The Cataclysm did not shatter Elvish civilization and Elvish law and customs retain a continuity from the Dawn Age. Elvish kings and queens execute their law with the assistance of agents as necessary. Their law clearly recognizes a distinction between "Elves of the Forest", those elves living within their laws and recognizing the domain of the king or queen and those beyond which includes all humans and Dwaro, as well as any exiled elves.
For the elves, a "forest" is a legal entity akin to a human chiefdom and is not defined by the border between woods and non-wooded land. In particular, post-Cataclysm, elvish forests nearly always included all lands formerly recognized in Imperial times as forest, much of which might presently be waste or tidal land.
External Elvish Law
In theory no one except for elves may reside within elf forests. During the Imperial Age, Imperial agents were granted indefinite guest status and even at present, elves grant guest status for short, long or indefinite duration as they see fit. Guests are accorded protection from assault and fraud and it is customary to offer guests hospitality for a fortnight (2 weeks).
Travelers entering an Elven forest are, theoretically, expected to enter at an elvish border post. If not refused entry, they must journey straight to the court and either conduct their business and then leave directly or they can petition for guest status. In practice, the elves do not always maintain border posts in these times. Travelers entering without a pass of some sort can expect a hostile reaction from the elves. They may be escorted to the court, escorted out of the forest or simply attacked.
An elvish pass is best obtained from the court but any elf may write one. However, unless it is a court pass, it is more of a "letter of introduction" and may not carry much weight, depending on the author.
Internal Elvish Law
Internal elvish law is beyond the scope of this page except for exile. Exiles are given one day to leave the elf lands and then are hunted and killed if they remain within or re-enter the forest. Elves may be exiled from their homeland for the following reasons.
- For 25 years by vote of the assembly of elders. This method is used to remove someone disrupting the harmony of the land and does not necessarily represent illegal or immoral activity.
- For 10 years by order of the King or Queen for various reasons ranging from insult to the majesty of the crown to serious crime.
- Permanent exile for very serious crimes. This can be reversed but only by the crown.
Each forest is its own entity but nearly always recognize elves from other forests under their own laws and protection. Similarly, an elf exiled from one forest is considered an exile from all forests although such an elf is more likely to be escorted from a forest rather than killed outright when entering a foreign forest.
Sacrilege and Treason
Elves handle sacrilege much as humans do except that elves do not consult bards on such matters, rather the king or queen is expected to know the appropriate punishment. Similarly, for treason, the king or queen would consult with an assembly of elders. In addition to the human punishments of offerings/fines, quests and sacrifice/execution, elves may also exile an offender.