Appearance and Physical Traits:
Ice Elves are short and compact, with males standing at 4'3' to 5', and females are usually slightly shorter. They have low foreheads and short, small noses and ears. This is in stark comparison to the tall and slender High Elves they are descended from, largely evolutionary methods to cope with their icy habitat. However, despite all this adaption, Ice Elves have dark grey skin, darker hair and red eyes that seem to shine slightly when surrounded by snow. They often compensate for this by wrapping themselves in white furs and keeping their hair short. A full lifespan for an ice elf is about fifty to sixty years, but they rarely die of old age.
Because food is often scarce, Ice Elves have extremely slow metabolisms and put on weight easily. They can survive for up to a week with just one large, high protein meal. However, due to the uninviting climate of the tundra they live in, Ice Elves rarely have much contact with disease-causing bacteria and thus have somewhat frail constitutions. They make up for this by being strong and athletic.
Skills, Abilities and Drawbacks:
While the Ice Elf species has no special abilities, they are all extremely skilled hunters, warriors, crafters, healers or builders. Those who are unable to pick up a skill are often left to die.
Because of the curse inflicted on them by Heirno, Ice Elves have an aura identical to that of an Evil cleric. This is detectable by anyone with the psychic ability to read auras or an ability similar to a Paladin's Detect Evil. The aura is not necessarily a reflection of the individual Ice Elf's actual alignment. A Good Ice Elf would still have an Evil aura, as would a Neutral or Evil one.
Birth, Life, and Death:
Most clans are made up of tightly-knit families. To avoid inbreeding, they have a special ritual- the Clansmeet. Once every year, during the month-long period of darkness where the sun does not shine over the tundra, every Ice Elf clan gathers to hold a great festival. The days are spent feasting, exchanging stories, competing in displays of strength, and meeting as many people as possible. When night falls, every female selects a male and leads them into a cabin to form a carnal union. The Ice Elf pregnancy cycle lasts only a little over a month, so the rest of the month is spent caring for the pregnant women. When the children are born, they are divided into clans. Boys join their father's clan, while girls join their mother's. Once the last child is born, each clan returns to it's respective land. The first night after returning, the child must spend the first night outside it's parents cabin. Only when it survives that night does it receive a name.
Over the next few years, the child must take up a skill. Usually they take the skill their parent has, but it's not entirely uncommon for a child to pick up a skill that another clansmen displays. Childhood is spent learning, often through experience.
Once a child is proficient in that skill, they are considered an adult and are allowed to join a Clansmeet. This is usually a momentous landmark in one's life and is celebrated thusly.
When an Ice Elf dies, by accident or in battle (and rarely of old age), the entire clan mourns them. The mourning process is often short, and if there is a body, always ends in the body being cooked and eaten. It is the ultimate insult to an Ice Elf to allow any meat to go to waste, especially if it is their own.
Hailing from the planet Spire, a Tolkein-esque world of high fantasy, Ice Elves are a relatively young race.
The High Elves are a beautiful race of high art and magic ruled by a monarchy. In the year 314, King Everleaf died of poison. His two heirs, Prince Silverleaf and Prince Whiteleaf, each blamed the other. Silverleaf was the oldest and thus the rightful heir to the throne, and held much favour among the nobles. However, the younger Whiteleaf was the more charismatic of the two and was well-loved by much of the lower class citizens. Eventually, the conflict over who killed Everleaf broke into a civil war. It lasted half a year, before finally drawing the attention of Spire's sun god, Hierno.
As the patron god of the High Elves, Hierno was furious over their infighting. He banished the upstarts, Whiteleaf's followers, to the forsaken White Sun Wasteland north of the the High Elf kingdom, Greenglen. He cursed them with black skin and hair, so that they would never be able to hide from his wrath again. He changed their auras so they would always trigger a Paladin's Detect Evil, so they would always be persecuted. Whiteleaf, however, was banished to the Underworld.
Soon, Whiteleaf meet the god of the Underworld, Gin. Gin, familiar with Hierno's anger, empathized with the poor prince. He recycled Whiteleaf's soul, taking his noble and charastamtic spirit and, with the help of some of the other gods, created a new minor god - Xun.
Xun, the patron god of survival and swordplay, and was appointed as the guardian of the Ice Elves. It became his job to protect them from any further displays of wrath from Hierno.
However, that only made the sun god crafty. Instead of directly attacking the Ice Elves, Hierno created the Golden Guard - an order of paladins dedicated to eradicating evil. The Golden Guard would often march into the White Sun Tundra during the summer, attacking any clan they see.
The first attack was a blood bath. The Golden Guard slaughtered four clans before the weather forced them to retreat. When the next Clansmeet was called, the festivals were reserved and quiet. On the second day, Xun appeared before the Ice Elves. He taught them how to use the swords dropped by Golden Guard soldiers and how to protect the blades so that they did not become brittle and break in the cold. He taught them how to defend themselves with their new weapons. He taught them how to create signal fires to alert other nearby clans to incoming Golden Guard attacks. He taught them how to use the environment to their advantage, hiding in snowbanks and using white furs for camouflage.
By the next year, they were ready. Clans stood together and repelled the invasions, inflicting as many casualties onto the paladins as they inflicted on them.
The next two hundred years continued much this way. Because of the constant attacks and harsh climate, the Ice Elves never progressed much as a culture or in technology. Most of their weapons are made from animals or looted off Golden Guard soldiers.
EDIT: Added more information to Skills and Abilities.