Most Elves appear frail to human eyes, but really they possess a wiry build, and can be as strong as humans. They stand somewhat shorter than men, and are on the whole more graceful. Elves tend to be lighter in coloration that most humans. Most Elves do not have facial or body hair, and those who can grow beards rarely do. Elves draw a sharp distinction between Deep Elves and High or Sylvan Elves, but non-elfs would be hard-pressed to spot the subtle difference.
Elven settlements are large, sprawling affairs, often spanning several miles through alpine forests or high cave complexes. Many are self contained, requiring nothing from the outside lands, and most are at least partially underground.
Elves are largely sedentary, and seldom wander from their homelands. Looking down from their high cities they consider the other races to be low cultures, and only associate with them when there is no other option. Frequent contact with outsiders is felt to be ‘diluting’ to their culture.
Their buildings are made of the natural resources most easily at hand. Sylvan Elves from the hanging garden-like tree cities of the wooded territories would barely recognize the stone cliff dwellings of their Deep Elf kin from the mountains. The only thing that Elven cities have in common is altitude, and difficult access. Outsiders are discouraged from visiting, with force if necessary.
Elven religion is closely tied to the ruling classes—the high priests are also most often the lords and gentry of the city. Each city is slightly different in mechanics, but Elven society as a whole can be thought of as a theo-oligarchy, with the priesthood appointing rulers from within its own ranks. Neitas holds the majority of worship, with a few of the more expansive cliff cities owing allegiance to Ulcanos.
The priesthood is very powerful in Elven society. Commoners and those not initiated into the arcane arts are most familiar with asking favor from the gods. Divine magic is not the only force harnessed in the Elven lands though. Raw magic is used to power nearly all of the cities, and the Elves have a complex and ancient system of thaumaturgical colleges to pass on arcane knowledge.
Elven technology is very advance, and they are capable of creating machinery that nearly rivals anything in the Floating Cities. However, with their advanced studies of the arcane, they prefer do accomplish most mechanical tasks with magic. Mechanisms like wheels and levers are well understood, but more likely to be used in novelties and children’s toys; true load bearing equipment often flows along ley lines, hovering several feet above the ground. Letters are enchanted and sent flying to their recipients instead of using couriers, and even commoners can be expected to have some magical assistance around the house.
Elves rarely trade or do business with the outside world, and only slightly more is done between their own cities. Within though, the economy thrives, as there is more than enough room for all professions.
Currency in the Elven lands is almost exclusively gold. It is common in the mountains where the Deep Elves mine for it, and gold has accumulated to the point of significant inflation over the long existence of the Sylvan Cities. The rates of exchange are almost impossibly high in favor of the Elves, this further discourages traders and visitor from the outside.