Up From the Mud
Different cultures and religions of the world have varying stories on the state of the world before they came on the scene. These tales vary more than they converge, but some consistencies can be deduced nevertheless.
First, no discussion of dwarven history or mythology is complete without the disclaimer that dwarves themselves see no difference between the two. Even the hill dwarves, studious as they are, show surprisingly little concern where it concerns matters of record whether those records are remotely accurate. In addition, there are certain questions that dwarves seem utterly disinterested in, often to the confusion of other peoples.
That being said so far as their prehistory goes, dwarves simply have no myth about the creation of the world. What is known is that when the first dwarf pulled himself from the living stone and went about the business of carving companions for himself from the ore around him, the world was already there and had been for quite some time. Moradin, as he named himself, and the dwarves he carved in his image, were engaged in war from almost the moment they came into existence. The world they emerged into was dark and ruled by horrors that most today would prefer not to imagine. The people of Moradin drove these from the earth’s surface over generations, and halted at pursuing them into the world’s own bowel when the sinister influence of the underworld gnawed a the souls of the dwarves themselves. Thus do the dwarves explain the terrors of the deep earth.
The high elves speak of two worlds in the very beginning: their own fey realm, a green place of eternal growth, and a dark shadow world of constant death and decay. In their purest states, these worlds were without time. In one, things were forever growing but never grown and in the other, dying but never truly dead.
Like a drop of blood and a drop of ink in a bowl of water, faint influence from both worlds could be felt in the formless void separating them. Where those influences overlapped, a curious thing happened, forming material, time and true change. That overlap is the world we see now. Both realms walled themselves off from this anomaly for fear of contamination, to no avail. The material world became home to a conquering, devouring force which sought to subjugate both. With the ability to change and evolve on its side, the stagnant forces of the fey and the shadow were overwhelmed. The shadow nearly fell to it entirely, but the Archfey tried a dangerous gambit: they sent hordes of lesser fey creatures to that material world. Where they too could change and adapt., suborning their adversary’s advantage.
In the aftermath of this war, while many fey beings returned to their world (ironically bringing with them the “contamination” of time), some rebelled against their Archfey masters. Exposure to a world charged with change, some learned that here, they might grow to rival their masters in power, becoming Archfey themselves eventually. They sealed the gate to the fey realm and set about their great work, even reproducing to have others to carry it on. These fey creatures eventually became the elves of today.