I can't remember when I first decided I wanted elves in Calhortea. I know it was fairly early on in the writing process, since their introduction came not too far in. (I've added loads to that section, so the original introduction isn't until book 2, but a lot of what I've added includes elves.) I knew from the start they were much more like Tolkien's elves than Santa's elves. But I still wanted to make them unique. That led to the question: What makes an elf an elf? Some of you may remember my asking that on Facebook. I can't find the post, so I can't remember exactly what everyone said, but one of the main things was pointed ears. Well, they certainly have pointed ears.
(They have a
worldbuilding page. Woot!) Elves are tall and fair with long blond or
brown hair. They have pointed ears and their eyes are either blue or
brown. They are nimble, and well, generally look like the ones in Lord of the Rings.
However, there are differences. They are not immortal. Elves have an
average lifespan of 400 years, making them the second longest living of
Calhortea's races. They hail from the land of Olithea, which is
forested. Their homes are a sort of cross between the Swiss Family
Robinson tree house (from the book) and Lothlorien. The tree houses are
entered by staircases carved out of the inside of enormous tree trunks.
That concept in Swiss Family Robinson always intrigued me
greatly, so I decided to include it. Their architecture looks very
natural, as if it grew rather than being built.
They can do a lot
of things, they're really no more limited in their types of skills than
humans, but they are always much more artistic about it. And their
nimbleness and sharp senses do make things better. They can fight, and
even fought against the strytes when they took over Calhortz. That led
to their population being all but wiped out, but anyway. Some of them
are scholars, Camthalion in particular. They are not anywhere near the
merfolk in terms of engineering, however.
I realized the other day that the elves behave very much like the people in the Elsie Dinsmore
books. Which is to say, proper and old-fashioned and affectionate
and...well, if you've read the Elsie books, you know what I'm talking
about. The good guys, not the bad ones. I don't have anyone who is like
Arthur Dinsmore, though I wouldn't say every single elf alive is good.
They are fallen creatures just like everyone else.
names...well...some I made up and others I got from name generators. So
there isn't really anything exciting there. Estranna came from a
combination of Esther and Anna. Havilan developed from turning Calvin
into Halvin and then remembering I had a Calvin and changing it up a
little more. Camthalion came straight out of an elvish name generator.
If I remember right, it's what George would be if it were elvish
(according to the generator).
Elves play a very prominent role in Time Captives.
Not much would have actually happened without them, for all the
characters have to work together, whether they are Time Captives or not.