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Isaiah Gonzalez
Isaiah Gonzalez

City Elf Names Dragon Age EXCLUSIVE

The city elves are the descendants of those elves that accepted the Chantry's terms after its successful Exalted March upon the elves' second homeland, the Dales. As opposed to the nomadic and isolationist life led by their Dalish cousins, city elves live alongside humans and other races in the various realms and cities of Thedas, but the two are far from equals.

city elf names dragon age

The shadow of Tevinter slavery and the Dales' destruction hangs heavy over the elves; despite worshiping humanity's god and following their prophet's teachings, city elves are second-class citizens no matter where they live. They are often forced to take up the most menial or demeaning jobs just to survive, and are constantly faced with prejudice and poverty in day-to-day life.

Though the realities of alienage life are harsh, with crime and discrimination a constant reality, the city elves are downtrodden but proud. As much as it pens the elves in, an alienage often serves as a sanctuary in keeping prejudiced invaders out and the elven community together. Indeed, elves that manage the funds or connections to live outside the alienage are looked down as "flat-ears" for abandoning their people, especially since they inevitably are forced to return to the alienage's protective walls after being nearly lynched and burned out by their human neighbors.[1] Within the alienages, elves learn how to avoid drawing attention to themselves and to keep their heads down for their own safety, and where elven merchants can barter fair prices for their goods. On the other hand, "good" city elves also look out for their community and may engage in small acts of defiance and civil disobedience, such as sheltering runners and sometimes working with the local thieves' guild. "Standing tall" against oppression is difficult and often fatal, but provides a sense of personal and communal pride[5] that can prove deadly to those humans that push them too far.

Alienages tend to be closed communities due to the costs and distance that separates one from another, with bribes being often necessary to move between them.[6] Some alienages may be perceived as more or less restrictive than others,[7] but alienages and their elves are often left to their own devices if not outright neglected by their human overlords, which can be a blessing or another problem to face. Ferelden elves for example tend to be very proud of the relative freedom of their lives as "low Freemen" compared to city elves in Orlais or other nations.[8] The alienage in the Orlesian capital of Val Royeaux has nearly ten-thousand Elves pressed together in a space smaller than Denerim's market with walls so tall that sunlight does not reach the vhenadahl until noon,[1] as if the elves are not worthy even to look upon the rest of their city.[9] In the opposite extreme, elves living in Halamshiral are sequestered to the wide fringes of the city while the humans reside in the High Quarter, sometimes coming down at nightfall to harass, assault, and murder Elves [10]

All alienages are places of extreme poverty, with most of their inhabitants barely managing to get by on a day-to-day basis. Some elves may manage to scrape together small savings or marriage dowries by opening a store or finding work outside of the alienage as laborers, prostitutes, couriers, or servants. For the majority however, the possibility of going hungry is simply a fact of life; rats (also called the "rabbits of the city")[11] and cats may be eaten as a last resort.[12] Disease is also widespread in these elven slums, and virulent plagues often spring up in alienages due to the poor living conditions.[13] In such situations, an alienage's gates may be sealed shut by the ruling authority to contain the plague.[14]

Being second-class citizens, elves have debatable legal rights. Alienages are subject to nightly curfews and are walled off from the rest the city to allow the city authorities to lock it down if necessary.[13] Even beyond the Alienage walls, prejudice usually dictates that the average passersby will ignore crimes against elves when they do occur. Similarly, the city guard tends to overlook crimes committed against Elves but will readily target them in cases involving theft or murder.[15] Elves can also be kicked out of their homes and businesses without any legal recourse, particularly those existing outside of proscribed areas like the Alienage.[16]

This legal inequality has had the benefit of creating greater social autonomy in the alienages, yet also encouraged greater isolation of the Elves as well as reinforcing their substandard status.[13] Furthermore, restrictions on owning a business (though some individuals continue to operate in the shadows[17]), or even a weapon,[18] may be enforced depending on the city, nation, and the laws at the time. Those elves that do attempt to make a living on their own, in Orlais for example, must obtain permits to enter the human market districts.[19] Overall, the laws governing elves, or lack thereof, is a major source of the inequality between them and their human neighbors.

