No elves have ever lived on the multi-island city of Sevrin, and few of Sevrin’s inhabitants venture into the mainland forests. So if you were to ask a citizen of Sevrin about the Greening, you’d likely get a puzzled look and perhaps an inquiry as to whether this was some type of apple.
The forest elves are not humans with pointed ears. There are no half-elves, for the fey are too different from humans to permit offspring. One of the most conspicuous differences is the elven ability to change coloring with the seasons.
The Greening is exactly what it sounds like: A gradual shift from winter hues of white, silvery and brown to spring green. The shift typically starts with eye color, which changes from pale silvery grey to woodland shades of green and brown. Hair and skin darken, taking on tints of green and brown and gold.
A few human alchemists are aware of this phenomenon but so far no one has come up with a satisfying explanation. The alchemist Avidan believes that elves and plants share certain complex chemicals that are sensitive to sunlight and temperature, and he suspects that elves can use sunlight as a source of sustenance and energy.
Though most people who meet Avidan consider him to be as crazy as three caged squirrels, they might reconsider this opinion if they saw elves before and after a summertime battle or spellcasting. The green in their skin and hair lightens considerably, suggesting that energy gathered from sunlight can be stored and spent.
Since a sudden, overall change in color can make elves conspicuous, some elves have devised ways to gather sunstrength in small, concentrated areas of their skin, resulting in dappled patterns or stylized tattoos. Humans who have a superficial knowledge of elves believe they paint themselves with plant dyes. A few whispered tales suggest that elves wear spells that can be unleashed with a word or thought. This story, though superstitious and simplistic, is actually a fairly good description of the sudden bursts of strength or speed of which elves are capable.