Against the Flow
The single most influential group in the Known Worlds is the Elven Imperium. Elves are graceful, artistic, long-lived and innately magical. They’re also haughty, arrogant, self-righteous prigs. Everybody else puts up with them because they have by far the most powerful magic and the best military equipment. Physically, elves are tall, slender, and androgynous with pointy ears and skin shades that trend from greenish to the light blue or purple range.
Fortunately for the other races, elves are small in numbers. The Imperium claims much more space than it could possibly patrol, so pirates and smugglers constantly slip into Imperium space. The consequences are dire if they’re caught, but the profits are usually worth it.
The actual ruling body of the Imperium is a council with representatives from each large elven world. The amount of power an individual councilor claims is based on a complicated social hierarchy in which both the attributes of the councilor and the community they represent play a part. Military power is vested in a single leader, whose title is Grand Admiral of the Silver Navy.
The elves claim a large chunk of space; it’s not generally known how many worlds they claim, but it’s at least five hundred. Most of those worlds are not exclusively elven, and the role of non-elves in Imperium space depends on how closely a given species or civilization adheres to elven ideals. There are groups of fey who are accepted as near equals, but mundane races are shunned and purposefully kept in a suppressed state of development. Particularly restricted is Blue Lotus Powder, which is known to boost humans and some other races’ magical abilities.
Technology & Ships
Elven technology is based on living organisms – their ships are alive, grown in secret places under strange conditions. They regrow from damage (slowly), and need to be continually trimmed like a bonsai. They don’t use cannon, but instead use sorcery to the same effect. Gunpowder is technically also illegal in Imperium space, but since the rise of the Pax Victoria has been impossible to keep under control.
Elves also use a magically grown crystal in place of metal – silvery-white in color, thus the Silver Navy. The ships look like huge butterflies or moths, and were originally adapted from some kind of free ranging space critter. There are all kinds of strange life forms in the depths of Imperium space – rumors suggest that there may be entire planets that are sentient life forms.