Fury of the Immortals
Alfheim, Kingdom of
The lush Canolbarth Forest spans a roughly triangular area in the eastern part of the Republic of Darokin, and is completely contained by Darokin’s borders, in the basin formed by the Dwarfgate, Altan Tepe and Cruth Ranges. The thick woods intermix with gently rolling hills and a rich network of small waterways and lakes. The only major cleared section of the land is the site of Alfheim Town, all the remaining Alfheim population centres are scattered through the thick of the forest and built in the elven fashion of tree houses, well above ground. The huge and unique Sentinel and Home trees of Alfheim are grown for the sole purpose of creating dwellings and keeping the continuous forest mantle. Other than the seven main clan enclaves, the nation does not follow a standard division into regions and dominions.
Elves are marked by two facts: fidelity to their clan and long lifespans. An 800-year life expectancy causes elves to waver between gentle complacency and lack of urgency and, in contrast, a feeling of angst and a wish to live life to its fullest to avoid the pains of boredom. Nevertheless, shorter-lived races can have a hard time in understanding the irregular and slowly maturing processes of economic and political decision-making among elves. The idea of clan expands the human concept of family to the whole group and links the present-day Elves to a whole line of history that leads to the mythical hero founders of the clans. Seven major clans are known in Alfheim: Chossum and Erendyl, traders and artisans respectively, and the most likely to engage in business with outsiders; Red Arrows, warriors and wardens; Grunalf, with a reputation as rangers and monster slayers; and the mysterious Feadiel, Mealidil and Long Runners, keepers of magic and lore about which foreigners can just wonder.
Most of the population of non-elves in Alfheim are limited to Alfheim Town itself, where humans are a majority. This unique settlement is built in two levels: a standard town on the ground and a tree-town for the elves who dwell and trade in the community. For such a secretive realm as Alfheim, this town is a true melting pot: there are quarters representative of major and neighbouring nations (Glantri, Darokin, the Shires, Minrothad, Free Traldara and the Empires of Alphatia and Thyatis) and even dwarven and orcish communities.
Alfheim has a king, Doriath of Clan Erendyl, though his role and power of decision is subject to the Clan Council, made up by the Clanmasters of each clan. The king gets one regular vote in the council, and his main responsibilities are leading the army and making decisions that affect the nation as a whole. A Clanmaster is the oldest active member of his clan; he works hand-in-hand with the mysterious Treekeepers, the spiritual leaders of Alfheim. The rumoured “Way of the Tree” cares for the spiritual and magical needs of the elves, who do not have a standard clergy and temple structure to speak of, through the nurturing of some kind of relic that is said to be a living testimony of the elven Immortals, amongst which are two of the ancient migration leaders, Ilsundal and Mealiden. Elven “tree magic”, as it is called, isn’t as flashy as the displays of human wizards, but is nevertheless powerful and the subject of many rumours, like the creation of magical elven blades, cloaks and boots, which light the fantasies and greed of many adventurers.