The backstory goes way back. Not sure how much the players need to know, but here's the first draft...
In the beginning...
The Creator spoke and the worlds came into being. The servants of the creator, angels/devas/spirits, were given care of this young universe.
These angelic beings squabble
A war breaks out in heaven
The rebels are cast out and become demonic beings - some are imprisoned, all are diminished in power
The repentant are cast down (Exiled) and become caretakers of worlds
The Exiles have children (the Firstborn) who are mortal
Some Exiles rebel again (Children of the Sun)
Succeeding generations of Exiles/Elves live shorter and shorter lives
When humanity appeared on the shores of Daen-Ral, the Exiles welcomed them. The first humans to colonize Daen-Ral were worshipers of the Old Gods - powerful elemental beings (demoic). The Exiles drew many people into the worship of the Creator, the Church of the True Path, though worship of the Old Gods remained. Eventually, minor religious wars force the worship of the Old Gods underground.
Only Exiles were Faecrafters (magic-users) at the time. When humans discovered the power of Fae, they demanded to be taught the secrets. The Exiles began to share their knowledge of Fae (magic) but soon discovered that humans learn more quickly and adapt more readily than they anticipated. Soon there were ultrapowerful human archmages carving out empires in the Midlands and enslaving Exiles for their own ends.
A great war was fought in which the Exiles (Children of the Moon and Children of the Sun - along with the Dwarvanna and the N'Daer) allied to purge Daen-Ral of the taint of the human invaders. This time was called the Great Storm and most of the archmages were killed or imprisoned and humanity was forced to flee Daen-Ral for the continent of Baroth. This began a long dark age for humanity, wherein all technological and magical knowledge was lost. This was a barbaric time of slavery and warlords, of empires rising and falling in a sea of blood and steel.
After centuries (eons?) of barbarism, a great warlord appeared. He drew chieftans and peoples from across Baroth, conquering all who opposed him, absorbing minor kingdoms and peoples into a great empire and settling peace on Baroth for generations.
With peace came a quest for knowledge, trade and advancement. Roads criss-crossed the continent. Ships began to ply the coasts. Traders and explorers moved into the unsettled and unknown regions.
Eventually, human explorers go across the sea and "discover" (actually rediscover) Daen-Ral. The Exiles and Dwarvanna are very cautious of these settlers/invaders. In fact, an incident sets off what the humans of Daen-Ral still call the Landings Wars very early on.
After the Landings Wars, humans settle relatively peacefully in the Midlands. The Exiles hold the secrets of Fae very closely, though some humans discover magic use anyway. Two of the imprisoned archmages manage to escape. A brief battle with the Exiles forces them to flee the Midlands for the "Old World" where they begin carving out their own kingdoms in the empire. Apprentices grow in power and begin to challenge their masters and the Faewars of the Old World rage. Humanity flees (as many as are able) as the Old World (Baroth) is overrun by elemental and horrific creatures raised as armies by the archmages to battle one another.
The Exiles establish the Barrier, a great magical shield that separates the Old World from Daen-Ral. The only way through the Barrier is via a magical gate on an island in the middle of the ocean - protected by fierce and deadly guardians.
NOTE - at some point the Dwarvanna contracted a disease, possibly carried by humans, that nearly wiped out their people - thus there are many dwarvanna ruins around, and they are secretive and distrustful of humans especially.
RIP Stephen Lee Lortz 1949-2017 - I just learned via Jennell Jaquays that Stephen Lortz (September 7, 1949 - April 23, 2017) passed away yesterday. Stephen Lortz was another of Dave Arnes...
1 hour ago