Five paladins walk into a bar
Elves were created by the newly born Goddess of Magic. She doesn’t know a lot about physics. Whoops.
A huge portion of the children born yearly in elven culture are born dead. This is a large contributing factor to the elven view on the world and their general disregard for other race’s lives.
Elves stand at 5 to 6 feet tall on average and are built very light, tending toward thin figures that vary from lithe and graceful to lanky and awkward. Their long pointed ears accentuate their thin figures and are seen as a sign of beauty within their culture, with widely regarded courtesans having exceptionally long ears. Their eyes are large and almond-shaped, little white shows around the large pupil and iris, the color of which is most often orange, yellow or gold. Their hair is almost exclusively black or dark brown and their skin is a dark bronze or walnut color.
The Tepochtli culture is fairly unusual. Since they are only able to reproduce for a few short years just after reaching maturity, elves at this age are expected to have as many children as they can, but they are not expected to raise those children. The elves take a very literal approach to the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ as that is exactly what they do. All the children born in a single breeding period are raised together in a creche. There are specific caregivers whose job is to watch over the children, but everyone in the village acts as a parent, providing education, meals and housing as it is needed. This practice has led to a very close society as the elves view everyone in their village as their immediate family.
Once past their breeding period a mature elf must find a place for themselves in society without the aid of hereditary lines. Indentured servitude is not an uncommon practice among elves at this age, and being an indentured servant is not regarded as shameful or undesirable. Typically the exchange is years of work and help in exchange for learning a trade or being given control of a business much in the way other cultures pass businesses from parent to child. Working in brothels and joining the military as also very common choices at this stage in life.
The only time these traditions alter is when it come to the fey. Within their jungles the Tepochtli live closely with the dryads and nymphs, having long ago formed an allegiance for their mutual safety. On rare occasions a dryad or nymph will choose to mate with an elf, producing a half-fey child. In most cases the fey will raise the child themselves, though sometimes the child is given to religious leaders instead, but it is always raised to be a leader within elven society. Considered blessed by the normal population half-fey are typically religious leaders, generals, and advisers to the emperor.
Attitude Toward Magic
The Tepochtli have taken to magic better than any other race. With their intermingling with magical creatures and the presence of half fey in their society they possess a natural affinity for magic. This natural affinity is only enhanced by their possession of a massive cauldron of god’s blood stored within a ziggurat in their capital city.
Magic has thus far served to enhance ancient customs, such as ritual tattoos, giving them actual power beyond religious belief. It has always been custom for members of the military to have specific tattoos for protection and might, and an accomplished warrior often has more specific tattoos added, now these tattoos are infused with magic to protect and enhance skill in battle. Similarly piercing has long been a kind of fashion among the Tepochtli and the metal rings and bars quickly became an easy way to provide additional magical enhancement to both warriors and normal citizens.
The Tepochtli do not get along with other societies. In general when someone of another race attempts to enter their jungles the reaction is to kill them immediately, no questions or diplomatic negotiations. As such other races dislike the elves and stay far away from their jungles. This as been a challenge in recent years as the elves have been using magic to rapidly expand the jungle, overtaking the lands north of them. However, this has caused as much trouble for the elves as it has for the races living to the north as they have spread their forces far too thin and much of the newly taken land is under the control of powerful magical beasts rather than the elves.
Due to the very short window during which elves can reproduce it is exceptionally rare for them to mate with someone outside of their own species during this time. On the rare occasion where it does happen, be the elf willing or not, the child produced is a pitiable creature. Half-elves are always sterile, and often have other abnormalities, most commonly albinism, but occasionally other disfigurements like webbed feet, or even mental disabilities. All races, the elves included, see half-elves as sad creatures cursed by their parents to a long life plagued by the inability to have children of their own or overcome their disfigurements.
Physically half-elves tend to be tall and gangly, with the pointed ears of the elves. Their eyes are often large and shaped like the elves with smaller pupils and irises which can cause vision problems especially later in life.