The history of the Elven race is intimately tied with the Alphorian nation. Arguably one would not exist without the other.
At the end of the War of Ruin, most of the surviving Andirite mages took refuge on the island of Alpharion and transformed it into a safe haven by erecting an enormous magical force field known as the Aegis Megas. Unfortunately the Aegis together with the fallout of the war exposed the inhabitants of nascent Alphoria to constant high levels of background magic, which lead to an epidemic of goblinistic mutations.
To combat the goblinization of the populace a new policy was formulated to screen newborns and youths for harmful mutations. Those deemed 'areteic', i.e. free of negative goblinistic traits, were given special place in society but were obligated to only marry other areteics and produce at least five children, two of whom had to be areteic themselves. Those with non-severe of goblinism were either given limited options to marry and have children or forcibly sterilized. Those with overt goblinism, especially if they showed clear mental signs, were left to themselves but banned from having children with even "lower" areteics and treated as third class citizens.
Within a few generations this policy had produced two distinct populations separated by societal stratification: the elves and the goblins. The elves were further split into the highly areteic highborn and the less areteic lowborn. When the Cold Aion drew to its end and the colonization of the continents began, elves fractured further, eventually forming a number of clearly physically and culturally different subpopulations. Although along the centuries there has been much intermixing between these elven "subraces" as they were once called, they are still often recognizable and form an important part of modern elven identities.
In Cold Aion Alphoria the areteic status of a child or a youth was marked with paired tattoos on the temples, one received at an early age and the second on the cusp of adulthood. Lowborn elves began decorating their temples with additional tattoos, and the tradition spread partially due to the religion of Telomagism to all elves. Even today the highborn carry a heptagram as their symbol while the lowborn have a pentagram. Elves exiled to the Foringean continent and later colonists who moved there of their own volition were given a symbol of the rising sun to separate them Alpharion's inhabitants.
It is worthy of note that despite their divergent features elves still generally consider themselves human. The word 'elf' (originally "alph") was coined by Foringeans to describe the first Alphorian intruders. During early Colonial Era Alphorians began using it of wild elves while humans made no such distinction, and modernly it has entered both common and offical use in the Alphorian empire as well.
While even the highborn see elves as part of the human species, they consider themselves an improvement on the pre-Ruin humanity with more "human" qualities than the supposedly more animalistic baseline humans. One of the teachings of the Alphorian state religion of Telomagism is that the entire human race will eventually evolve into elves and other kinds of humans will disappear.
To keep everything concise I left out a lot of details that I though might just bog things down and felt non-essential. If there is something you'd like to know more about, send me a comment or a question. Parts 2 and 3 will describe the various subpopulations of elves such as high elves and dark elves, but if there is enough interest I may follow these up with more about culture, government and so on.