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Aengmor (Colony of)

Location: In eastern Darokin, north of the Five Shires and Karameikos.
Area: 17,950 sq. mi. (40,388 km2)
Population: 130,000 shadow elves.
Languages: Elvish (shadow elf dialect).
Coinage: Bright (gp), Shine (sp), Glint (cp), Kalafi (variously rated at 10 gp, 50 gp and 100 gp).
Taxes: One fourteenth of a shadow elf's earnings goes to the Temple of Rafiel and the King. Employers deduct this amount from the wages they pay and send it to the tax collector each month. Tax evasion is very rare among shadow elves.
Government Type: Semi-autonomous Kingdom under the jurisdiction of the Shadow Elves' Kingdom.
Industries: Military, mining (precious metals).
Important Figures: Tanadaleyo (Radiant Princess, shadow elf, female, F13/M13).
Flora and Fauna: Deer and other small forest animals, basilisks, gorgons, and lycanthropes. Evil faeries are also reported to have moved in. The flora is now predominantly twisted, and blight oaks are practically the only trees that have managed to survive.

Also, the shadow elves have imported many of their skinwings to the surface, so they can continue to act as flying mounts for their soldiers. Some have since broken free and now live in the wild of the forest.
Further Reading: GAZ 5 - The Elves of Alfheim, GAZ 13 - The Shadow Elves, CM7 - The Tree of Life, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, and Joshuan's Almanac.

Description: by Filferil Feadiel

Long are gone those joyful days when the luxuriant Canolbarth forest was home of peaceful elves and merry faeries, when robins twittered in the fresh air and the sons of Ilsundal danced among evergreen trees. Now everything is dark and dangerous here, the only clear thing being the pale skin of shadow elves. [To learn more about the shadow elves' invasion check "Timeline of Alfheim Invasion" by Fabrizio of Lizzieni and Hervé of Vyonnes published in Rymskigrad by the Igorov institute. Ed.]

The Land

Gone are the mighty oaks that made Alfheim famous all over the so-called Old World (and even beyond), now the once-green forest is a dark and dry land, very similar to the dry steppe that covered the area before the arrival of Ilsundal's sons. Aengmor, as the shadow elves renamed my motherland, is located completely inside the Republic of Darokin, lying on a plain bordered by the huge Streel River (to the West), the cursed Cruth Mountains (to the South), where many friends died while fleeing to Karameikos, and the dangerous Orclands (to the North and East) home of nasty Orcs and hungry Trolls.

The forest receded a few miles since the invasion giving ground to lush Darokinian grass. The Canolbarth's trees turned into twisted version of their former selves, their gnarly and intertwined branches forming an impenetrable canopy that shrouds the forest undergrowth in darkness. New fungi of an unknown sort and strange mosses now grow under the twisted trees, but without water the once-mighty forest is slowly dying.

Gone are the rivers and the lakes, gone are the fresh streams and the small waterfalls, gone is the water from Alfheim. [this is not completely true. As far as I know the northern rivers and the Selinar lakes aren't entirely dry, because of water runoff from the Dwarfgate mountains. Ed.]. Nothing lasts of my homeland, only darkness, drought, death and decay.

The People

Gone are the sons and daughters of Ilsundal, gone is High King Oberon and his court of merry faeries, gone are the dryads and the fauns. The current dwellers of Aengmor are shadow elves, a xenophobic and violent race, a pale imitation of real elves. Shadow elves are really different from elves: they live in (disgusting) stone houses or in (even more disgusting) caves, like the burly dwarves from Rockhome. Unlike dwarves they like to sing, but they have horrible squeaky voices. The shadow elves' way of life has indeed little to do with the "standard" elvish one: usually shadow elves spend most of their time underground, because the sun is harmful to them; they don't eat bread, berries or boars, but trania, a strange food that they grow underground; they know very little about trees and usually prefer stone over wood to build their houses or temples.

These underground elves are a very religious race. Their priests, usually called "shamans", wield a tremendous power inside their society. You can recognise these shamans from the purplish mark on their forehead, this mark identifies as favourites by Rafiel [the marked ones don't belong to a particular race as written in last year's almanac. Ed.]. It's rumoured that some among them are very accomplished spellcasters, able to destroy a whole army with a simple gesture of their hands; personally I doubt it.

