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FORESTHOMES (Free Clans of)
Location: Continent of Brun, north of the Great Bay, south of the Landsplit River. NW
Area: Approx. 179,560 sq. mi. (465,060 sq. km.) in western and eastern Lothbarth.
Population: 10,000 elves.
Languages: Elvish (Shiye-Lawr dialect).
Coinage: Barter only.
Taxes: None. Each elf wilfully helps the rest of the community as needed.
Government Type: Group of independent clans united under a council of clanmasters.
Industries: Hunting and gathering.
Important Figures: Soridel (High Priest of Sinar), Desel Leafbower (Leafbower Clanmaster).
Flora and Fauna: Deer, bears, elk, wolves, and other small northern forest animals. Frost giants also raid occasionally, and other tundra monsters can sometimes make an appearance in the elven forest.
Further Reading: CM1 Test of the Warlords, previous almanacs.
Description by Synthala of Aasla.
Up in the northern evergreen forests of Norwold, just south of the famous Landsplit River, lives a scattering of loosely allied elven clans. Although each clan is independent, the elven inhabitants still refer to themselves as the Clans of the Foresthomes.
The land of forest homes is dominated by huge pines and other evergreens. In most areas, the underbrush is too thick to travel through, but there are the occasional patches of clear brush. Still, trees usually found more to the south, such as oaks and maples, can also be found quite regularly. In fact, it is usually in the oak forest that the nine clans of the Foresthomes make their clan strongholds.
The most important geographical feature of the area is the Landsplit River several hundred miles to the north of the Foresthomes. One branch of the river reaches down from the tundra and makes it all the way down to the westernmost town of Sinar, allowing the elves access to the Alphatian Sea almost a thousand miles away. Even though the elves rarely use the river as a means of travel, it has been useful on occasion to bring in large shipments of supplies or other necessities to the clans. Because of this access, the town of Sinar is the only clan stronghold that deals with non-elves.
Most importantly, the forest is rarely travelled by man. This means it is a haven and refuge of wildlife, as elves are always careful in their hunting. This is something any nature lover, such as myself, can appreciate.
Traditional to the elven ways of Shiye-Lawr, the elves of the Foresthomes are reclusive and arrogant toward non-elves. They view the elven race as superior to all others on Mystara and prefer not to deal with outsiders. Unlike the Shiye-Lawr, they have adopted the living style of the elves of Alfheim. By this, they live in the trees and under the stars instead of in cities of stone. Also, they prefer to hunt and sing rather than spending time studying and always trying to learn something new.
Despite their dislike of other races, a few humans-myself included-and even one dwarf have been accepted into their lands, provided we do not stay too long on any given visit.
The elves of the Foresthomes are divided into seven major clans plus several minor ones. Each clan is completely independent from the others. When a dispute arises between two or more of the clans, all the clanmasters of the Foresthomes gather together in Sinar and decide how best to handle the problem. This is as close as the clans come to being a nation since a civil war almost broke out ten years ago.
The Leafbower clan is renowned for its marksmanship and ability with the bow. Its clanmaster, Desel, leads them from the town of Silverleaf.
Clan Feryndul is more intellectual than the others, always ready to debate and give the various sides and opinions of any conversation. They have a small library in their town of Feryndul, but refuse to place too many books into it in the fear of becoming too much like the Shiye-Lawr they left long ago.
The other clans don't really have any specialties. These clans are the Sunveils (town of Solan), the Sinar (town of Sinar), the Sanathyl (town of Sanath), the Wensaren (town of Follar), and the Esendath (town of Esendor). The Ithyshiye (the eighth major clan), who are now ruled by Ilsundal's High Priest Zoltan Hytaxius, are not counted among the free clans of the Foresthomes, nor are the minor Almashiye clan (under Quillan Elm-Grower's rulership) [See the report made by Adik and Arcadius for those elves living in White Oak. Synthala.]
Finally, a small number of other minor clans also live in the forest of Lothbarth: half of them live among the free clans, the other half recognise Zoltan's leadership. Many of these Shiye came to Norwold during the Great War, when they refused to obey the Alphatian Crown's orders to fight against Glantri and chose exile in a foreign land to retain their freedom.
Centuries ago, the elves of the Foresthomes left their homeland of Shiye-Lawr to colonise the frigid lands of Norwold. They were displeased at the strict order and laws of the Shiye-Lawr, as well as the neglect of the forest way by their continuous studies and learning. They therefore decided to create their own nation across the sea.
Nine main clans left Alphatia, eight of which settled in the northern forests. The ninth clan, the Shalidye, proceeded further south, completely separating from even their fellow colonists. Each clan claimed its own territory and was completely independent from the others.
