The Fall of Arlathan
You ask what happened to Arlathan? Sadly, we do not know. Even those of us who keep the ancient lore have no record of what truly happened. What we have are accounts of the days before the fall, and a fable of the whims of the gods.
The human world was changing even as the elves slept. Clans and tribes gave way to a powerful empire called Tevinter, which—and for what reason we do not know—moved to conquer Elvhenan. When they breached the great city of Arlathan, our people, fearful of disease and loss of immortality, chose to flee rather than fight. With magic, demons, and even dragons at their behest, the Tevinter Imperium marched easily through Arlathan, destroying homes and galleries and amphitheaters that had stood for ages. Our people were corralled as slaves, and human contact quickened their veins until every captured elf turned mortal. The elves called to their ancient gods, but there was no answer.
As to why the gods didn’t answer, our people left only a legend. They say that Fenris, the Dread Wolf and Lord of Tricksters, approached the ancient gods of good and evil and proposed a truce. The gods of good would remove themselves to heaven, and the lords of evil would exile themselves to the abyss, neither group ever again to enter the other’s lands. But the gods did not know that Fenris had planned to betray them, and by the time they realized the Dread Wolf’s treachery, they were sealed in their respective realms, never again to interact with the mortal world. It is a fable, to be sure, but those elves who travel the Beyond claim that Fenris still roams the world of dreams, keeping watch over the gods lest they escape from their prisons.
Whatever the case, Arlathan had fallen to the very humans our people had once considered mere pests. It is said that the Tevinter magisters used their great destructive power to force the very ground to swallow Arlathan whole, destroying eons of collected knowledge, culture, and art. The whole of elven lore left only to memory.