The Elves were created by Surya as an act of hubris. The Sun God felt that he could improve upon humans and create a new, immortal people to populate the Whorl. This sparked the Godswar which saw the rise of other races formed from base human stock. When Surya slew Mahadeva his father, his high priestess, Aranyani, first among the Elves, led a third of her people to change sides against her own creator joining with Parvati and her allies to end the war and imprison Surya in his realm. This left the elves fractured and disorganized.
In the aftermath of the war, the enigmatic god Yama prevailed upon Indra to show mercy to the elves. Although they were stripped of their immortality, they still live far longer than humans. Now, the elves are split into three very distinct peoples.
The high elves are the remnant of Surya's original creations. They are the descendants of the injured or the noncombatants who did not follow Aranyani against their god, yet were not cast into imprisonment alongside Surya to become devils and Tieflings. High elves still bear the hallmarks of Surya's original design: long lives, excellent intellects, and haughty demeanors. By far the majority of them reside in the city of Ayodhya in the Eternal Solar Empire where they rule in a fashion barely above insult to Indra and Parvati.
The wood elves are the descendants of those who followed Aranyani against their creator Surya, yet wished to remain in the Whorl rather than ascend into the Feywild to become the immortal custodians and servants of Parvati. They retain many of the physical characteristics of their high elf cousins, but tend to be a more practical, humble lot who eschew material possessions or empires, choosing to live in temporary or nomadic communities deep in the Dundaka Forest.
The dark elves are the descendants of those elves who, in gratitude to the god Yama for their lives, joined his service and moved deep into the Underworld. Yama was wise enough to realize that with Mahadeva's demise, there would be little to prevent the foolish or greedy from descending to plunder the unknown mysteries of his Realm. He took and crafted the dark elves for the purpose of living in and defending the deep places of the Whorl from those who would despoil it to the greater ruin of all. To this day dark elves are rarely seen on the surface, although there have inevitably been those who, out of curiosity or criminal exile, have left the service of Yama and live above.