The Elven Kingdom

The Elven Kingdom lies in the heart of the Great Woods, well south of the Ripon and about three days' march on foot east of the border with Cinnamar. While it is possible to reach the Elven Kingdom with a caravan or on horseback, it isn't easy. The density of the forest is one of the primary reasons the elves do not field cavalry. Elven archers, however, are among the deadliest on Centuria--surpassed only by the Dumnonian archers who protect the King's Camp. In fact, some folks think that the elves are even better than the desert folk. The point is, if you approach the Elven Kingdom by stealth or unannounced, expect to look like a tailor's pincushion on the day of a Feast in less than half a dozen heartbeats.

Elven patrols roam all of the Great Woods, but there is a particularly heavy presence near the kingdom itself. The other members of the League of the Nations have wondered for quite some time exactly how many elves Farador, the Elven King, actually has under his protection, given that he can mount so many patrols and keep a standing army larger than Daethia's on the Cinnamar Border at all times. Plus, Farador always manages to come up with troops to spare when an ally's flank is temporarily exposed, readily supplying archers to the Dumnonian front line or to trouble spots in Daethia or Rashtar at a moment's notice. Farador himself refuses to answer that question. His warriors fight on a voluntary basis, where they want and when they want. He absolutely will not meddle in their privacy nor will he allow anyone else to do so. The elves would be a formidable fighting force indeed, if they could submit themselves to the discipline that governs Daethian troops. Or if they could even manage as much discipline as the Dumnonians. Sadly, this is not the case, and Farador will not impose such restrictions on them.

The Elven Kingdom itself doesn't look like much from the outside. Little more than a hedge strung between massive oaks, the kingdom seems to take up no more space than a reasonably large castle. A clearing at one end marks the entrance. The entrance is always heavily guarded, both with very deadly, highly visible warriors beside the oaks and with equally lethal, unseen archers in the nearby trees.

The oaks in the hedge along the side that borders the clearing are actually the doors to the Elven Kingdom. Only people with elven blood (elves, half-elves, Dragons and Dumnonians) may enter the Elven Kingdom unless Farador wills it otherwise. Since Farador is a very busy monarch--in addition to being a god--he rarely has time to consider such petitions. So almost no one outside of the elves and the races related to them ever see the inside of the kingdom. The doors are opened by placing your hand against the trunk. Presumably a magic spell is used to check for elven blood at this time. If the person wishing to enter has elven blood, a magical door opens in the trunk of the tree. The visitor steps into the tree, and the door closes. At this point, a very unpleasant sensation occurs. It's as if the person becomes the tree. It's impossible to breathe, time seems to drag, and sap seems to flow in your veins instead of blood. If the visitor is a thief, a minion of the Dark One, or any sort of criminal or evil being, the tree will expel the would-be intruder into the clearing where the elven guards will "deal" with the person as an enemy. Usually this means that the intruder winds up very, very dead, so no one who is not sure of their right to enter ever seeks admittance to the Elven Kingdom.

If the person is approved of by the trees' spells, however, the visitor is expelled into the Elven Kingdom itself. The first thing that everyone notices is that the Elven Kingdom is much bigger inside than it is outside. Flowers and trees of all descriptions grow with the same disregard for climate and season as they do in the Great Woods, only these plants all seem to sparkle with an inner light. Sky so blue it hurts to look at stretches overhead. Clouds that glisten with the light of the sun god dot the sky. Sparkling brooks splash light onto their banks as they tumble in rainbows over glittering stones. Elves and woodland animals of all varieties stroll among the marvelous plants, delighting in their perfection.

This image is originally from Midnight's Attic, which no longer seems to be on the Net.

A massive silver-blue lake stretches across the southern horizon. To cross the lake, you stand at the shore and await the arrival of a magical boat. When the boat arrives, you step into it, and the craft magically carries you across the lake. Gifts of magic items, which you throw into the lake in honor of Farador, are appropriate at this juncture unless you are an elf who lives in the kingdom or a personal guest of the royal family. The lake is actually the Elven Treasury, from which Farador draws his power. The king has the power to retrieve items from the lake by standing in the craft and casting a spell. A woman's hand, draped in white samite that is never dampened by the water, appears and hands the desired object to the king. But mostly Farador leaves the items in the lake, draining their power to replenish his own supply of magic as he casts spells.

On the far shore, stands the biggest oak tree on Centuria, unless the Grandfather Oak the elves left behind in their original kingdom on the Southern Continent still stands. The great oak itself seems rather unremarkable except for being tremendously large and for having ten elven guards posted around it. The magnificent tree boasts a magical door in its trunk that opens whenever anyone approaches.

Inside, a broad wooden staircase leads down into the bowels of the tree. The tree, like the area enclosed by the hedge, is infinitely larger inside than outside. The kingdom is filled with wonderfully carved doors, stairs, and hallways. Legends dance upon the surface of the living wood, shaped by Farador's magic. The saga of the elves' flight from the Southern Continent and the building of their new home in the Great Woods. Stories of Tira, Elven Queen, who was slain by the Dark One buying her people time to escape from their original homeland. Tales of Laedor, Elven Prince, who had been captured in a battle at the Sterrefyr, taken to Mount Cinnamar and tortured to death for the pleasure of the Dark One. The account of Elven Princess Adrial's death giving brith to Miranda and the mass resurrection that brought the Elven Queen, Elven Prince and Elven Princess back to their people winds among the older tales. Reminders of injustices and injuries intertwine with sagas of courage and self-sacrifice and the ever-present promise of hope in the person of the Elven King.

Countless elves of all sizes, dressed in all the colors of the rainbow, wander through the living maze. All the elves who were still alive after the persecution by the Dark One were said to reside within the magical walls of this kingdom, sending out their finest warriors to help the Daethians defend what little was left of the good in their world. You can feel a joy, flooding through the halls of the massive tree, that seems sharply at odds with the image of a desperate army engaged in a hopeless war, and the looks on the faces of the elves as their divine king passed among them leaves no doubt as to the source of that joy.

Elven Roster

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