The Three gave to us the gifts to tend to the garden of endless variety which is the world. We are not masters of what is in the world, we are meant to guide it through the generations and nurture the potential it has to be a true reflection of the divinity which created it. Our place is not to lead, but to teach.
OverviewElves are among the oldest of races in the world, and have been long associated with various magic arts. They are exceptionally long-lived, often living for centuries unless sickness or injury intervenes. This means they value taking the time to perform a task properly, or to plan out an action to achieve the desired results. It is said among other races, "Elves are slow to act, but when they act they do not do so lightly." Some even claim elves never make mistakes, a fiction elves willingly cultivate in the 'younger races' to amuse themselves. This is one of the few things the long-lived have to amuse themselves in the world, as most other tasks fall victim to the intense focus of the elven mind. When looking outside themselves at the rest of the world, an elf most often does not see something which must be mastered, or could be claimed. Rather, it is seen as a place to shepherd and nurture to achieve the fullest of potentials. Even artistic expressions are seen less as "creation" and more akin to "letting the true essence be revealed"; this includes other artistic creations such as poetry or songs, seen as a way for the writer to evoke what they feel this "true essence" is. Other races thus often find elven art quite puzzling, though of exquisite quality.
The DivideDespite having many apparent similarities, elvenkind is a race divided deeply based on their perspective on the world and where they should stand in it. Weathering untold numbers of centuries, the high houses of nobility reside in well-hidden cities on the edges of the Faeweald and Material Plane. Alternatively, there are the so-called "wild elves", who act as caretakers of wilderness on the edges of civilization and try to foster a delicate balance of coexistence. The beliefs on either side of the divide have become a tangled sea of distant events, half-true memories, and rationalizations about which is better for the world.
The high elves are descended from the ancient houses of nobility, and those who chose to remain in the hidden cities. They do not often venture forth from these cities without a good reason to do so, and hold dear the values of family traditions and stylish flair. Wild elves are descended from those who left the elven cities and struck out to honor the natural world and seek a balance between the civilized folk and the wild lands. Their values tend to be centered more around working with a purpose, and being caretakers of whatever areas they feel drawn to.
Rumors persist of other divided elves who have fractured from these two cultures and founded their own traditions, but evidence and knowledge of them are hard to find. It is generally accepted the so-called "dark elves" are a legend told to frighten young children, and referring to them in the presence of an elf is considered anywhere from ignorant to insulting,
HomelandAs there are divisions among elvenkind, the question "what is the elven homeland?" is difficult to answer. Each of the high houses maintains a city, and many of their wild kin do not precisely have a singular place to point to on a map and say "here". The hidden cities are nigh impossible to reach without a guide of some sort, letting there be many rumors and tales about how to reach them. Wild elves are more likely to list a geographic feature they hold a special attachment to, such as a stretch of forest or hills, instead of political boundaries. An answer of "I am from Greywild Forest, and serve Lord Everbright" is sufficient, while other races might instead list a city or nation.
Outside of these cases, there are small numbers of elves who gather in the major cities; they do not necessarily join together, nor do they see other elves as kindred as readily as one might think. To be part of the city means to be in service to the city itself as an entity, not to whomever is its ruler at the time. These are among the many reasons other races tell their children to be cautious dealing with elves.
Favored DeitiesSee also: "The Will of the Seasons"
Within the long course of an elf's life, there is one constant they can rely on to continue existing: the cycle of seasons. As such, elves came to change their trust in the seasonal cycle to a veneration of what each season had come to mean for them as a people. From there, four beings known collectively as 'The Will of the Seasons' came to exist. These Gods are not directly worshipped in the same manner as the Twelve are in the Empire, as the Seasons take on a much more passive role in how the world exists.