The most areteic Alphorians, termed highborn, function as the privileged ruling class of Alphorian society, similar to the nobility of human cultures. However they only have to prove their lack of detrimental or undesirable goblinistic traits to be counted among the highborn, even if their parents were not. Thus high elves are less a people and more a social caste, although this is often lost to non-Alphorians.
High elves are stereotypically tall (6-7 ft) and slender, the males lacking obvious masculine features of most human populations such as facial hair, a protruding brow or prominent jawline. Indeed there is little sexual dimorphism present beyond obvious sexual characteristics. This feminization of features has been explained with Elven beauty standards, but is probably equally as much a side effect of mildly goblinistic traits which have been adopted as the new normal due to their ubiquity in the population. This mild goblinization also explains the presence of pointed ear tips, along some other less obvious traits divergent from baseline humanity.
Almost all high elves are fair-skinned with light brown to blonde hair, though red and darker colored hair are sometimes seen, as long as they have been proven to to be connected to goblinistic mutations. This is believed to reflect the prevaling features of the founding population of Andirite mages and possibly the natives of pre-Ruin Alpharion as well. While the common stereotype describes high elves as blue-eyed, green, grey and hazel eyes are just as if not more common, as they are among elves in general.
High elves are the longest-living humans on Gea, though only a fraction of this longevity is innate. It is estimated that without life-extending substances highborn elves would have a maximum lifespan of about 200 years. Thanks to the alchemical formulation known as panachrest, as well as its now legalised inferior imitations, Alphorian high elves can attain lifespans in excess of 800 years. Those deemed worthy by the Kyrkos, the ruling body of Alphoria, to receive the panachrest may indeed be functionally immortal as long as they keep using it regularly.
To an outsider, many low elves or lowborn can be hard to distinguish from the highborn, apart from their less lavish attire and less elaborate facial tattoos. Indeed sometimes the difference may be merely the result of their parent publically voicing the wrong opinion or breaking a taboo, even getting on the wrong side of the sarcomancers responsible for evaluating their child. Juvenile delinquency can also be enough for an otherwise areteic individual to be classed as lowborn, and elven girls are know to have tried to take advantage of this to avoid the duty of bearing areteic children to a man they barely know.Some lowborn show their more advanced goblinistic traits more distinctly, such as a very long nose, exaggeratedly pointed and large ears, very dark hair or skin tinted towards yellow or green. Other goblinistic traits, including ones related to metabolism, immunity or digestion take sarcomantic expertise to find. Mental characteristics, such as poor attention span, impulse control or ability to concentrate can also be used to determine areteicity. During the Cold Aion both goblins and lowborn elves were considered weaker-willed and intellectually inferior to the highborn. Though the situation has improved for the lowborn especially after the Librarians' Revolt, goblins still suffer from this prevailing stereotype.