'Elves' are Sky Pirates
So having decided that I must have sky pirates, and having decided Tolkien’s Elves will probably not have a place in my world, the nearest race to elves in standard D&D will be the Graf – a race of tree and cliff dwelling humanoids that have developed various Graf powered and assisted flight technologies.
The Graf are of similar height to elves, but weigh about 50 lbs less on average. They look somewhat emaciated, although some of their reduced weight comes from extremely hollow bones and reduced digestive tract. Their glide capability comes from their “wings” which are a skein of tissue that stretches from their arms to their hips with radial stiffeners of cartilage such that when their arms are outstretched form natural wings in the manner of flying squirrels and lizzards. Even the hands and feet are adapted to a lesser degree to provide in-flight control surfaces.
They are skilled in acrobatics and perception. Their walking is awkward and slow but they are adept climbers and can fly for short distances. They can also glide indefinitely as long as their finishing position is of lower altitude than their start position (and they haven’t crashed into the ground). The short flight capability is expressed as a racial encounter power.
Alongside the Graf there will be a smaller, less intelligent race that exists perhaps symbiotically alongside the Graf, the Gekk. These are small, chattering monkey-like creatures that resemble the Graf somewhat, although they lack recognizable speech. Graf ships are frequented by numerous Gekk, which are apparently trained by the Graf and operate the ropes and sails that allow navigation of the skies of Angadurgh.
Speaking of which, Skyship technology is based on a native create of Angadurgh, the Balaron. The Balaron are apparently non-sentient jellyfish-like creatures that float the skies above Angadugh. They produce hot gas internally and contain it in a huge bag that lifts them off the ground. They can then unfurl their tentacles which exude paralyzing and anaesthetising poison. When they paralyze a creature, they haul the creature up to their gelatinous maw where they will digest it at their leisure.