Part 70: Regarding the Ancient ElvesRegarding the Ancient Elves
The elves of ancient days were the first people in either world to develop true wizardry, although for many years their wizards were weak by the standards of the Confederation or of modern wizards. We of modern days have the learning of the Confederation to build upon, which is no small advantage. With this advantage, their various little kingdoms were slowly unified into three larger kingdoms ruled each by a wizard-lord. Ancient elves favored an inheritance law wherein daughters inherited before sons, and most of their rulers were daughters of the elves. By tradition they honored the gods to some extent, particularly the Serene Mother or Great Lady as they called her, although a meditative practice with little reference to the gods existed alongside it. When they were unified into the three kingdoms, policies were advanced by each of their wizard-lords which shaped their religion- neither Entaia nor Elwen, leaders of those who would become the high elves, were followers of the gods, and they sought to curb the influence and prestige of the priesthood. Under their rule, reverence for the gods waned. Elaissea, for her part, was a pacted wizard of the Dark Gods, and she deliberately cultivated a strengthening of the cults of the Dark Gods, largely choking out the meditative practices which had earlier endured.
Even in those days the elves were lovers of trees, and they developed the treetop dwellings which we see now amongst the dark elves at about the time of the rise of Rjak the Defiler. Their skills in metalwork and engineering were yet to become terribly well-developed, although they built weapons and armor serviceable enough- it was contact with dwarven techniques that advanced many of their skills in crafts and engineering, as they led to many new things that were learned by the high men. Thralldom was practiced irregularly amongst them, although Entaia abolished the practice in her own territories after she took the crown, while Elaissea eventually made thralldom the very backbone of her society. Magicians lesser than true wizards were yet very highly regarded, and the elves proved very apt for magic.
With the eventual schism between elves, they developed into the dark elves and those elves who became known as the high elves when the Confederation was formed. The high elves, although more similar to the archaic culture, had themselves changed over time, and fortune was not kind to their people when the Confederation finally fell.