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Canonical ELotH Sexuality

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Back to Literary Criticism

 

Canonical ELotH Sexuality

 


 

Contributor's Note from asura

Okay, here's why I started this article of the wiki. Assembled here we have some of the most knowledgable fans of ELotH not seen since the newsgroup from years ago. And as such, I think it's important that we use this space to also clear misconceptions that people have about ELotH. There is almost an insurmountable pile of "slash" fanfic out there, and I think it's a good idea to have an article that actually defines sexuality as it is CANONICALLY described, so that people who are finding out new things about ELotH by reading this wiki don't get the wrong idea. I'm hoping that we can shed some light on this fertile subject, and like the serious fans that we are, back it all up with references. Once again: fanfic is not the subject of this page. I'm going to start things off by beginning with the Elves, and hopefully other contributors can add other sections as they see fit.

 

Dwarves

It is known that Dwarves in canon have little conventional regard for traditional confines of sexuality, as seen in the depiction of Krakajak in Book 3. In their hedonistic binges, same sex pairings are just as common as heterosexual couplings. Given that Dwarven women as likely as not are also bearded as well as the heaving drinking that usually accompanies said couplings, its possible that these things play a role in the Dwarven cavalier attitude, possibly adopted out of necessity. Despite the fact that there is no stigma within dwarven culture associated with any variety of sexuality, it is unheard of anywhere in canon for dwarves to have any sort of same-sex romantic relationship, as this is stated both by Titak the Badly-Named in The Million Years End (the ElemenstorLance Novel) and revealed in a discussion between two presumably Fancy men in Book 10. It appears that for the purposes of creating a household, the dwarves follow very traditional roles which prescribe a set of duties for the man and a set of duties for the woman, and no dwarf would ever cross these boundaries, and as can be implied by the outline of the strict gender roles found in Sepathok's Desire in a monologue by Gragnakas about his family. Even in light of the fast and loose sexual practices of the Dwarves, very little fan fiction delves into these darker corners of the dwarven bed chambers, and the examples that do exist have been on the whole generalized as being "yucky."

 

Elves in the Canon

Few races in ELotH carry as much baggage as the Elves, as their depictions in other (less epic) fantasy work either evokes a stereotype of either austere asexual mannequins, or super-horny-pointy-eared-fornicators. As it is in all other aspects, ELotH proves to treat the subject with much more epic complexity.

 

Love

Elves make quite a bit of their beauty... however, since they are almost all beautiful, it doesn't actually figure into their sense of attraction very much at all. Usually, Elves are attracted to Epicness, or other features that might make a potential mate seem somehow special and make them wonder what sort of offspring their union might yield. I'den, for instance, falls in love with Twilight for a very specific reason. He is a Paladin, known for devotion to chivalry and rightness, yet he comments upon the fate of trapped miners with only: "Life is anything but fair." (ELotH Comic #22) Later, she admits to him, "There's nothing hotter than that kind of irony." (ELotH Comic #34)

 

Elf Libido

Undoubtedly, Elves do enjoy sex. This is evidenced by the large number of progeny to be found throughout the world of Battal. However, an Elf's motivations and desires are far more epic than those of Men. As said by Claygon, "Seldom is told of any deed of lust among the Elves, and even seldom more are the reasons known to the folk outside their wooded bedchambers." (TIGW). However, it seems that Elven estrus is triggered by epic events or achievements. Healix Freena's overt courtship of Quailheart begins after she witnesses his skill in the lost arts of Bw'lon. (TDoUS:VD) And though quite capable of epic passions, these desires seem to come few and far between.

"Oh, come now," said the Elf-Maid with a haughty toss of her golden mane, "It can't possibly have been that long."

 

"The last time I checked," her husband coldly intoned, "our youngest was turning 526."

 

"Males," sneered his wife, "You just want it all the time, don't you?"

