Very few people know about the Paleolithic Elves. In most academic circles, they are considered a myth along the lines of Bigfoot or the Jersey Devil. In Helian philosophy, the very idea of them is considered ludicrous. The Zells maintain that such creatures were impossible, since THEY are clearly the first Din, being descended from the Dragons of Chaos. A few Burdinadin believe in them, but they're more inclined to suggest that they are just a very old offshoot of Din whose focus is unknown.
But they do exist. The Paleolithic Elves are a race of inconceivable age. They are so old as to predate the birth of the sun. Old enough to remember the coming of The 49 Dragons. Old enough (some of them claim) to remember the coming of the Great Light, at the beginning of linear time.
They are highly diverse. Most of them are humanoid, though some resemble other creatures, to the point where it is difficult to judge what precisely is and is not one of them, but they all have two things in common:
- They cannot reproduce.
- They cannot die.
They have single-handedly won wars plenty of times. In ancient days, when Pharaoh was Pharaoh and bronze shaped the world, some of the Paleolithic Elves were great heroes. Others were great monsters. Many legends that refer to demigods (in some cases, even gods) and titans are in truth referring to one or several of these ancient entities.
However, simply because they cannot "die" in the permanent sense doesn't mean that they cannot be disabled, or even destroyed. If one were to stab a Paleolithic Elf a hundred times and then burn its body, it wouldn't simply reform on the spot
Rather, each of them has a time unique to them at which they can rebuild themselves at a place special to them. Some are much longer than others — one Paleolithic Elf might return every year on the solstice, another may have to wait 2000 years.
However, there IS a way for them to die, though even this is a strange form of death. Each Paleolithic Elf has a Fate. A pre-ordained way in which they are going to die. Some of them are very simple (fall onto a snake with two heads, be bitten by both) and some are very complex (Stabbed by a blind assassin aiming for a different person at your wedding to someone you thought you knew but actually didn't in March during a rainstorm while wearing a color the name of which you don't know.)
Every Paleolithic Elf inherently knows several Fates, none of them their own. They all know each other instinctively, by their true names, and many have bartered for their own Fates from others.
As a race, they generally dislike being known of at all. Their existence is a well kept secret, and most belief in them has been meticulously discredited as superstition and hogwash. By them, in many cases.
This is just the next layer. If they cannot be secret, then at least their secondary immortality can be. Certainly none of them want to risk being assassinated and then having their progeny wiped out.
These are beings of extreme age, tremendous power, and great patience. Civilizations have been brought down. Entire epochs humbled. For some of them, it isn't even about the secret anymore, it is almost a game, now. A great game that has been played since time began.
They have no commonly accepted -Din name, despite being colloquially called elves, though some have called them the Harriadin (Like Stone) Ironically, at one time they were known by the same name that humans are now known by: Hostoadin, or (Like Leaves) for their habit of returning from the dead periodically.
These days, those who do believe in them are small cults or radicals. The Order of the Black Sun calls them "The First Ones," and doesn't actually think of them as Din at all, but as a superior race of humans from ancient times. Some radical scientific communities call them the Protodin.
They don't think of themselves as a single race, in truth, rather as a bunch of individuals most of whom dislike each other. The most formal term they have for themselves is "The Circle," so-named because it grows ever smaller, but always keeps its shape.
And before you ask, yes. Yes, there are some who believe that there can be only one.