The Infinite World
Elves. Depending on where you are in the Infinite World, the word conjures up a variety of feelings. To those who live in on the borders of their rangings, it is a word that brings fear, the taste of smoke, and the smell of fire and blood. To those farther away, it is a byword for savagery and barbarism. To all, it brings to mind conflict and war.
Legends among all peoples tell of a time in the past when, however improbable this might seem, the elves were a peaceful people, living in great forest retreats. Some tales tell of whole forests moving overnight, or springing to life in the span of a week. There is one constant to all the tales, however. Long ago, something changed. The forests died, or dissapeared, and over time rose vast expanses of savannah and grassland in their stead. The elves left their ancestral halls within the Rim, and boiled out into the wastes left in the wake of the forests. Peoples who did not adequately defend themselves from the elven hordes were destroyed, their cities burned and citizens sold into slavery. Ever since those days, the elves have been the nomadic reavers and horselords that they are now. No city within a weeks ride of their domain is safe, and although individual groups have been defeated and scattered, there are many more where they came from.
Elvish adventurers are few and far between, and are likely not to be welcomed on towns bordering the steppe. Typically, they leave their hordes because they have either been cast out, or are seeking glory which they can then leverage in political struggles in the future.