Thousands of years ago, a mage named Inferna cursed the people (or did she bless the animals???) and now this island is the home to owl-folk and tabaxi. Rarely do these exclusive folk leave the island, preferring to stay with their own kind. While they welcome strangers, and trade with the many ships that go to the port town of Werna, other races are forbidden to settle on this island for long.
Indeed, many owl-folk and tabaxi are trained from birth to give even their militia fighting and magical skills far passed the norm.
So far, they’ve been able to prevent the elvish empire from gaining a foothold on their island, but that may be simply due to the distance from the capital and lack of interest in their island.