Prompt, Story, Writing Tips

Wood Elves

I love writing, and I absolutely love fantasy. So, I thought I would share a little exercise I did the other day. This is me trying to consolidate ideas into the beginnings of world building for some stories I’d like to write. It turned out with it’s own narrative voice so I thought it’d be fun to share. Maybe it’ll help you think of some stories you’d like to write or worlds you’d like to create. Feel free to share in the comments!

An enchanted tree isn’t the home of fairies, or a magic portal, but a wood elf. They’ve been called Nymphs and mistaken for some lucky tree that tapped into a magic underground spring, but really, they’re just wood elves that’ve decided to stand still. What you may not understand is that wood elves live for centuries, and when they get old, they tend to like to just stand in one place for a while, they become rooted and take on the appearance of a tree and they just let themselves grow.

The young wood elves don’t look like walking trees or twigs, they look like humans, but generally more slender and taller. There are a huge variety of wood elves, one for every kind of tree and even a few bushes, those ones are the short ones. Their skin is the color of the tree they identify with. A few of them may pass for humans, except that they have the ability to turn into a tree for a few hours at will, and they live for a really long time and turn into enchanted trees when they get old. But aside from that, and the wood elf laws and traditions, they aren’t too different from you and me.

You may have heard of the old wives’ tale, about how you knock on wood so that you don’t jinx yourself? Well it’s true. Not for us, don’t go pounding on wood every time you speculate or brag, people will think you’re a little strange. But it’s true for wood elves.

See, wood elves rely heavily on their elders, these are the enchanted trees, the ones that decided to stand still. The elders, at this point, don’t really have the energy to move around to become their humanoid forms again, and they can’t talk as trees, but they do have magic, that’s where the enchanted part comes from. The elders give counsel to their younger counterparts by making things happen, by creating opportunities for them.

Now the humorous part of this is that the elders are big advocates for new experiences, being alive for centuries gives them plenty of opportunity to have lots of experiences, and they want the younger generations to have just as much. So, when you tell your friends that you’ve never broken a bone, you knock on wood so that you don’t jinx yourself into breaking a bone. But with wood elves, they knock on wood so that the elders don’t hear what they said and give them that special opportunity to experience a broken bone. The elders are trees, and they’re always listening, but they’re also old and a little hard of hearing when someone is rapping on wood, which happens to resonate very well for them, as they are wood elves, and in a state of being living wood.

If you have a friend who is superstitious, and really good at outdoor hide and seek, they just might be a wood elf. Or you just have a silly friend that’s really good at hiding. Another one of their traditions, is that they love nature. Wood elves might’ve started the hippie movement, but then humans went a little crazy with it.

Wood elves believe in being one with nature, and if you’re part tree, that makes sense. Remember the magic of the elders? They offer opportunities through natural means, they don’t just make a bone break if an elf forgot to knock. So maybe another indication of your friend being a wood elf is if they’re into all the natural remedies and things like that. You likely won’t ever catch them turning into a tree, they’re too good at that, but the real tell-tale sign is if you can catch them using magic. Remember that’s a hard one too, because like the elders, they use natural means. 

But you know it’s magic when you see them soaking in the power from wood. Living wood gives more power, so they can touch a tree and be all charged up. But with wood that’s already been chopped down and processed, they have to use a bit more. This is where you can catch them, pulling the magic from dead wood ages it, so if you see someone touch a board in a lumber store and it suddenly looks like the board has been sitting out in the sun and rain, then you found a wood elf. And there might be a sale at the lumber store from the magic opportunity they created.

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