Half-Elves are humanoids with a mixture of human and Elvish blood. They are virtually unknown outside the lands of Quenardya and Lom Shi'Un, but quite common within these realms. Elves usually refer to them as "half-humans". There are now two half-Elves living at Metamor: Tessa and Jael.
Half-Elves resemble slender humans with light bone structure, angular features, and modestly pointed ears. They range in height from around 163 cm (5'4") to 191 cm (6'3"), with a mean around 178 cm (5'10") for both males and females. They tend to have slender builds, though not as willowy as those of Elves; mass typically ranges from 54 kg (119 lbs.) to 82 kg (180 lbs). Skin tone varies from alabaster to deep reddish brown, depending on the individual's human heritage; the most commonly-seen skin tones range from tan to bronze. The eyes are large and usually oval to almond-shaped, and in most half-Elves the irises are near-black in color, though lighter hues are sometimes seen among paler-skinned individuals. Hair color may be anything from silver-white to blue-black, with auburn, brown and black being particularly common. Unlike Elves, half-Elves do carry the genes for red hair, and it and its variants (strawberry blonde, copper, auburn) are not uncommon.
Half-Elves are within the bounds of human norms in most aspects of their physical and mental capabilities. While they are, on average, somewhat more intelligent and perceptive than the average human, they are not as prone to the extremes of creative genius that are sometimes found among humanity. There are many bright minds among the half-Elves, but comparatively few great visionaries and prodigies. Physically, half-Elves tend to be agile and dexterous but not particularly strong; eye-hand coordination is higher on average than in humans, and half-Elves are four times as likely as humans to be ambidextrous, but their light frames do not acquire muscle mass as easily as those of most humans. Half-Elvesare rarely overweight and almost never obese.
Lifespan & Reproduction
Half-Elves are long-lived compared to humans. They reach physical maturity in their mid- to late twenties, and usually live 300 to 400 years (though the latter is considered very old, comparable to late 90s in humans). Half-Elven women are fertile from around age 20 to age 150; men become potent around age 25 and remain so until late in life. Twins are rarer than they are among humans, and higher-order multiple births are almost unheard of.
Virtually all half-Elves have at least some aptitude for magery, a gift inherent in their Elven blood. Their bodies are resistant to transformation spells that were not specifically designed for half-Elves or Elves; the Curse of Metamor, for instance, bonds to their bodies but cannot change them. Half-Elves are also somewhat resistant to Mind-Affecting Enchantments, including sleep-spells and mental domination, and to telepathic manipulation. Half-Elves can use any enchanted item designed for Elves as if they were Elves, and any designed for humans as if they were human.
All half-Elves have at least 50% Elven ancestry; if a half-Elf marries a human, the offspring will be human; the child will be beautiful, slender and agile by human standards, but s/he will mature at a fairly normal human rate, die by age 110 or 120 at the latest, and be as vulnerable to transformation magic and Mind-Affecting Enchantment as a child born of two humans.
A child of a half-Elf and an Elf is always another half-Elf; while these children may look more Elven, even one human ancestor is enough to rob them of their Elven immortality.
Half-Elves can also interbreed with some outsiders (aedra and daedra), and some Fae. The resulting offspring in these cases are usually half-Elven in appearance and lifespan, though they will carry some marks of their supernatural ancestry. They could theoretically produce offspring with half-lutins, as well, but no such union has ever been recorded to date. Dragons who have taken on humanoid form could also sire offspring with half-Elven females, as they can with humans, but no such pairing is known to have occurred since the Elves withdrew from western Galendor.
Romance between Elves and humans doesn't usually end in tragedy in Quenardya. The Elves have a philosophy that finds beauty in the bittersweet; they embrace love even when they know that it will end in the early death of one partner, because the fact that something is temporary does not keep it from being beautiful while it lasts.1 Most of the time, the humans who fall in love with Elves find it comforting that their partners embrace them unconditionally, even as they are aging right before their eyes. No doubt there are some who can't handle it, but they would be seen as sad exceptions to the rule, objects of pity among other Quenardyans.
Effects of the Curse
Half-Elves are normally immune to the Curse; the inherent magic of their Elven blood keeps the Curse from penetrating their aura and changing them. The Curse's magic layers over top of their aura, but it doesn't touch their body. However, if a half-Elf is brought to the brink of death and then exposed to the Curse, his aura will be weakened enough that the Curse's magic may be able to penetrate it and transform him; this is what happened to Jael.
Half-Elves form what might be called the professional class of Quenardyan society: craftsmen, doctors, teachers, soldiers, etc. The Elves trust them with more responsibility than humans, considering them to be more emotionally mature and capable of handling complex matters with greater care and discretion.
While they are given more trust than humans, however, the Elves do not allow half-Elves to completely govern their own lives. All half-Elves in Quenardya are bondservants; no matter how skilled or capable he may be, a half-Elf is always under the supervision and protection of a full-blooded Elf, usually a relative or a mentor. A half-Elf with no master is not considered feasible in Quenardyan society. By contrast, half-Elves in Lom Shi'Un are treated as equal citizens, though their daedra-dominated society is often so harsh and ruthless that this is not that much of an advantage.
More to come…