Like the other Homo sapiens subspecies, elves evolved from primates on the continent of Africa, 1.8 million years ago. While they co-existed with other races for a time, elves preferred more solitary lives and as such were among the first of these races to migrate elsewhere, travelling to northern Europe along with the dwarves. They eventually settled in what would eventually be known in the modern day as the Baltic states, as well as small parts of Germany and Poland, the Netherlands, areas of Scandinavia such as Finland and Norway, and in Russia, further to the east.
Bronze and Iron AgeEdit
Having settled far away from ancient Mesopotamia and West Asia, the elves remained insular and almost entirely self-sufficient, having little need for trade from fledgling human civilisations. There is some circumstantial evidence dated between 1700-500 BC that elves used Areum to alter trees and sometimes entire forests to help ward off outsiders and keep them hidden away from the outside world. Unfortunately, such protections would only last so long.
The elven communities in Western Europe were not so lucky, living close to the Celtic tribes of Gaul-- if the barbarians would not claim them, the Roman legions under the command of Julius Caesar in 58-50 BC would march upon their homes and either captured or killed all they found. Few survived, and those who did were forced into slavery or became gladiators. When Rome collapsed in 476 CE, elves had disappeared almost entirely from Germany and the Netherlands, their inherent distrust of outsiders only further exacerbated by their treatment at Roman hands. Swathes of their cultures, ancient sagas and traditions were lost, either to time, or destroyed by humans.
During the Viking Age, the elves in the north and east became increasingly active. Venturing away from their homes in Scandinavia and the Baltic nations, they began to trade with both dwarves and human wizarding communities, imparting upon them their secrets to manipulating Areum, and in the process, teaching many of them how to perform magic. A strong alliance between these factions was born as a full-scale cultural exchange occurred, engaging in commerce and even accompanying humans and dwarves on religious endeavours. It was during this period that elves discovered the existence of the phenomena known as "Sentience of Steel," and shared this information with their newfound trading partners.
However, the Roman Catholic Church eventually found out about these developments and feared that these wizards, their newfound allies, and what they could accomplish with Areum. In 1195 CE, Pope Celestine III officially declared the use of the "crimson æther" as heresy, sealing the magical alliances' fate and beginning a full-scale genocide of the elves and their wizard allies. Ironically, in many cases, the very weapons used against them were the same that they had once instructed others how to use. Many of them died to the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order during the Northern Crusades, forcing the survivors to flee further east or towards the Scandinavian Peninsula in mourning, stung by the betrayal and shunning any further contact with the other races. Initially, the dwarves were not targeted due to their better standing with humanity and their technological advancement, but even they were not spared, and the elves came to despise them for their compliance with the Church.
Age of Sail and RenaissanceEdit
During this time the vast majority of elves stayed in hiding in fear of further persecution. It was also during this time that the practice of clipping their ears to appear more human first appeared, as a (often ineffective) method of evading unpleasant encounters. It is thought that this is how elves first migrated to the new world, using this disguise to first make the crossing and then slip away deeper into the unexplored interior of the new continents. This would result in more than one elvish enclave forming in relative harmony with the native Americans, and the resulting tales of horror passed on to the natives caused them to offer a more determined resistance to the invaders. Unfortunately for both, however, this proved futile in the end.
The industrial revolution brought with it a slight thawing of humans religious and racist fervor, and thus a slight betterment of the state the elves found themselves in. Elves began to attempt to reintegrate into the evolving global society, though they were generally treated as second-class citizens. While science had brought the prosperity of industrialization, the intellectual crafts were still very much in their infancy, with the more physical (and thus thought more practical) arts being valued over them. As industrialism marched on, even these arts fell out of favor, replaced by wage labor and factory work. With their preferred form of work devalued, elves likewise found themselves further devalued, and lacking a solid cultural basis for their racial identity, either began to retreat within their own communities or to intermarry and merge with humans.
By the 20th century, the state of elves was better than it had been since the 10th century one thousand years before. With the enlightenment and growth of science came trades where they could excel, elves began to throw off the shackles of prejudice that had bound them. Elvish communities, aside from the fiercely isolationist kingdoms in their Scandinavian homelands, became more open to other races. Elves living outside of these communities and their descendants who had intermarried with humans began to further merge and identify with the cultures that they found themselves in. This, in Europe at least, would very nearly prove their utter undoing.
When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, his first targets were the gypsies. But Jews, Elves, and anyone else who opposed him were quick to follow. As World War II broke out and the final solution slowly evolved into it's final, terrible form, elves became the third largest demographic in the concentration camps, after Jews and political prisoners. It is thought that eighty percent of polish and german elves were killed during this time, along with innumerable others in the nations that the Nazis occupied. This second betrayal prompted the majority of remaining kingdoms to close their borders entirely at the end of the war, aided by the newly created UN, and most of the surviving European elves flocked to them in search of safety.
The elvish kingdoms today are nearly universally xenophobic and isolationist, one example being the Kingdom of Tralar, which refuses to even acknowledge the existence of land beyond its borders. Others are less isolationist, but nearly all of them refuse to admit any races other than elves. There have been numerous accounts of humanoid rights violations occurring in these isolated kingdoms, but due to the UN continuing to enforce their sovereignty at gunpoint, nothing has been done so far.
Outside of the kingdoms, elves living in human society have tended to form sub-communities within the larger human one, often manifesting as gated neighborhoods in the US. Due to their small numbers, however, to maintain the continued viability of their gene pool elves often leave the community into which they were born and settle into another one. Today, elves are considered a vulnerable species and most governments offer additional incentives to elvish couples to attempt to increase the number of children produced.
Elves are extremely tall (average height being about 6-8 feet) and thin compared to the other humanoid species. Typical elves have pale, sometimes sallow skin with long black hair, and possess ears tapering into a point. Elves rarely grow facial hair, but those that do are capable of growing notably large quantities of it.
A congenital allergy to metallic iron is common, especially in the elves of Annwn, which takes the form of itchy contact dermatitis. As of the early 2000s it is easily treatable to those elves that live in technologically advanced areas.
Elves have a higher average IQ and ability to assimilate and apply information than Humans. Because of this ability Norlar was able to become fluent in English in only two years as well as 'catch up' on world history, technology, linguistics, mathematics, the sciences, and customs. He generally only has to be told something once before memorizing it completely and being able to apply it. It is because of this accelerated brainpower that he was able to assimilate rather quickly into the modern world. This super-intelligence is the reason for the word "illustratum" in their scientific name, meaning 'enlightened' or 'illuminated'.
This has been lamented as a waste of potential by some, including Norlar himself, in light of the fact that Elves have stagnated and regressed themselves, at the cost of so many potential achievements that could have been made from this biological advantage.
They have a somewhat higher proclivity towards magic than Human beings.
- The typical elf is classified as a Type-I Elf due to not possessing any extraordinary powers and in effect representing the typical example of the species.
- Elves with the disposition to manipulate Red Matter are classified as Type-II Elves. Wizards have been believed to have existed throughout all of Elven history, though not many were able to use their powers until the Industrial Revolution era where Rm became more commonplace and more easily accessible.
Legal Status Edit
Discrimination against Elves is illegal in the United States.
The UN Declaration of Universal Humanoid Rights explicitly outlines rights that must be guaranteed to all humanoid beings regardless of their origin, social status or creed. However this declaration is not enforced nor is it respected by all of the UN's member states, resulting in some countries whose human leaderships are notorious for suppressing even their own human populations, let alone Elves.