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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Midsummer Dream Fair Day 8: The Elven Treehouse




How to Hold on to a Shred of Your Self-esteem While Living with Elves


from fantasy author C.S.Marks



They’re tall. They’re gorgeous. They’re immortal--unless you kill them--and they don’t get sick or deteriorate with age. They’re Elves, and they’re annoying.

Now, don’t get me wrong--I love them and appreciate them for what they are, but they are definitely difficult for the human “I-suffer-from-crow’s-feet-and occasional-distress-in-the-lower-tract” psyche to accommodate. No unsightly dandruff for them, brother! No festering boils, no runaway acne...they don’t even suffer the indignity of not being able to reach objects on tall shelves!

So, why does an author--who is 5’3” tall and definitely human in every respect--write about Elves? Hey. I’ll admit it--I find them interesting and fun to “play” with. I really, really enjoy looking at some of them (males in particular), and, well, it’s kinda fun to imagine being nearly perfect. But it’s definitely taxing to the self-esteem.

I decided that, for the benefit of my non-Elven characters and readers, I would compile a list of techniques I have developed over the years, methods to guard against (or at least delay the onset of) Mortal Inferiority Complex. Consider it well the next time you find yourself trapped in Tal-sithian. It might save you from snatching yourself bald.
 
1. Dealing with height issues:

If you are vertically challenged, this can be a real problem. Having Elves look down their perfect noses at you just seems to drive the point home, doesn’t it? They have the most infuriating habit of patting your head while reaching over you to grasp that just-out-of-reach object, which they then hand over with a patronizing, pitying smile. Now, you six-foot-plus guys can deal with your Elven friends by merely placing lifts in your seven-league boots (I always wondered where that expression came from...I mean, they should last a lot longer than THAT, surely?). But others, such as myself, are at a bigger disadvantage. Here’s one solution: never approach an Elf on your own feet.

If you train your horse to go anywhere your Elven friends do, you can always be taller than they are. You can also annoy them by leaving little (ahem!) “horse d’oeuvres” behind in their great halls and elegant audience-chambers. One problem: horses can’t usually climb trees very well, but you can always claim a fear of heights (be sure to think of a good story to explain it--something involving enormous courage against overwhelming odds). One of my favorite techniques for giving the pointy-eared ones new perspective is to make sure that one of them leads the group on mounted forays down woodland trails. He will catch every spider web in his white teeth and perfectly-coiffed hair. Trust me--it does a lot for your dignity.

Stairs are another convenient meeting-place, but do get there first to ensure that YOU occupy the top level. One of those handy velvet cords used in museums will keep the Elves at bay, since they are conveniently law-abiding. Might be tough to use this trick while mounted, though.

2. The “I’m a thousand years old and have forgotten more than you will ever know” problem:

Here’s a good method for really getting under their skin: Learn Icelandic (or some other human tongue they are unlikely to know). Teach it to your mortal friends, and use it often when the Elves are around. It will drive them crazy that you know something they don’t, all the more because they will be too humiliated to ask you what you’re talking about. If one of them commits the all-too-familiar transgression of pretending to know what you’re talking about, say something to your friend in Icelandic and then smile a knowing smile...even chuckle a little. Chances are, the Elf will smile and chuckle, too. You and your friend look at him with an expression of consternation, as though he has just done something incredibly gauche. Pretend to be offended. The Elf will back off, believe me, and he’ll spend the rest of the day wondering if he has just insulted your mother, or something. For such ancient, enlightened beings, they can be incredibly gullible.

Oh, come on, people! They deserve it. How many times have you walked in on a group of them speaking High-elven, and they just go right on as if you’re not there. Worse, they cast little glances in your direction (ot-nay in front of the yooman-hay).
 
3. The “I-don’t-have-to-stop-and-eat/drink/rest/sleep/pee/rub my bunions-because-I’m-so-perfect” problem:

This is a tough one, and may require that you a) include a traveling companion who is even more ‘needy’ than you are, and b) develop specialized gear. The former will ensure that the party is always stopping on someone else’s account. It would be best if you choose a non-human for the job, such as a kobold with a particularly weak bladder. Then you can shake your head right along with the Elves...poor, weak-bladdered kobold. If it weren’t for him, we’d make better time, but one must be charitable, mustn’t one?

As for the specialized gear, you might try a “camel-back” water pack under your jerkin, with the drinking tube cleverly hidden by your mustache. If one lacks a mustache, one can wear a cool bandana or something. Hey...what’s a few anachronisms between races? As for food, try “runner’s fuel”--they’ll never notice. Sleeping requires a ping-pong ball cut in half with eyes painted convincingly on the two hemispheres, which you then affix over your closed eyes. You will need a seat belt for your saddle and a well-trained horse, but it can be done. I know--I’ve done it! If you’re sitting around the campfire during the evening tale-telling and some Elf decides to bore you to death, catch a little shut-eye by employing your trusty ping-pong eyeballs. Then have your buddy tug the hair on the back of your head once in a while, so you appear to nod thoughtfully. The weak-bladdered kobold should take care of the other problem. As far as rubbing your bunions, you’re on your own.

4. The diarrhea-vomiting-body odor-horrible itchy rash-raving delirium from fever-problem:

Okay, so they have no idea what it takes to be human. Yeah, yeah, they might lose a leg or an arm in battle or have their eyes gouged out by some Dark Lord, but they will never understand the guts it takes to face a full-blown case of Montezuma’s revenge. So, here’s what you do: tell stories of the greatest heroes of your race: those who have faced the most terrible trials and yet prevailed. Speak of the Battle of Kao-pectate--the Siege of Serutan--the Trials of Tinactin the Tingly. Make them envious of your accomplishments. You can do it! Give them that “You just cannot understand real fortitude, you poor, sheltered being, you!” look. They hate that.

