Hi! Fred the Elfling here and we're here with Russell “Russ” Smyth the Magus, a friend and college of Tiberius. He's agreed to fill us in on this whole 'Ban' thing.
First off let me say that although I am an Elfling and therefore technically an 'elf' I had nothing to do with imposing the 'Ban.'
Russ: Most Elves are under five hundred years old. We can date the Ban to about 1250 BC, so it's unlikely any elves you meet today had a hand in it. Unlikely, but not impossible.
Fred: Can you explain the Ban briefly?
Russ: In the Old world, Technology works and magic, mostly, doesn't. In the Anderheim, or fairy lands, magic works and pre-industrial technology, mostly, doesn't.
Fred: pre-industrial technology? Could you be a bit more specific?
Russ: No guns, no steam or internal combustion engines, no electricity. Other than that you're pretty safe with anything in use before the industrial revolution or around 1850. If the Amish can use it, probably we can.
Fred: Probably? That sounds a bit vague.
Russ: The Ban is enforced by a spirit or spirits, not by a machine. It has a personality and it's likes and dislikes. I've documented cases where the Ban has ignored the obvious use of electronics in the outer islands. Those are isolated incidents though, and shouldn't be relied upon.
Fred: You're a magician, the Ban is magical, can't you just dispel it or something?
Russ: It's theoretically possible. In practice that would be nearly impossible. The spell is very powerful. You have to understand that the entire fairy world joined together to cast this spell. Elves, Dwarves, Dragons, it was an unprecedented cooperative effort, not likely to be repeated. Especially as the Dwarves aren't too happy with the results. The Ban is a deeply tied to the land. Also if we made a serious effort to dispel the Ban, that would cause...well difficulties with the King of the Elves.
Fred: That must have taken a lot of work. Why did they do that?
Russ: We don't know for sure. The elves who are still around from that time are not talking. Well we have the party line statement "It was done for the protection of all fairy folk." We know something upset them around 1250 BC, give or take a few hundred years. Could have been the Trojan war, could have been the rise of Ancient Egypt, could have been the Destruction of Mycenaean civilization or maybe even the Exodus. Maybe all of the above. Whatever it was it also caused them to look into the future and they were very concerned by the advent of the Sons of Adam, as they call us. We think they must have seen something from World War II, maybe the thousand plane raid, maybe nuclear weapons, we don't know. What we do know is they went to find a land where they would be safe from the technological weapons of the Sons of Adam. They were able to find a closely aligned land in a parallel dimension and establish the ban.
Fred: But men live in the Fairy lands. If this was done to avoid the Sons of Adam that was kind of an epic fail, no?
Russ: They could not cut them selves off from the Sons of Adam entirely. I don't think they really wanted to. They just didn't want to be exterminated by us. Men have come with them to the Anderheim from the first. Most of the human settlements are along the east coast. Once you go further in you meet the fairy lands.
Fred: This new land is called the Anderheim and the elves started coming here around 1250 BC, maybe as early as 1600 BC. So did they find the Anderheim or did they make it?
Russ: Probably a little of both. The ban may be a local spirit creature or creatures that they enhanced.
Fred: So around 1250 BC. all the Elves, Dragons, Fairies, etc. started packing up and moving to new lands over seas? There isn't a lot said about this in the old world records.
Russ: By the time the Sons of Adam were keeping good records, the fairy folk had started avoiding the Sons of Adam. Never the less if you read the old fairy stories carefully you do find hints of a great fairy migration underway. Look up Trooping faeries for example.
Fred: So all the Fairy Folk packed up and left?
Russ: Not all of them. Just most of them.
Fred: Seriously, elves in New York?
Russ: There are native American stories about little people who live in the Catskill mountains. Washington Irving wrote about them in Rip Van Winkle. The stories and eyewitness accounts are there, they are just very rare. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have seen UFO but no one wants to believe in aliens unless you can bring back the space ship. How much press do you think eye witness accounts of elves and Dragons get in the paper?
Fred: Getting back to the Ban. Any exceptions to the rule? Can you Magi get around the Ban if you want to?
Russ: The obvious way around the ban is to make technology magical. Dallen built a horseless carriage, very similar to what you call a car. He didn't try to mass produce it, in fact he made sure it was a unique work of art, using hand engraved silver in the engine, for example. You could probably have a pistol if it was something really unique. A golden gun with gunpowder made from only bat droppings on a full moon. It's really not worth it.
Fred: That didn't really answer my question. That's how anyone could skirt around the Ban. I was asking if the Magi could shield a small area from the effects of the Ban.
Russ: No comment.
Fred: No comment?!
Russ: Experimenting with the Ban is a touchy subject. Lets just say we Magi are an inquisitive lot, but we have better things to do than try and lift the Ban.
Fred: Of all the Magi you're known as the one who most closely follows Dallen in having an interest in automatons and magical devices. You wouldn't be thinking of something that would skirt around the ban would you? You're just as much of a student of Dallen's as Tiberius is, yet the tales have been awfully quiet about your activities. You wouldn't be working on anything interesting would you.
Russ: (smiles) No comment.