“The strong flourish on the backs of the weak. That has been our way for more than a thousand years. It may seem brutal to outsiders, but under elven law our people have moved mountains, parted oceans, and weathered the sundering of the world, and we’ve done it all without the crutch of magic. We dress it up in titles and fancy language, but at the end of the day elven law comes down to three words: Do what works.” -Hierarch Eustacius
Despite their prevalence throughout the world, little is known by outsiders of the history of the Elven Empire. It is known to predate the earliest recorded human civilization; when the Imperium was young, the Empire was already old. Until just under two centuries ago, the borders of the Empire were closed to outsiders; elves would occasionally emigrate out, bringing with them tales of the wonders and horrors of Elven civilization, but no one ever went in, and no official channels of trade or communication were established.
All of that changed with the Sundering. The vast bulk of the Elven Empire was wiped off the map in a single stroke, leaving them trapped in a sliver of their former territory along the Edge of the World. The elves attempted to maintain their autonomy, but most of their farmland had been lost, and famine was rampant as the mountainous cities found they could not provide for themselves. This brought the elves into conflict to the humans to the south, who themselves were barely eking out a living in the mountains of Doloth. The dwarves were caught up in the conflict as well, but with the three peoples teetering on the brink of another war, the Hierarch was assassinated by the head of his royal guard, Gaius Eustacius. The new Hierarch brought together the three races to forge the Compact, and opened the borders of the Elven Empire for trade and immigration for the first time.