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Disclaimer: This story is non-profit and sole product of the author’s own insanity. All recognized characters and places are property of J.R.R. Tolkien and New Line Cinema. The author does not condone the hunting, trapping, or killing of Elves in any manner.
The author, along with the Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth, wishes to acknowledge the following supporters:
technetium, CocoBeans, Ada Kensington, Lady-Daine, secrettalent, shauna, Contia Mirian, trinity, Chelle-sama, kim, Insane Muse, Lyrique, robinyj, Bainpeth, ccg, Jocelyn, helga, Crys Ritter, Anrion, Ithilien, Gryf Gal, Sylvia, The Plutonium Cow, Starfleet Hobbit, Hoodoo, Mercredi, Mari, BuMiSt, Hildestohl, Yayoi, The Evil Old Woman, Celenathil the Elf, Thundera Tiger, Mitheithel, Aryn, TercanoNuruva, Felagund, Wild Iris, Eve of Mirkwood, Rhikat, JastaElf, PuterPatty, Sandy, and Nancing Elf.
Thank you all for the tremendous reviews and suggestions. Without your overwhelming support, continued research would not have been possible.
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~ NOTES FROM THE FIELD ~
Suggested Pre-reading: ‘Observation and Dissection of the Common Wood-Elf (Telerius galadh)’
The Common Wood-Elf (Telerius galadh, Sub-genus Sindarwina or Sylvana) has inhabited the northern forests of Mirkwood for countless years. Previous research, including the highly disputed Elven dissection, has raised further questions regarding this ancient species. In effort to better understand the Common Wood-Elf, and by methods more humane than previous tactics, the Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth sought to observe the Telerius galadh of Mirkwood in an extensive field observation study.
The study, which spanned the length of one full year, followed the Wood-Elves of Mirkwood as they interacted with each other, the surrounding land, and in some cases, the researches themselves.
The purpose of this experiment was to observe the Common Wood-Elf (Telerius galadh) in his natural habitat over a one-year period, in the hopes of better understanding the life and trials this endangered species must face.
Included in this report are:
1. Contact Observation and Hierarchical Status
2. Mating and Courtship
3. Natural Enemies (i.e. Spiders, Dwarves, etc.) and Prey
4. Poaching of the Common Wood-Elf
A blind consisting of wooden planks and Mossy Oak camouflage netting was constructed within beech trees located approximately 20 meters southeast of the Common Wood-Elves’ main shelter (see: King Thranduil, Halls of). As winds over Mirkwood tend to blow primarily from the northwest, it was believed a southeasterly position would avoid carrying the researchers’ scent to the T. galadh.
Taking into consideration T. galadh’s most active hours are dusk and dawn, construction of the blind was done during late noon and midnight hours.
Observations were recorded in notebooks or sketched on pads of drawing paper.
CONTACT AND TRUST
On the fifth day of observation, a group of seven Wood-Elves was spotted within the surrounding beech trees. They appeared to have engaged in a type of defensive observation: encircling the researchers’ blind and sitting quietly within the tree branches. This suggests the creatures are indeed capable of planning and carrying out simple maneuvers.
The Elves were timed to remain unmoving for as long as 4 hours. Their stares were noted to be particularly unnerving. Researchers have yet to conclude why this is so.
The T. galadh carried on them various spears and bows. Researchers made pretense of ignoring the Elves, and continued recording the daily activities outside the Wood-Elven hall. It is believed the T. galadh were aware of human presence from the very beginning, though how this came about is not certain. Superior senses and the organism’s relationship with trees are attributed as major factors.
The seventh day of observation led to subsequent breakthroughs in furthering the knowledge of the Common Wood-Elf. In light of such discoveries, the actual text was reprinted as follows:
“At approximately 0800 hours, the Elves made initial contact. They cautiously approached the outer branches of camp, bearing a strange number of items. The tallest of them, a blonde-haired male with blue eyes, held forth a perfectly cut green gem within his hand and smiled at us. (We believe him to be the dominant male of the group, and affectionately refer to him as ‘Phoebus.’)
Unsure of the T. galadh’s intentions, we simply smiled back.
Phoebus’ turned and beckoned to his companions. They warily drew forth, until all were situated on the protruding branches of our camp’s beech tree. Initially, we worried their weight would upset the blind or break the tree limbs, but oddly enough the tree seemed to readily support them.
