Developing on the appropreitly named grassland planet "Jawhen", evolved around a shared thirst for knowledge and reason. They quickly emerged out of the need of religion, focusing on science instead.
The empire honed in on the Jawhen as scientists to help create new technologies and weapons. The Jawhen saw the opportunity to learn and develop more, and attempted to strike a deal with the humans. However, the humans didn't want employees, they wanted slaves. A war broke out between the two races. The humans were almost beaten by their surprisingly advanced technologies, until the Jawhen made a talor-designed mistake in their attack against the humans. In order to end their bombardment, the Jawhen launched a biological chemical weapon designed to poision the air near Imperial bases. However because the technology wasn't tested enough, the poison quickly spread and destroyed most of the wildlife and plantlife. The empire took this oppurtunity to contain the plauge in return for a surrender, which the Jawhen reluctantly gave.
The Jawhen have the unfourtunate nickname of "elves" because of their pointed ears, which helped their ancesters find food in the grassland. This nickname is only complimented by their extended lifespan (150-200 years average), which most Jawhen individuals see as an oppurtunity to learn, or a hundred years of agony.