I am answering random questions today about world building, over on Reddit and decided to take my answers from there and expand upon them even further over here. So that's what this page is. Me rambling on about various aspects of world building techniques I use when writing the Quaraun series. The questions I am answering are embedded here. Clicking the link in the embedded question will take you to the original Reddit page where you can see the original answer along with other people's answers. If you wish to comment, you can do so on the Reddit page where a place to do so is provided.
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Very difficult to answer this the way it it worded, as it asks what the species as a whole would do, but, like Humans in our real world, each species in my world has dozens of races, then each race has doesn of ethnicities. Each ethnicity in turn has dozens of cultures. Not to mention each culture has dozens of religions. Then you have family traditions, variations in region/geography/weather making each group different depending on where they live, etc. On top of that you have very individual people who are going to do different things within a single family.
Take my main character for example: When given a Human child to care for, he'd take it into his family and treat it as though it was his own, never paying attention to the child being a Human, as things like that do not bother him. On the other hand, give that same Human child to his father, and he'd kill the baby outright, just for the sin of being Human. So there you have a father and son, both the same species/race/ethnicity/culture and you'd get two very dramatically different reactions.
So for me the answer depends more on the character specifically, then the species/race in general.
There are some who have traditions that would affect their reaction to the child strongly of course. For example, Humans are very violent and prone to wars and racism. Because of this, most Elves avoid Humans. Humans say this is the Elves being arrogant, when in fact it is the Humans themselves being arrogant and thinking they can push others around, take their land, force them to adopt Human religions, etc. The Elves have seen the destruction and violence Humans do and they are afraid that the Humans will kill their families or make them slaves, thus resulting in the Elves making laws forbidding contact with Humans out of fear for their safety and a desire to protect their families. This however does not mean that the Elves would not take in a Human child or would treat it poorly. Most Elves however would be hesitant to take in a Human child, fearing that should Humans ever arrive in their village, the Humans would accuse the Elves of having kidnapped the child and raze their village.
But there are so many types of Elves each with their own traditions that it is impossible to be general. For example, the least likely to take in a Human child, would be the Moon Elves, as they are fanatical self-superiority radicals who wouldn't even take in a non Moon Elf race of Elf, let alone a Human. On a different extreme, Blood Elves are feral Elves who roam like a pack of rabid wolves - to them the Human child is dinner, because EVERYTHING is on the menu. On the other end of the spectrum is Wood Elves who often live among Humans and would welcome a Human child as though it were their own.
Then there are Faeries. Some Fae races, Phookas and RadCaps for example, eat Humans and wouldn't think twice about roasting a Human baby for supper. Yet, even within that group, you find a few "Human Rights Activists" who preach that Humans are sentient beings with feelings and should not be eaten. One of these activists may well take a Human child to raise it just to prove to their people that "See? They don't just mimic us, they have intellect and feelings, just like we do." While other races of Fae, such as Gnomes and Dwarves, may see the child as farm/mine labour. The child would be treated well, but would also be more or less a servant not a member of the family. Flower Fairies would likely welcome the child as family, but they are a bit ditzy, so may forget to care for the child because they were too busy dancing in a Fairy Ring. Also as Fae age differently, they frequently go a year or more between food and sleep and may not realize that Humans eat and sleep every day. Fae know very little of Human ways and so even a friendly Fae, though well intended, they may inadvertently kill the child unintentionally, not realizing Humans require certain things to survive (food, sleep, etc.)
(Elves btw are a type of Fae, but they consider themselves different by virtue of being civilized and living in houses, rather them running around naked in the forest the way most other Fae do. Elves also consider Gnomes and Dwarves separate, because they live in houses and wear cloths. So they get classified as separate, but all 3 are still just various denizens of Fae..)
The main character is a Moon Elf, so, let's go with a Moon Elf to answer your questions as I know what he would do better than anyone else, and in fact there is a novel in the series where he comes across a Human village that has been razed. He an his companion look for survivors and find a baby, which they attempt to raise, but they only have it for a few weeks, before they arrive in another Human village and the Humans assume they kidnapped the baby, so beat them up, toss them in prison and take the baby away from them. He had intended to keep the baby and raise it as his own. He has raised children before, as he had 4 children himself, but his children were murdered when they were around the ages of 6 to 10 (all 4 died the same day.) So when he found the baby, even though he is a Moon Elf (the super radical race mentioned above) he is still in mourning over the deaths of his children, whom he loved very much and dotted on. Finding the baby, it's family all dead, he immediately took it seeing it as a replacement for his own dead children, and the fact that it was a Human did not cross his mind at all.
