Elves are creatures of the light, and as such, ethereal beings that for the most part are good creatures. Being immortal, elves have a completely different worldview than humans. Everything is seen with the long view and they might well put off performing a task for a hundred or even a thousand years if it’s inconvenient at the moment.
Fancifully, elves are said to dine on honey and dew, although realistically they eat the same foods as humans. Many forest elves are vegetarians, as living so harmoniously with wild animals makes them less eager to be predators.
The bulk of the elves live in Alfheim, ruled over by the God Frey, brother of Freya. Of course, the Lady Freya is always welcome in Alfheim, and is a particular favorite amongst the elves. Naturally, some elves have chosen to live in the other realms, even Midgard with humans. However, the vast majority of elves are found in Alfheim.
There are a wide variety of elves. So-called “high elves” often stand 6 feet tall and are slender and elegant. They live in beautifully wrought cities and are both cultured and refined. Outsiders consider them cold and arrogant, but that may be due to their almost supernatural calm. These elves are incredibly beautiful, and almost entirely magical. They can perform extraordinary feats with their spells, but rarely interact with outsiders and so most of what is known of them is rumor.
Sylvans or “wood elves” live in forests. You won’t see one unless the elf wishes to be seen because they have the ability to blend into their surroundings so well that they are virtually invisible. Smaller than their cousins, these elves often dress in garments made from wood bark or leaves, and wear intricate patterns of living flowers. Sylvans can speak directly to animals and understand them, and some are said to be able to communicate with plants as well. Of all the elves, they are the most attuned with nature, and most of their magic is directed to the natural world.
Sprites, pixies, and will-o’-the-wisp’s are all variants of elves. These smaller beings can occasionally be glimpsed, but rarely are they seen up close. Still, their small magics can be quite powerful although they spend much of their time frolicking and playing rather than engaging in the more serious pursuits of the high elves.
In all their forms, elves are beautiful. In fact, many a mortal has fallen in love with an elf, although such unions rarely succeed because of the difference in lifespans. Still, elves are incredibly lovely and desirable.
On certain nights, especially under full moons, elves can be found dancing in the woods. Joining such a “fairy ring” is tempting almost beyond the power of a person to resist, but there are some dangers involved. It is said that dancing in a fairy ring can cause one to go mad, to age prematurely, to be pulled out of time, or to be stolen away by the elves. The music is virtually irresistible, and the beautiful beings are a remarkable lure. The Goddess Freya has been known to join in the dance, and the elves particularly celebrate her presence.
Despite or perhaps because of their incredibly long lifespans, elves reproduce rarely. Because of this, elven maidens will occasionally steal away human children to raise as their own. While the children are well treated, many stories are told of mothers risking much to retrieve their infants from the elves.