I remember one anon on /tg/ talking about how his fantasy elves were basically Fantasy Baltics. He had this race of incredibly long-lived creatures who had dedicated their entire lives to fighting each other in the forests for reasons that have long been forgotten. So while mankind was slowly dragging itself out of the caves and developing tools, the elves were fighting.
While mankind was developing complex feudal hierarchies, the elves were fighting.
When mankind finally ventured into the forests, chasing the legends of ancient, wise and powerful fae that lived there, they found a race of cynical, stone-faced knife-eared bastards that merely looked at these new comers, asked them if they were with those Varanduil fuckers from across the woods, then told them to fuck off unless they had something useful to offer.