Quaraun is a vagabond wizard, something he became after the deaths of his children. He had previously live in a "castle" which was more of a castle-like carving on the front side of a mountain, his family living in the cave system which had been decorated like a palace. After his family died he started walking aimlessly across the world, basically going from tavern to tavern.
Upon finding the baby, he and his companion began discussing finding a place to setting down, but continued to travel while caring for the infant. Realizing the baby was not yet weaned, they went to a whorehouse looking for a Human wet nurse to travel with them and breastfeed the baby.
Quaraun, having killed a dragon and now possessing it's hoard, is extremely obscenely wealthy. He is likely the wealthiest person in the universe, let alone on the planet, but he can not count, and has no concept of how to use money, so is blissfully unaware of the true wealth he is in possession of. While he knows he can head to the volcano to get gold when he needs it, he rarely thinks he needs it. If often travelling penniless, and when he does have gold with him, tends to spend it on super flashy impractical things. While he wanders the world often sleeping under bridges like a homeless bum, he also spends money like it grow on trees and frequently runs out of what he has on hand and has to return to the volcano to get more. This would result in you living like you were poor as dirt, often begging for food from taverns, but at the same time, dressing like royalty and having every toy you ever wanted.
Because both Quaraun and the half-Demon like prostitutes quite a lot, and if the option is available will rent a room from the local whoehouse rather then an inn, you will often find yourself and your siblings spending a lot of time with the children of prostitutes as your playmates.
Quaraun travels in a mini caravan, with all his male lovers, female wives, his various children, his pets, and his livestock with him. You will walk 10 or 12 miles a day, most nights sleeping in the big pink and fuchsia striped circus-like pavilion tent that Quaraun sets up along the roadside. Your life style will be very similar to early medieval Persian lifestyle (900s era).
You will travel long distances each year, encountering dozens of races and cultures along the way. You'll be well versed in diplomacy and interacting with all the region's cultures. You'll often travel along side bigger caravans or merchant groups, frequently travelling in the company of circuses, carnivals, and side shows.
Being raised by a High Elf adoptive father, you would have had multiple parents caring for you. His family was made of of his having the following spouses (listed in the order he married them):
With the exception of the female Moon Elf, all will share in raising you.
The Phooka (a Faerie) would have been indifferent to you (emotionally distant from you) as he does not like children, but he would also have helped in raising you. And would have been very protective of you, because he is naturally very protective of his family. He is bluntly truthful, overly brash, and says whatever pops into his head without thinking of if he should say it or not, so if you said to him: "Does this dress make me look fat?" He'd blurt out: "It makes you look like a pregnant pig."
Then he'd stare at you blankly wondering why you were crying your eyes out as he was not trying to be mean and would not understand how he had upset you. He likely would have been telling you the dress was ugly, but the way he said it made you feel he was calling you ugly. He would not have been trying to hurt your feelings and would have thought that by telling you the truth about the dress was him being helpful.
Fae have difficulty understanding Human emotions. They also don't understand the way Humans use lies to make each other feel good. Thus why he would not have said: "That dress looks super on you." You will likely find yourself constantly at odds with him, as a result of his inability to understand how Humans interact socially. At the same time, if danger came, he's the one who'd be there to pound the threat to a pulp and fiercely protect you from harm.
This particular Faerie is over 2,000 years old and generally sees Humans the same way most Humans see ants (short lived and useless). When Quaraun was adopting you, it is the Phooka who likely would have been against the adoption and would say things like: "It's pointless to keep it. Their lives blink out faster than candles."
