The elves that still cling to their old beliefs are known as the Dalish elves, an insular people who travel the wilds in massive wagons drawn by huge white stags and have as little truck with humans as possible.
Elves are a graceful people with fair features. They are usually servants or laborers in Ferelden. While their lot is not easy, they are paid for their work and have rights, which is seldom the case elsewhere. Many Fereldan elves hold that they have far better lives than their people in other countries, as they would rather be poor freemen than rich slaves.
After 500 years of slavery, the elves won their freedom as part of the rebellion that broke the power of the Tevinter Imperium. While liberated humans and barbarians from the south took over former lands of the Imperium, the human leader Andraste gifted the elves a region of southern Orlais as a reward for their role in the rebellion. Here they established the Dales, a new elven homeland to replace the long-destroyed kingdom of Arlathan. Despite the centuries of slavery, the elves remembered much of their heritage and in the Dales their culture had a rebirth. As part of this they began to worship the ancient elven pantheon and this ultimately caused their downfall. The Chantry in the Orlesian Empire would not stand for such heresy and it declared an Exalted March against the Dales. A second elven homeland was destroyed and most of the survivors went to live in human lands and became the city elves.
The remaining leadership of the Dales would not bend a knee to the humans, however. They chose a life of exile instead. These Dalish elves are descended from some of the oldest elven families and they retain a strong sense of duty to their people. They have taken it upon themselves to preserve elven culture and lore, so that when the day comes that the elves once again have a homeland they can teach the ancient ways to their city elf brethren. Until that time the Dalish elves wander in the ornately carved wagons they call aravel. Called landships by the humans, aravel are pulled by halla, a unique breed of white stag that originated in long lost Arlathan. The Dalish elves travel in small family groups for the most part and do not stay in one place for long. Rumor has it that they have rediscovered the secrets of elven magic, but if that is true no human has seen proof of it.