Elves

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The Elves are widely considered by outsiders to be a doomed people, and an undeniable strain of pessimism and cynicism runs through elves in general. Outsiders do not interact with elves in significant quantities, so all their conception of them is informed by myth and speculation, having had essentially no presence on the mainland for at least a thousand years. As such, elves once largely occupied a place of mythology, either cruel or kind depending on region. Since the Schism War, the number of elves being exiled has increased dramatically, although Sidhe exiles are cagey as to why. As such, the presence of elves on the mainland has gone from "impossibly rare" to "once in a lifetime experience." This has made them less exotic in urban areas, but perhaps even more feared in remote villages. The return of Demi-Sidhe to the Mainland has also renewed interest in elven life and society.

Although in the past they were quite numerous, they are now almost entirely isolated to the isles of Sidhe-Praxen. The number of elves in the known world is quite small, probably in the low five-figures, and is assumed to be stagnant, if not in decline. For many centuries, the elves have all-but-closed themselves off from the world. They conduct only the most limited trade, and outsiders are forbidden in all but one Sidhe city. Elves, likewise, are forbidden from leaving, and those who do are never allowed to return.

History

[ed: this is a lightly formatted Discord dump]

  1. Primal Age - Same as everyone else - who fucking knows? Maybe they weren't there?
  2. Time of the Eight - Live in what is now the (Dust) Valley of the Sidhe, which was then a dense temperate forest. Probably the tree hugging elves of trope, but who knows all this stuff is possibly lies anyway.
  3. First War - The first elf dies at the hand of another elf and for the next 2,000 years it's War in Heaven and on Earth type stuff.
  4. Early Age of Demigods - All of the new gods, who live side by side with mortals, get up to a lot of mischief. Particularly in the offspring department, though Elves are for sure the worst of the lot. A lot of fractional-god Gilgamesh-types go on to cause their own mischief. Eventually the gods all agree - or force the resisters - to retreat to the outer planes and lock themselves out of the world. Possibly a series of Usurper assassinations contributed to this decision.
  5. Middle Age of Demigods - Elves watch (along with Dwarves) as Ubrekt goes ham all over like 3/5ths of the Mainland. After the Halflings and Gnomes are swallowed by the Ubrekt war machine, Dwarves, Elves, and Humans come to a three party agreement that has Gnomes force migrated to Dwarven lands.
  6. Late Age of Demigods - A single generation of elves continue to get up to mischief with neighboring human lands, but treat the resulting offspring as second class people and develop a caste system that has half-elves doing all the shit work. All the half-elves in the elven lands, anyway. The half elves in the human lands work to arm and aid their cousins and eventually there is a Soviet style coup that sees the elves undergo a bloodbath that includes the slaughter of the vast majority of the elven royals . The survivors retreat to what is now Sidhe-Praxen to forge a new society. The victors on the mainland begin a rapid process of development that involves clear-cutting the forests, but political cohesion never occurs and the region becomes Greek-style city states that constantly fight with one another. Over the centuries, the Elves-in-Exile become master navigators and sovereigns of the sea. Elven naval hegemony allows them to become the dominate power on the mainland in the wake of the breakup of the Ubrekti empire.
  7. Early Alexandrian Age - Turmoil has returned to the Sidhe realm. The size of the Elven navy requires a lot more manpower than can be provided, and so another caste system has developed - this time military: A Sidhe officer corp reigning over human and half-elf enlisted. By the advent of Alexandria, the Sidhe navy is dealing with widespread and coordinated mutinies and the elven island is dealing with a small but persistent insurrection. The elven princess, Marwynn has run away from an arranged marriage to get into mischief with some Petaran rogue, which is roundabout how she got swept up into the Alexandria Saga. Skipping ahead, she unlocks a reservoir of divine power and becomes a low-grade demigod. After hearing news of her father's death in the unrest, she returns home and assumes power. The navy focuses on keeping the besieged forces of the absconded Alexandria in supply while Marwynn focuses on putting down the insurrection and doing some genocide. (Origins of 99.99% of current setting half elves) That's like the next ten years.
    1. Formation of Church - Alexandria finally returns, uses prior knowledge to unlock all the other obelisks and become the first Greater God in thousands of years. That also breaks the bad guy's prison, which was expected, and she decides to take the war to the enemy, with mixed results. A hell of a lot of elves die in this endeavor, but Marwynn was apparently left alone to do her cleansing in exchange for her support. In the first century or two, the elves are strong supporters of the growing Alexandrian church and Marwynn even becomes one of its leaders. She has a half-elven child with another member of Alexandria's inner circle turned Church Co-Founder. The Gnomes - who have been rabidly anti-monarchist since their exile and are now in possession of their old homeland - straight up kill the guy out of fear that she is angling to establish a hereditary church. Which, you know, she probably was.
    2. Marwynn nopes out and turns the elven people towards a policy of isolationism and de-evolution. Cities are abandoned, society is dismantled, and elves revert to whatever their queen imagines their idyllic past once looked like. Over the centuries, the past is forgotten and Marwynn transitions into her position as the figure of the Lady of the Mountain, abandons the church, and turns towards a sort of police state run by shapeshifting druids.
  8. 1,400 years later - more or less - a war in the church broke out. As a function of that conflict, a small number of #7 Era half-elves who hid from Marwynn by turning into statues are unfrozen and - for whatever reason - are left alone.
  9. 100 or so years later, aka present game setting - Elven exiles, once very rare sights, now become just rare as more and more elves are kicked out.