The Elves currently in Ereth are the decendents of the crews of an exploratory fleet that came from the Elven Kingdom of Tuatha. The fleet consisted of seven ships that were blown badly off course. Some suspect that the storms that caused this were not of natural origin.
The ships were adrift for several months with only the magics of crew members and occasional forays onto small islands for foodstuffs kept these elves alive before the shores of Ereth came into view. The ships anchored near a large island a few miles off-shore while the elves tried to decide what their next move should be.
After some days of observing the dense growth near shore the elves were fairly certain that the area was uninhabited and six of the seven ships decided to try for the shore. The crew of the seventh ship decided to stay behind and set up a colony of their own, they have become the Wild Elves of today.
The trial of the other six ships was not yet over, however. The next day, when they set out for the shore another fierce storm materialized. Fully one third of the elves on those ships were killed. It was some days before the survivors were able to fond each other.
Then the first schisms in this larger group began to appear. Some of the elves thought that, after plotting where they were, they ought to rebuild the ships and attempt to return to Tuatha. Others though they should settle where they were and live off the sea as they were all accustomed to doing and still another group had had enough of the sea altogether and suggested going inland and making a new life there.
The groups argued for days before it became apparent there would be no reconciliation. Those who wanted to live by the sea and those who wanted to try to return to Tuatha stayed by the shore and set about making new ships. Those that elected to stay became the Sea Elves of today. Those who wished to return to Tuatha boarded their ship and left, they were never heard from again.
The group that decided to move inland had been the largest of the three, and they tried to found their new colony as cooperatively as possible, but in the end disagreements were too rife and this group divided the Forest into three receptive territories and split into the groups that are the ancestors of the three Forest Tribes of today.
Each tribe took as its totem the mascot of the House of it first Chieftain. It was during these first days that the seemingly interminable conflict between the Nathireun and Valios tribes got its start. Before the three groups elected to part Velinna nic Nathireun and Cengarn ap Valios, first Chieftains of their respective tribes argued bitterly, and their differences eventually erupted into violence. It was then also that Kalinda nic Bavall began that tribe's tradition of peacemaking.
Minor skirmishes continued between the Nathireun and Valios for some dozen years before they had their first encounters with the races that were their new neighbors. Altoria was still divided, and one of the kings whose lands bordered the Forest attempted to expand, and thusly escape the growing dominance of the kingdom of Altoria.
This first contact between humans and elves established some of the Elven traditions that other races find odd. First, the Nathireun and Valios stopped hostilities almost immediately to ally against this new threat (but promptly went back to attacking each other after the victory). Second, an attempt by the humans to pass through the land held by the Sea Elves was met with immediate attack, establishing the informal alliance that exists between the two groups of elves to this day. And finally the Elves learned that humans did not abide by the same rules of honor they did, and further that sticking to those rules proves a serious disadvantage in dealing with the human attack.
The three Chieftains held a conference, it was then that both the Laws were officially drafted and the decision to set asides the rules of warfare if dealings with outsiders required it was made. Unfortunately the Forest Elves never did learn exactly what the human code of honor was. . .
However, it was not long before Altoria expanded even into these outer reaches of human habitation and put an end to such attacks.
Over the course of the next few decades the Elves had a few more conflicts with various human kings and bandits, sometimes there wasn't much difference between the two, as well as some bands of Orcs. It was during this period that the Elves decided on the current policy of sealing off the Forest from outsiders.
But the Elves were developing a problem. The exploratory vessels had included herbalists, various scholars, warriors, tanners, mages and even artists, but no metalsmiths and the violence of theses early years had taken it's toll on the supply of weapons the Elves had with them.Elven history would have gone very much differently had Cengarn and some of his men not most fortunately stumbled upon a small group of their nearest, but henceforth undetected neighbors, the Dwarves.
The Dwarves seem to be the only race the Forest Elves have gotten on with from the start. It took only a matter of weeks before a steady stream of Elven leather work, dyes, and crossbow quarrels were flowing into the Dwarven mines, and Dwarven swords and daggers back out. The Dwarves are the only other race the Elves have ever had a formal alliance with.
It was soon after the Dwarven trade was started that Elves had a nasty shock, they met their cousins: the Dark Elves. A warning from the Dwarves came too late to keep Kalinda nic Bavall from the fatal mistake of trusting the Dark Elves too far and she was succeeded by her son Halern. A brutal war, in which the Dwarves took part, ensued.