Another peculiarity of this twisted race is their favourite mount: horrible squeaking flying monsters called skinwings.

Recent History

Though the memory of the shadow elves' invasion is still fresh in my mind, I won't say anything here about that sorrowful occurrence, because too many people already spoke about that, often out of turn.

After the invasion the forest has never been the same again: no more elves to tend the trees, no more trees to shelter the birds, no more twittering birds to enliven the elves' lives. Anyway life has not be easy for the invaders either. The first problem has been the forest itself, because the powerful evil magic used by shadow elves has completely destroyed the forest enchantments causing the nightly rainfall to stop and thus the once-mighty oaks to slowly die. Shadow elves asked the Norwold elves for help, but they could do little to restore the original spells.

That same evil magic caused another big problem, one that should worry everyone in the Old World, not only the shadow elves: bad magic points. These sources of evil magic already existed before the invasion, but recently they grew in number and power. Strange monsters appeared in Canolbarth and odd things happened near these areas, only the Immortals know what will happen in future.

Because of their warlike nature shadow elves had also problems with peaceful Darokin: first the silly shadow elf request of extending Aengmor borders just after the end of the Great War, then the kidnapping of young princes Erian and Calenderi that put Aengmor and Darokin on the verge of a war, and finally the invasion of Oenkmar, with shadow elf troops boldly crossing the Darokinian soil as if it was their home! Unfortunately the Darokinian army has still to recover from the war against the Master to be able to face the aggressive shadow elves, so they must put up with such blatant violations of Darokinian ground.

Anyway, after the civil war that razed the forest even more, it seem that Princess Tanadaleyo decided to take the diplomatic way in a desperate attempt to save the twisted forest. As assistant to Treekeeper Jorodrin Feadiel I'm here in Rafielton with Alfheim diplomats, but I must admit that, after last years assassination attempt, I don't trust these elves very much and I think there will never be peace between us.

Don't Miss Do Miss

In my opinion there's nothing worth seeing in Aengmor and you've better keep out of the forest if you wish to live long. Anyway for those foolhardy adventurers who like to live on the edge always risking their life there's one thing to see: Rafielton, the only permanent settlement of shadow elves.

When the shadow elf troops invaded Alfheim in the fall of 1007 AC, all the elvish villages were destroyed or burned down in the short battles that occurred. The westernmost area of Alfheim Town suffered from magically-started fires too [actually shadow elf authorities blame the fleeing Alfheim elves for setting their cities on fire. Probably the truth stays somewhere in the middle. Ed.], anyway, the shadow elf decided to preserve this city and, after renaming it Rafielton, elected it as Aengmor's capital. As you may know Alfheim Town wasn't the real capital of Alfheim, but more correctly a trading post where humans and elves might exchange their goods, anyway it was also the only human-looking city with a few stone buildings and a surrounding wall and this is probably why shadow elves decided to put the capital here.

Not being so skilled in working with wood, though they're trying to learn, shadow elf decided to remove the ironwood wall and replace it with one made of solid rock. This wall and the many new stone buildings give Rafielton a gloomy dwarvish look. King Celedryl Plaza was immediately renamed Rafiel Square and covered by a linen canopy held up by tall poles, this canopy shelters the pale shadow elf from the burning rays of the sun. On the western side of the square (in the former non-elvish area) the Merchant Brotherhood Office now houses the Radiant Princess court, in front of it the former Darokinian cathedral shelters a small group of shamans. A new temple to Rafiel was under construction on the eastern edge of Rafiel square, but the civil war caused the works to stop. The dwarvish compound is now the army headquarters, while the air-force (skinwings) has its headquarters in the former Alphatian embassy. No foreign ambassador has now an official seat in Rafielton, though a permanent envoy of the DDC has a room in the only inn of Rafielton: "The Golden Skinwing".

Nothing lasts of the sky city except a few rotten axes and ropes.

Rafielton now houses roughly 15,000 shadow elves, mostly soldiers, while the majority of them live in the caves near the Sump and Weir.