they have no reason not to. They would not be ashamed of a natural process--just as they are not ashamed of their bodies. Any euphemism they would employ would seem to go against their true nature.


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A note to elven magic/belief. I think Artimidor lined it out somewhere like this: The elves do not worship the twelve, they do not worship Avá either in the way, the humans worship their  gods. For them magic and belief is one, magic comes natural to them , is embedded in there belief. What is their belief? The oneness of Avá, nature, life, everything. So there is no way to part magic from belief or nature. I can‘t explain it well, nor in depth. Here we do need Art.

I agree with Artimidor, I think. And if we discussed elven belief, I think we would be in accord. I don't talk in-depth about belief in this entry, but merely allude to it. I plan on expounding about it later. I think I mentioned this earlier.

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Your elves are still very human, dare to go farther away of how they are! I know, they have to be able to interbred with humans, but..

I see them as being extremely different from humans. In fact, I often bring in the contrasts.


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That description is so dry! Not even the facts are very interesting, because they are so close to human facts. Poetess, let you juices flow and find a better way!

Let's get the facts there first.

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Some proposals/ideas to differ more from the human race.

As we do not know yet, how the moon moves and what for cycles we have (though due to the months it will end with a twelvern pattern, but it could be somehow different also), I would propose a much longer cycle. Why not have a year? Fertility only in spring for a few weeks? (Do they have intercourse only for getting pregnant or out of the desire to be close to each other also?) Pregnancies  could take a full year or even 1 and 3/4 years, so that all births are in spring. Or if you choose to have four cycles a year, elves could be able to delay pregnancies/births until spring. Elves could actually choose when to give birth. After a year or a year and a half!

I had originally planned for this to be the case, where they only had their cycle once every year. But it didn't make sense to me to divorce elves from the natural cycles of the moon or from the natural 12 cycles per year. 12, after all, resounds throughout the Santharian world. I also don't want to restrict when births take place.

Further (and this is something I came about only naturally when talking to a very spiritual friends of mind), I think the more frequent cycles are actually more in tune with elven belief. In some beliefs, these cycles represent cleansings--where the body naturally cleanses itself in a process that gives women greater power and influence and a deeper connection to natural energies. Based on my discussion, I will not only want to keep the cycles for elves as they are, but also expound more upon their significance (in addition to what is already there).


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I would extent puberty (the physical, not necessarily the growth of the mind) according to their lifespan. Say, not counting many child deaths in the human population, they will reach an age of 75. Puberty around 15 would be 1/5th of that time. So, an elf with a lifespan of 200 years might well be an adult with 40. If that is too extreme, rescue the time to 1/10th, that would be 20 in this case. The fraction could be smaller, the longer the lifespan is, but why should not an elf who lives for 700 years need 40 years, till he is an adult?

Why? This was Wren's idea. I disagree with it. Makes very little sense to me, and it's not necessary.


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What are these energies you are speaking about?
Watch repetitions! (Individuals, seek)

This will probably come out more in a belief entry, but energy is like the elven car'all, only deeper. It includes not only the natural energies of life (in a physics sense), but also emotions, intentions, beliefs, knowledges, etc. It is the way that elves cast magic and have magic cast upon them. It is also ever-changing. Just as we grow and change, so do elves (just slower), and as they do, their energies change.


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No chemistry working?  ;)

Depends on how you define it.


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I wonder, how then mixed pairs find together.

Keep in mind that all elves in a village/tribe are working very closely. They hunt together, work together, eat/sleep in very close proximity. They all talk and share knowledge with one another. If you've ever been in such a situation (like an English graduate program), you find this happens a lot.


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I can‘t exactly say, why, but this part seems to be very long without a lot of information carried, and a bit boring on top. Maybe try to shorten it, but bring an example of marriage rites on the other side, to make it more interesting to read.

This is where you will have to be more specific. I see the necessity in everything in that section--but I also wrote it. And there will probably be a different entry on rites, given the sheer number of them.

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I see, where you want to head with describing love between them in this way and I like the idea, but somehow it disillusions me at the same time. Elves should not be able for a spontaneous falling in love? Have ,springtime‘ feelings (They would not follow their desires without over thinking it long and thorough though) I miss some freshness in it. Sounds like a lot of deep, warm, but dusty love. I need to carry this longer with me to lay my finger on the point which makes me uneasy. [/color]

Elves simply are not like humans in how they love. It's not a dusty love, in my opinion, but a more productive, kinder one. Capricious love is simply not elven.



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I know, gestation can used for humans as well, but it reminds me always on animals..

"Mating" strikes me the same way, but it's still used on the site. I could use "term of pregnancy," but it's a little long-winded.


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You have so many details, but on the other side I miss those, who make the whole thing interesting. How does that birth take place? Does the woman lie down? Or is she held upright by a midwife or  the husband ? Does she get a massage, or does she give birth in warm water? Does this have any significance? Is there a special herb which is given? Maybe the mother gets some hallucination inducing herbs? Is the placenta viewed to have a look at the future? Does the time of the day say something, or can the woman influence it? Do the babies cry, or are they mostly silent and  content? How much is the woman in labour, if at all? Could be, that the elves experience none. So there would be no trauma for the child, which could affect its outlook towards life.

