Elves, also known as Mali in the Elven Language, are the swift footed and keen-eyed inhabitants of many different terrains, cultures, and races. High Elves live chiefly in their Silver City, Wood Elves in the trees within their forests, Dark Elven have caves and other underground places for their homes, and Snow Elves who construct citadels in cold and unforgiving environments.
The Elven race are the longest lived of all, some living well over a thousand years. Although they enjoy longevity, they have the lowest birth rate as a result of Iblees' curse, only reliably fertile for the first five centuries of their lives and with Elven women only capable of conceiving about fifteen years after their last birth. This makes pregnant women a very rare sight, and it is very unusual for more than two siblings to be seen growing together.
For History Prior to 1300, See: Ancient History
The ancient homeland of the elves is known as the Holy Princedom of Malinor which ruled over the elves for many years. In early Asulon a second elven nation comprised exclusively of the supremacist high elves known as the Silver Enclave of Haelun'or emerged on the elven peninsula. After a period of decline throughout Asulon, Malinor was destroyed in Anthos and replaced by the Conclave of Malin while Haelun'or maintained independence.
After years of authoritarian rule, the Conclave of Malin collapsed and through a democratic election, Kalenz Uradir, Sohaer of the Silver Enclave of Haelun'or, came to rule over all the elves for the next few decades in the lands of The Fringe. After thirty years of high elven rule, a wood elven-led revolt removed Haelun'or from power shortly after the descendants traveled to Athera. After a period of disorder, the State of Laureh'lin rose, led by the orchestrators of the revolution. The government of Laureh'lin deemed the High Elves of Haelun'or and their ideals to be poisonous to elven kind and so began a genocide against high elven kind.
The high elves fled their former city, taking refuge in an unknown location. Six years later the high elves of Haelun'or returned with their armies and allies and threatened to destroy Laureh'lin entirely if their city was not returned to them. Eventually the two nations worked out a deal with the new leaders of Laureh'lin whereby the High Elves would reclaim their city and the mali'ame would continue to live independently in a separate settlement. A segment of the land that once belonged to Haelun'or was given to the mali'ame to construct a city for themselves which they called Leyulin.
The conflict between the elves was not yet over. Tensions grew between Laureh'lin and Haelun'or as Haelun'or's Evarir'thilln guard began increasingly aggressive attacks on the Ivory Order, the guard force of Laureh'lin. Soon the two states reached a level of full blown conflict and the mali'aheral of Haelun'or invaded the city Leyulin which had been evacuated shortly beforehand. The ensuing battle, known as the "Battle of Leyulin" was ultimately won by the crushing numbers of the high elves of Haelun'or and Humans of Oren. The Wood Elves, during this conflict, retreated across Fiandria Forest to their new city Cerulin which was built in advance knowing Leyulin was likely to fall. A peace treaty pushed by Kalenz Uradir was eventually signed titled the "Treaty of Fiandria".
However, this peace would not last as long as anticipated. The High Elves of Haelun'or and the Dark Elves of Ker'nor soon created a entity known as the Emerald Dominion and then proceeded to beckon the Wood Elves of Laureh'lin to join, but on the condition that they remove all impure High Elves from their lands. The State of Laureh'lin refused, and thus the Emerald Dominion proceeded with threats of war. It was only an order to cease and desist from the King of Reformed Kingdom of Oren, Andrik Vydra, that saved them from their fate in exchange for wood elven vassalisation. In an attempt to bring the high elves under his control, troops were moved from Oren into Haelun'or, which resulted in the Sillumir of Haelun'or condemning Emperor Andrik Vydra to death by acid. The Dark Elves of Ker'nor soon surrendered, becoming a vassal. It was Haelun'or which held out for two more years before eventually accepting its fate after a brief war with Oren due to their butchering of their king.
Moving forward, all of elven kind was now subject to Oren's rule. Oren seemed to support the wood elves the most, however. This was likely due to a remaining grudge of Haelun'or's disloyal history. In addition, wood elven leaders such as Artimec Camoryn and Tristin Tresury spent many years building rapport with Orenian nobility which would soon pay off. In Vailor Tresury would push for the unification of all elves under one nation - a feat which had not been accomplished in decades. While the high elves were against joining such a nation, as they wanted nothing to do with the other elves within Laureh'lin, Tresury utilized the looming support of Oren to strongarm the high elven Sohaer Avern'dionne Adriane into signing the Treaty of Laureh'lin. This document created the ultimate elven government titled the Dominion of Malin, placing Tresury as King of elven kind and true leader over Haelun'or, Laurehlin, and the Enclave of Ebonglade. The Dominion of Malin was still not entirely independent of Oren, however, and kept the elves under Orenian rule for the time being.
