Translator:Atlas StudiosEditor:Atlas Studios
Even for the collection of herbs, the Elves had their own set of rules. Different sets of restrictions had limited the annual production. In fact, it was precisely the presence of the Elves that allowed the Emerald Forest to continue producing precious herbs 1,000 years after the end of the Dark Age. Without the Elves protection, a forest 10 times bigger than the Emerald Forest would have been completely exploited by greedy humans.
Actually, Elves werent the first inhabitants of the Emerald Forest. During the Dark Age, Elves lived as the slaves of the High Elves. Though Elves were similar to the High Elves in almost every aspect, even the names of their race, these names were only used by humans and other non-elven races. During that time, Elves had a status even lower than humans, who were also controlled by the High Elves.
The beauty and gentle nature of Elves didnt bring them good luck. They were beloved by the High Elves, but the way High Elves showed their love for Elves was by possessing them as their own slaves. Of course, losing freedom was still a little better than extinction.
As Elves were often close servants of the High Elves and had appearance that High Elves liked, something that often happened in the human race became a common occurrence among the High Elves. The outcome of this was that the bloodline of Elves and High Elves started to mix, and a group of Elves with the blood of High Elves emerged.
The truth was that how the High Elves and Elves reproduced remained a mystery to many people. However, due to the strikingly perfect appearances of Elves and High Elves, many speculations and wild guesses began to spread. After all, Elves with the blood of High Elves really existed.
There was even a rumor that said the current Elf Queen was the illegitimate daughter of the last Queen of High Elves. Of course, this was just a rumor with no concrete evidence. After all, nobody dared to look for evidence, as he would be subjected to the wrath of all the Elves.
Elves were never friendly to humans even 1,000 years after the Dark Age. The dislike Elves had towards humans was even greater than that of dwarves, those messy alcoholics. The reason for that, many knew, was that the appearance of Elves made them desirable to humans as well.
Towards the end of the Dark Age, humans and other races collaborated to oppose the control of the High Elves. Elves also made use of this opportunity to break loose from slavery. However, this wasnt the end of the Elvess suffering. What they had the face was all the other races who had lost their sanity, overwhelmed by the joy of victory after defeating the High Elves.
The overthrow of the High Elves signified the end of their cruel hegemony and the Dark Age. However, this was the real beginning of the Dark Age for Elves. After defeating the High Elves, Elves became the common target of all intelligent species on the continent. Nowhere in the whole of Anril was the Elves home.
That was certainly the darkest period of Elven history. Though the High Elves had restricted their freedom, theyd still ensured the continuity of their race. Other races, including humans, however, vowed to kill off the entire Elven race just like what theyd done to the High Elves. Although there were some people who captured Elves as playthings for humans, nobody dared to keep Elves in secret, fearing the wrath of the whole Anril
During that darkest period, escape was the main problem to the Elves. Yet, even the powerful High Elves couldnt escape the fate of extermination, so how could Elves survive the attacks from all other races? As a result, there were only a few hundred Elves alive during the most difficult period, barely surviving in the depths of the forest.
For any race, a population of merely several hundred was already equal to extinction. However, due to the longevity of Elves, which they were envied by every race including humans, the search for Elves didnt end even after years of not discovering any new Elf.
Legend had it that the Elves finally got the sympathy of Gods after being driven to the depths of desperation during that period. The Goddess of Forest Monferra performed a miracle, and granted a large piece of fertile land in the east of the Breezy Plains to the Elves. She also bestowed upon them the ability to communicate with plants and animals, allowing them to use the power of the forest and nature.
When the coalition of humans and other races finally found the tracks of Elves in the Emerald Forest, they realized that the Elves had become the most terrifying hunters of the forest, just as if they were possessed by Gods.
Of course, even with these abilities, the Elves couldnt turn the tables facing such a coalition. However, there was hope as long as they didnt give up.
The Elves didnt have to wait for long. The conflicts among different factions escalated, ultimately leading to the collapse of the coalition when they were splitting up the leftover wealth of the High Elves. At that time, the entire Anril was torn by wars. Nobody was concerned about the 100-plus Elves in the Emerald Forest anymore. The Elves finally had a chance to revive their race.
The entire Anril faced a power-shift among factions. Wars and exploitation continued between races and nations. Nations were built and destroyed. Peace finally arrived when an equilibrium was reached among nations.
Elves only existed in legends by then. Almost nobody could remember the hundreds of Elves left in the Emerald Forest. Maybe this was because the Elves didnt want to be reminded of the suffering they had been through during the darkest period. Or maybe it was because Elves were optimistic in nature. They loved life and nature, and didnt want their descendants hearts to be filled with hatred. Thus, new Elves born after that catastrophe didnt know much about what had happened during that period, and showed their kindness to the wrong people.
A beautiful Elf had once helped an expedition that lost its way in the Emerald Forest. The team also got a lot of precious herbs from the Elves. This news spread like wildfire throughout Anril. Each faction swarmed to the Emerald Forest, no matter if they were looking for wealth or Elves.
The peaceful life of Elves was once again disrupted. The ones they were facing this time, however, were no longer an elite coalition of different nations. After so many years of plotting and scheming, different races could no longer form a coalition even if the High Elves were to appear again.
Those factions that swarmed to the Emerald Forest wanting to get benefits were no longer faced with a weak and frightened population of hundreds of Elves. They faced an Elven Kingdom over 100,000 strong, with each Elf being an excellent hunter and mage by birth.
Due to the constant harassment from the outside world, the Elves knew that they could retain their peaceful lives no longer. Hence, they did what humans and other races had donethe Elven Queen announced to the entire Anril the founding of the Elven Kingdom. With the founding of a nation came the right to diplomacy. The internal management of the Elven Kingdom, however, was still the same as before. The rulers were still the Queen and elders; there were no other governmental positions of any sort.
After getting the right to diplomacy, the first thing that the Elven Kingdom did was to formalize its territory. The Elven Kingdom announced that any trespassing into the land of the Elven Kingdom would be considered an intrusion.
The Emerald Forest was a giant treasure box. Nobody wanted to see it become somebody elses possessions, so the human nations were the first to oppose this decision. After knowing that the Elven Kingdom wouldnt back down, nations mobilized their troops and entered the Emerald Forest in order to force the Elf Queen to back down.
But the truth was, the human nations no longer had the ability of the past coalitions, even though the Elves were far weaker than the High Elves as well. Furthermore, the human nations no longer had legendary powerhouses like Apophis and Geresco.
With their natural blessings and the blood of High Elves, the Elves possessed amazing abilities that left humans in awe, not to mention their longevity, which left many races very jealous, including humans.
The natural aptitude of the Elves in magic came from their High Elven bloodline. This allowed every Elf to learn and use magicunlike humans, of whom only a small proportion had talent for magic.
However, the real obstacle that hindered the intruders werent powerful mages, because the majority of the Elves in the Elven Kingdom hadnt even reached adulthood. Even with their natural talent in magic, their magic wasnt powerful enough to defend themselves.
For a typical army, bow and arrow were just secondary equipment. However, the combination of the bow and magic made for a very formidable weapon in the hands of the Elves. Moreover, the Elves possessed the ability to communicate with plants and animals due to the Goddess of Forest Monferra, as well as the natural terrain advantage: the Emerald Forest. Every Elf was an excellent hunter. This meant that in Elven Kingdom with a population of 100,000, there were 100,000 excellent hunters.