The Northerners have always been a secluded and secretive race. They have unlimited life spans and a variety of existences, all which leads to a quite powerful race. Despite this power, they do not abuse it, rather they hoard it, like many other great beings. They see any and all other members of another race as inferior in every regard until proven wrong on a specific point or instance. Even then, it is only that single Elf which will admit (with bad tact), that only that specific individual may be temporarily better at what ever activity, but for that one occasion only.
The Elves came into existence before most of the monstrous races. Their oldest resources say that they were the creatures that some of the supreme beings left in place to watch over the evolution of the world and the various Ages it goes through. They claim, in the most secret of circles that they are the official clock masters of the world. Most elves however, just know that they, or their direct parents were around during the Age of Monsters. This fact has been more or less accepted from the scratchy and limited evidence found in that time. During the Age of Humans, the elves stepped out a trifle, perhaps they saw that we were more like them, and so they deigned to allow us their presence – rather gracious of the stuffed up tree huggers. Despite that, they still largely kept their distance, and rather obvious disdain for us other races, and remained quite secretive.
The Invasion seemed to come almost come as a surprise to the Northerners. Perhaps they thought of Thay as more a bumbling but naughty child, too stupid to realize when he got burned by the pan that he shouldn’t attempt to pour it on himself. So, while they did seem quite well prepared for the Occupation, their methods were perhaps, a bit crude. One must remember at this point an elves’ intimate love of nature and primal forces, especially trees as long standing as the race itself. And so, to an outsider their action seemed strange and perhaps grotesque, but to them, it was natural, like being purposely put into a deep hypnotic state. They, through occult and esoteric rituals that made contact with a great elemental and priveal power, bonded their spirits to the trees in which they lived. Their mind and conscious was supposedly preserved with in the memory of the spirit, and they shared an existent body with the tree. They lived as tree for a great deal number of years. Even for them, it was long enough to almost incite boredom, but when the time was right, and the Horrors had been felt to have lessened so that the ‘Greatest Race” could return again, the Northerners had the tree form for them living bodies. Into these they ‘re-grew’ their mind and essence. The spirit was now partly in the tree and mostly residing with in the body. However, despite being made of the most living wood possible, the body was still plant. This did not trouble the elves, but wasvery frightening or at best bizarre to us other peoples. They looked liked monsters for cragen’s skaen!