Kingdoms of Frandum - Leavern
Leavern is one of the oldest dwellings of the sylvan elves, and has always been their only kingdom, back to its foundation by the priestess Imendria in the Second Age. Due to the depth of its forests and the quiet retirement of the sylvan elves, Leavern was not really involved in the events of the end of the Third Age, yet the settling of drows in Tan Lorak, on the abandoned dwarven kingdom of Kraggen-Kor, was not without consequences, since it lead to violent wars between the two people, which lasted well-nigh three hundred years.
The drow were quickly greater in numbers and physically stronger, but not very well organized (the kingdom of Tan Lorak was not entirely formed at that time). The sylvans were by then scattered throughout the vast forests of Leavern, and the drow were burning village after village, forcing the sylvans, under the leadership of Imendria, to build a stronghold which they, due to the incredible magical properties of Imendria's mind, managed to hide from the eyes of the drow. From this point on, the sylvans held the upper hand, and the drow eventually surrendered. By the strategies of Imendria, the drow were unable to conquer Leavern, and the feud was settled, with no apparent victor and no shift of lands, the sylvan particularly keeping the strategic corridor of Falcondale, through which goods from the north were passing whereas Lean was pericliting.
The stronghold, however, was no longer needed after the war, yet the sylvan realized its importance as it had become a vantage commercial route between the Dragon sea and the kingdoms of the south, as Tan Lorak and Tasaar were growing, and more and more of the uprooted sylvan gathered into what soon became the city of Dimeniel.
Climate and geography
Leavern is located in a temperate and warm area, in the north and west flanked by the tall Windy Mountains. Its eastern border is the shore of the Dragon Sea, where a harbour has been established. The greater part of Leavern is forested, thanks to the mountains who prevent the waters of the Dragon sea from fleeing Leavern, and the people tend the trees with great skill, allowing them to grow taller than anywhere else in Frandum. South of the Elventrees, however, the forest has not recovered since the days of the war with the drow, and that part is called the Perilous Forest due to its gloomy appearance and rumours of evil creatures spawned from the hatred of the drow that were slain there, long ago.
The climate is both warm and wet, leading to frequent heavy rainfalls, and a moist Fireseason.
Raw materials and resources
The sylvans of the Elventrees do great work with the forest, ridding it from the weaker trees and making sure that the forest never gets hurt from their activities. Wood is by far the greatest source of export in Leavern. Either the wood is sold unworked, or it is first worked on and sold as furniture, weapons or shields. The sylvan arrows and bows are very expensive, and though they are not often sold to others than elves or other sylvan establishments, they are sought after by pretty much every archer in Frandum.
In the northern mountains, the humans living at its base or on its plateaus have made big finds of iron. This iron is mined and most of it is sent to Dimeniel, where the great sylvan smiths forge excellent weapons, their long spears being the work they are most proud of (apart from their bows, of course).
There is also a long-lived tradition of tannery in Dimeniel. The sylvans are superb hunters, but never hunt for sport or for the single reason of getting the hides of animals: they hunt for food, and food alone, but they do take care of the hides when the animal has been butchered. Thus there are not too many hides for the tanners to work, but when they do work them, they make outstandingly strong and light armour. These armours they sell at high prices to other kingdoms.
The sylvans don't need very much food to survive, and they eat what Nature gives them. The humans, however, need more food, and this they often get from the farmers that don't live in Dimeniel. There are a few small farms in the Elventrees, but most farms are on plateaus of the northern mountains. The people of Dimeniel are renowned fishermen, and perform this art in the Dragon Sea. This is not enough, though, so some food is imported or received as toll for use of the Falcondale pass.
People of Leavern
The Sylvan Elves are closely related to the High Elves, but are generally closer to nature: while the High Elves build great cities more or less apart from nature, the Sylvan Elves generally build lesser villages, not to disturb nature with greater settlements. In Leavern this has changed, however, when the capitol of Dimeniel was founded in the end of the Third age. There are a few humans also living in Leavern, and even a few drow. Though neither of them are loved, they are accepted, but looked upon with suspicion by the sylvans.
Cities and countryside
In the forest of Elventrees, there is only one city, and that is Dimeniel. There is only a few inhabited villages apart from that, though the rangers' guild has a settlement in the north of the Elventrees. Ruins of older villages may still be encountered, however. Also, a few cabins outside the walls of Dimeniel exist, and the families inhabiting them are often humans that are too proud to endure the scornful eyes of the sylvans within the walls of the city.
In the mountains of Kalimei, in the west of Leavern, goblins have one big settlement. Their frequent raids on the Falcondale pass are still a little problem for Dimeniel. However, most raids are nowadays anticipated, and soldiers escort the carriages and fend off the goblin attacks, leaving the goblins a quite desperate people.
Politics and laws
The executive power of Leavern was in older days solely in the hand of High Priestess Imendria, the founder of both Leavern and Dimeniel. After the Southern Peace, though, she retired from her post and to take her place eleven elves were democratically chosen. The eleven chosen were bound with Imendria by blood, and they were chosen for life. The people love Imendria and she gives her trust to the Eleven, which makes the people trust the Eleven as well. Revolts have never occured, not even during the war.
In Leavern, there are no compulsory taxes: people give what they want to the government. Money is mainly received as toll from Coranor, Valea and Tan Lorak when they use the important Falcondale pass, which is the shortest and least dangerous route of trading between the north and the south, since the only threats are the goblin raids which, more or less, always are stopped by the guards escorting the carriages. This system is highly appreciated by the citizens, but could easily fall in the case of war.