Following the Exalted March upon the Dales, Divine Renata I outlawed belief in the Elven pantheon and decreed that a place must be made for elves in human settlements on the condition that they renounce their pagan beliefs.[24][25] Consequently, belief in the Maker is one of the few things that city elves and humans share. However, there are no Chantries in the alienage and elves are generally barred from entering the Chantry priesthood.[26] Religious instruction usually comes from a visiting Revered mother, often with a detachment of wary Templars sent to protect her, bearing the Chant of Light, alms and advice. As a result, Andrastianism is a more distant concept than it might be for humans for many city elves.[27]

In spite of this, as well as a sense among some Dalish elves that city elves are "poor cousins"[28] who have forgotten their heritage and beliefs, there is evidence that some city elves remember the Elven pantheon and worship them in their own way.[29] Furthermore, city elves practice what few unique cultural rituals they remember, as slaves in the Tevinter Imperium do, to differentiate themselves from human culture.[30] Nevertheless, city elves do have some sense on how far they have fallen and how mistreated they are, which has pushed many elves towards the Qun for guidance.[31]

Some Dalish hold derisive views on their city cousins. They are known to refer to their city cousins as "flat ears",[33] believing the city elves are no more than "pets" for humans in need of being "reminded on what it means to be Elvhen".[34] This gives the Dalish the reputation of being haughty and condescending, as self-proclaimed "true elves".[35] Additionally, some Dalish believe that city elves are human in spirit if not body, and there are clans that are so convinced of the city elves' loss of identity that they don't consider them worthy of care or attention.[36]

Other Dalish clans, in contrast, view the city elves in a warmer light, seeing them as fellow brethren and empathizing with the plight faced by the elves in the alienages.[38] Some even say that the Dalish and city elves can learn from one another once the elves finally have a home to call their own. [39] In dire circumstances, Dalish elves are known to pay visit to their more urban cousins and provide them their support, despite their cultural and religious differences.[40]

In return, their urban kin view the Dalish as an enigmatic myth: in the same light humans do, as savages, bandits or heathens, or else as noble wood elves or even living legends.[41] Few know enough of the Dalish to be certain of the truth of their nomadic kin, and though some see the Dalish as a chance to learn how to be a "true elf,"[42] others resent this notion and take pride in the work they do in human society, such as serving nobles.[43] Indeed, while the Dalish may think that the humans persecute the city elves, most city elves don't think of themselves as any different than a human. The only difference between humans and city elves is how much wealth they can attain. If a city elf can attain great wealth equal to that of a prosperous human, then the city elves would consider them to be practically equal. Furthermore, most city elves have accepted that their circumstances leave them vulnerable to injustices but doubt that the freedom a Dalish lifestyle offers (e.g., the constant wandering, hunting, and danger that comes with it) will truly improve their lives; they instead contend that wealth is the true equalizer.[44]

Regardless, many city elves see the clans as a last resort or safety valve should the alienage no longer become a safe place to live, either through personal misadventure or the oppression of the cities.[45] The expectation is that the clans will accept their city brethren, and though some clans do others see them as "strays," only truly desirable if they have magical talent.[46]Often rumors pile on top of rumors, and those who flee to the Dalish are said to return later wealthy and privy to ancient knowledge and lore.[47] The truth is likely much less idyllic, however, even if they reach a friendly clan. Many city elves cannot even imagine life outside of the city to begin with.

Not all interactions with humans are negative, however. Some city elves may find affection and love with humans. This results in what may be known as an "Elf-blooded" human (or in a slightly pejorative manner, a "half elf"), as the product of humans and elves are human in appearance and may normally be discouraged to protect the integrity of the People.[50] The crisis of such individuals is whether to live life as a human outside of the Alienage, or embrace the elven side of their heritage and remain.[51] This can be a difficult choice, however, as elf-blooded humans may endure prejudice from both sides of their heritage.[52]

When tensions grow too hot between humans and elves, the residents of the alienage may call for mien'harel, or rebellion (or else a violent call for justice, depending on the interpretation).[53] Such attempts, however, are often futile and only result in damage to the Alienage until things settle down, or even purges committed by the human rulers against the elven populace. Furthermore, when elven bandits are captured and executed, their ears are normally hacked off.[54] Likewise, though some villages will trade with Dalish elves, others will kill traveling city elves on sight out of fear of them being Dalish raiders.[55]


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