The Elves of Arunë once comprised a pair of cultures – those who rejected the teachings of the First Men (called Wood Elves and in this day and age called Dosä) and those who followed them were the Auneneiä or people of Anunë.
To be an elf is truly to be among one of the most long-lived and far-sighted races in Arunë. They learned magic from the First Men, and have since become masters of it. Their lives extend hundreds of years, and it is said that when they die they do not linger but pass straight to Valingas to be amongst the gods.
The Wood Elves and those who live in cities share a common cultural background. It is simply a matter of which parts of their culture they stress or have acquired in the time since they met the First Men in the Third Age.
Wood Elves eschew the material cultures of the Anuneiä (or Wind Lords) who live in cities with slender spires and delicate stonework. Their worship is not directed at Anunë so much as at the entire pantheon of Elven deities. However, they particularly revere Seniä the Goddess who made the forests and the brooks and who is married to Anunë. As such, much of their lives are spent dedicated to the woodland and maintaining a balance between nature and the men who encroach upon it. Dosä are somewhat xenophobic, being afraid that intruders into their communities will upset the carefully designed balance. As such, they have developed a bad reputation amongst outsiders which is not entirely deserved.
Wind Elves, however, are city-builders. They are wizards as well, and first and foremost among the Wind Elven nobles are those with a magical talent. Wind Elves have a magocratic society based upon the ministration of civic wizard-priests who function as law keepers and advocates. Many Anuneiën nations would rather trade for food than produce it themselves. However, there are still Elven share-croppers and peasants in the great majority of Wind-Elf nations.
The Dosä, Northerly Elves
The Oronëneiä, Elves of the Oronän Theocracy
The Anuneiä, the Wind Lords
The elves are associated with the sapphire, and this gem is widely used by elven craftsmen and architects.
It is said that until the Eighth Age elves were immortal, dying only when slain or they chose to and traveling directly to Valingas as spirits once they perished. We know now that the lifespan of elves is extremely long, but that they may also fade away from sorrow, dying from almost nothing at all. In the modern Age, we know that elves may be killed by disease (such as the Bleeding Plague) as well as old age. Old age may not come at the same time for every elf, however. The real thing which causes elves to die at extreme old age is not bodily failure (for they were made perfectly by Anunë) but rather sorrow and madness in which they fade away under the burden of the troubles of the world. Many choose to die before their time by succumbing to the inevitable journey to Valingas so as not to spend their final years in weeping sorrow or raging madness.
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