He refers to Humans as "it" not "he or she" as he does not think of them as intelligent or capable of higher levels of emotion. He would have made a big fuss over your being brought into the family, and spent the first few weeks taking every opportunity to complain of your existence. However, once he got used to you around (which would take a couple of months) he would quickly
The male Elf/Demon would have also been emotionally distant, but that would be because he's a bit absent minded and tends to get lost in what he's doing. He's somewhat of a scientist/alchemist/nerd and loses track of time easily when working on one of his projects. He would care about you, but you'd likely be uncertain if he even knew you were there as he is not good at showing emotions (this due to his being part Demon and Demons being not over good at showing emotions). He would feel to you, as though he was cold and uncaring, even though, he would in fact love you very much and not be aware that his feelings for you were not being well conveyed. He's likely the one you'd feel most uncomfortable around.
The female Moon Elf would not have liked you. She barely tolerated Quaraun, knowing that he was a half-Elf sympathizer. Their marriage was arranged by his parents and neither of them wanted to be with they other. They barely tolerated each other and only bedded together enough times to produce heirs. She gave birth to 2 sets of twins - 2 girls, then 2 boys. After the birth of the male heirs, Quaraun's parents stopped fussing and he went back to his Faerie and half-Elf lovers, while letting his Moon Elf wife go back to her High Elf lovers. Their marriage was a facade for public appearances only (due to Quaraun's uncle being the king). She was a terrible person, often invited her lovers over and laughed while they beat up her much smaller and weaker husband. She was in the habit of publicly humiliating Quaraun. He would have loved her had she not treated him like scum. As for you? Like the wicked step mother of Cinderella, she would have made your life a living hell. Quaraun's adopting a Human child would have had her becoming more abusive of him, and she would have abused the child as well. You are lucky she died before you were born as she was extremely radical in her hatred for all things not Moon Elf. It is in fact her radical hatred for non-Moon Elves that was what pushed Quaraun into seeking non-Moon Elf lovers.
Likewise the Frost Elf would largely ignore you. She cares only about her own son. Another forced marriage, she does not like Quaraun. While Quaraun tries t please her, she largely ignores him. Her son is much younger then the others and is often referred to by the twin boys as "our baby brother". They almost never use his name always addressing him as "Baby Brother" like that was his name. The 3 boys, in spite of the age difference are very close knit and inseparable, even into adulthood. As can be seen from this relationship, the children did not care that 2 were half-Elves and one an Elf. Children do not notice things like race unless it is taught to them by racist parents and as Quaraun is very much not racist, his children never really notice that they are all different races or that each of their mothers are different races, or that they have 3 fathers and 4 mothers, instead of 1 mother and 1 father the way most other children do. Likewise they would not have noticed that you, a Human was different. You would have been just another child in their group, with no thought to the fact your were Human.
The Human and the half Elf wives would both have shared raising you, as these were the two with highly maternal instincts. The Human wife died young, killed by soldiers passing through. Her death left Quaraun heartbroken. He was not in love with her, but cared deeply for her. He had rescued her/hid her from an abusive husband who had beaten her and killed her unborn baby. Quaraun took her in, initially to let her have a place to stay while hiding from her ex husband, but she was so depressed over the loss of her baby that Quaraun feared she'd commit suicide, thus kept her as part of his family and bedded with her only to give her a baby to replace the one that had died.
Quaraun himself would have been the one you were closest to. He is a very good father and is constantly with his children, telling them stories and playing games with them. He's happiest when he has his children gathered around him, on his lap and hugging him, while he reads to them. Quaraun is quite immature, often acting very childish. This makes him not good at discipline, thus you'd easily get away with staying up late, missing school, eating candy instead of food, and he'd likely encourage these bad behaviours, not realizing he was doing so. He is prone to thinking in terms of keeping everyone happy, so if you fussed over going to school, to the point he feared you were being bullied, he'd simply let you stay home, feeling that your emotional well bearing was more important then an education. Quaraun tends to take a very "mother hen" loving stance when it comes to his spouses and children.
He married a Human, fathering a daughter with her (though the novel says she had 8 children by him, it does not list their genders or mention them specifically), also married a half-Elf (half-Human) fathering 2 sons (a pair of twins) with her, and also married an Frost Elf fathering a son with her. He would not have treated any of the children any differently, loving all of them equally and the siblings were all have been very close, regardless of the varying races among them, and so the Human baby would have also been very closely bonded to the other siblings.
Also, as mentioned, he does occasional use prostitutes and has many children of various mixes races from this as well. An exact number is never given, though one novel does state that he "fathered 37 illegitimate children with prostitutes" and there is frequent mention of the fact that he returns to certain whorehouses multiple times a year to check in on his children by the various prostitutes to see if they are in need of anything. While rarely in their lives, he does pay the mothers large sums of money so they can provide for the children he fathered.
