“Those who are taken from an elven forest, after having dwelt among the elves, often die of broken hearts and unspoken remorse.” —From Age of Wonders III
My opinion of elves as a fantasy race tends to depend on which writer and fantasy universe we’re dealing with. In some tales elves are the wardens of the forests, protecting the trees from the axes and fires of men and orcs. In other tales elves live in golden cities and look disdainfully upon the ‘lesser’ races. In some universes they use their immortality or longevity to teach and guide humanity, while in others they grow corrupt on power and addicted to arcane magics. The elves of Lord of the Rings are the immortal guardians against the vile hordes of the Enemy. The elves of Dragon Age were stripped of their immortality and reduced to slaves or second-class citizens.
Kate’s smartly dressed elf is from the trading card game, Berserk, by Russian game producer/distributor Hobby World. I don’t know much about the game, but I’m deeply impressed with Kate’s assorted artwork for the cards. Her elf spell-caster was one that really stood out to me. To me she looks like some manner of druid or forest-mage, though cleric for a nature goddess would make sense as well. Rather than a guardian or sentinel of the forest, however, I suspect she’s more of a caretaker—someone strengthening the forest from within, rather than patrolling for external threats.
I love the traditional Eastern European feel of our elf’s outfit. Firstly, shes not the whimsical, half-dressed elf, nymph, or dryad archetype that we see far too often in forest guardians. No indeed, instead of strategically placed leaves or gossamer silk undies, our heroine prefers something with multiple layers that travels well and offers decent protection from the forest and weather.
Our lady’s cloak and hood are particularly important for sheltering her from the sun and rain whilst traveling the woodlands. They keep her lovely head safe from the elements and reduce wear and tear on the rest of her traveling clothes. The green band about her head features a leaf design to match the one at her belt. These might represent a druidic rune, arcane symbol, or holy crest. I like, too, that our caster takes the layered approach to her traveling clothes. Her shirt is loose and flowing as not to interfere with her spell casting. Whether linen, cotton, or wool, the shirt should keep her warm in the evenings and cool and airy during the day. Her outer dress is either wool or heavy linen, designed to protect from the elements, or even provide basic protection in light combat, should invaders get past her wards and spells.
I’m rather curious what kind of spells our flaxy-haired mage is casting. When I think of “Green Magic,” I tend to automatically picture the forest-themed green mana and spells from Magic: The Gathering. So I think it’s fair to assume our heroine has powers and spells along those lines. The runes she’s casting might be runes of warning to alert the forest’s guardians of the presence of intruders, runes of protection against certain types of spells, or even summoning runes to summon a dire bear or swarm of killer hornets on the arrival of the unwary trespasser. Her staff meanwhile looks to be a focus for her magic, though it could also create illusion spells to keep enemies forever lost in the woods, or perhaps it transforms nearby trees into angry tree-folk.
Massive thanks to Kate for letting me borrow her elf for the blog. Feel free to check out her other works in her digital gallery and live journal. Thanks a million for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!