Humans versus Elves, pt.2

So, after the war, which the elves have won, what will the world be like? Imagine it, if you can, a world taken over by the clichéd elves of speshul superiority. Dear Lord, someone help us. Oh, wait. Too late. That was the whole war thing, wasn’t it? Darn. Well, I’ve already stated and explained why any other sentient race that sided with humans would have been destroyed. What if they sided with the elves? Well, if the elves are so speshul and superior, they might destroy their supposed “allies” anyway. Or, if they aren’t quite so big-headed, they might attempt to co-exist with them for a while...except that, the elves being better at hunting, the exact same thing would happen all over again and again until every sentient species was lost except the speshul elves.

I wonder what that would be like - a world overrun with speshul elves. The entire world would, undoubtedly, be made of woodland. It would be like a giant forest, maybe with a pool or two of water so that the elves can stay alive (they’re humans with pointy ears and speshul skills, but even speshul skills don’t allow them to survive without water. They aren’t CAMELS. Also, the trees need it. Unless they’re magical trees. Which I will get on to in a minute). With all those trees, they’d essentially have to adapt to their environment. You are probably at this point thinking of tree houses. Wrong! These speshul nature-loving, tree-hugging elves can’t possibly even THINK of hammering nails into those delicate tree trunks! And without nails, I really can’t see the whole tree house thing working. I mean, the houses would just collapse under their own weight, or at least bend under the stress. Which would be quite amusing, seeing the speshul elves fall flat on their faces as they attempt to travel across dip-shaped rooms. They’d just keep sliding back into the middle, unless they evolved some sort of suckers on their feet. And if they did that, they wouldn’t need the tree-houses anyway, they could adapt to living in the actual trees, just climbing vertically up them to avoid danger - not that anything in the world cleansed of all other sentient species could possibly be a danger to such speshul creatures anyway - the idea is rather laughable, no? Plus, elves with suckers wouldn’t be as elegant and graceful as their willowy non-suckered counterparts, and we can’t have that.

 So, let’s imagine a similar scenario in which the tree houses grow themselves, more or less. After all, the elves have speshul woodland magic, so that they can make all of the trees and creatures (lesser creatures than themselves of course, as all now are) do their bidding. Now, I have a serious problem with this. On the surface, I think it’s a decent idea - it’s adapting to their habitat, even if they are speshul elves who can do anything and apparently don’t need to follow the laws of evolution (sigh). I have no qualms about that particular element of it; I employ a lot of it in my own stories. Making your characters adapt to the world around it (please not vice versa, powers that strong in the hands of human or human-like characters always leads to a bad kind of chaos - and I’m an anarchist, I LIKE chaos) is a crucial part of world-building. But magic - ah, magic - is what I have a problem with. In general, I have magic in some form or other in all of my fantasy stories. But I like to mix around what I do with it, throwing in bits of science and generally obeying the laws of that particular world.

If the magic defies the laws of the world, then your story has a serious problem on its hands. And that, really, is the sole reason that I have difficulty believing any world in which the elves shape the land with their speshul magic. It comes in different forms. Sometimes they touch the trees, sometimes they have a little chant, sometimes they cast spells, sometimes they sing to them. I apologise to all the speshul elf-lovers out there, but if some stuck-up elf comes and sings to me and expects me to bend to its will, I will get very annoyed very quickly, and deliberately grow in the wrong fashion. I think that that, a power struggle between the coexisting elves and trees, would be very interesting indeed - it’s an original take on a well-known factor of fantasy storytelling, which makes it unique and possibly fascinating. It has potential, more so than the mindless fantasy storytelling which is generally written by amateurs. Of course, I can hear the pro-elf people yelling at me from here that I, as an alien a human, am drastically different from a tree, being a sentient species. Perhaps. But there is also an argument for the instinct of the trees. Think about it. If an elf asks you in a nice polite voice to grow into a tree house so that he can live there, you might say yes. But if I were an elf, I personally would not want to come out of my house every day and have a shower of acorns hit my head. I’d tell the tree to shut up and grow its seeds elsewhere - but if the tree did that, the seeds might not fall in the right places to grow. 

You can, I suppose, argue that the elves would have speshully made nurseries for the seeds so that trees could grow everywhere without dying, or that they made the place perfect after the seed had landed. Oh, I can just imagine it now - an elf lugging a huge bag of John Innes No.3 compost over just so that another tree can grow right next to their house, possibly up through the middle of it, breaking all their furniture and interrupting their tea party. And don’t even TRY telling me that the elf can stop the new tree growing in the wrong place. If there’s better light where the tree house is, the new tree will sure as heck grow towards it. Plants compete. Survival instinct will out all magical power by elves, no matter how speshul. The elves’ best friends will become their enemies...someone has to write this. Elves versus trees - I want to see it! Also, there will be other indirect threats to the elves’ way of living. Ivy, for one - it strangles the trees and kills them. Again, as ivy cannot survive without feeding off other organisms, its survival instinct will outdo any speshul magic the elves can throw at it. What about animals? If the elves have little tree nurseries, they’re going to get pretty miffed at anything that tries to take the seeds from them - squirrels, for instance, or birds. So while you’re at the elf-tree war, throw in some squirrels and birds, too.  Of course, if the elves kill the squirrels and birds, then the predators of them will die of lack of food, and eventually the food chain will affect the elves and the elves will either die of starvation, or begin eating small grubs to survive. Actually, even grubs damage trees, so they’d have killed those, too. Nope, no way around it - a mutual co-existence between elves and trees can never work if the speshul elves are to survive. Unless they go veggie. And as we both know, vegetarianism leads to genocide. Thank you, and goodnight. *bows*

The End

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