There are two kinds of laws in Leavern: those that are followed in Dimeniel and those that are followed
everywhere within the borders of the kingdom. Within the walls of Dimeniel, you respect your fellow citizens
and harm them not in any way, nor steal from them.
Wars and armies
There are no wars in Leavern, and haven't been for many long years. The greatest threat, however, comes from the drow in the south, mainly due to the high tolls for using the Falcondale pass, but also partly because most of the drow consider the peace treaty, signed many a century ago, a foolish thing. Since the rise of Tan Lorak in recent years there is even more a reason to worry: it is believed that the only reason that the drow do not start a war is because they think that Leavern will receive great aid from its northern neighbours, Coranor and Valea. This is, however, most doubtful: Valea is in no state to participate in a war, especially not for another kingdom, and Coranor alone would not be enough to fend off the drow. Should this knowledge come to Elkozan, Leavern would most probably be overrun by the drow within a matter of months.
Though not great in number, the sylvan army is a formidable foe when battled in their own territory: they are well-known for using stealth and anticipating their enemies' moves, allowing them to strike where it hurts the most and often with arrows unseen, completely annihilating a company of enemy soldiers without as much as a single alarm being sounded.
Trade and craftsmanship
Since sylvans do not exploit Mother Nature for their own gain, almost all things not made of wood, and also iron, are paid to Leavern as toll, mainly by Coranor and Tan Lorak, but also by Valea. These goods, be they weapons, spices or goins, are traded for food (grain, meat), which they, except from fruits, fish and, to some extent, vegetables, do not grow or raise themselves, and drinks (wine, beer, mead). The only foreign weapons they use are the long-swords of Phodela.
When it comes to making a good bow, sylvans are superior to the rest of the world's peoples. They are also great at working with leather, in order to create light, comfortable and durable armour. They seldom work with metals (even though they do have the skills) or crystals, but rather trade things such as jewelry and metal weapons (the long-sword is standard sylvan soldier equipment) with their cousins, the High Elves. Spears with wooden handles and metal blades are also used a lot, though mostly by elite forces.
Sylvans never use metal armour, as they rely on their agility and speed in combat. Not even for the making of arrow-heads do they use metal: they have, through long ages of refining their carving-skills, learnt how to make arrows consisting only of one piece of wood, and feathers. Their secret remains untold, but everyone knows that a sylvan arrow that hits its target, is very likely to kill what it hits.
The sylvans are also, as their cousins, great ship-builders. They mainly build cargo ships, but also fishing-boats. Even though the Sanctuary fisher-men catch a lot more, the sylvans still get enough to feed themselves, and even export some to Valea.
Science and education
Leavern - or rather Dimeniel - offers school for children, no matter the race or gender. Most sylvan children go to school, but few human and no drow kids. Ancient teachings on the importance of preserving Mother Nature are being studied, and to some extent also alchemy (though few sylvans become alchemists) and magic on the more theoretical level. Older students may learn carving or tannery, though the greatest secrets on these subjects are revealed only to very talented sylvans. Magic in practice may also be studied, and is mainly focused on divination and illusionism, but also protective magic.
All sylvans are also educated in the art of warfare, both strategic thinking and using weapons. Though the sylvans are mostly known for their great skill with the bow, their swordsmanship is actually very impressive, and somewhat underestimated: it is very fast, rather using thrusting moves than slashing, which is unusual considering the fact that they use long-swords. Their great skill with spears is not well-known by other kingdoms, but is even more impressive than any other martial art of the sylvans.
The only research made is in carving, tannery and magic. Sylvans are famous for finding new uses for old spells and crafting items (weapons and armour, but also some jewelry) with runes of powerful magic.
Religion and magic
Most of Leavern's inhabitants follow Galanhir, though there is some diversity on this matter. The few humans that live in Leavern worship Reset, apart from the few that have adapted to the sylvans' cold treatment, and instead follow Galanhir. The drow follow Shezael, and only Shezael.
Even though sylvans confess themselves to Galanhir, their reverence of Nature would put them closer to Reset and his druids. The reason why they do not confess themselves to Reset, despite this fact, is that they believe that neither Reset nor his druids influenced them, and that their philosophy is a natural development of the doctrines of goodness.
As mentioned in "Science and education", divination and illusionism are the most developed fields of magic in Leavern. During the war, High Priestess Imendria displayed great power by hiding Elventrees with magic, making it impossible for the drows to find it, and protecting her troops from enemy arrow-rains by erecting unbreakable barriers. These powers are somewhat known among the greater spellcasters in the kingdom, but not enough to be considered a major field of sylvan magic.
Magic may be used by anyone, though it is looked upon with suspicion when used by drows and neutral humans.
Art and culture
There are many great artists in Elventrees, both of sylvan and drow race. The sylvan art is distinguished by their ability to express the feelings of their souls: when sad, it would make any viewer burst into tears, and when joyful, it would make even the most evil demon smile and forget his hatred for a while. The drow are more known for their use of dark colours and depiction of macabre events, glorifying death and violence.
Sylvan paintings crown their own official buildings, and are also sold or given to civilians, though seldom to people outside Elventrees. Drow paintings seldom leave their creators, since most drow are too proud of their work to let others have it, or in some cases even view it.
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