 

The foam-soaked whiskers of Dogus pricked up as if to betray a subtle smile. Upon reflecting for several moments upon how many Elves there must be in Battal, and how long it had been since most of them had known the caress of the ripe skin of their wives... he felt the blood rise in his veins, young and invigorated. He vivaciously slammed his tankard down upon the weathered table and let loose from his grey lungs a call for the serving wench.

 

-- Book 9

 

Marriage

The primary sexual motivation of Elves seems to be in procreation and pair bonding, which is also complex in nature. Marriage proposals among elves are a bit unorthodox by our standards.

"Imlariannissa..." The ranger reverently fell to one knee as he spake the name of his beloved, taking her hand into his own, "in these darkest times, when it seems as though light fades while the dusk of war falls upon our sacred woods... my thoughts turn to the beauty that surely lines your womb, where I would have rest the ears of my son, though he may not draw breath 'ere his father Hadyllfax lie cold in the once-fertile ground of this our scorched once-homeland." (TIGW)

It seems as though marriage itself is not ratified by ceremony, which is a bit odd considering that Elves often make elaborate ceremonies of even the dullest and most ordinary occasions. Marriage instead seems to take hold upon successful conception of an elf-child. Indeed, it is one of the greatest insults to imply:

 

"Though that fairest elf-maid walks by thy side, be assured that she was my wife before you laid claim to that babe around her neck!" (TEFT)

 

Fans of ElemenstorLance may recall that the above insult actually started over a century of war between the races of the Elves.

 

Interspecies Relations

Usually, this topic is of great interest to Fantasy Fandom. The short answer is: not as often as you wish. Sometimes, this is due simply to the Elfin perception of beauty.

 

"I wish that you would not speak ill of her," said Llorthos, "for it pains me to hear the fair princess so besmirched."

 

"Fair? You have stayed among these swine too long. The refuse of Elves thrown into a rusty bedpan is a meal more lofty than deserve they whom Men suppose to be fair. I would sooner soil my own sheets than see them sullied with the lubricating effluvia of--"

 

"ENOUGH! SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

 

-- Crystalcrown Chronicles

 

Though Elves may some times seek to serve the greater Epicness of the world by siring ironically half-elven progeny, most of the time they see it as completely impractical. As do their mates. If you're a human... sure, having a wife who'll never get old and ugly during your lifetime sounds good at first... but you might have to deal with the fact that she only wants to have sex every several hundred years or so. Those Elves that do seek relations with other species tend to seek out those that are relatively similar in form or epic purpose to Elves.

 

"Dude, I don't know about this..." said S'yrf'yl, "I'm not sure I like tracking some purple chick into these creepy woods just because you have a thing for her. I'd say she already knows we're following her and is leading us into some sort of trap."

 

"Even more alluring! I do admit these Forest Woods are not to my liking at all, my blue friend," mused Quailheart, "but I find this Gwyndlewhythlwend to be absolutely intoxicating... Why, I daresay I'd like to... hehe..."

 

"You'd like to what? I'm seriously asking you this, man... Like, what do you do down there? Is it... hidden or something?"

 

-- The Twilight Vampyres

 

Races who have mixed with Elves according to Canon include:

Interspecies couplings are inevitably tragic... but sometimes so epically tragic that an Elf simply cannot resist, such as the case of I'den that was mentioned above.

 

Androgyny and Homosexuality

As in many other fantasy sagas, the Elves of ELoTH are quite androgynous. Both males and females exhibit the same fluid grace of movement, delicate features, hairless faces, and elegant sense of style. As such, the traits of Elf males are conventionally considered to be effeminate (see entries for K'los and Quailheart), and a latent homosexuality is commonly inferred by many readers. (This is quite easily observable at a convention, where any fan who dresses up as a Legolas from LoTR or K'los from ELotH usually ends up being hit on by big fat goth guys who hang around the Jhonen Vasquez booth)

 

"Oh, beans," fussed Elspeth, "I daresay this humidity is giving my fair Elfin locks a case of the frizzies! Felthar, you wouldn't happen to have any treebutters or softmuds in that big manly satchel of yours, would you?" (TES 6)

 

Though occasionally there arise episodes or actions within which some refer to as "kind of gay" (such as the camraderie of elf rangers in TEFT), Elf homosexuality has yet to be explored in ELotH canon and thus can be considered to be non-existent. Yet, there are rumors that Realmworlds may seek to capture the buzz surrounding Brokeback Mountain... and many fans suspect that the ELotH analog of gay cowboys is, quite naturally, gay elf rangers.

