Long ago, in the ancient legends, Elves and Man united to free the lands from the Dark Forces that controlled it. It is said that at the same time, they freed the Dwarfs from their slavery to the Dark Ones. However, as the years rolled on, Elves became distant from Man, instead choosing to sail the seas in search of their ancestral homes. Every now and again, Elves would turn up in a city or strange place, looking for clues.
Now, with the Doom of Man upon the lands, Elves have shunned Man. At one time, the ports would be filled with Elvish mariners. Now, few have ever seen an Elvish ship and fewer still have met Elves face to face. None know where they have gone.
There seem to be new sightings of Elves on the frontiers, seeking lost knowledge and information on what is going on. In Enonia, there have been several adventuring elves seen, and word that a band of Seekers had been encountered. It could be that the Elves are becoming more bold in their Search for hidden knowledge. In 56AD, an Elven Conclave was held in the port town of Skalfier. After a group of adventurers turned up information from the Athenum, the elves decided to perform a Search to the lost city of Ramathia.
Elves closely resemble humans in their appearance. They are lithe but strong. They are fair-skinned with light hair - either blonde or brown. Elves are typically about 5 1/2 feet tall, shorter on average than most humans. Most elves have been to sea many times, so the elder elves will have lines and weathered features from the salt and sun. They range in height/weight and in features - just as there are many types/looks of humans, so too is that true for elves.
Elves are not terribly long lived, the oldest are 130 to 140 years of age. Most live to about 110 - 120.
It has been known that elves and humans can intermingle and have children - the half-elves are typically shunned by both races as a societal norm. They randomly have features of either race.
Elves (like littlelings) do not have a specific religious belief, rather viewing the worship of gods to be some strange madness shared by humans and "other" races. At the same time, they don't discount the power of mind and good intent when witnessing divine power (clerics/druids).
As elves are organized by "ship's crews" (clans), they also populate their lands by clans. Most clans get along just fine, but each clan has their own buildings and lands. Some clans have more lands (bigger ships) than others. Other clans don't own lands ("shipless") and become workers/servants to those who do. Each clan has a standard and will fight to the death to protect that standard (or any official copy of it.)
A set of chosen elf families head to a specific place (usually a port) where they will plan the next search to find their homelands - then set sail. Members of the selected crew travel on land in a symbolic pilgrimage while the rest of the family sail the ship to the selected port. The banners that the pilgrims hoist are family flags that have specific designs on them to indicate the honor of performing the Search. The Conclave is held once every ten years.