In the case of the prostitutes, when/if he learns they've had his child/ren he offers to marry them and bring them into his family, but these women tend to be very independant and not seeking a husband or married life and thus decline his offer.
As such you would often anticipate visiting your siblings who do not live with you. As Quaraun often stays longer at these locations then he normally would stay, due to a desire to spend time with his "additional" children, thus giving you several more children to play with.
Because Humans and Elves come from common ancient ancestors that evolved differently, Humans and Elves are therefore biologically similar. Elves are smaller than Humans, have strong psychic abilities, and have long pointed ears (Quaraun's ears are 12" long). Humans are taller, more muscular, and stronger then Elves. Elves are better at thinking. Humans are better at fighting. Elves live around 750 years, Humans around 100 years.
Because of the common ancestry, Elves and Humans are sexually compatible and do intermarry and reproduce. Half Elves are a common thing to encounter. Because of this you'll not find it difficult to be raised by an Elf - meaning, you'll fit in well with the family and not "stick out" or look overly different. You'll likely be a few inches taller then any your siblings or parents, and be larger boned, beefier muscled, and get lower grades (though the lower grades is because they get higher then average grades.)
Humans tend to be very pro-straight, 1 man + 1 woman, relationships. LGBT and poly exist in Human culture, but they are rare. Whereas Elves tend to live in large bi-sexual poly-marriages, with one male Elf having many male and female spouses, and all of them each being the lovers of each other. So you'll be raised in a much more sexually liberal mindset in regards to marriage and relationships, then what you would have been raised with in a Human family.
Humans have lots of armies, fight lots of wars, love their weapons, and are over all very violent. Whereas Elves did not develop weapons, have no armies, and are appalled at the thought of wars. Humans are always building bigger, more destructive machines, while Elves are always looking for ways to preserve forests and save plants and animals. Humans get obsessed with building strength and muscles to be better able to beat up others. Elves are always pouring over books and reading literature and studying magic. So, as a Human being raised by Elves, you'll likely grow up to become what the Humans would call a "A nerdy New Age, tree hugging, nature loving hippie" and will likely be beaten up and bullied by other Humans, as Humans in general see these traits as bad.
If no outsiders ever intervene, you'll likely live a long, healthy, happy life. Staying with your family your entire life. Any spouses or children of your own you have, will be brought into the family unit and all of the families continuing to live in one large group. If you do move out to start a new family unit, you'll likely stay close by and travel as a second group with the first.
If you died young, it'd likely be from war. The land is hostile right now. Armies are marching through the land. Villages are being razed frequently. Quaraun avoids war zones and tries to keep his family as far away from the warring Humans as possible. He doesn't know what they are fighting about and he doesn't want to know. He just want to keep his family safe and as far away from the soldiers as possible.
Elves are becoming very rare. Entire Elven villages are being burnt to the ground. Human soldiers are in the habit of taking Elves as slaves and torturing and raping them to death. Quaraun was himself captured previously and his now fearful for the safety of his family. As the armies are moving all the time, Quaraun is constantly taking down the tent and moving his family to new locations every week or so. He rarely stays in any one location more then 2 weeks.
If you died young, most likely it was because your family was captured by the Human soldiers. They wouldn't stop and look to see that the baby/child was Human. They'd just see that the parent was a non-Human. Elves are very peaceful, having no armies, no warriors, no fighters, no soldiers, and no weapons. They do not fight when attacked and instead grab their families and run.
When you do die (f they didn't die with you) your whole family unit will deeply mourn your death, grieving for many weeks, but Quaraun will be the one hit hardest by it. He will become deeply depressed and stop eating, staying by your grave for weeks. He is very emotional and does not deal with death well. His family was once much larger than it is now, he had many siblings and extended relatives living with him. Every one in his village is dead now, he is the last surviving full blooded Moon Elf, and the adults and children listed previously are the only survivors of his family. He's already lost more then one person should have to bare. He desperately clings to what little of his family is left and is terrified of staying in any one place, for fear of losing the rest of them. Even though you were not an Elf, your death would hit him hard.