To put you in the picture, if you happen to have only just stumbled accidentally upon this blog, Crystonal is a special magical compound made from crushed gemstones. Cinnabar (in old Chinese myths thought to be a main ingredient in the elixir of immortality) is it’s main ingredient. Crystonal is what gives the elflings (my little tiny inhabitants of the underground world Trelflande) longevity so that they live to be around 1000 years old. Or should I say a 1000 years young? Because…
A side effect of the crystonal is that it gives them a youthful appearance until their death. Elflings are given a special dose of the compound at age eighteen and so, whatever an elfling looks like at eighteen, that is how they look at eighty and at eight hundred.
But ‘why’ I hear you cry? What is the point of that? Why have them looking younger? Surely this would cause an awful lot of confusion between generations?
Okay, well firstly to address the why: Aside from the fact who doesn’t want to look young until the end of their days? (this is a fantasy story after all), there is a very good point to the crystonal having the effect of maintaining a youthful appearance. In fact it was actually one of the first things I invented in my world which links over to late on in Book 2 and more in Book 3. This is because the idea harks back to the very original beginnings for the story when I was twelve. It is actually vitally important to the plot that the crystonal has this effect. However, without giving too much away it is not necessarily important it has this effect of youthful appearance on the elfings. And that’s all I’m saying!
As for how do the elflings differentiate between generations if they all look the same age? Well this is done, firstly through their fashions. What? Yes, elflings have fashions. (Fashions also change dependent on the area of Trelfande they originate from you know.)
Secondly, although elflings all look eighteen, they do mature inwardly and gain wisdom as they age so this helps differentiate them. Finally the way they address each other denotes their differences too. For example the younger elflings will address their elders as Sir or Mr/Mrs followed by their surname
Similarly, the elder elflings may refer to younger elflings as, for example: ‘Master Toddington’, so they use first names instead of surnames.
Finally, elflings only call each other by the shortened version of their name if they are of the same generation. (For more see the W is for..Winklewell post.) It is through these rules of world-building the issue of all characters maintaining a youthful appearance is addressed.