Haelun'or remained disgruntled with being forced into an alliance with Laureh'lin. Tresury and his closest adviser Artimec seemed to be focused on slowly but studiously dismantling Haelun'or as a nation. A letter was eventually sent from King Tresury to the Silver Council of Haelun'or in which he admitted his long-held intentions to exterminate the high elven state. Thus, Haelun'or bided its time and discreetly formed an alliance with Dreadlands and the Kingdom of Courland in a plan to eventually rid themselves of Dominion rule. This alliance, named the Axis Powers, soon declared rebellion against the Holy Orenian Empire as Haelun'or officially shed connection to Oren and the Dominion. The Dominion, mainly composed by Laureh'lin, remained loyal to Oren as expected. The rebellion failed after numerous battles which forced Haelun'or to sign a peace treaty with Oren. Unexpectedly, Oren agreed to let Haelun'or remain independent of the Dominion with the Orenian Emperor condemning the earlier actions of Tresury. Though Haelun'or was free of the Dominion, they were yet again subject to Oren. The Dominion claimed they did not wish for Haelun'or to rejoin the nation in the first place, alleging that Haelun'or was detrimental to elven unity. Haelun'or viewed this as an advantageous outcome as they were finally separated from the other elven establishments.
A major world political shift next occurred in Axios, affecting both elven nations. Rebellion against Oren soon arose with the Courland again leading the charge of a coalition similar to the Axis Powers. Haelun'or initially supported Oren due to the acting leader Orisno Acal’elor being a puppet placed by Orenian leadership. The populous of Haelun'or had opposing opinions, though, and swiftly couped Orsino and replaced him with a more agreeable representative. This action officially signified the joining of Haelun'or to the rebellion forces of the Coalition War. The Dominion, as it always did, remained true to the Empire at the beginning. The leaders of the Dominion remained with Oren far into the war but promptly betrayed their former ally when they realized Oren was heading towards a disastrous defeat. While many did not believe Oren would fall at the beginning of the war, the impossible happened - Courland with the help of the Coalition forces reached the heart of Oren and claimed victory. The Holy Orenian Empire had fallen. Due to this, both the Dominion of Malin and Haelun'or were now truly free from human rule for the first time in decades.
Since then, not much has changed within the realm of the elves. The Dominion of Malin continues to exist with its wide acceptance of elven cultures while the High Elves of Haelun'or continue to pursue their ideal of maehr’sae hiylun’ehya. Though, one could say that relations have improved between the two nations as the years have passed. For now, things are calm within the lands of the Elves.
Elves have long ears, and tend toward fair skin and hair, just like Malin, their forefather. However, their time among nature has molded them toward a wide variety of appearances. Most Elves choose to keep their hair relatively long, with more active individuals braiding it back to keep it from interfering with their work. The length and texture of an Elf's hair usually speaks for their health and vigor, with longer and silkier locks considered almost seductive.
Elves are normally quite tall, usually reaching heights of five to seven feet tall.
Wood Elves (Elven: Mali'ame) have brown skin, ranging from a light tan to cocoa colored, and are the most likely of all the races to dye their hair green. Though it is usually a shade of dark red, wood elves are often also born as brunettes. On average they are the shortest of the elves, typically slightly smaller than the average human. Their size makes them the most agile and nimble sub-race, making them more suited for quick attacks and escapes in their favoured woodlands when they choose to fight. They live within their sacred forests, many take up druidism, while others simply live our their lives in coexistence with nature.
Those of the High Elf (Elven: Mali'Aheral) bloodline can usually be pointed out for their very long ears, platinum hair, and the golden tint to their fair skin. This tint is complemented by their hair, which is usually blonde, though silver and light brown hair is not unheard of. Their eyes range from hues of green to blue, occasionally even purple. It is also not uncommon for an High Elf's eye color to become darker as they age, revealing the accumulation of wisdom. They are the tallest of all elves, and are usually quite thin, making them the sub-race worst suited for physical combat.
Despite this they often excel at the use of arcane magic. They often have a strict code which governs their lives, and have a distinct hate for impurity and half-breeds.
