Good mother Vaen brought elves from the womb of Thrael during the time of the worlds awakening. In the elven race's youth, the sylvani and il'lythe were one race. Those distant ancestors lived simply in forest homes and mountain caves about the lands of Thrael, learning the ways of essence and spirit in direct concord with the energies of the lands.
Tall and lithe with great agility and quickness, Vaen's creation were a unique counterpoint to the wyrmkin that inhabited Thrael at the time. At some point in the eons of history that the elves and wyrmkind lived in proximity, a group of elves settled in the area west of the great mountains now called Throne of the Wyrm. This migration was to bode a great change for elfkind.
The wyrmkind took an interest in these elves, living close by them, adoring them and calling them iye ll'ly tihyeye or the Children of the Night (as best can be translated from their tongue), hence il'lthye. Living in caves along the steep-walled valleys, the il'lthye became a source of amusement and delight to the wyrmkind. Wyrmkind loved the elves and viewed them as favorite playthings, erecting a forgetful barrier between the proximate elves and their woodland living kin so as to keep them close. It was this barrier and the latter games and experiments that wyrmkind perpetrated that led to a metamorphosis in the il'lthye. When one speaks of the games and experiments, it is not in terms of generic bending, but rather mind games and experimentation with training of the muscles and sinew that lead to the strengthening of their limbs, the lengthening of their bodies. Thus, the elven race was split between the original elven stock, now called sylvani and the taller il'lthye, mutant work of wyrmkin.
After countless generations, the dragynkin grew bored with their playthings and let fall the forgetful barrier. The il'lthye were forgotten by the wyrms and never known by their cousins, the sylvani. With the haze of forgetfulness lifted from their minds, the il'lthye moved out from the caves of the Throne of the Wyrm in a great hegira. They crossed known Thrael and ventured to some parts never known, reveling in the gifts that the Wyrms unwittingly bestowed upon them in their games.
The il'lthye vary in complexion from darkest black to pale waxen skin. Il'lthye elves talents and tendencies lean heavily towards the magical arts, usually the more self-serving essence magic. The average il'lthye elf is tall with long hair and a shadowy complexion. They are very complex beings that often shun other races for their elven brethren. Il'lthye Elves speak elvish, common, and dyari.
Il'lthye live on average about 300 years (for the Broc Caillaen) to 500 years (for wanderers). It is said that an il'lthye does not die of old age as much as boredom, and that when they choose to pass on they merely leave their bodily shell for someplace else. All il'lthye share an affiliation to the magical arts, an effect no doubt of the Wyrm's tinkering. This affinity is most evident in the il'lthye rite of the mordant spring. The last stage in an il'lthye's maturity from adolescence to adulthood is the tuning of a once vestigial gland that bestows upon them a greater sense of essence or magic, in its most scientific form. Il'lthye must search out the place where they are most attuned to the natural flux and there invoke the rites of the mordant spring. This quest, once completed, allows them to focus their resolve upon the state of essence, flux and spirit around them. This awareness is often augmented by the use of mordant stones; gems altered by master il'lthye mages to resonate with the magical auras. The talent of the il'lthye mordancy allows them to detect ebbs and flow and concentrations within the magical auras, even to the point of sensing another being's attunement to them.
There are no known half-bred il'lthye; something the dragonkin did ages ago made them unable to crossbreed with non-dark elvenkind. Marriages between houses are unheard of, and any half-blood il'lthye are immediately identified and rejected from both of the parents' houses. These il'lthye are known as wanderers, and they stand outside the system of the houses, their traditions, and even their own families. They tend to keep in motion, avoiding conflict with the large, powerful houses that shun them.
The civilized il'lthye live in great cities while their feral counterparts, the shakai, live in caves and deep wilderness. It is said the shakai do not speak at all and are willing to kill interlopers as easily as stalk them through their domains. The third sect of il'lthye is the dyari, the worldly il'lthye. Whereas most il'lthye prefer to live with their own kin in closed society, the dyari are renowned travelers, explorers, and adventurers. Entire il'lthye families are considered dyari by their neighbors and while this is not a mark of scorn, it is always mentioned with a slight derision to the dyari's lesser social graces.
Modern il'lthye are great traders and merchants, commercing principally with the dwarves and to a lesser extent the sylvani and the humans living around them. They are also great collectors (which is evident in the city of Roshanon) and take great pride it their assemblage of cultural artifacts. Their cities are built on grand scales, with intricate architecture and ornate decoration.
- Common dress for urban il'lthye are robes and cowls or turbans, laced sandals. Richly dyed color schemes are commonly used to show lineage or affiliation among il'lthye.
- Common dress for dyari are loose fitting leggings, tunics and cowls in muted tones befitting a traveler.
- Common dress for shakai are short waistcloths. Shakai men go barechested, while women wear coarse-woven shirts. Both go barefoot.
Tattoos are a commonality among all il'lthye, demarking life stages, filial affiliations and political groups, but the xul'Abraxas have taken them to another level. They tattoo their young at birth, usually with their zodiac sign, on the back.