Just because we do not drape ourselves in fine silk cloth, adorn our bodies with jewelry from the realm, or spend every moon reading books in a library does not mean we are ignorant savages. We trust in nature and the spirits to provide, and we gladly give our lives in their defense.
At home in the forests, the Kagonesti, or wild elves, believe every creature and object, from insects and birds to rivers and clouds, possesses a spirit. They honor these spirits and know that, in return, the spirits honor them.
Kagonesti believe that a happy life can only truly be achieved by harmoniously existing with nature. Passionate and proud, they want only to be left to themselves. Due to the expansion of human nations and mistreatment by their own elven cousins, the Kagonesti have been dragged from the forest homes and forced to live in a world they do not like or understand. Unlike their more placid kin, Kagonesti can be hot tempered and fierce when driven to extremes.
Though shorter than their Silvanesti and Qualinesti cousins, the Kagonesti are much more muscular than other elves. Kagonesti are brown-skinned. Hair colors tend to be dark, ranging from black to light brown, though occasionally a Kagonesti will be born with silvery white hair- a throwback to a distant ancestor. Purebred Kagonesti have hazel eyes.
Kagonesti dress in leather clothing, decorated with heavy fringe (which they believe acts as a ward against evil spirits), feathers (which are thought to grant good fortune), silver jewelry (symbolic of the spirit world) and turquoise (symbolizing both heaven and earth). Kagonesti either paint or tatto elaborate designs on exposed flesh. Such designs may relate to family or can have more spiritual meanings. Kagonesti reach adulthood at about 70 years of age and can live about 500 years, though a few have reached ages of 700 years or more.
Kagonesti are wary of all outsiders. History has shown them they have good reason to be wary. Humans cut down the trees to make towns and hunt animals for sport, while dwarves use trees as fuel for their forges, and ogres take delight in torture and murder. Kagonesti even view other elves with suspicion, for the Silvanesti and Qualinesti treat the Kagonesti like barbaric children who need to be “taught” how to live properly.
Unlike other elves, who tend to good, Kagonesti have a more balanced, neutral outlook gained from living in harmony with nature. While some occasionally display more lawful or chaotic personalities, in the end they achieve balance. Since the Kagonesti are concerned for the well being of all things, they are more often good than not. As with all elves, evil Kagonesti are cast out of society and become dark elves.
Traditionally, the Kagonesti have dwelled in the forests of Southern Ergoth. Kagonesti have no permanent settlements. Individual structures are made of leather and lightweight wood. Each village is home to a tribe of several interrelated families, centered around a chief -the oldest and wisest member of the tribe- who makes decisions for the good of the tribe.
The Kagonesti revere the deities of Light and Balance and respect he gods of Darkness from a wary distance. They have a more personal relationship with the three gods of nature: Habbakuk, the Blue Phoenix and god of animal life; Branchala (Astra), the Song of Life and deity of forests; and Chislev, the goddess of nature, wilds, and beasts.
The Kagonesti language is a combination of ancient Elven and the Sylvan tongue of the few and forest creatures. The Kagonesti do not have a written language, but use a form of pictographic writing that serves as a mnemonic device for their storytellers and shamans.
Examples of Names
Blackbird, Nighthawk, Prowling Cat, Shadow-Walker,
Female: Ashwood, Crying Willow, Gentle Fawn, Laughing Brook, Lioness
Most Kagonesti leave their forest home only under duress, but a few have found an urge to explore. Rangers, fighters, and barbarians make up the majority of Kagonesti adventurers, since the Kagonesti are often forced to fight to keep their forest homes secure. Kagonesti taken in by “civilized” elves may work as servants or bodyguards and travel with their masters. Kagonesti are drawn toward becoming clerics (or druids) of the three nature deities. Since the Kagonesti distrusts wizards, very few Kagonesti undergo the Test of High Sorcery- those who do almost universally take the White Robes.