According to Norse mythology, elves are a supernatural race rooted in paganism, worshiping nature and dwelling in forests, near waterfalls, and in the case of dark elves, in caves. Although they are magical, they are often ambivalent towards humans; their skills, derived from Mother Earth, can be used to both help and hinder their peers. They are commonly conflated with the fairies of the Romantic movement, and in recent years the terms have become almost interchangeable. However, elves have been a mysterious race perhaps since the beginning of time. Magic pumping through their veins, they are often peaceful, exceedingly fair creatures, more brilliant than the sun (which they worship). Elves generally appear as very youthful men and women of great beauty. Tall and wispy, they are identifiable by their sharp, delicate features and large, expressive eyes, often in the most splendid colors. Pointed ears and high cheekbones are typical of elves. Their hair flows freely and in varying shades of golden. In comparison to the human race, they are stronger in spirit and in limb. They seldom weaken with age; their magic typically only grows stronger and their wisdom more potent.

Changelings are the deformed, often defective offspring of fairies, elves, or dwarves. Although they possess many of the same characteristics and features of their parents, they are surreptitiously exchanged for a human child. Some folklore believes this to be a precautionary measure to avoid inbreeding within the elf communities; others persist that human milk is necessary for magical children to survive. Whatever the reason they were secretly left with a human family, many changelings forget their supernatural lineage and are brought up as humans, humans who often show a natural ability for the arts, are exquisitely beautiful, and have an affinity for nature. It is widely believed that no luck will befall a family cursed with a changeling, and they are likely to be poor and struggle desperately. Throughout history, parents who believe their child to be a changeling frequently commit heinous crimes, abusing and sometimes going as far to kill the imposter.