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Hulderfolk

Article written by Uziel


Hulderfolk are the reclusive and mysterious Elves that live in Imperial League province of Okami, as well as the Hulderwood of Southern Hosk. The hulderfolk have no known settlements, nor dwell anywhere outside of their two forested realms. These elves live by ancient traditions that far predate those of any other type of elves anywhere on Krynn.

Their name means, "hidden people", and stems from the fact that they remain aloof from all other races. It is believed that Humans once affronted the hulderfolk long ago, and ever since the elves shun humans. When humans enter the realms of the hulderfolk, the elves use various methods to drive them away. Failing this, the elves will move away from the area rather than have contact with a human. They are also masters of camouflage, both in and out of the forest. Only dogs seem to be keenly aware of the presence of the hulderfolk, all other animals and humans cannot detect them normally.

Tricks of the Hulderfolk

These strange elves are tricksters at heart, and whilst they do not have open contact with humans, they do delight in tricking them. Occasionally a traveller will be led into the forests by the elves, only to guided back out of the forest the next day to discover that a decade has passed. The tricks played by the elves are either those related to time, deception or a gift. Generally the tricks of time all follow the same pattern, which involve a human entering their realm and encountering a strange man or woman. The stranger will invite the human to either join in a meal, game or even spend the night with them. In almost all cases, the guest is plied with food and drink, and falls asleep before the stranger and their friends. On waking, the humans find themselves back where they first met the stranger. Some poor humans are greatly aged on waking, whilst others are relatively untouched. However all humans find that the world around them is altered. Even though one night passed for them, the world around them has altered anywhere from one week to 10 years.

The tricks of deception are usually done in the evening, with one of the hulderfolk disguised as a spouse or suitor, calling on a human and sometimes exacting an oath from them or having a child with them. The oaths of the hulderfolk are enforced through magic, ensuring that humans must follow through with their promises.

The gifts of the hulderfolk are freely given to humans, but almost always come with a price. Such as the gift may be the heartfelt wish of the human, but in return for claiming the gift, the human may lose a loved one, or their sight, etc. Sometimes the hulderfolk will offer a gift to a human, in return for a service done for the elves however.

However with all of their tricks, hulderfolk never break any oaths or promises they make to the shunned that they are dealing with. They have a strict set of rules that they all adhere to when dealing with the shunned. They are not allowed to enter into any place or worship, or if their name is spoken, or they are touched by cold steel then they must turn and flee.

Changelings

A strange and disturbing practice of the hulderfolk is that of the changeling. Occasionally the elves believe when a sickly elven child is amongst them, that it would be cared for better by humans, and in return they claim a newborn human child. The elves greatly care for the human baby amongst them, although it is never fully accepted as one of the hulderfolk. Those humans who treat the elven child with love and care are considered blessed by the elves, who occasionally offer aid to the family, and bless them with all the good luck they can offer. However those who mistreat the elven child suffer from bad luck, and in extreme cases the hulderfolk will reclaim the elven child back.

Characteristics

Male hulderfolk dress in cloth material made by supple bark, as well as curious cloaks made from green leaves. Female hulderfolk wear gowns made from spider silk and flowers, as well as wear garlands of flowers and caps of leaves. The hulderfolk revere nature in all its forms, and everything they wear and use comes from the earth. Their weaponry is only acquired through trade with the Fianawar dwarves. However following the Great Destruction they no longer trade with the dwarves, nor any other race. The warriors of the hulderfolk wear light elven chainmail, also acquired long ago from the dwarves.

A king and queen rule the hulderfolk, but there is no other distinguishable hierarchy. The only other position of note amongst the elves is that of the Tale-Spinner, the elves who sing at the many banquets that the elves have. The homes of the elves are in hollowed tree trunks or abandoned burrows, and are neat and carefully decorated.

The shunning practices that the hulderfolk perform are done almost solely on humans. Other races, even Goblinoid ones are tolerated and treated with respect, unless they attempt to harm the elves or the wood itself. On the rare occasions when other elves, merkitsa, Cha'asii or Silvanaes, enter the realm of hulderfolk, they are treated as welcome cousins and accorded every respect. However these visits are few and far between, as the gulf between the traditions and ways of the modern elves compared to the hulderfolk is monstrous.

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This article has been viewed 3,918 times. It was added on March 21, 2008, and was last modified on March 21, 2008.

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