Rangers of the North
Elves of Imladris
The Elves were the first of Eru’s Children to awaken. Born under the stars before the ascension of the Moon and the Sun, they retain a special love for light and an inner spirit endowed with unique gifts. Fair and fine featured, brilliant and proud, immortal and strong, tall and agile, they are the most blessed of the Free Peoples. Yet, despite their gifts, they are a cursed race – one burdened by the Hand of Fate. The elves feature prominently in the long history of Middle-Earth, but by the time of the late Third Age most elves have left the lands of Middle-Earth, and become legend or even folklore. The dwindling number of elves having gone into seclusion, weary of the now mortal lands. Only the realms such as Lothlórien and Rivendell survived as havens of elven bliss, and only those counted as Friends of the Elves, such as the Rangers of the North, welcome into their halls.
The social structure of Rivendell is not unlike that of any large, isolated estate. Elrond is Lord of the House and final authority in all matters. There are a number of other Noldorin lords who reside there, but all defer to Elrond. Many are craftsmen who practice their skills in the shops and smithies. Among the Sindar and Silvan groups there is a hierarchy, though one that all willingly adhere to. The Dúnedain members of the household have an unusual place, being required to participate in many of the menial tasks, trained as Elven warriors, yet given a certain deference.
There are quite a few Silvan Elves in Rivendell, many of then caring for the grounds and the agricultural needs of the House. Others keep watch with their Sinda brethren. By far, however, the Silvan Elves are the most carefree — to the point of being what many mortals would consider foolish. In contrast to the grim Noldor they seem like children. Silvan Elves often wear green and brown, and those of Rivendell are particularly prone to don bright colors. The Silvan Elves of Rivendell almost without exception delight in serving their Eldarin brethren, finding joy in simple tasks.
Virtually every resident of Rivendell is capable of aiding in the defense of the House should it have ever come to such a crisis. However, routine patrols are usually conducted by Silvan bands, sometimes with a Sinda or Noldo leader. The Rangers also join these patrols, though usually no more than one to a group — since they make so much noise (to an Elf).
Being a completely isolated and self-sustaining microcosm, Rivendell residents have no need for money. It is true that Elrond’s people occasionally trade with the Dúnedain of Arthedain (and even Rhudaur in the early years of that realm) but coinage was rarely used. This is not to say that no treasures reside at Rivendell. Even the few that were rescued from Ost-in-Edhil constitute a sizeable fortune, and the Smiths of Rivendell have considerable skill to create impressive works of their own.
Religion in any organized sense is unknown to the Elves, especially the Eldar, who know the Valar more as esteemed and revered teachers than actual deities. Virtually all Elves worship Eru Ilúvatar as the creator of all things. In this way they see themselves on equal (though perhaps different) standing with all other beings. Worship of Eru is very informal, however, involving no specific temple or other structure more elaborate than an open garden. There are certain seasonal holidays during which celebrations are held, but ritual is in this case very minimal. Music, the Essence of Arda, inevitably plays an important part.
This is not to say that the Elven societies are devoid of ritual. With song and chant the Elves wield the Essence, weaving spells of great power and subtlety. Elrond’s house is always full of music, and that is part of the spell which held the shadow at bay for so long.