And so it remained for several centuries until AY 1990 [AC 990. Ed.], when the humans of Alphatia started a massive wave of immigration to the area. They placed Ericall as King of Norwold, and he granted dominions left and right during his first decade of rulership. At that point, the clanmasters slowly began talking about uniting to better deal with the increase of human activity in the area. As is typical for elves, it would take a long time before a decision was reached.
In AY 1995 [AC 995. Ed.], King Acroshiye of Shiye-Lawr decided he would try and regain control of the colonists. He therefore sent his daughter Rahasia [Not to be confused with the elven mistress Rahasia who was possessed by a witch and later saved by adventurers several years ago. Once again, my elven contacts insist the two names are different to the ears of elves, but sound the same to humans and other demihumans. Synthala.] and her mate Firehawk-a priest of Ilsundal-to try and regain control.
By AY 1997 [AC 997. Ed.], the charismatic Firehawk managed to unite the clans under the leadership of the priests of Ilsundal, with himself and Princess Rahasia in charge. But unlike Acroshiye's plans, he did not swear allegiance to Shiye-Lawr. Rather, the Foresthomes became an independent and unified nation. Firehawk also made connections with several of the human nobles of Norwold, including Martigan, Claransa, Sandralane, and even King Ericall himself. This should have ensured a good future for the young nation.
Unfortunately, it all fell apart in AY 2004 [AC 1004. Ed.], when Rahasia gave birth to a female human child. Her affair with Count Martigan soon became public knowledge. At that point, Soridel, high priest of Eiryndul, began making statements that Firehawk was too incompetent to lead the Foresthomes and that he should be removed. The birth of a human child was definitely a bad omen from the Immortals, stating their displeasure with Firehawk. The clans were split on to what to do, and a civil war was on the brink of occurring.
Firehawk prevented the war from starting by accepting exile and the removal of the council of priests ruling the Foresthomes. He has reportedly moved to Wendar with his family, whom he has since forgiven. Rumours say he has even forgiven Count Martigan, and the two are friends once more, although this apparently took several years.
Soridel then insisted that the clans should remain independent from now on, as if they were ever united again, such a cursed ruler could eventually take hold of them again. And the priest of Eiryndul won the argument: the clans have since remained independent.
At the insistence of Desel Leafbower, however, they decreed that the clanmasters would meet in a council at Sinar to regulate any disputes between clans. The clans of the Foresthomes had begun interacting a lot more since Firehawk united them, and such a council was therefore agreed to be necessary.
It is interesting to note that some sages speculate that the entire incident with Firehawk was set up by Eiryndul. It is believed that Eiryndul wanted to destroy Ilsundal's hold on the Foresthomes to prevent Alfheim from having an ally when they were invaded by the shadow elves in AY 2007 [AC 1007. Ed.]. If this is true, there were probably many more such subtle manipulations caused by the Immortals during the Great War than is apparent to the mortals' eyes.
In the last years, High Priest Soridel came into conflict with Zoltan Hytaxius's efforts to unite all of the Foresthomes once more. Since Zoltan is a human and a priest of Ilsundal, this sounded as a double insult to Soridel, who has long since sworn that he will never allow the Foresthomes to become a new Alfheim as long as he lives. Up to now Zoltan managed to "lure one of the eight clans, the Ithyshiye, away from their true ways" [as Soridel put it to me. Synthala.],and his influence is still growing. However, another would-be elven unifier also exists in Norwold, Lord Elarianthas Blackblade of Ironwood. Taking advantage of the situation, Soridel has been successfully manipulating the rivalry between the two lords to make sure the Norwold elves remain independent and free from the oppressive yoke of an absolute leader [at least that's how the free-spirited Shiye of Norwold view an organized country. Synthala.].
The Foresthomes remained neutral in the recent [AC 1016. Ed.] Norwold Wars, since they were never directly threatened by the Heldannic and Qeodharan forces and preferred to maintain their isolation, especially towards human conflicts. The recent founding of the Kingdom of Nordalfheim and the alliance between Zoltan of White Oak, Quillan of the Elms and Blackblade of Ironwood has changed the balance of power in the region in favour of the Nordalfheim leaders, and this has not been welcome by the leaders of the free Foresthomes.
If you have never seen an elven stronghold, then those are the sites to visit here in the Foresthomes. The houses within the trees, and the rope bridges connecting each of the large oaks, make it appear to be a gigantic tree fort. It will definitely bring out the child in anyone who ever used to climb trees as a kid.
The way everything blends into the trees and seems like an extension of nature itself is also miraculous. The elves somehow grow their house, making sure the trees will have a huge hollow knot in which their homes will be built.
Also the sculptures and wooden designs are beautiful. As are their songs and music. For those desiring to experience the true way of the elves, with the destruction of Alfheim, this makes the Foresthomes the one place to go.