Total IK Population: 830,000

There are actually two types of elves in the Iron Kingdoms, the elves of Ios, and the Nyss, also known as the winter elves. The Nyss are a very small offshoot of the most common elf, numbering approximately 10,000, almost all of whom live isolated deep in the northern mountains of Khador. The vast majority of elves in the Iron Kingdoms dwell in the hidden land of Ios, shunning all contact with outsiders.

Elven history is perhaps the richest of all the races of the Iron Kingdoms, but they are so secretive and paranoid of other races that few know of their background, legends, or beliefs. To humanity in particular they are an enigma, one which has vexed them for millennia. Some few elves do venture out of Ios, and elven diplomats have established cool and aloof contact with the leaders of all the kingdoms of mankind. There are also those who have been exiled from their homeland or driven by their own purposes to a life of exploration and adventure, but elves remain a very rare sight in the human cities.

Unknown to all except dwarven scholars, the elves have not always called Ios their home. Perhaps four millennia ago, the elves came into the region as a ragtag assortment of refugees. They fled some great disaster to the east, and hid in the land of Ios alongside their living gods. The dwarves made peaceful contact with their new neighbors but found them cold and unfriendly even in those days, refusing all offers of aid or support. Since those first days a veil of secrecy has always clouded the civilization of the elves, and only escorted and carefully watched outsiders are allowed within its borders. The dwarves claim they used to have more contact with the elves in days of old, and that things have become particularly difficult in the last few centuries. There are also rumors of a desperation among the elves, and violent radicals who have banded together to strike out against the other people of the region. Elven exiles have been implicated in a number of recent crimes, increasing the wariness that humans have always felt for their secretive neighbors.

The truth is every elf knows a secret pain and agony for they know their last goddess will likely die within their lifetime, and with her the doom of all their people. The elves face imminent extinction, a fact which weighs on the mind of even the most carefree and debauched of their number. Some seek to ignore this ominous truth by fleeing into a life of adventure and pleasure, while others hold onto hope and feel their fate can be avoided by heroic deeds. Others are bitter and angry and look everywhere for enemies to blame, targets upon which to vent their rage.

It should be noted the Nyss tribes of the north do not seem as concerned for their future as the elves of Ios, perhaps because of their own religion and patron. Yet, they are similarly isolated and do not freely mingle with other races.

Language Info: The elves of Ios speak Shyr, unquestionably the most complex language of the Iron Kingdoms, and the most difficult to learn. Shyr has not changed significantly in millennia, so its roots are unknown. Written Shyr is a nightmare to learn as there is no actual alphabet and every word has its own written symbol. The Nyss do not speak Shyr, but instead use a much simpler language called Aeric. Literacy is not common among the Nyss.

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