The Elves walked beside the gods in the youth of the world. Favored among Tavril’s creations, they were given long life, wisdom, and an affinity for the land. In return for these many gifts, the gods appointed them stewards of Telara, to watch over the wilds and defend the other races from all threats. The Elves took to this task with natural elegance and focus and guarded Telara with wisdom, magic, faith, and skill for thousands of years.
Wardens of all life, the Elves were unprepared to pay the toll of duty. It was not the Bloodstorm that whittled away their numbers, nor any war with the other races, but the many temptations of the world. First, the fiery Kelari broke the covenant, following their passions and conflicts to distant islands. Then, as the other mortal races built great cities, more and more Elves forsook their calling, laid aside the warden’s burden, and settled down to live easy, peaceful lives.
Those who still held to their task called themselves the High Elves. They kept the covenant, and from their home in Silverwood they walked the wild spaces of Telara, enforcing Tavril’s will with arrow’s sting and arcane wrath. Secretive, keeping their agenda even from the people they protected, the High Elves were often treated with suspicion and fear. High Elves have ever taken the long view and did not always work towards the same goal as the local farmers or sheriff: was the Elf there to save the villagers from the wolves, or the wolves from the villagers?
When the Mathosian tyrant Aedraxis pledged himself to Regulos, the High Elves debated throwing their limited numbers against the grotesque legions summoned by the Endless Court. The Prince of the Elves, Hylas, argued against committing to open battle in what he saw as a Mathosian problem. So Shyla Starhearth, High Priestess of Tavril, made an impassioned plea imploring the assembled Elves to take arms against the mad king and the dire threat he posed to all Telara.
Most of the High Elves were moved by Shyla’s words, but Hylas’s royal House Aelfwar chose to stay and safeguard Silverwood. None of the Elves who fought beside Shyla survived when Aedraxis released the rifts, though their sacrifice helped keep the disaster from becoming an apocalypse. They returned to Telara as Ascended to find their kinsmen in Silverwood different, distant, loyal only to the Prince. Yet another schism rent the Elven community, as House Aelfwar departed, wanting no part of the Ascended High Elves or Tavril.
When the rifts came, Tavril became part of the joined godhead called the Vigil, ceasing to be a single god with a favored race. As a greater entity, the Vigil required a stronger bond with its followers and so forged a new covenant with the Ascended Elves. Those High Elves who sacrificed themselves against Aedraxis have pledged evermore to deliver Telara from darkness. And never shall they buckle, flinch, or retire from their burden again.