A Tale of the Elfs
My home lies beyond the great Corn Wall, in the far north where the forests grow thick and impenetrable. There the gnomes call themselves elf. Of all their kin they remain the most isolated, hidden among trees made untameable by the magic which still runs through the world.
As with all folk, Elfen lore describes their own existence as coming before all others. Their way of life depends heavily on the forests, and it is only natural they believe all life stems from the trees which protect them.
Before there was anything, there was the Nothing Tree. From it sprang all of creation. As it put down roots, the earth was formed. As its sap flowed, the water of the world ran forth. As it grew, its branches reached upwards and the sky was born. And as it aged, time began.
The earth watched the Nothing Tree grow large and strong, and became the great mountains. The water watched the tree roots twist and turn, and became the winding rivers. The sky watched the leaves change and fall, and became the sun and all the colours of the sky. And so the Nothing Tree gave us the world.
The animals who lived in the mountains came to graze on the tree’s bark and leaves. The fish who swam in the rivers came to feast on the insects which grew fat on the tree’s sap. The birds who filled the sky came to nest in the tree’s branches. And so the Nothing Tree gave us life.
And as the Nothing Tree bloomed, it bore four apples. The first apple did not fall and became the elfs, who stayed to tend the trees. The second apple rolled away from the tree and became the gnomads, who wandered and forgot their home. The third apple fell under the branches and became the men, who tended the soil and lived on the earth. The final apple fell among the roots and became the dwarfs, who burrowed deep beneath the ground.
And so the Nothing Tree gave us everything.