Once, long ago, they were Elves. There was a great war with the Yuan-ti, serpent beings of unmatched cruelty and sinister intellect. Both sides fought with everything they had, the Yuan-ti bringing to bear every trick they could muster, and the Elves with the determination and forethought that comes from having fought a single war for a four-hundred year lifetime.
As the bloody affair neared it’s end, it became apparent that the Elves would be the victors. Refusing them a true victory, the Yuan-ti, in a last act of malice, sacrificed scores of basilisks to their gods. Though the Elves won, it was at a terrible cost. Their gaze turned those who had been missed by the curse to stone, their skin took on the scales of serpents and their hair turned into snakes.
Cast away from their frightened brethren, the cursed Elves took to the sea. For years they sailed, until finally they found a remote island. Upon this island, along with many perils, were the ruins of some unknown civilization. The cursed Elves, who had now adopted the name "Medusa", or "Curseborn" in the Elven tongue, took refuge in the buildings.
It was only then that the final aspect of their terrible curse became apparent to them. They were nearly incapable of conceiving male children. Of their offspring, 95 out of 96 were female. Since that time, Their numbers have been in steady decline. Alone, on a dangerous island, they struggle to survive. They despise the Elves now, from the belief that they were abandoned in their hour of need. They now devote much of their time to trying to find a way to negate the gender-based aspect of the curse in order to save their race, for they have come to embrace what they have become.
They have found that their petrifying gaze, though it has no effect on other members of their race, allows them to live on the island without fear of any being with sight. They have inherited the mystic traditions of the Elves, and are competent sorcerers. Interestingly, it seems that the birth of a new race has also lead to the birth of new gods, Gethserath and Amarane. What this means for the leaders of other religions is so far unknown.
Just thought I’d mention that as this is my first submission, advice and thoughts are welcomed.