War's of the South
Moon elves, also known as Teu-tel-quessir in their own language, or as silver elves are the most common of all the eladrin subraces. More tolerant of humans than other eladrin, moon elves are the ancestors of most half-eladrin.
Like all eladrin, the Teu-tel-quessir are tall, close to humans in height, but more slender and beautiful. Moon elf skin is pale, often with an icy blue hue. Moon elf hair is commonly black, blue, or silvery white, although human-like colors are heard of as well, though very rare. Moon elf eyes, like those of other eladrin, are very commonly green, although some are blue as well. All exhibit a characteristic best described as golden flecks speckled through the iris. Male moon elves are typically taller than females.
Of all the eladrin races, moon elves are the most impulsive, with a strong distaste for complacency or isolation. Moon elves long to be on the road, traveling and exploring the untamed wilderness that lies between cities and nations. This extroverted quality is part of the reason why moon elves get along uncommonly well with other races and have come to the conclusion that the N-Tel-Quess, that is to say, the non-elves or eladrin, are not necessarily as foolhardy or unworthy as their brethren might think. Moon elves, rather than feeling that interaction outside of their race diminishes or weakens them, believe that interacting with other races, humans in particular, is the best way to spread the values of the Tel-quessir races, thereby strengthening their culture.
Moon elven society is often loosely organized and few moon elves stay in one place for more than a season or two, preferring a nomadic lifestyle. Moon elves are generally comfortable living amongst other eladrin, particularly sun elves, as well as elves, gnomes, humans, or halflings. Most moon elves organize themselves into groups of a dozen extended families or so, each ruled democratically, although often with de facto leaders whose say holds more weight than anyone else’s, an individual most often respected for either their age or their martial skill. Wherever they live, moon elves are unassuming, with homes just as humble, if comfortable.
Although often light-hearted and at ease, moon elves can leap to action if danger comes around. Like other eladrin, moon elves make sure that nearly all of their number are trained to wield a weapon and many also have some small skill in magic. However, even in such dark times, moon elves tend to find something to brighten them up, a quality that can be valuable for maintaining morale.
It is not uncommon for a moon elf to take on the life of an adventurer. After all, moon elves are innately a race driven by wanderlust and the desire to learn or do good. Altogether, moon elves are individualistic and most believe sincerely that each person can make a difference in the world, for better or worse. Because moon elves have an innate sense of altruism and good will to others, most moon elven adventurers are heroes, rather than villains, though both exist.
Those who do turn to an adventurer’s lifestyle commonly embrace the musical path of a bard, the martial lifestyle of a fighter, ranger, or rogue, or study to become wizards or swordmages. Some might also become, later in life, arcane archers or bladesingers and during the organization’s existence, many also felt a calling to the way of the Harpers.
Art and leisure
Generally, moon elves take things with little gravity, taking joy in the simple things of life, a trend which their music and art reflect, which are more often joyous than solemn. Moon elves are themselves very fond of art and have both a strong bardic tradition and a history of painting and sculpting. For entertainment moon elves prefer to gamble, taking little risks as part of the fun. Similarly, drinking and reveling is an important part of moon elven culture.
Like most eladrin, moon elves prefer clothing of simple design but exquisite making, using among the finest textile and most beautiful weaving designs available but typically making simple cuts and measurements, finding showy flourishes unnecessary. Moon elven clothing is often flashy in other ways, however, with bright colors popular amongst moon elves who feel comfortably at rest and away from danger. Most moon elves wear their hair in braids or ponytails, decorated with wires or beads. Tattoos are not unheard of amongst moon elves and are frequently worn, though it is not an ingrained part of their culture.
Moon elves are fond of keeping pets, in particular such animals as cats, dogs, falcons, or other hunting partners. Many also form close bond with self-aware creatures, such as blink dogs, pegasi, unicorns, or dragonnes. However, most moon elves do not keep mounts, feeling it important to walk on their own two feet.
Magic and religion
Moon elves, like other eladrin, love the learning and use of magic, in whatever form it takes. Both traditions of arcane and divine magic are highly encouraged and those who partake in either are pushed to expand the knowledge of their race. This pressure does not bother most moon elves, who are outright delighted should they ever become masters of the Art.
Like other Tel-quessir, moon elves generally worship the Seldarine, otherwise known as the fey or elven pantheon and most choose a particular deity as their patron. Of the number, the goddess Angharradh is most popular, whom moon elves wrongfully identified as a composite figure made of Sehanine Moonbow, Aerdrie Faenya, and Hanali Celanil as well. Unlike other eladrin, who typically think of Angharradh as little more than the god Corellon’s]] queen, moon elves see Angharradh as the Protector’s equal. Regardless of deity, moon elven religious ceremonies are, like so many other things in moon elf culture, loud and joyful and even the most pious of the subrace cannot deny that the festivals are often just another excuse to revel.
Relations with other races
Moon elves are uncommonly tolerant of the N-Tel-Quess, spending as much time within other races’ lands as they do within their own. While sun elves might wrinkle their nose at other cultures as inferior, moon elves typically feel that the diversity of Faerûn’s landscape as wondrously enchanting. To a moon elf, the insights that non-eladrin often have is a strength that others of their race too often ignore. Rather than shunning outside ideas, most moon elves embrace them and make them a part of their own culture, which often causes other eladrin and elves to look down on the subrace.
However, while moon elves commonly demonstrate a willingness to accept other cultures’ traditions and ideas they generally have little tolerance for cruelty, making them natural enemies of most orcs and gnolls. Likewise, most moon elves share their kin’s open hostility towards drow.
Moon elves were not the first of the eladrin to immigrate to Abeir-Toril, which they then called Faerûn, but they were the largest in number. Moon elves were eager to travel the new world their brethren had discovered, maintaining their characteristic wanderlust even in these early years, and it was not for some time before they settled as other eladrin had already done, eventually coming to form the nation of Orishaar, though many would settle in Othreier and Keltormir. This nation would have an ill fate, however, being one of the lands destroyed in the Crown Wars by the Illythiiri, circa -11,200 DR.
After the destruction of Orishaar, many moon elves would help to found many more of the newer Tel-quessir nations. Among the more successful of these was the city Evereska, constructed around -8600 DR and Cormanthyr, which was founded in -3983 DR. Of these, only Evereska would survive to the present day, Cormanthyr collapsing in the Year of Doom,2 although Myth Drannor, Cormanthyr’s greatest city, would be rebuilt and resettled during the Year of Lightning Storms.
However, while few moon elven realms have survived into the modern age, the moon elves have, on the whole, done well for themselves. Compared to the sun elves, relatively few moon elves left Faerûn for the Retreat. Instead, the moon elves have largely been content to wander across the continent, forming small, short-lived (by an eladrin’s reckoning) communities and then moving on.
Although nations that can properly be considered moon elven yet still exist, moon elves have fared relatively well on the whole compared to their brethren. Though the moon elves have not settled in vast numbers this is less out of inability as lack of need, as the small bands that make up most moon elves have been fairly successful at their lifestyle for centuries. By and large, moon elves ignored the Retreat carried out by their sun elf kin, preferring to either live amongst other races or wander the wilderness. The major exception to this has been the isolated city of Everska, mainly populated by moon elves. Moon elves can be found most commonly in the Dalelands, Northwest Faerûn, or the Western Heartlands.2 Since the Spellplague, many have also taken refuge in the cities of Baldur’s Gate and Waterdeep.