 

Humans

Humans practice a wide variety of sexuality dependant upon their culture and gender. Common themes across cultures in human sexuality are some form of marriage, disagreement amongst the genders about how sexuality is to be practiced, and needlessly complicating things though involvement with those of another class, culture, or even species. It's believed that mankind's desire to mate with anything that sort of looks like them is why, despite being by far the most populous race in Battal, humans never especiate. Humans in Battal are divided into four genders: Men, Women, Fancy Men, and the Ooamp.

 

Fancy Men

Many people assume that the Fancy Men are merely a way to allude to homosexuality without any overt references. While this does occur it is not merely as a plot device, reflects the fact that humans in Battal have no concept of homosexuality as we know it. "Fancy Man" refers to what we would call metrosexuals, and any man who doesn't practice heterosexuality (though exclusively practicing homosexuality or no sexuality).

 

Peasants

While technically not one culture, all peasant cultures are the same (as far as anyone cares). Peasants don't mess around when it comes to reproduction, they die like flies and know that they have to hurry to make up the numbers. Peasant culture permits intercourse between any two consenting adults ("adult" is generally considered 14 and up). While not forbidden or even really looked down upon, peasants usually avoid relatives as sexual partners. Usually.

 

Marriage for peasants is more of a lifestyle arrangement then a romantic one. As such peasant's generally pick their spouses based not on love, but rather on domestic/earning abilities and whomever would be least annoying to live with.

 

A large part of peasant culture is their attitude toward adoption, they will adopt a child literally at the drop of a hat. So open to raising other's children are peasants that it is actually considered a benefit if a bride already has children or your wife is impregnated by another man.

 

Indie'Ahns

Indie'Ahns are primarily heterosexual, but potential mates are more interested in bisexual mates thanks to ancient Indie'Ahn cultural fetishes, so many Indie'Ahns feign interest in homosexual relationships to appear more attractive to prospective opposite sex mates. The Indie'Ahn mating process is a complex affair in which the two parties trade magical images of themselves in elaborate makeup and dress comprised of smoke signals called the Ritual of Minespaise. This is followed by a string of nonsensical pseudo-intellectual gibberish. The most important thing in this ritual is that each potential mate displays a more obscure knowledge of little-known music. If each mate displays enough bisexuality and knowledge of obscure music trivia, a short mating process follows. The two will only remain paired for as long as their short attention spans hold out - usually two to six weeks. Any resulting offspring of the coupling will be raised by the community as a whole, rather than their parents.

 

Furniliars

Sexual activity between Furniliar and humans does appear canonically in the ELotH:tES universe, but only in a very few isolated instances and much, much, much less than in fan-fics and other non-canon sources. Generally all desire for or disgust of Furnication is on the part of humans as furniliars generally have no strong feelings about sex one way or the other. Those that participate generally see it merely as an act of affection. When asked about supposed abuses by it's Elemenstor 'Juicy' leSheya, a young Osmond the Ottoman is on record as saying:

 

I can't understand what all the fuss is about. All it is is some light physical exertion, some friction, and some dampness. If it brings her so much joy, and cleans me off afterward, I fail to see why we shouldn't be doing it. --The Dark Side of Carry

 

Minuschitian

 

Discussion thereof

Minuschitians never discuss sex either implicitly or explicitly. This extends to acknowledging relationships as being sexual (i.e. a matrimonial relationship is presumed to be sexual) or even sex as part of heredity. However despite not discussing it their management of livestock demonstrates a clear understanding of the relevant biology.

