The Darkening Wild
The history of the Elves goes back farther than ten thousand years, and there are still a few of the Eldar alive in Middle-Earth who would remember that time. Elves are older than the Sun and the Moon, older than the Encircling Sea, the Firstborn Children. They are known as the “Speakers”, the Quendi, and in their long history have had many scisms that have divided them into different lineages and peoples.
The High Elves, or the Noldor, are obvious at a glance, as they shine with an inner light and exude power. Galadriel and Celeborn are both Noldor, as are Glorfindel and Cirdan. It is said that they looked upon the faces of the gods before the world was made. The Noldor are craftsmen beyond measure, and are the ones who forged the Rings of Power, among many other matchless things.
The Grey Elves, or the Sindar, are something like lesser nobility among the Elves. They are lovers of the Sea and of music and their language, Sindarin, is a common tongue among Elves. Thranduil and his son Legolas, many of the Elves of Lothlorien like Haldir, and many of Cirdan’s folk are Sindarin Elves.
The Wood Elves, or Silvan Elves, are the closes thing to common Elves. They tend to be merry and seemingly careless, though some are as ancient as any of the Noldor. They are good, but not always concerned with the welfare of the wider world. The raft-Elves and the Elves of Thranduil’s folk are primarily Silvan Elves, and most Elves one meets are as well.