It was during the course of this war that Cengarn ap Valios, the oldest of the three Chieftains surrendered his position to his son Garat, establishing the tradition of patrilineal inheritance that the other tribes still despise. Velinna nic Nathireun fell to a poisoned blade not long after and was succeeded by her daughter Alindra.
The Dark Elf War continued to rage. Both sides employed powerful magics. When almost fifty years had passed with both sides holding even, the Sea Elves convinced a number of Wild Elf warriors to leave their island and join the battle, and the tide turned.
The end of the Dark Elf War marks the longest period of internal peace known to the Forest Elves. With the aid of their Dwarven allies the Elves searched out as many entrances to the Underrealm as could be found and sealed them with magics and stone. It was a long and nerve-racking endeavor, which frequently invloved battles with Dark Elves left guarding those gates to the surface. Halern was killed in one of these and was succeeded by his niece Mealia.
It was Mealia who established the Bavall trade fair. Alindra nic Nathireun and Garat ap Valios both perished in a renewal of the Nathireun-Valios conflict. Alindra had no children and was succeeded by her sister's daughter Caylin, Garat was succeeded by his son Arrin. Mealia attempted to arrange peace talks between the two, but succeeded only in establishing the Bavall territory as neutral ground.
Maelia died of natural causes and was succeeded by her daughter Linath. About this time the Forest Elves had a serious engagement with some of the increasingly bold goblin tribes coming from out of the Wildlands. Arrin ap Valios was killed, and succeeded by his son Camed, current chief of the Valios tribe. Caylin nic Nathireun was killed in a Dark Elf raid some five years later and succeed by her niece Nalea.
Linath attempted once again to bring the other two tribes to talks and though Camed seemed willing to consider the idea, Nalea refused, and the violence continued. She herself was killed in a minor skirmish three decades later and succeeded by her son Hdean, the tribal elders deeming his sister Leanna too unstable for the position. Hdean considered reopening the topic of formal peace talks but Leanna and her husband were adamantly opposed to the idea and too well-liked for Hdean to be comfortable taking such a step without their support, especially since his then recent wedding to Cyran nic Valios had caused a number of the war-band to be suspicious of his motives.
Ten years later Leanna and her husband were both killed, leaving their daughter Aristam to Hdean's care. She and Cyran took each other in instant and violent dislike.
Linath nic Bavall outlived both her daughters and was succeeded by her grandson Nilar. Five years after he became Chieftain Nilar tried to arrange peace talks between the Valios and Nathireun tribes, and to his shock succeeded.
That was twelve years ago and was the first attempt at last peace between the Valios and Nathireun tribes. Talks under the Nilar's aegis were (according to the Bavall) Successfully concluded between representatives of the two tribes. Camed sent his younger brother Rorig, and Hdean, his niece Aristam, whom the Nathireun say was as opposed to the talks as ever her parents were.
However, after the talks ended both the Valios and Nathireun delegations were attacked, and generally assumed to have been wiped out. Some half-dozen bodies were never found, among them Aristam nic Nathireun's.
Nilar ap Bavall has never publicly shared his beliefs about what happened then. Since then the Bavall have seen little of the other tribes and the rumors of a schism in the Nathireun tribe trouble him. Nilar has kept the traditional trade fairs going, despite a falling off of some merchandise.
The Bavall have managed to remain neutral in the Valios/Nathireun wars in the past, and continue to do.
Camed ap Valios had hoped to end (or at least cause a significant break in) hostilities with the Valios when he allowed Cyran to wed Hdean. However after the betrayal of the peace party he declared a state of open war. He blames the Nathireun, and believes that Aristam was at the root of the plot. Camed has made a public declaration that he will give a significant reward to anyone who turns her over to him (preferably alive; so the the gods can prove her guilt). He, too, has heard rumors of a Nathireun schism but counts them false.
Hdean ap Nathireun had also hoped his marriage would end hostilities (at least for his lifetime), but was quick to declare war after Camed did so. He has also offered a reward for Aristam's return, somewhat higher than Camed's, but the Nathireun are unclear as to his reasons.
Some of the Nathireun believe Aristam betrayed the peace party, but most do not. There has been a schism in the tribe. Some of the warriors who were most loyal to her parents, and then to her have left the village (though apparently not the territory, or the war) under the leadership of Hdean's youngest son Harec.
Though Aristam DID at lengh return to the Forest, and even prove heself innocent in trial. This schism has remained.
As was witnessed by strengh of arms the real betrayer of the peace talks was Cyran nic Valios she and those who aided her, including her eldest son paid the price for their crimes. It is said that Hdean was very grieved by this revelation, and may blame his neice for bringing it to light. Aristam has once again left the Forest.