It is known by all people on Trudvang that the elves live on Soj, a mythic archipelago far in the south in the stormy Althissea. They came from beyond the rim of Trudvang, where everything is dark and cold and silent. Like spears of burning starlight, they blasted down upon the surface of the world with their gods and makers, the Vaniir. When the elves and the Vaniir came to Trudvang, many things had already been shaped and crafted. But this new people of starlight came to grow and make many things of their own. They laid seeds in the earth that soon blossomed into forests deep and enchanted, and thus together with their gods they created much of the world that is know today, including their home of Soj. They made it into a place of untamed nature unlike many other places in Trudvang. The stormy Althissea smashes against great jagged sea rocks that rise so high that those who have never seen them could not fathom their enormity. The forests are so deep and the gnarly dwarf pines grow so tightly next to each other upon dark lyktgubbe moss that not even the most skilled adventurer can hope to traverse them without risking becoming lost forever within.
The land has been allowed to become like this since so few humans have settled upon Soj. Apart from the island of Dalheim (ruled by Stormlanders) and parts of Edras (settled by Thronelanders), elves rule supreme on Soj. They do not interfere with nature. They do not farm the land or cut down trees to fuel furnaces. No, they live in harmony with the land, and they do not stay in one place very long to avoid harming the flora around them. Like nomads, they move from place to place, ever seeking to uphold the balance of nature.
To understand who the elves are today, one must understand their history and their relationship with their gods, the Vaniir. For the times of prosperity and beauty would not last for long on Soj. The wurms, dragons, came from their blackened pits and spread their dark wings to take Trudvang as their own realm of chaos. The elves and the Vaniir rushed to defend their creation and defy the dragons. The two battled side by side, the Vaniir seemingly unscathed by dragonfire, and together they turned the tide and held back the oncoming darkness. But so it was that one day the elves went to do battle, and the Vaniir did not join them. The elves were abandoned by their makers and had to face their foes alone. The Vaniir watched from afar as many elves fell to the fire of the dragons hiding in the shadows. And so, in the end, the elves paid a mighty price for their hard-won victory against the dragons. When the elves sought the Vaniir to ask why they had turned their backs in their people’s hour of need, the gods were not there anymore. The Vaniir had left Trudvang and returned to the cold darkness whence they came. Unable to follow their gods, the elves could do nothing but watch the stars grow ever smaller in the night sky as the Vaniir drifted farther and farther away.
And so the elves were left to themselves. They wandered, unsure what to do with themselves now that the Vaniir were gone. Soon they found that they were beginning to grow old. Time had caught up to them, for when the Vaniir left, they took with them the elves’ immortality. The elves began to die, as they had never done before. Generation by generation, their bloodline grew thinner and thinner and the lives of elves grew shorter and shorter. From this almost cataclysmic change, two groups began to take shape: the bright Illmalaini and the dark Korpikalli. The star elves and the dark elves. The two peoples were divided in their view of the gods. The dark elves cursed the Vaniir and raised their fists in anger toward the makers that had left them, vowing never again to acknowledge the gods or call upon them. The star elves, however, sought to understand the gods and why they left Trudvang. They view this time as a trial that they are meant to overcome, so they must persevere and not lose faith.
Very few elves remain on Trudvang from the time of the Vaniir. Those that do can be found only in dreams and visions.
Toikalokke is the name for the divine practice learned by elven stargazers and priests (though the elves call them the high gifts, after the high gods). Those who master these gifts are called Ihana. The elves believe that the stars that shine in the night sky are in fact signs of the Vaniir, drifting in the void. The Ihana decipher the stars with the help of their star harps to contact the departed gods, the Vaniir. By using their star harps they can know if the gods are coming closer or drifting farther away and perhaps what their intent is. By doing so, they learn the ways of the gods, what trials they have placed upon the elves, and how the elves might again walk in their bright starlight. Some elves decipher the stars to understand current events, to draw power, to gain advice on what to do next, or simply to meditate and calm their senses.