The Elves used to live a peaceful lifestyle in the Great Forest, where they would live in peace and harmony with nature. But then came the split. It was over the simple matter of steel. Some elves felt that mining it, even using environmentally ways, would ruin the environment far too much. Others felt that since the dwarves and the humans had it, it gave these other races a military advantage over them. These groups felt that one race would eventually slaughter elves with that military advantage. Being wiped out was not worth a couple of trees. Tensions escalated over this relatively simple matter, until the leaders on either side realized that they could not live together anymore. Civil war broke out, and the matter of steel, and whether or not it should be used, was forgotten. Both sides used steel, and magic, to fight off their foes. But the side in favor of no steel won. Not wanting any more elven blood to be spilled, the losing side were banished to the plains east of the Great Forest. And there was peace at last. Or at least, for the winners.
Not accustomed to the plains, the exiled elves suffered. The Plains' almost constant wind destroyed all attempts at farming the elves made They had many loses in the first winter. But then came what would be known as the Discere. It was then that the Teacher had mercy on the elves and taught them how to survive on the Plains. The Plains Elves loved their Teacher, and followed everything he told them to the letter. But eventually the Teacher left, and the Discere ended. And everything else is, as they say, history.
Average Elf's Life:
Baby-Puberty: No responsibilities. Taught how to survive the plains on your own, and what is expected of you in the tribe. Raised by parents.
Puberty: When a Plains Elf enters puberty, he/she is sent off to live in the wilds by him/her self. This is to rid them of lazy and non-hardworking elves. Exiled in spring. The following spring, the elf can join a different tribe than the one he/she was born in.
Puberty-Mid-adulthood: Hunter/fighter. Stay in this job until marriage, which cannot happen until mid-adulthood. Hunts 4 days each week, trains for fighting 3 days each week. Weapons: bows, spears, throwing axes. Generally, each elf specializes in one weapon, with light training in others.
Mid-adulthood-Death: Once married, the couple gets a farm. The farm is given by the tribe.
Spring: plant the farm, hunt, etc. Stake out territory.
Summer: Wander around. Some tribes near ocean fish at ocean, others fish on river.
Autumn: Harvest the crops by farm. Prepare semi-subterranean huts for winter.
Winter: Wait for spring. Semi-hibernation.
The Plains to which the elves were banished is a very large area. It has a large river running through the center, which empties into the ocean. This ocean also forms a border to the plains, with the mountains to the north, the great forest to the west, and the desert to the south. This large area is home to a large quantity of herd animals, like zebra, elephants, and gazelle. A large number of grass species make up the local flora, with the occasional tree. The thing that makes the Plains unique, however, is its wind. Starting off and on, the wind can reach speeds of up to 25 mph on a good day. Normally, it averages out at 15 mph. 25 mph is rare. These winds are off and on, and the times they start are unpredictable, short of magic. Once they start, they will build to some speed, and then drop from their. So from 1 mph to 5, 10, and 15, then back down to 10, 5, and 1. These winds major impact is to make agriculture impossible. If a farm was made (and there have been some farms made, back when the humans attempted to settle the area), then this wind would erode away the soil, until where the farm used to be is now a five foot deep hole.
The Plains also has a special species of wasp. Its called a Grass Wasp from how it makes its nest- by almost weaving several strands of grass together, along with adding several other materials. This wasp, among other things, has a neurotoxin that causes the victim to pass out. Once passed out, the victim will usually have lots of vivid dreams. Some elven tribes take these dreams as prophecies and portents, and have a shaman-like position called a Ha'ewpse that translates these dreams. The nests of these wasps are hard to see, which means that if you are not wary, you can easily crush one and get attacked by a swarm. Balancing the neurotoxin with salt and yeast, the resulting mixture becomes a drug called commonly as Wasp Dust. This drug causes hallucinations. This drug provides the economy of the area a boost, providing it with much needed money. Though most dwarves don't bother with it, the elves and humans do.
The Plains Elves, because they cannot farm the normal way, instead plant seeds without clearing the land of the vegetation that keeps the soil from being whisked away in the wind. Though this does reduce the crop yield, it is the better alternative. That is, its better than mass erosion of the farm site. They also typically weed out all the leafy , shade-blocking plant species that they do not plant. Crop yields are much lower than in most other countries, because of this technique, so they depend more on hunting and gathering than on farming, which has become something for the older people to do to give them something productive to do. But because of the fact that farming is difficult, the elves generally leave the farms after planting, and follow the herd animals. Some tribes have stopped farming all together, and reverted to a purely hunter-gatherer lifestyle. However, these tribe are few, and are considered barbaric. The farmers consider themselves better than the rest, even if the hunter-gatherer lifestyle is better suited to the plains.
Forest Elves: Because of the earlier civil war between the two groups, the Plains elves are slightly distrustful of their forest brethren, but time has healed most of anger. The two groups have a slight animosity towards each other, with the forest elves thinking the plains elves barbaric, and the plains elves think that the forest elves are high-nosed slobs. Both sides have plenty of racist names for the other side. As such, neither side has much to do with the other, though most tribes trade for the wood that is so rare on the plains. They share a common language, but the Plain's elves have a severely different tones and dialects on theirs. The two languages are more different from each other than American English and British English are, but closer than english and french. A forest elf could understand the gist of Plain-speak, as the forest elves call it.
Dwarves: In the mountains to the north live the dwarves. Both sides are friendly. The plains elves get steel weapons, and other metals, from the dwarves. But because of the scarcity of resources on the plains, they don't have very much steel. They usually just get pre-made weapons and tools of little steel. Other than that, there is not much interaction between the dwarves and the Plains elves. If either are attacked by an outside force, it is highly likely the other will help defend.