 

Family composition

Minuschitian heredity is tracked entirely matrilinearly. Responsibility for a child begins with the mother with primary, secondary and tertiary responsibilities being placed on the mother's extended family and friends. The system of responsibility for a child is exceedingly complex and consists of redundancies so that no one person will be too greatly burdened and the child will be fully supported even if it's support structure is irregular or missing people.

 

Firua

Minuschitians do recognize a form of sort of romantic relationship called a firua (firua is both the name of the relationship itself and the term used to describe a member of the relationship). A firua is a relationship between two (and only two) people that is characterized by what we would consider "romantic" activities. While the relationship is always between two people a person can be in more then one relationship at a time. Firuas are generally of opposite genders but not always.

 

An individual generally begins forming firuas shortly before puberty forms a progressively larger number of simultaneous relationships peaking in late adolescence. After that the complications caused by so many relationships leads to progressively fewer partners until most people end up with only one.

 

In practice

While they don't discuss it, minuschitians (except the ugly ones) generally have rich sex lives. Fatherhood isn't acknowledged but but due to a combination of duties to family members, friends, and firuas they generally put as much effort into child rearing as women due to the fact that men and childless women recive a larger portion of secondary responsibilities. Firua do very often act as what-we-would-consider normal relationships but not always. Often two firuas are not sexually involved and the social associations of the relationship are very different.

 

Quilp

The Quilp mate for life. They don't say that they'll mate for life and then run off to Hawaii with some doctor named Bob. They choose a marriage partner, consummate the marriage (mate) and then lose their biological attraction to any but their spouse. This is permanent - even should a Quilp's spouse die the survivor will remain dedicated to its fallen spouse for the rest of his/her life.

 

The Quilp show no signs of attraction to other species. However, there have been some occasions where a blind and extremely confused Quilp has attempted to mate with members of other species. However, a Quilp's quills tend to make interspecies intercourse impossible for most. There have been a few successful relations reported with Arildi, whose hard shells allow for overcoming some of the logistical difficulties. The offspring of a Quilp and an Arildi invariably has the species of the father and the limb usage of the mother. In other words, the offspring of a male Quilp and a female Arildi will be a two-armed four-legged Quilp, and the offspring of a male Arildi and female Quilp will be a four-armed two-legged Arildi.

 

How exactly Quilp mate with each other without hurting one another is complicated and never explained in full detail. What we do know is that it involves careful positioning and something to do with how the quills of the males point downward and the quills of the female upward.

 

Shushipodian

Biological Processes

The Shushipodian are one of Battal's few asexual sentient races, each Shushipodian reproduces but once in a lifetime. When a member of the species reaches the age of 21 yearicles, their skin becomes pocketed with disfiguring honeycomb like growths in what has been called "the second most disgusting thing I've ever seen" by all witnesses of the process. In three months, these grooves will swell up and explosively release a cluster of nearly 1000 immature Shushipodian larvae in what is called "the MOST disgusting thing I've ever seen, oh God I want to die" by everyone who's had the misfortune to bear witness to the birthing. These larvae are let lose into the ocean, where they spend much of their early years trying to avoid being eaten by predators. Upon reaching 2 yearicles of age, the surviving larvae grow into an adolescent stage and instinctively return to the point where they were birthed, to be raised by their spawner. Early attempts of the Shushipodian civilzation to raise all the young spawned during their reproductive phase resulted in a massive population explosion, followed by a sudden decrease and a large increase of the Shushipodian Empire's funds courtesy of the Catch of the Day chain of seafood-oriented taverns.

 

Other Sexual Activity

Although Shushipodians do not experience sexual pleasure as most species know it, they do experience a feeling of calm and tactile stimulation similar to "tickling" whenever they stick their tentacles into tiny enclosed spaces. Shushipodians using this to actually sexually stimulate members of other species are much rarer than fanfiction would have one believe, though, with only 1 instance actually occurring in the internationally banned ElemenstorLance novel, Oculumagistrastrophe.

