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They skin is usually in grayish tones, from ash to a pale pearl grey. Intense, sharp eyes are framed into their angular faces, glowing in the dark and giving them a rather ghostly appearance indeed. Their hair are almost always raven black or of dark colors. Like the rest of their kind, phantom elves are beautiful and graceful beings, although it's a colder and sharper sort of beauty. Their body looks more angular than their cousins, with less curves, triangle-shaped visages, elongated legs and arms and slender fingers. They are usually shorter than other elven species though, about the height of an human. Despite that fragile appearance, phantom elves are wild and ferocious fighters and, with their phasing skills, great agility and acute dark vision, they can be just as deadly as far bigger creatures. Phantom elves are well known for their ability to see ghosts and spirits perfectly. What you would see as a silent and empty quarter of the thicket would looks as a place teeming with creatures of all shapes and forms to them.
Phantom elves form a quiet, tight and reclusive society, looking suspiciously upon outsiders trespassing into their territory, and sometimes using magic or artifices to frighten them away. Because Phantom elves live in the Sunfall thicket, a region with lower vegetation and smaller trees than most other forests in Felarya, they settle mostly on the ground rather than high up in the trees like many of their kind. At first glance a Shamshi village would look very exposed to danger by Felaryan standards; you could hardly see a wall and no moat or defense of sort. There is, however, an incredible amount of wards and defensive spells placed everywhere and, since most of the predators of the region are of the spectral type, this provide as much as a safe haven as possible in that dangerous place. While a ghost can devour a Shamshi from time to time, it happens rather rarely and they mostly live in peace with the sentient ghosts. Wild and beastly spirits such as labrisomes still pose a deadly and relentless threat though, and are dealt with accordingly
Phantom elves are essentially hunters. They go after various species of animals found in the thicket, especially nocturnal birds. In combat they wear a light armor and use the Tagmash, a characteristic crescent-shaped blade, similar to a Kopesh. They are very proficient with blades in general that they imbue with magic for added effects, both against opponents of flesh or spectral ones. They sometimes use ranged weapons but will usually chose the Chamika over the bow, a sort of small one-handed crossbow. it's a silent weapon able to shot several bolts with a surprising force and precision for its size and it can shot a few bolts before having to be reloaded. Because it's so light, many Shamshis use it in addition of their blades.
Shamshis are by no mean an easy prey : they are fast silent, and proficient at hiding in the thick vegetation. And if the situation asks for it, they fight ferociously, with a wide range of harmful spells and curses.
Both males and females Shamshis usually wear long hair that they cut only as time of grievance over the loss of a relative. Like other elves, Shamshis form a competitive lot, organizing tournaments to challenge each others, although they are a lot less flashy than for the rest of their kind, more geared toward self-improvement than showing off. They often meditate to train their souls as well. Phantom elves have incredible control over their mind, and possess the unique ability to somehow transcend death: the soul of a deceased phantom elf can choose to re-enter its body a couple of seconds after death, healing it and reforming it in the process, effectively reviving the elf! This second life can only be used once in a lifetime though, and the big drawback is that they revive exactly in the place where they died. Needless to say this is useless if the elf drowned chained to a rock underwater, or was being digested in a stomach.
- Credits to Nksrocks for the revivification idea.