To be an elf is to be the protectors of Nature. During the days of the Wars of the Gods, the elves took refuge wherever they could to escape the calamities befalling the World. The elves, unlike every other race, were pacifists, only striking back when there was no other choice. Some went into caves, or onto mountains. Some, with the aid of magic, fled beneath the seas, or crossed the seas to distant lands where they prayed no god would step foot. Others escaped into the forests of the World, finding refuge among the trees.
Within those forests, these elves first encountered the Fae, beings of great power that sought only to protect the forests from the devastation beyond. The Fae, at first, sought to bar entrance to the forests, but after repeated attempts at entry, the Fae became curious. Who were these mortals? Why did they not seek violence as the others did? At last, the elves were permitted entry, and began to establish sanctuaries under the direction of the Fae.
As the wars dragged on, and the nation of Ilandrior was established, the cost of defending the forests of the World began to wear on the Fae. Many of them had perished in combat with gods and mortals alike, leaving too few to protect their homes. In this moment of need, the children of the first elves rose up, offering their assistance to the Fae in defense of their homes.
The leader of the Fae, Heliel, met with these elvish volunteers in her private sanctuary. She accepted their help, and offered a pact between her people and the elves on their behalf. Those that would follow the Fae would be granted power over life and death, and a deep connection to the forests and the World itself, in return for their service. As a gift to the elves, the Fae would grant them extended vitality, their lifespans tied to the well-being of the forests which they defended.
These elves that formed the pact with the Fae became known as druids. Soon, many other elves came to be druids, and stood side by side with the Fae in defense of the forests. However, after the fall of Ilandrior, the forces of Solvadon the Dragon-God turned on any who would oppose him, including the Fae. In a climactic battle, the armies of Solvadon clashed with Heliel and her defenders. Heliel was mortally wounded in the battle, and much of the forest they defended was burned, killing many more elves and Fae. The entire forest would have been destroyed, if not for the betrayal of Solvadon by his general, Karr Blackhearted.
Heliel was taken back to her sanctuary, where she offered her final words to the elvish druids and surviving Fae. She passed the task of defending the World and Nature to the elves, and commanded the Fae to serve them for as long as they stayed true to their task. When she died, the forest was filled with her essence, a part of her touching each elf and Fae within it.
Since that day, the elves of the World have divided into separate factions, but all of them are established on the alliance between the elves and Fae.
To be an elf is to be a negotiator. In the aftermath of the wars, and the ascendance of the elves after Heliel’s death, the elvish people continued to defend Nature as best they could. As they still preferred peace over war, the elves became negotiators and ambassadors between all the peoples of the World. Wherever they went, they were respected as bringers of peace, not war. In many instances, they were crucial in ending growing conflicts, or finding ways of avoiding conflict altogether.
To be an elf is to travel. While each faction of elves is independent of the others, they maintain ties with each other, despite the expansive distances between them. From the far west of the Suin elves, to the far eastern Bentuil elves, and all the domains in between, leaders from each faction continue to make the journey, despite wars or conflicts in the lands between them. It is also a requirement for all seeking the path of the druid to travel to the Heliel Forest, and seek the blessing of Heliel’s children.
Because of this tendency to travel, many elves who aren’t druids have become merchants, carrying goods from place to place in order to pay for their journeys. Other times, mercantile guilds will hire elves to move their wares across vast distances. The highways established by the elves before modern civilization have, in this way, led to the trade routes utilized by humans, dwarves, and other races as well.
To be an elf is to be ancient. Due to the pact between Heliel and the first druids, the elvish people as a whole were blessed with extended life, allowing them to live up to two thousand years. It is said that an elf can live as long as he or she likes, only relinquishing it when they have finished what they sought to accomplish. To elves, life is a journey, from birth to death. An elvish poet once asked, “Does the pilgrim continue after the destination is reached?” When an elf dies, their essence is guided by a druid back into the forests from which it was drawn. Some could see this as a form of immortality, but the elves do not see it that way.