Thuria and Beyond
Common Elves (the “High Elves” of AD&D) are native to the north-west of the great continent, maintaining small settlements in relatively secluded wooded areas. Elves are most numerous in Nemedia, where the law of the land affords them special protection. Under the terms of the Edict of Hanumar (286 YT), elves are direct subjects of the Nemedian king and, as such, may not be tied to the command of any particular noble. There is, therefore, no such thing as an elven serf in Nemedia. Woodlands where Nemedian elves live in long-established settlements, moreover, may not become the property of any human noble.
Other lands in which Common Elves live in relatively large numbers include Brythunia, Korunia and Ophir. Across all these lands, Common Elves speak a single language, albeit with distinctive local dialects. The majority who choose not to venture beyond elven territory tend not to learn human languages. But in larger settlements and in settlements relatively close to significant human populations, speakers of human languages can be found. Indeed, elves have a natural capacity to learn languages quickly when they choose to do so. So those elves who decide to travel beyond their homelands and mix with humans and other races rapidly become adept users of whichever languages are required.
The naturally high intelligence of elves qualifies them for highly skilled positions in human society. So expect to find enterprising elves in positions of power in larger cities and in the retinues of noblemen with the wit to value elven insight and intellect.