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What color skin do the Svartalfar have?

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Lore' started by Onionsoilder, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Onionsoilder

    Onionsoilder Reaver

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    I know that the Svartalfar are typically considered dark elves, but traditional dark elves have dark purple or dark grey skin. The Svartalfar in-game seem to be more of a pale white... though I'm not sure if it's actually supposed to be gray. The portraits don't seem to help either, as Faeryl's looks greenish for example.

    The reason I'm asking is I'm considering commissioning a portrait of one, though there isn't much reference material. I'm wondering if I should request a pale white, a medium gray, or something else entirely.
     
  2. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Pale white: imagine people who spend most of thier life out at night.
     
  3. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    They are very fair skinned, like northern Europeans who don't go out in the sunlight often. There is nothing un-human-looking about them except for their pristine beauty. It seems that all have either black or dark brown hair.

    Ljosalfar are most often tan and blond, but dark hair is not exactly rare among them either. I think Arendel has a medium tan and Strawberry-blonde hair, Amelanchier has a deep tan and light brown hair, and Thessa is fair skinned with very dark brown (enough to look black except in direct light) hair. (Thessa's magical prowess could however indicate some Svartalfar heritage.) Varn Gossam's wife, Talia Gossam, is a Ljosalfar with a deep tan and dark brown hair.


    The Once Elves are the descendants of a band of elven mercenaries (unaffiliated with either court) who were hired by Laroth and taken with him into the Netherworld (while still alive) through the Well of Creation found on the Sacred Isle of Nemora (which was a paradise in the Age of Magic but became the Deadlands when Tebryn Arbandi closed the well and prevented souls from draining out of Erebus and into the next life). They rebelled against Laroth and escaped the Otherworld and into the Well of Shadows. They did not leave the well until the barrier that separated it from Erebus was broken by a young Aucic Ulvin. Since they spend ages in the dark and grew pale they are often confused for the Svartalfar, but they have no connection to the dark elves are are known to have traded only with a few scholars from among the Ljosalfar. Their liminal world was much darker than the moon-lit elven forests, so they are actually much paler than the Svartalfar. They have a wider range of hair colors (Varn Gossam is blonde, his brother Haerlond had black hair, and I have no idea why but I picture their father Arak the Erkling having red hair) but their skin is so pale it is translucent.

    I probably should not be sharing this (as it is from Ashes of Brigdarrow and I promised Kael not to share the draft he sent me), but among the Once Elves there is one single individual who has the grey skin and white hair like a Drow. He is a necromancer and probably the oldest of the Once-Elves. (His coloration could be common among very old elves who spend ages in the dark, but no others have been shown.) I get the impression that he was already elderly when he joined Arak the Elking as an adviser, that he may have arranged their contract with Laroth, that he may have been a student of Laroth, and that his loyalties still lie with the pretender to the throne of Death.
     
  4. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf Chieftain

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    That's supposed to be the effect of dimmed forest lighting, I think. Though that makes her look slightly underwater-ish.

    See also Warhammer Dark Elves, who are pale white, too.

    Minor leader Rivanna is blonde, though.
     
  5. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Actually Rivanna has silvery white hair, more like that of the one draw-like once elf than the Ljosalfar. I wonder if that has anything to do with how they are probably both necromancers. Death magic could accelerate aging and make their hair turn grey the way a human's would in old age, even though there are still some elves from the age of dragons who remain youthful. Of course, the only real evidence that Rivanna is a necromancer is her title Wraith-Lord, which would also seem to imply that she is male.



    White may just be common hair color among dark elves though, as some Svartalfar models have that kind of hair. Some models have violet hair though, which I'm pretty sure is not naturally occurring. The Svartalfar do like using glamors and they probably use cosmetics and hair-dye more than other civs too.


    Some Svartalfar probably look more like Ljosalfar because they are undercover.
     
  6. MacGyverInSpace

    MacGyverInSpace Monarch

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    Does it make sense that you'd expect to find red-heads amongst the svartals, as with Europeans?
     
  7. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    Seeing as red-hair generally goes hand in hand with fair skin.... I wouldn't be that surprised by it.
     
  8. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Maybe.

    I don't really have any basis for this, but I tend to picture the Svartalfars as having a more East Asian coloration (some such groups tend to have skin much whiter than Europeans). I tend to think that dark hair and eyes are pretty much universal, although some may be darker than others. If I recall though, red hair is actually found in all human races (definitely among middle-easterners and Asians), although it is much less common and typically a much darker red among non-Europeans. I would not expect to find any orange-red or strawberry-blonde haired Svartalfar, but a deep auburn may be common.

    Edit: What was I thinking? None of the Svartalfar shown have dark eyes. Their eye color always seems to be grey if the leaderheads are any indication. (There is however one region of China where grey eyes are reletively common, and the people tend to be extra fair skinned. That is probably because of interbreeding with the ancient Caucasian inhabitants of the region though. Blond hair even shows up there form time to time, although less often than red which still is not common.)


    While most Ljosalfar look European, the description of at least one sounds like it could possibly be closer to that of a Native American or middle-easterner. Even after a couple months (or was it just weeks?) in the sunless Well of Shadows (first as a patron of their library, then as a prisoner), Talia still had a deep tan. (She also has dark ees ands also described as very curvy and voluptuous, not gracile like we usually picture elves.) Actually, I think Ljosalfar are usually described as being quite tan, unlike those Europeans who share their more common hair colors. I'm pretty sure that the skin of elves (of either court) is very smooth and even in color, not prone to freckling like the fairer European skin types. There are certainly redheads and strawberry-blondes among the Ljosalfar though, including their Queen.

    (The Gossam brothers are known to have wrinkles instead of smooth skin, but time in and near the land of the dead may have deprived that group of the typical pristine youth characteristic of the elven race. Elves were men changed by their closeness to the Sucellus, but the Once Elves have not honored nature for ages, have abandoned the elven language in exchange for Patrian, and are more influenced by the sphere opposite Sucellus's new precept; their name may indicate that another change like that which created the elves has occurred and that the term elf does not really apply anymore.)
     

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