I thought I had mentioned gathering herbs for the birth. I mean, keep in mind, this is an entry on elves. In general. Herbs don't usually grow across the entire world. I also think that elves would still feel pain. Ava experienced pain in creation (more emotional, I suppose, than physical), so why wouldn't elves? And a lot of the details you mention would change from tribe to tribe. This, again, is a general entry. I don't want to be too specific--I just want to give the guidelines for current revisions and future development.


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Look for another word for placenta. The German word translated would be ,Mother‘s Cake‘, that what feeds the child during pregnancy.  Again that unspecified ,energy‘

This is currently being discussed in this thread.


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That the child may suckle by many women would be rare - I assumed, that the birthrate is not very high, so how many breast feeding children would be around? Or how long do they breast-feed at all? Or are there other elven woman ready to breast feed without own children in this age (is possible).

It is rare, which is why I added in the hedging. I can't say how many children would be around because this is a general entry and all tribes/settlements vary in population. I assume breast-feeding would extend fairly long--at least a year. After all, breast milk increases brain growth and has many natural benefits of which elves would probably be aware. And I didn't know it was possible for women to be ready to breast-feed without children/pregnancy. I would actually kind of be interested in hearing more. I mean, I have heard of milk nurses, but they had to have children (because they never stopped breastfeeding children, I think, they never stopped lactating). Is this what you mean?


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Ermm - are elves so different, that they don‘t need social communication? The noises of babies are of course practising speech, but a first try to communicate also. And they need to be talked to, though of course not with babytalk, you could recite Shakespeare also and they would be content.  How will they learn speaking, if nobody talks to them?

Babies experience conversation through the interchange between adults. It's actually not true that you need to speak to babies in order for them to develop communication. There are many cultures around the world that do not use baby-talk or communicate with their child directly until the child can speak, and these children develop all the natural speaking ability of any other child in any other culture.

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Should we speak already of human pedagogy, does such a thing exist ? ;) Nor am I sure, if there was a mind-body slit in education in the medieval times. Who got an education at all?

Based on the fact there is an academy called Ximax where many humans go to study, I would say there is something of human pedagogy in Santharia. And mind-body split was made by Plato. It existed in medieval times. Granted, it was accentuated by Descartes, but yes, it existed before.




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I like that last part about death very much. It captured me more than the rest. Could you add any death rites? Do they bury their dead in the soil, or burn them, or sit them on a lofty place? Speaks any philosophy against one of these possibilities?

Burn. I can add a detail, but as I mentioned before, I would like to save the details of "rites" for another entry entirely, as there are a lot.

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I had to hurry a bit, hope I was not too negative. Might have more ideas, but no time to discuss them . (Fox's submissions are waiting)
Rayne, what you wrote is fantastic, but you need to create a more medieval feeling! You are so good  - and quick - with writing down you submissions. Take that as a challenge! You have the creative potential, if you only take your time!

No, not too negative. Just keep in mind that the discussion right now is not about the form, but the content. Let's try to focus on what's in the entry before we poke at how it's written. Content is the bigger deal right now.


EDIT: Talia, I know you're about to have more company, and I know you're probably still working through the discussion for this entry, but I wanted to get your thoughts on this idea I posted before:

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Maybe you can give me your thoughts, too, on something I've been debating: when really considering elven nature, I don't think they would have one marriage in their lifetime. Because of the changing nature of the universe, and changing energies, it seems they might practice something more along the lines of serial monogamy, where they stay with one partner for a while (maybe 80-100 years), then, when their energies change, find a new partner that better reflects their new energies. Because of the way the community functions in terms of children, this seems a little more natural for me. What do you think?
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« Reply #26 on: 08 January 2010, 10:58:33 »

I wonder...Wren was poking around here not long ago, even started an entry on elven stuff. Would it be worth to have her opinion (should she be interested)? She may wish to make a comment or two as elves were her thing. Just a thought. Not necessary for me either way.
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« Reply #27 on: 08 January 2010, 12:30:31 »

I sent Wren a PM. If she's out there, hopefully she'll stop by. I know that I've diverged a little from some of her intentions for elves, but I hope my solutions will meet with her approval. Let's keep our fingers crossed that she stops by the boards some time for a look around!
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« Reply #28 on: 08 January 2010, 15:01:04 »

And I didn't know it was possible for women to be ready to breast-feed without children/pregnancy. I would actually kind of be interested in hearing more. I mean, I have heard of milk nurses, but they had to have children (because they never stopped breastfeeding children, I think, they never stopped lactating). Is this what you mean?

It can be induced (even by women who have never been pregnant before), but not regularly or easily. There are drugs that can cause it, and it's possible to subconsciously 'force' the process by constantly thinking about babies (crying/hungry ones for instance), along well as simulating the process of suckling (through pumps, massaging, etc), several times a day. After a long while, this can allow for lactation. But if it isn't constantly maintained (simulating the process several times a day, every day), it ceases after 1-3 weeks and the process has to be started over.

So yes, for someone who is not the mother to be helping her to breast feed, she would need to have made a lot of effort to keep herself 'active'. In elven society, with few children, this is not likely, as it would not be wieldy to 'keep prepped' when there may not be a child except every few months/years.

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« Reply #29 on: 08 January 2010, 17:15:52 »

Thanks Fox! :)

I read about it when I breastfed myself, that it was possible to do it, even if you adopted a child. It needs about six weeks, till the lactation works, and it is very helpful to have another child suckle (apart from what Fox described). Nothing is so powerful as a hungry child ;)

But as Fox said, not very probable.
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