The Game of Many Things
Highest of the High…
The high elves have a longer recorded history than any of the other races, but for such a long-lived culture, a surprising amount of their written history has been lost. More specifically, everything prior to the Exodus is gone.
But the high elves don't seem to care that much. Their attitude towards the catastrophe that forever exiled the wood elves from Thoana is one of wry amusement. They are better off without their wilder kin around, anyway. Almost as far from their neighboring countries as it was possible for them to build, the high elves erected their capital city and then spent the following centuries sculpting, crafting, and perfecting it as a work of exquisite beauty. From there, their high council sits and ponders law and justice. High elves exist in a state of indefinable morals. There is no black and white to them, which makes the execution of their legislature a complicated business indeed.
Unlike the dwarves, who were embroiled in a bitter war for many years, the high elves tend to avoid large-scale conflicts by simply keeping themselves to themselves. If you find a high elf in the wilderness beyond Thoana's borders, chances are that it is not of their own accord. However, some do succumb to the universal wanderlust and may spend several decades wandering Taalenar, raining disdain and disapproval on what they most likely see as a quaint but lesser attempt at civilization.
Needless to say, while their goods are rare and valuable works of art, most people find the high elves themselves to be unbearable assholes.
Lowest of the Low…
Verbal accounts fail to detail the calamity that drove the wood elves from Thoana, but common consensus is that it was punishment for hubris and it won't be long before the high elves suffer an equally awful fate. The other nations of Taalenar were not exactly open to the idea of the wood elves resettling within their borders, what with their racial history of catastrophic bad luck, and thus began their lives of constant wandering.
Since an entire race cannot travel the roads together, even with how reduced their population had become, the wood elves broke apart into caravans lovingly called Families. Self-governed by the heads of each Family, these groups often intermingle to share goods, news, and gossip. While they may have an unearned reputation for being untrustworthy, most wood elves strive to be open and honest, and their deeply held belief that pride was their original downfall has led them to practice humility in almost everything they do. Despite this, wood elves often find themselves turned away in their time of need.
Generally the self-sufficient wood elves have little need for cash money and excel at bartering goods and services for whatever they cannot provide for themselves. Many Families, though, find it expedient to have a couple of members who integrate into the wider world and earn a small stock of coin for when trade just won't get the job done. These elves find work wherever the can as merchants, wayfinders, even mercenaries. Known to be jovial and relaxed as a whole, anyone who aids a wood elf will find in them a grateful friend; cross one, however, and you will find a stubborn and persistent antagonist.