Furthering our surprise was the fact that one of the T. galadh appeared to be female. Never before has a female of the species been observed, and indeed, were previously thought not to exist. We now have cause to believe our previous assumptions of asexual reproduction incorrect.
‘Phoebus’ then held forth some sort of flatbread. He bit off a piece and made pretense to eat it, as though demonstrating its nutritional value. We watched him intently, sketching and writing of his actions.
He then proceeded to toss a piece of the bread at us and beckoned us forth in a friendly manner. J.W. reached out of the blind and picked up the bread sample for further analysis, eliciting various coos and exclamations of delight from the surrounding Elves. Several more crumbs were tossed our way. It almost appeared as though the T. galadh were attempting to coax us from the blind, though perhaps this is only human interpretation on our part.”
Here also follow the written recordings of Day Ten:
“The curiosity of these organisms is truly amazing. Today our seven watchers, still led by ‘Phoebus,’ proceeded to enter the blind. Not wanting to scare them away, we sat unmoving and quiet as they rummaged through our supplies.
They seemed most fascinated by zippers. We spent several hours in silent observation as they zipped and unzipped sleeping bags, backpacks, and parkas. Laughing and tittering amongst themselves, they would repeatedly move the zippers back and forth. The T. galadh eventually began to imitate the noise: re-zipping a backpack or sleeping bag, laughing, then tilting a head towards his companions and emitting a loud, “Ziiip!” The Elf’s companions would laugh or make some manner of reply, and then all would begin repeating the sound: “Ziiiip! Ziiiip! Ziiiip!”
Band-aides also captured the T. galadh’s undivided attention. They delighted in peeling off the backs and sticking the band-aides everywhere: clothes, face, hands, weapons, each other. It pains me to think of what the noble creatures will go through upon removing them.
‘Phoebus’ attempted to make off with A.B.’s backpack in exchange for 3 green-fletched arrows. Not wanting to break the fragile bond we have only just begun to form, we allowed him to do so.”
Researchers also noted that by this time, the Common Wood-Elves had taken to walking on the ground when approaching the blind, as opposed to approaching via tree. This is believed to be testament to the Elf’s level of comfort. When feeling threatened, the T. galadh instinctively takes to the trees.
The dominant male of the Mirkwood Telerius galadh is documented to be a golden-haired male referred to as ‘Thranduil.’ However, with the newly discovered addition of female Telerius galadh, researchers must question the social structure of the Common Wood-Elf.
Typically, there are three versions of social structures seen in nature:
1. Dominant Male with Head Female: Perhaps best illustrated by wild horses (Mammalia). The herds consist of the dominant stallion and several mares, though the lead mare decides the herd’s actions.
2. Gender separation: Males and females only commune during mating season. Typical of deer or cheetahs (Mammalia). In some cases, such as the bear, males will actually slay cubs.
3. Life-mates: A pair remains mated for life and live in large communities of the same species. Older members (if not weakened by age) form the top of the social hierarchy. Typically found in birds (Aves) such as swans or penguins.
Though the first social structure has been observed in the Common Wood-Elves of Lothlórien (Telerius galadhrima), there is no further evidence to support this form of hierarchy among the Elder in general.
Similarly, there is no evidence of Gender Separation. The Elves have shown no preference of slaying their young ones. Though it may be argued that the Kinslaying of the Royal Noldor species is grounds for such possibilities, it must here be noted that all Teleri species are exempt from this act. This, coupled with the fact that male Elves have been known to raise young ones in the absence of females, leads the author to suggest the Kinslaying was a deviation from the norm.
While the third social structure does best explain the situation of the Common Wood-Elf, its premise that older members lead the community does not accurately portray T. galadh hierarchy. Therefore, it is proposed that social theories one and three be combined to form a fourth, simply: the Dominant Male/Life-mate theory.
4. Dominant Male/Life-mate: The community is headed by one dominant male, who oversees all species action. Various lesser males and females live below and serve the dominant male.
The hierarchy is patterned as followed: Dominant, or ‘King’ male, lesser Head Female (notably absent in the case of the Telerius galadh), intelligent males lacking in physical prowess (see also: “advisors” or “counselors”), males of the fighting nature (see: “warriors” and “guards”), female herd members of the Head Female (see: “Maidens”), female mates of both intelligent and fighting males, male and female healers, male and female gatherers (see also: “cooks”), and male and females of the servitude nature.
Males and females mate for life; both parents rear the young.
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