As far as smelling bad, that’s a problem. They don’t. We do. Perhaps you can convince them that humans really smell good--the Tale of Sir Fragnol the Fragrant, perhaps? And wall-paper-peeling aroma can be a powerful weapon! Sir Fragnol sacrificed greatly by forgoing bathing so that his deadly perfume, which made his enemies’ eyes water, helped to win the day? Perhaps if we quit bathing we’ll convince them that we’re proud of our...unique and piquant bouquet? Just don’t let them ever see you grimace at your fellow humans when the wind changes. Poker face, man. Poker face!

If that doesn’t work, find some way to...ummm...help them appreciate what you’re going through. You could always lure them into a patch of stinging nettles and offer to comfort them when their legs itch like mad. No Elf of my acquaintance is immune to scorpion stings, y’know what I mean? Scorpions just love dark places...like boots. Get it? Gooooood. Then my work here is done. You’re well on your way to maintaining your self esteem.



Giveaway! C.S. Marks is offering a paperback copy of Elfhunter. to one randomly selected comment on this post!


The Elfhunter giveaway will end Saturday, June 9 at 11:59 PM (Eastern).  US only.

The Midsummer Dream Fair was brought to you today by:

24 comments:

  1. I love fantasies with elves (the tall ones, not the Santa ones).
    GFC - rickimc
    rickimc[at]aol[dot]com

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  2. Can't wait to read this book. I Love books about Elves. In the Movie The RING the eleves were so beautiful. However i am sure there are some that are so mean their ulgliness comes straight to the surface. Thanks for hosting the giveaway, wish me luck. Joannie jscddmj[at] aol [dot] com

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  3. Great advice! I look forward to reading the book.

    rkdiers@ole.augie.edu

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  4. Just a note: The illustration above is by Hope Hoover--the artist who is doing the new covers and illustrations for the re-releases. She is also the graphic novels and comic books for Elfhunter. :-)

    (And, no...my comment is not eligible to win!)
    --CSM

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  5. What a fun post.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks interesting! I love reading new authors!

    Emmanuelle

    frenchcanadienne(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I haven't read a lot of elf books, but this one really grabbed my attention.

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  8. LOL! I will be sure to try these when I have to spend an extended time with an elf. Thanks for the tips!

    Mel
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. Melissa, you are most welcome. Hopefully the ping-pong ball trick will come in handy! :-)

      --CSM

      Delete
  9. deborah.goff@ymail.com

    forgot to put this.

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  10. I feel sorry for them to live lifetime after lifetime watching everyone you love die. Imagine getting word that you half elvish daughter was killed or your son was on his death bed with the black plague. They don't open up to people because that leads to sorrow and heart break.

    deborah.goff@ymail.com

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    Replies
    1. I know what you mean. It's only understandable that they keep to themselves.
      Fortunately, in Alterra human/Elf offspring are extremely rare. It's difficult to imagine the perspective of a being who can live so long.

      --CSM

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  11. The book sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. crytaley73@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry email is crystaley73@yahoo.com

      Delete
  12. I love this post! LOL. Elves are interesting and I hope to win this book.
    queendsheena@hotmail.com

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  13. Sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  14. I love elves and I haven't read to many books with them so I would love to read this one!!! bridget.howard@hotmail.com

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  15. This book looks amazing thanks so much for the chance to win it. teamedward841@live.com

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  16. Elves are cool! Thanks for this amazing giveaway! This book sounds great and I would love to win it!

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

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  17. I was under the misunderstanding that elves were small dumpy things. Man that guy up there is anything but! I might dream about him tonight. I am vertically challenged but riding a horse in the house doesn't seem practical. I just married a giant 6'4" to my 5'2". He reaches all the top shelves. Maybe you should marry an elf. Of course, there were all those other things you mentioned. My favorite is the half ping pong balls with eye balls drawn on them! Love that idea!

    Heather
    hrose2931 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    Replies
    1. Heather: I have a t-shirt with that picture on it. I have to resist the urge to wear it inside out, know what I mean? ;-)
      --CSM

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  18. LOL, hilarious. I love the little bits of wisdom on how to keep your cool around elves. Being height challenged myself, I know the feeling.

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  19. This was great. I love the advice and next time I'm around the elves I'll try some of them. :)
    can't wait to read the book. Thanks for the giveaway
    Connie B
    koddabear1@gmail.com

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  20. I created a dark elf and I used your image to image his backstory. Here is the character.


    Felis Demise

    Originally in another life was a life cleric, either a half elf or a full elf. He was lord of the trees (self proclaimed of course), and was a neutral chaotic character. However, one day, his life and existence came to an end when out of nowhere, he burst into flames and his remains were scattered to the wind. His very existence was also erased from the minds and hearts of all that knew him, even to the point where his name is forgotten. What had caused his death was a mistake in the world of the gods, seeing as they threw away his file by mistake and when a god does that, it erases that person from existence. The roman goddess Arachne, finding his lost file, reincarnated his being back into existence as a dark elf and gave him his new name, Felis Demise. Having been reborn, Felis swore an oath to the Goddess, promising her that he will be her servant to his eventual death. Felis left her dominion and became an acolyte at the spider god temple in some forest, and he left to seek out his fortune to help support the temple. He is a bit wary of others, and will kill if it is legal in the law that permeates the land. His main allegiance is to the spider goddess, and all others are insignificant in comparison.

    This is a real character I have, and I will use him in any d and d games I come across.

    ReplyDelete