Blessings Of A Curse - 2012 USA Edition - chunk 02 by Wayne Edward Clarke

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"The mountain elves as a group are about the same height as the northern
elves, while the elves of the forests and jungles tend to be taller,
averaging four feet ten or eleven for males. The plains elves, who
have almost entirely joined their cultures with that of the great
empires of the humans, tend to be taller yet, with males averaging
about five feet two, perhaps five feet three. Females in all our
subcultures tend to be about three inches shorter than the males."

"Interesting." Markee remarked, consciously imitating the old elf's
manner. "Tell me, what is the average lifespan of an elf? I
understand that you are unique in that regard, but what is the general
elven longevity?"

"A well phrased question, even if you are being a sarcastic sprout."
Yazadril grinned. "Elves don't die from old age. And, since we have
an innate ability to heal ourselves, we very seldom die from diseases
or wounds. Other than the given possibility of death from magical
attack, we only die when we are wounded in the brain or upper spinal
column, or when we are killed faster than we can heal ourselves. For
instance, the most common natural cause of death among The High People
is being struck by lightning, since it's too quick to react to. We are
likely to be struck by lightning every thirteen thousand two hundred
years on the average, though no one lives that long, and to be fatally
struck every fifteen thousand one hundred years. Over time, the
dangers of the world kill everyone. By far the most common cause of
death for elves is war. Also, since we can choose not to heal
ourselves if we are feeling an immensely powerful despair, a few elves
have died by suicide.

"Throughout the two hundred and thirty seven thousand years of elven
history, our average elven lifespan was about one thousand eight
hundred years. But, during this present epoch, which includes the last
eight thousand years, it has been relatively peaceful for those of us
of the elven race, and we have only been affected by three major wars
and seven minor ones. Largely because of this peaceful condition, our
average lifespan during that time has risen to two thousand, three
hundred years. Generally, if you live to eighteen hundred, you start
to get a little extra respect due to your age. The plains elves tend
to suffer more fatal mishaps than the rest of us, on average, but
that's due to the influences of living with humans."

"I see. And how many of your people are there? The High People of The
Nine Valleys?"

"Two thousand, seven hundred and ninety-one since the last birth, a baby
boy born just six years ago."

"Your people don't have many babies, for that many people." Markee
commented, a little sadly.

"Not compared to yours, but everything has it's price. We have long
life, but if we also had high fertility as you do, we would cover this
world like flies on a carcass, until everything was consumed, and then
we would all die. The same would happen to your people, with their
amazing fecundity, if every one of them could be a wizard and live as
long as an elf."

"I didn't know wizards lived as long as elves!" Markee exclaimed.

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