What is an Elven Prison? The entire city. Elves who trangress the Sacred Traditions of Elder Life (i.e. the Law in Human Speak), are bound to the city. They are given a slender band around their wrist that can not be removed by normal means. (This slender band can be other things, it varies from city to city). The band remains for the duration of the sentence. The band provides several compulsions.
1) Once banded, the person is unable to leave the city or enter the 'quiet places' inside the city. This means they can not commune with nature to rejuvinate themselves as other elves do. They actually begin to age (slightly) because of this.
2) Related to the above, they feel the drag of time. Time is no longer a soft breeze that passes over them. They feel the grit and tear of time. This is the greatest punishment to an Elf. They now feel boredom and decay.
3) They are forced to reflect upon the errors of their way in their quiet moments. So if they are idle, they are forced to go over and over their crimes and punishments. This leads to 4..
4) They must also obey any command given to them by an Elf (or specific non elf residents of the city). Thus the prisoners are the 'servant class' of the Elves. (Note: It is illegal to abuse the prisoners in most ways, so they are moderately politely treated). Servants actually like to be kept busy, so they will sometimes take on additional responsabilities gleefully to avoid or limit their exposure to 2 and 3. They are responsible for much of the building and scut work around the city.
PS: It is considered hugely impolite to mention one's prisoner status, so people will participate in verbal gymnastics to skirt around the issues when it comes up.
Please note that it is very, very easy to violate Elven law. Those that have not broken it recently live like nobles. Those that have, are their serfs.
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? Responses (7)-7
A prison that is as bad as any *normal* one but for different reasons. Can a free Elf order a prisoner to have sex with him/her? The laws of the Elves must be so complicated that it is hard to obey them all.
Wow, this was a new take on things. A solid idea that gets a bonus point for originality. As with other former forum posts this one could have been even better had the write up been longer and more detailed.
This was not a forum post.
Yes this is a fresh take on a gloomy idea. It adds a life to something that I never thought about before. I like it.
As Cheka said previously, there rules must be hard to remember or understand for someone not of their race.
If you read it, it says that they are under compulsion (magical or psychic, I assume) by the band they are made to wear around their waist.
The the Sacred Traditions of Elder Life are as deep and conveluted as Elven Poetry. Thus it will be easy to transgress them. Remember, they are a fluid poetic set of 'laws', with hundreds of exceptions and exclusions. They might make special exceptions for 'guests'. Of course, this could explain why there are no 'non-elves', in an Elven City (of if they are, they are trapped in the hidden section of the city as hard working slaves).
This prison system does explain why Elves seem to be very formal, careful, and like to think things out. These traits will make sure they are not going to violate the Sacred Traditions of Elder Life. Formality has a basis of polite ritual. Those rituals would be incorperated into the law. Careful, well that is fairly easy to understand. Those who 'think things out' are less likely to violate the law.
In many ways, the Elves are victims of their own 'perfect' legal system. They must continue to follow the Sacred Traditions. If they violate them, or digress to far in a discussion about changing them (thus being traitorous to the Sacred Traditions of Elder Life), they become bound by the system. And those who have to band others, will band you for violating a rule, just because they will be in violation.
And here we see an excellent motivator for elves to seek adventure out of their utopic homelands.
And, visitors could get a major introduction in elvish culture once they inevitably fall into the 'servitor' role, as the elves, happy for something unusual in their lives, make the outsiders run all manner of errand in the city. Their unfamiliarity would likely lead to still more infractions making it harder to get out. Maybe they eventually cause enough chaos and disruption that banishment becomes a better alternative and that's how they break the cycle.