Masceymer (Moonshadow Elves)
From the text by an unknown scholar of the Imperial Unversity: The Masmeri Mystery
The Masceymer - or Masmer as more frequently referred to by other Mer - translate literally to 'Moonshadow Elves' (Sometimes referred to as Moon's Shadow Elves) - and are one of the many lesser known races long believed to have gone extinct or at least into hiding, to the point where many of the common folk across Tamriel would not even be familiar with the name. As such, the legend surrounding this lesser known race is as rife with conjecture and contradiction as that of the Divines themselves.
Legend holds that the Masceymer were born of a union between the spirit of Lorkhan and an unnamed Aylied priestess who completed an archaic ritual to embody her offspring with the power of the Divines after she foresaw the Alyssian uprising of the First Era. Speculating that the ritual was held under the rarest alignment of the astral planes; with both Masser and Secunda lining up to cast a shared shadow across the whole of Nirn; the ritual consumed the priestess' very soul but in doing so; a tribe of Masceymer were born.
As with so many legends of ancient mythology, this one has also become shrouded in confusion, owing in all likelihood to the even more obscure nature of the Masceymer's origin. Whilst it is true that the Masceymer came to be as the result of this ritual, the common misconception in fact comes in the association of Lorkhan. For it was in truth; one of the Magne-Ge - or 'Star Orphans' - whom the Ayleid priestess called upon; Mnemoli (the Blue Star). The priestess was a follower of Manir - the Ayleid spirit of love, fertility, and tradition who became acknowledged in later pantheons as Mara, though in truth she was as much a combined representation of Mara, Dibella and Kynareth during the Dawn Era - and so the aspects of Manir became entwined with those of Mnemoli - keeper of the scrolls, spirit of un-time and herald of the dragon breaks. What the priestess did not account for at the time, was Mnemoli's penchant for hiding from Nirn. Ever since following Magnus into Aetherius when he fled Mundus during the Dawn Era, Mnemoli - as with virtually all Et'Ada - remains obscured from Nirn, and without worship; and so it is for the Masceymer. The Ayleid-born race became the living embodiment's of Mnemoli, as her only connection with Mundus and Nirn; appearing most frequently around the end of an Era - when the blue star can be seen by the light of day. As for their existence beyond these times where they become increasingly known to their fellow races, that is still shrouded in conjecture; although some scholars of the Psijic Order - among the few learned groups of Nirn to not only acknowledge the existence of Mnemoli, but also recognize the significance of strength of her spirit - speculate that the Masceymer naturally inhabit the pocket realm of Oblivion torn away from the Daedra by Mnemoli as her own personal sanctuary. Further scholarly speculation implies that they are more than a simple associated presence, but more a tool of Mnemoli's will as keeper of the scrolls; and direct intervention of the Hero-Event function described by Zurin Arctus, in accommodation of the fact that not all possible outcomes written into the Elder Scrolls can come to pass without direct contradiction.
With only females carrying in their genes; the Masceymer evolved into a naturally roguish female only race skilled as highly with the bow as the smaller & faster blade, whilst proving equally charismatic when they so chose. A little known fact about the Masceymer is that their natural prowess is in fact also owed in no small part to their heritage belonging to the Magne-Ge, since they bear the natural racial ability 'Mnemoli's Sight', which allows them a brief focus period in which they can hear the songs of Nirn as the authors of the Elder Scrolls did, and thus envisage the possible realities to follow their immediate actions. This results in the often uncanny reflexes and reactions associated with their roguish nature. Their Ayleid heritage presents a typically elvish appearance with high pointed ears and large eyes (even if they were typically more rounded than other Mer), further blessed by a distinctly long lifespan (speculated to range anywhere from 500 - 1000 years). This theorized long lifespan is also an attributing factor towards speculation around their demise - with scholars assuming that they share the lower fertility and reduced needs of other Mer. This would seem to hold with the purely female nature of the race as having evolved in a similar fashion to Altmer insofar that they are theoretically capable of breeding with any other race - be it Man, Mer, or Beast - and produce a purely Masceymer offspring.
As with so many races - Man and Mer alike - the passage of the era's has seen their evolution deviate from it's origin. Where they would have once stood tall and haughty as the Altmer, the Masceymer's natural affinity for the shadows has resulted in a reduced stature more akin to that of a Bosmer. Coupled with a flair for adorning their bodies with artwork - often of a more nature orientated theme - they may often be easily misconstrued for being Bosmer, or at least Bosmer Hybrids. But if legend is to be believed, then only a fool would take one of these rare elves at face value, lest he soon find himself taken for a fool...
Whilst seldom few ever get to claim having met a Masceymer - at least that they know of - just about every accounting of their appearances throughout history seem to hold a common theme; one of a mysterious aura surrounding the Masceymer which seems to influence all they come into contact with. Coupled with an equally consistent tale of their coming and going like a whisper on the wind, it is easy to see how a sense of wonder - even borderline reverence - has formed over the ages when it comes to this race. As for how much is fact and how much is fiction, that can only be judged by those lucky enough to be aware of the next encounter.
As one might expect from a race as enigmatic as the Masmer; accounts of their language - written and spoken - are few and far between. If conjecture is to be believed, then one might compare the natural spoken tongue of Masmer to the silken whispers of a Nymph; though there other schools of thought which suggest so no such thing, and in the Masmer's spoken dialect is as diverse as all of Tamriel, with individuals quickly forming colloquialisms dependent on where in the realm they be (further supported by the common err of mistaking them for Bosmer).
What does tend to stand out more however is their written word. The flowing and elegant script bares similarity to Ayleidoon, though also holds it's own unique distinctions. Most noteworthy of which was recorded by distinguished scholars from the Imperial University as casting light on the virtually unknown culture of this elusive race. What scholars discovered was a clear distinction of formalities depending on the usage of the script;
The above examples show two distinct uses of the same script. The first word in each case being the same - speculated to be a declaration of ownership, or possibly a personal name. Whilst the example in fig. i shows the first character as clearly consisting of nothing more than an accent, the example in fig. ii shows the same accent over a character.
We can surmise from this contextual use that the Masmer utilise a more casual script with personal effects such as the journal featured above - possibly through lazy scripting as observed in many cultures or even intentionally to further obscure the content. Whilst in more formal examples such as the highly polished blade in the second image, the character is recorded in it's full form.
This inscription (found on the inner arm of a Masmer longbow) was translated to read as 'Hold a true heart, and your aim will follow'. Testament to the poetic artisan culture that many have come to associate with this race.