Sylphs are the elemental spirits of air, as well as the race of humanoid elementals associated with the same elements. They are one of the well known native Yuriban elemental races and represent a good-sized portion of the population of Underhill, being one of the four elemental races endemic to the island. However, they are somewhat underrepresented above the hill. Sylphs are often playful individuals, as well as being intellectually intense.
Bodily, sylphs tend to be lithe and slender, with lower body weight than other elementals. Common physical Sylph traits include a persistent breeze that surrounds them and other minor manipulations of the Air element, the ability to hover and glide on air currents or fly, minor control of the temperature of the air close to them, and vocal anomalies that cause their voices to sound either distant or carry an echo or reverse echo. They tend to be among the most human-looking of the races otherwise. It's not uncommon for them to be tan or olive-skinned, though sylphs active primarily in the evening tend to be pale. A notable feature of sylphs is a second, transparent set of eyelids, which serve to protect their eyes against strong winds, flight, or both. Unlike dryads, oreads and naiads they're not associated with a physical geographic location, but instead with the wind itself. Occasionally they take on some traits associated with the attributes of weather: There are sylphs who seem to embody the wind of a sunny day, or a nighttime breeze, or a turbulent gale. It is generally thought that they cannot actually control weather on a large scale, though this is the subject of some debate.
Sylphs are not quite as long-lived as the naiads but longer-lived than the salamanders; they tend to live for 400 to 600 years. Sylphs who embody very stormy winds tend to live shorter (and perhaps more interesting) lives.
Culture and mannerisms
Sylphs are among the most energetic of Yuriba's species and are thoroughly integrated into most aspects of society. They tend to be a sociable people given their playful nature. Like naiads, they tend to be devotedly polyamorous, whisking from one relationship to another like a summer breeze. They are somewhat more prone than the other races to casual romance. Sylphs value play, and many find themselves compelled to be active and in motion. Though the race is generally favoured by Amanohara, it is common for sylphs to embrace other goddesses as well, and many sylph priestesses serve both Amanohara and a second goddess.
Body language is often quite important in dealing with a sylph; they speak quite expressively with their hands. A naturally gregarious species, they love few things quite as much as swapping stories. As with many storytellers, then, they can be given to exaggeration in their tales, though the degree to which they do so can vary wildly. Only a foolish woman would suggest sylphs to be untrustworthy, but at the same time, if a story a sylph tells sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In contrast to their almost fiercely outgoing, social natures, most sylphs tend to dress in fairly normal, unconventional native styles, leaning toward tans and leather tones, with a minimum of jewelry. It's not unheard of for younger sylphs to wear naught by layers of diaphanous veils, though the reasons for this fashion, which has come and gone many times over the centuries, remains unknown. It is, however, a very good indicator that one is dealing with a sylph who has only just passed the cusp of maturity.
The sylphs generally do not get along with the Avians, whom they consider secretive, militant and anti-social. Conversely most Avians consider sylphs overly frisky and not very serious. On the other hand, salamanders and sylphs make fast friends, and a common saying for particularly well-suited Yuriban couples is that "they get along like a sylph and a salamander." By the same token, being called "flighty as a sylph" is not particularly an insult.