All magic is suddenly gone. No mage can sling sorcery anymore. This upsets all empires and civilizations. It is soon discovered though, trough the combined work of mystics, scholars and dreams, that all the magic has been drawn into a single orb in a vast tower located at one of the poles. Whoever gets there first wins the greatest price in history, access to all the magic in the world. But who owns the tower?
Elves are not actually aloof. They are actually extremely family-based and insular, and often intermarry inside their families, making them uncomfortable around those not of their family. Therefore, they shield themselves behind pretended aloofness and coldness until they are comfortable in others' company.