 

Romantic Relationships and Gender Roles

Shushipodians have no traditional gender roles to speak of, and they find the notion of opposite genders a novel and confusing idea when presented with it. They will sometimes form semi-romantic relationships of two to three adult members living together as domestic partners and giving each other physical affection, such as embracing and tentacle wrestling, and sometimes raising young. This living arrangement is the closest thing the species to romantic relationships, although some Shushipodians have expressed feelings of romance comparable to that of the gendered species, these members are rare and are usually ostracized from polite society, and thus rarely have their feelings returned.

 

Sylveran

 

Matriarchy and Attraction

Sylveran society is heavily matriarchial, as such female Sylveran's generally take the lead in romantic and sexual relationships. What Sylveran women generally expect from their men is to be handsome (in some cases bishonen), athletic, romantic and occasionally be heroic. Sylveran women also prize monogamous relationships, and look forward to the day of their marriage. Sylveran men see this as a "pretty good deal" for them as the majority of Sylveran women are quite attractive. In fact in Sylveran society the only really ugly Sylverans (at least as far as Sylverans are concerned) are ones that possess 4 ears and 2 arms. Those with 4 ears and 2 arms tend to be ostricized from society. Physical attraction is huge in Sylveran society, as may already be apparent, as such Sylveran women will skip over Sylveran men who may be quite heroic, romantic, or skilled, for a man who is perceived by them to be handsome.

 

Monogamy and Bisexuality

As mentioned before monogamous relationships are the norm in Sylveran society. It is considered a major offense to engage in another romantic/sexual relationship while one is already in a relationship. Those who do are looked down upon and treated as second class citizens. While homosexual relationships aren't unheard of on Sylveran, one is expected to outgrow them and engage in a heterosexual relationship later in life. Almost all Sylverans are bisexual but it is generally unheard of and frowned upon to engage in homosexuality past the age of 30.

 

Interspecies Relations

It is not unheard of for Sylverans mate with those out side of their species. Sylverans are very attractive to most races on Battal, particular to bunnygirl/catgirl fanboys. Sylverans tend to mate with Elves, Men, and Zonardians as they consider these races to possess the most attractive mates to Sylverans (plus the ears of the Elves and Zonardians tend to be a bit of a turn on for quite a few Sylverans). These interspecies pairings however don't happen very often due to the Sylveran's location on the Hidden Moon.

 

Vampyres

The only ELotH:tES race that erotic fan-fics actually portray accurately. Vampyres do indeed posses hyper libidos, firm attractive bodies and a complete lack of sexual taboos. Their elevated libidos are not in fact direct products of vapyrism but rather a result of their diets. Whenever a Vampyre drinks a person's blood they also intake all of the person's hormones. The combined libidos of several men and women, coupled loss of all morality involved involved in being undead leads to attitudes toward sex that most humans wouldn't dare to think about. What's that? You say you would dare to think about it? Well try this on for size:

 

As he overpowered her and watched her uselessly squirming on the floor. He idly wondered which would have disgusted him more in life, taking his sister's life or taking her virginity afterwards...

--Excerpt from The Twilight Vampyres

 

As I said, even nastier then the fan-fic.

 

Zonardians

 

Marriage and Divorce

 

Owing to their long lifespans, Zonardians tend to take things a little slower than their shorter lived cousins. Marriages among the higher class of Zonardians tend to be arranged by their parents for political or economic reasons. This is especially true among matrilineal descendants of Loftia, whose daughters (whilst no younger than 14 and no older than 29) are extremely important as the controlling political class. Because of the importance Zonardians place on their children, marriage exists on Zonardia explicitly for the production of children and to see to their upbringing. A marriage can be dissolved for three separate reasons:

 

  1. The couple have been married for over 100 years.
  2. The couple have not produced a child for the last 20 years.
  3. The couple does not wish to be together anymore (the two parties must consent to this option).

