The Whitefire Chronicles
The Humans: The Ancestors of All
Humans are the progenitor of all the modern races, and are still by far the most plentiful. Three thousand years of being moved around by the Fae erased much of the traditional tribal histories of the ancient humans, and served to homogenize large sections of the human population. While there are still vast varieties of skin tones and ethnic differences between individual humans, it's rare to find any community (let alone any nation) where the humans look generally the same.
The one universal amongst humans is adaptability. It was this quality that led the extensive programs of transformation that were perpetrated by the Fae to create the other races. It is also the quality that has led to humankind to once again thrive since their departure. The modern era has placed Humans in a somewhat difficult position; of all the races, they enjoy the fewest natural advantages. However, they also experience the least prejudice from the other races, since all races trace their lineage back to humans.
The Aelves: The Legacy of the Fae
Any time two races intermingle, offspring inevitably result. In relations between Fae and humans, the result was the birth of half-breeds. These being strongly resembled their human parents in terms of physical strength, skin and hair colour, but took more strongly after the Fae in terms of their facial features and physical build, with the elongated ears and narrow frames of their Fae ancestors.
The treatment of Aelves (meaning "half" in Fae) was widely different from place to place. In some nations such half-bloods were permitted to serve their sire in the Fae court, making them second only to the Fae as citizens of the realm. In other lands, such half-breeds were frowned upon (or at worst illegal), meaning they had to hide themselves from the eyes of the Fae Lords for fear of persecution.
In modern times, Aelves continue to struggle to find a cultural place in the world. This may be one reason by large clans of Aelves have become nomadic, travelling around from place to place in caravans and trading in goods and information gathered over their many years on the road.
The Oorks: Bred for War
During the three-thousand year reign of the Fae, war was commonplace amongst the kingdoms of mankind. Be it wars between feuding Fae despots or efforts to bring unruly free nations under heel, there was a constant need for soldiers to fight on the front lines. Since most Fae viewed humanity as a labour animal, it is only natural that the more agriculturally minded would attempt selective breeding to improve their available population. The fruit of their labour was a race of people who were taller, stronger, and tougher than any other, and raised in a culture of violence that made them excellent warriors. Known as Oorks (a Fae word meaning 'harsh' or 'uncivilized'), this race became at once the most respected and most oppressed by the Fae. Ironically, this also led them to be the first race to shrug off the yoke of slavery, and to ride up to reclaim the Human Realm from the Fae.
Ooks, generally speaking, are about a head taller than other humans, with wide shoulders and stout frames being common to both genders. They are naturally gifted athletes, and it's rare to find Oorks (even ones who do not pursue warfare as their profession) who are not noticeably more muscular than other people. Most Oorks have plain facial features, with flattened noses and dark eyes.
The Veir: The Beast-Folk
The Fae did not stop at selective breeding to fuel their 'improvements' on the race of men. Certain Fae Lords also used dark magics to twist and blend the bodies of humans and animals, creating chimeric beings that were neither beast nor man. After centuries of such experimentation these people began to appear in larger numbers, forming tribes and herds by seeking out others with the same unusual conflicts between their human and animal natures. They were called Veir – a Fae word meaning "Half-formed".
These experiments found 'success' mostly amongst mammals and reptiles, where there was enough innate 'similarity' with humans for their transfiguration to create a viable organism. Other pairing were much less successful; Birdfolk developed hollow bones that would break under the weight of their human muscle mass, Fishfolk died when their breathing organs were unable to regulate between air and water, and Insectfolk inevitably went insane from the twisting of their body and mind, often leading those few who survived to become horrible monsters.
The appearance and 'mix' of the Veir can vary wildly depending on their origin. There are some who could pass for human, but for a few minor differences in physical features (ears and eyes being the most common variables). Some have a much more animal-like appearance, with horns, tails, or growth of fur being typical. There are even a few tribes (particularly those from Farothe, where it is said that the Veir were all animals given human traits, and not the other way around) who have little that differentiate them from the animals they hail from, save walking upright and their capacity for human intellect. All of these veirish racial traits can be found in the populations of any reasonably sized city, and it's common for anyone to encounter people of Furfolk, Scalefolk or Herdfolk descent in most nations.
(It should also be noted that in this setting, only fish and fowl are typically served as edible meats. Any other form of meat such as pig, cow or sheep has a sizable population of people with that animal's ancestry, and therefore it is deeply frowned upon to serve or consume these animals for food.)