Ayleids, also known as the Ancient Ones, Wild Elves, or Heartland High Elves, were the first race to establish an empire in Tamriel. The Ayleids were the original founders of the Imperial City, although it was a fortress called Temple of the Ancestors in those days. They spoke a language now referred to as "Ayleidoon", a derivative of Aldmeris which was once the language of the human Cyrodiils as well. Much like the lost Dwemer (whose ruins can be found in Hammerfell, Skyrim, and Morrowind), many Ayleid ruins can be found in Cyrodiil. These underground cities can prove deadly for adventurers, hiding such dangers as traps, monsters, undead, and criminals that hide out in the ruins. Many would-be treasure hunters have died trying to plunder their vast riches. Their cities were amazing feats of architecture, ranging from small settlements to gigantic, labyrinth-like metropolises; they also seem to have had a firm grasp of the magical arts, as many of their ruins contain stones filled with magicka essences harvested from the sky and they developed what came to be called the school of Alteration as they were skilled in magics such as shapeshifting and levitation.  They were usually devout worshippers of Daedra, and even attempted to gain their power, blessings, and military aid. As for their appearance, like all elves, they were most likely thin and lean with pointed ears and angular facial features. Complexion-wise, they were lighter than dark elves though darker than high elves.
The Ayleids were the descendants of the Aldmer that emigrated to Cyrodiil (from Summerset Isle). At one point they controlled the entirety of what is now the Imperial Province of Cyrodiil, and enslaved the indigenous Cyrodilic and Nordic populations. These slaves were used in various ways- to build and maintain roads and temples and to drain fields. Some Ayleids are even said to have tortured slaves for amusement. During the Slave Rebellion of 1E 242 the nearby human kingdom of Skyrim lent help to their enslaved relatives in the Ayleid Empire, which played a part in the Ayleids being overthrown by the Slave Queen Alessia and her supporters, and the subsequent shift in power from Mer to Men on Tamriel. It also appears that Alessia's rebellion coincided with a civil war within the Ayleid Empire which led to many rebel Ayleid lords joining forces with Alessia, and aiding her in her rebellion. Though the Ayleids would continue to have a presence in Cyrodiil for several hundred years more, they were never again a major military or political power. This event signaled the beginning of the Late Ayleid Period. Their greatest fortress, White Gold Tower, was turned into the Imperial Palace by Alessia and her descendants, and it remains so to this day. The last of the Ayleids who opposed Alessia held out at a village in the vicinity of modern day Bravil and it took Alessia's forces, led by Bravillius Tasus, four attempts to finally defeat them.
Ayleid culture lingered in the city-states that survived as client kingdoms of Alessian Cyrodiil, but most of the Elven population was finally driven into exile (largely to Valenwood) by the intolerance of the Alessian Order, though some Ayleids remained in Cyrodiil, serving as mentors and tutors for the new human nobility. The last remaining kingdom of the Ayleids, Nenalata, was last heard of in 1E 482 at the Battle of Glenumbria Moors; whether the King's people made it through the next few centuries is unknown, but this was a significant event: the Late Ayleid Period was ended, and the Ayleids would never again be seen as a military or political power.
It is possible that some tribes of Ayleids may continue to live deep within the forests of Cyrodiil even today. Yet the most recent reported sightings are more than 1000 years old. These Ayleids, or Wild Elves, are at best a rarity and may not have actually survived into the Third Era. The Ayleid Sage Tjurhane Fyrre talked and wrote extensively of the state of the Ayleid culture in the late First Era and early Second Era. According to Fyrre, the Ayleids of this time lived in a tribal society, with each "tribe" being substantially different from the next.
- ^ Glories and Laments — Alexandre Hetrard
- ^ Magic from the Sky — Irlav Jarol
- ^ a b Bravil: Daughter of the Niben — Sathyr Longleat
- ^ a b c Book Five of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era-Second Seed — Carlovac Townway
- ^ Chapter the Tenth-Varsa Baalim and the Nefarivigum-Test of Dagon
- ^ Amulet of Kings — Wenegrus Monhana
- ^ The Adabal-a
- ^ Frontier, Conquest, and Accommodation: A Social History of Cyrodiil — University of Gwylim Press, 3E 344
- ^ a b c The Last King of the Ayleids — Herminia Cinna
- ^ The Chronicles of the Holy Brothers of Marukh, Volume IV-Or, The Cleansing of the Fane
- ^ Rislav the Righteous — Sinjin
- ^ The Wild Elves — Kier-Jo Chorvak
 See Also
- For details on Ayleid references in Oblivion, see Oblivion:Ayleids.