 

It is implicitly acceptable on Zonardia to have lovers outside of the marriage, as long as they are kept discrete and do not effect the raising of the child or of the relationship of the parents. There is no such thing as a "homosexual marriage" as marriage specifically exists between a female and male for reproductive purposes. However this does not mean that one cannot have a homosexual lover.

 

Attractiveness and Age

 

Given the strong emphasis on being able to produce and care for children Zonardians tend to look for all the traits that would make a good partner for raising a child. Zonardian men and women have a strong affinity for precious objects and gems which comes from this emphasis and from their half-dragon heritage. They also look for stability, physical ability and health, and age/experience.

 

Age is an important factor for Zonardians, rather than seek youth a Zonardian will generally look for a more experienced mate, preferably one who has successfully had children before. Since Zonardians tend to appear physically young for the majority of their long lives, this age preference doesn't mean that Zonardians are marrying those who are decrepit but rather they prize experience. Therefore it is not uncommon among Zonardians to have one who is rather young pair with one who is much older.

 

Libido and Preference

 

One may think that because Zonardians are so long lived they would have a similar libido to other races that are long lived as well such as Elves. This is not the case as Zonardians have a very strong libido. Rather Zonardians can only reproduce 1 time a year (that time is different for each Zonardian female) due to their biology. This tends to keep the population in check as the average birth rate per couple on Zonardia is about 1 child every 7 years. As such Zonardians lead very rich sex lives.

 

Zonardians tend to frown upon exclusive homosexuality as it serves no reproductive purpose, however bisexuality is widely accepted. As far as other races, Zonardians do occasionally pair with Men, Elves, and Sylverans. However since Zonardia is isolationist and Zonardians by and large prefer mating with their own race, interspecies pairings are rare. Additionally, though not impossible, offspring is unlikely in extra-racial pairings which is further disincentive for a Zonardian.

 

General Sexuality

Epicness and Sexuality

While the great majority of Epic individuals exhibit no seriously deviant behavior, it has been suggested that because sexuality is such a significant part of life, to ignore sexuality in any form would be decidedly unepic. It has even been theorized that the more Epic a character, the more likely they are to deviate from sexual norms either deliberately (Zonard, Vaxin the Tiny, Wendel) or as the victim of another's paraphilia (Rothgar of the Hundred Titles, Zula). While this is perhaps debatable, it is clear that Epicness in sex is just as important in Battal as Epicness in everything else.

 

A Note on Canonical Paraphilia

Much to the delight of (and greatly exploited by) fan-fic authors, virtually every race has individuals whose departure from sexual norms is so significant as to represent a statistical aberration. But the prominence of such, er, freewheeling figures like Zonard, Vaxin the Tiny, and Wendel should not be taken as exemplary. It is true that, although regional and historical variations exist, generally speaking Battal is canonically much more accepting of such aberrations than the real world. But while hate-crimes, religious prejudices, and legal sanctions against the sexually adventurous are virtually unknown, most denizens of Battal still consider such behavior strange.

 

See also Relationships

Comments (5)

Anonymous said

at 6:10 pm on Mar 8, 2006

I think the different estrus (ovulation and the associated heat) patterns of the intellegent races bear investigation. Human style estrus is completely unique on earth and unless I'm mistaken is also unique in [Battal].

Anonymous said

at 7:53 pm on Mar 8, 2006

I'd expect you're correct about that, but I don't know what the source material would be. And since we're on that subject, it would be nice to see source materials referenced in the posts that have followed mine. This is how we show where the fanfic is off -- by tying things to the canon.

Anonymous said

at 8:26 pm on Mar 8, 2006

no problem... dwarven sexuality is mentioned in several places.. give me a moment to find a few references..

Anonymous said

at 8:37 pm on Mar 8, 2006

the thing is done

Anonymous said

at 9:49 pm on Mar 8, 2006

(noisemakers)

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