The Ehlnofey (sometimes spelled Elhnofey), also known as the Earth Bones (or Earthbones), of the Dawn Era are a group of et'Ada who, along with the Hist, decided not to abandon Mundus, and instead worked to keep it viable. They remained in the mortal realm and populated it, becoming the progenitors of the modern races. They are depicted as vaguely Elven in shape, but featureless, similar to how they live on in fading memory. Many followed the example of Y'ffre and sacrificed themselves to form the rules of nature, and it's been found that these "Earth Bones" can be manipulated to some extent. Perhaps because of their association with the land itself, "Old Ehlnofey" became another name for Aldmeris, the mystical homeland of the elves. Their language or languages became known as Ehlnofex.
When Magnus the architect decided to flee Mundus, the et'Ada split. Most followed Magnus, but the Ehlnofey are those that, as described above, "sacrificed themselves into other forms so that they might Stay" in Mundus. It is believed Nirn is an amalgamation of twelve worlds, and a large chunk of one world, the Ehlnofey world, was left relatively intact. The Ehlnofey who lived there were the ancestors of the Mer, and their solidarity allowed them to retain more of their ancient knowledge and power. The other Ehlnofey, who were left scattered around Nirn, had a harder time adapting, and were dubbed the "Wanderers". For whatever reason, war eventually broke out between Old Ehlnofey and the Wanderers. The former were more powerful individually, but the latter were more numerous, and had been toughened by the hardships of Nirn. It is believed this war reshaped the face of Nirn, creating the first oceans, and what was left of Old Ehlnofey purportedly became Tamriel. When this war occurred is not clear, but the Aldmer are said to have left their doomed and ruined continent and colonized southwest Tamriel in the Middle Merethic Era, only to spend many centuries fruitlessly searching for their old homeland.
The fracturing of the Aldmer along cultural and racial lines is called the Sundering of Aldmeris. The Ehlnofey of Tamriel became the Dwemer (Deep Ones), the Chimer (Changed Ones), the Bosmer (Green or Forest Ones), the Falmer (Snow Ones), the Maormer (Sea or Tropical Ones), and the Altmer (Elder or High Ones). The Wanderers became the men of Nirn, eventually splitting into many different racial groups, including the Nedes, Nords, the Redguards of Yokuda, and possibly the Tsaesci of Akavir, and other aboriginal groups.
Though the protean race is apparently gone, the Ehlnofey are not entirely forgotten. They are thought to have taken on students before they disappeared, passing their knowledge on to emerging races. Knowledge of most individuals has been lost to time, but many prominent Ehlnofey appear in some form in the pantheons of the various races. The Ayleids of Cyrodiil preserved the Ehlnofey's Dawn Era magics and language. The theories of the Dwemer High Craftlord Kagrenac involved using sacred tones on the Heart of Lorkhan and bending the Earth Bones, commanding the "obedience" of the Ehlnofey.
- The war between the Ehlnofey described in The Annotated Anuad bears many striking parallels with the war between Lorkhan and Auriel described in The Monomyth, and the texts are likely summarizing the same events from different historiographical perspectives.
- The Annotated Anuad — Early religious book providing a simplified version of The Anuad creation myth from the Mythic Era
- Before the Ages of Man by Aicantar of — Chronicles the major events of the Dawn and Merethic Eras
- The Monomyth — A theological book containing the common creation myths
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Skyrim — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- The Monomyth
- Before the Ages of Man — Aicantar of
- Elusive Ehlnofey Statuette
- Varieties of Faith... — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Baladas Demnevanni's dialogue in Morrowind.
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Blessed Isle: Alinor and the Summersets — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: All the Eras of Man, A Comprehensive History of our History — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- The Annotated Anuad
- Father Of The Niben — Florin Jaliil
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Hammerfell — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Events of ESO
- Dringoth's dialogue in ESO