Dark Elves (Elven: Mali'Ker) have quite dark skin, especially for Elves, usually twilight grey or obsidian, though rarely dark blue, with hair ranging from pale blue to black, but usually having white or silver hair as well. They are typically between the heights of their taller high elven and shorter wood elven brethren. They are also one of the most muscular elven sub-race, making them the best built for combat and the use of a sword. Though elven eyes are usually purple, blue, or green, and very rarely brown among Wood Elves, in rare cases, the eye color of a Dark Elf may include crimson or violet. They, like the High-Elves, have strict codes governing their lives, often not taking half-breeds into their city.
Snow Elves (Elven: Mali'Fenn) are generally as tall as a grown Human, usually ranging from 5'6 to 6'2. On average, they're muscular like their Dark Elven cousins due to the often harsh military training they take on as children. The average Mali’fenn has a hair color ranging from white to pale blonde, though light brown hair is not completely unheard of. Their eye colors range from white-silver to hyper blue, to a deep amethyst and everything in between. The Snow Elves are the most progressive people out of the Elven groups, making strict laws against discrimination and prejudice. They allow everyone within their borders but are still wary when it comes to other Elves, due to the multiple genocides made by their cousins. Their rigid government reflects the serious and militaristic personality of the Mali'Fenn people.
Elves develop very similarly to Humans for the first two decades, with both races reaching adulthood near the end of this time frame. Once this point is reached, physical advancement for an Elf slows down so much that it seems as if they aren't aging at all. Elves are also not burdened with the curse of mortality that is present in all Humans, leading to the oldest Elves having an age upwards of eight centuries. While they may be considered immortal by other races and even themselves, there have been cases of Elves dying of old age when they were older than 1000. Due to Elves still being affected by physical harm, such as disease, murder, and internal complications, it is highly unlikely for an Elf to live that long. As of the current date, there are only a few Elves left that are over 1200, as even the oldest Elves alive might not have met Malin, or were quite young when and if it happened. Despite the incredibly long lifespan, their mental progression does not slow. This can be attributed to the fact that "middle age" isn't reached in Elven culture until around five centuries after birth. For this reason, Elves advance their intelligence over many centuries, with relatively young Elves commonly being wiser than the oldest of Humans. Although an Elf reaches physical maturity within a couple decades Elven culture dictates that an Elf is not considered an adult for a longer time, usually half a century to a full century.
An interesting facet about Elven immortality is its eventual toll on the mind, which begins to unravel for Elves who make it to the old age of around a thousand years. As time goes on these Elves enter a state of insanity and lose any sort of mental coherency due to the shear amount of time they have existed. These eldest elves have seen numerous kingdoms rise and fall, dozens of generations of mortal friends perish, and even perhaps their families fading into time. This quite literally causes them to lose their minds.
Despite a common misconception, the majority of Elves have little understanding of Ancient Elven and have instead spoken the Common language for at least four centuries. Why the ancient tongue was abandoned has not yet been revealed, however, it has been speculated to have been deemed an illegal language, thus explaining the difficulty scholars have had in piecing together the ancient language. While steps have been made to educate the next generation of elves on their language of heritage, pronunciation remains the most elusive element and may be the missing link in the forgotten practice of encouraging the growth of nature through whispered words. There are a few living Elves who know the old language and as such it is difficult to piece the language together in modern times and more often than not, words are sacrificed to make way for the modern understandings. The language itself has evolved very little, perhaps this is the reason very few Elves understand it.
The curse of the Elves is one of infertility, with both men and women Elves suffering its ire; as do all Descendants of Malin, which means half-Elves will also inherit this curse.
Despite their curse, it is considered taboo for an Elf under 50 to have a child, as they are not considered a responsible adult until reaching their first half-century. Elven couples will spend many years together before being able to bear a child and pregnant Elven women are treated kindly within their communities. Each Elven sub-race has differing traditions or manners of celebrating such a rare occurrence. After giving birth a woman will not be able to have another child for at least ten to fifteen years afterward. When reaching about 500 years old, an Elf(both men and women) will become entirely sterile, never able to have a child again.
Blessed with long lives, Elves are sometimes considered a wise race, with such an abundance of time to learn from mistakes of their own making and those of others. Elven governments typically revolve around a central executive leader such as a Prince or Sohaer, and a council comprising of bloodlines, clans, tribes or noble houses, which give a voice to the general Elven population. Those Elves who practice skilled labour, a craft or such, often create exceptional works afforded by the time they're able to dedicate to them, and the ample time they have to hone their craft.