Elflund

Known as Elflund to most of the Beltway, to elves it is Taelon, the center of elven culture and a pale remnant of one of the Twin Empires. The vast majority of elves make their homes within the borders of Elflund.

Geography

Several large rain forests make up the bulk of Elflund with the remaining plains and lowlands dotted with smaller patches of woods. The C’ellaugh and Aithris rivers mark the border between this kingdom and Hronth while the ragged mountains border it to the north and south. The eastern border is loose, separating the elves from roving tribes of orc. This border is the limit of elven patrols more than a hard political border.

Border Wood – The sizable rainforest at western edge of elven territory, much of it is uncontrolled and wild. Close to the Aithris River, the forest is thick with underbrush and travelers seldom wander its paths alone.

The Bleak – The elven name for the patch of rough, treeless land at the northwest edge of their territory. Uninhabited, it is the haven of beasts, bandits, and orc raiders. A few lone fortresses guard the frontier, built to defend against humans. Ironically, they have been defended by humans numerous times, against monstrous threats and orcs.

Dead Woods – Formerly part of the Taelaugn Wood, the Dead Woods (or Esa Tael) burned in the Great Catastrophe. The area is dotted with ruined villages and homes. Without the trees much of the topsoil was washed away and it took centuries to recover. Now mostly scrub plains with patches of small forests, the elves still avoid the region as a reminder of lost forest.

Gnoll Grove – Really the southern tail of the Taelaugn Wood, it is known as the Gnoll Grove due to the number of packs in the area. The elves have tried for centuries to clear the area without success.

The Pass – The name for the patch of plain separating the northern and southern halves of the Taelaugn Wood. A frequent place for orc raids, elven caravans avoid it when possible.

Taelaughn Wood – To the elves, the Taelaugn Wood is the only true part of the nation. The royal court pays little attention to events outside of the forest, yet steadfast refuses to cede territory. Only the areas immediately surrounding settlements is patrolled and several stretches of the forest have grown unsafe, especially in recent years.

Watchlands – Bordering the Aithris River, this is the well-patrolled borderland between the elven nation and the humans. It is well-patrolled any non-elves seen are killed on sight.

Wild Hills – The northern patch of the Dead Woods, the Wild Hills (or Gau-vaete) is sparsely populated and barely controlled. Orcs and ogres are common in the area and elven patrols only venture into the hills in large numbers.

Population

Elf and elf-kin are the predominant people of Taelonn. Elves are the majority followed by half elf and occasional eladrin. While most eladrin are expatriates from El’Tan, a small number have ventured from the Feywild.

There are a small number of dragonborn that make their home in ghettoes, remainders from traders and envoys from the Empire of the Scale. A number of halfling traders sail the Aithris and Taela rivers and trade elven goods with the human and visa versa, but few trek overland or stay long.

Lifestyle

The elves live in the shadow of their former majesty. They live in barely repaired ruins or in former refugee camps. Most elves live in small communities that live off the land, letting the forest provide for them. A large number of elves are also nomadic, living between seasonal homes and migrating across the forest.

Elves that live in permanent settlements seldom make permanent farms, instead having large gardens or small communal plots. Few elves trade with other races, at best exchanging goods with other elven bands. Most elves have reverted to a barter economy, but the royals are pushing coins on the populace and punishing those who fail to use them.

History

Formerly the central lands of the elven nation; it was the province of Taela and center of enlightenment in the Old Order. The bastion of elf-kind, no lesser races were permitted into its endless forests.

After the Old Order fell, the elves retreated to their ancestral home, trying to preserve their artifacts and accomplishments. Smaller villages and towns scattered, with many fled to the larger cities which quickly became overcrowded and fell to starvation or plague. Large swaths of forest territory, once carefully tended by the elves, grew wild and overgrown. Beasts, once kept in check or even thought extinct, retook the woods.

The elves spent the first few decades in chaos and civil disarray. The elf-king and ruler of their empire was missing, having been elsewhere when the catastrophe began. The royal court descended into in-fighting over leadership, leaving the common folk without leadership. When the world settled they tried to reestablish their empire retaking the lands to the west, but were repelled after mere decades of rule. Retreating again, the elves isolated themselves.

The elf-king, head of the royal court, encouraged the elven nation to look forward instead of to their past accomplishments. His words fell on deaf ears as the population collectively lamented their loss. He died feeling he failed his people. His young daughter took over determined to not make the same mistake.

Settlements

Lea Taela – (town, pop. 9,000) The so-called imperial capital. A planned city; it was designed to mimic the splendor of Mar Taela, fallen capital of the empire. The large city is both the kingdom’s capital and home of the royal court and parliament of nobles. Meticulously designed, the city feels artificial, an imperfect copy or imitation of city they now lack the skill to rebuild.

Nal Taela – (city, pop. 22,000) The city founded by refuges from Mar Taela immediately after the Catastrophe. It was where the bulk of the population found shelter and stored their rescued treasures. Originally a ramshackle town of makeshift buildings and shacks, it gradually grew into a permanent city but retained the confused, panicked layout. It has been beautified repeatedly since its founding but still bears a chaotic design spawned of fear and despair. There is a small ghetto of dragonborn from a number of old embassies, although most have departed in recent years. The elves work hard to keep them isolated and “contained”.

Corraine – (town, pop. 1,700) An old city built atop decaying ruins, it was rebuilt as a raiding community, it was built as a staging ground for attacks on orc and giant settlements. The small local fields are no longer able to grow crops. It is careful to leave no witnesses or evidence pointing to elves.

C’ellaugh Keep – (village, pop. 800) A fortress built to watch against the humans, it frequent has small border skirmishes with orcs, minotaurs, and bandits from Hronth. Hard-trained and experienced, the officers understand difference between bandits and professional soldiers. In fact, the keep has been aided numerous times by human soldiers from monstrous assaults.

Gaedlig – (village, pop. 950) An isolated fortress, it experiences fewer skirmishes but its forces are paranoid and feel cut-off. They are preparing for what they feel is an inevitable confrontation with the humans; its soldiers are tense with the marshal in charge is anxious to test his mettle. They are rigid in protecting the elven border and regularly assault traders who stray too close.

Aithris – (city, pop. 11,000) A border community with a sizable population of half-elves, but still growing increasingly xenophobic. They recently closed off trade and have killing unwary travelers. Those of mixed blood are increasingly persecuted and loathed.

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Elflund

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