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TOPIC OF THE MONTH:
ELVES IN WENDAR: SOCIAL INTEGRATION OR APARTHEID?
Something big is happening in Wendar these days: there are voices among the Alfheimers of a possible exodus to Norwold. According to the information I've gathered in the past days, an elven ambassador from Norwold has recently arrived in Wendar with a proposal for the Alfheimers to relocate in an elven dominion under the protection of a mighty Elf Mage. Normally this would seem an unrealistic idea, given the fact that the Alfheimers had to experience a similar situation only seven years ago and are now living in a country very much similar to their lost Forest of Canolbarth. Yet I think the Norwold Elf Baron couldn't choose a better moment to make his proposal to his brethren, and considering how things are going in Wendar these days, the chances the Alfheimers accept are high. In fact, if you read carefully my brief commentary on Wendar, you will notice that life has not been so easy for the Alfheimers since their arrival in the Genalleth Valley. But in order to better understand this situation, we must take a few steps back in Wendar's history and examine its society in depth.
Many of my esteemed colleagues of the University of Darokin used to say that Darokin and Wendar are the perfect examples of multicultural integration in the Old World. In Wendar, elves and humans live peaceably side by side respecting the other's way of life and co-operating for the good of the nation. Emile Durkème, one of the most active scholars of Glantri, has spent a great deal of his life studying the Wendarian social system and his theory of the social solidarity is commonly used to explain the success of those multicultural societies like Wendar and Darokin. However, now that I've experienced first hand how things work in Wendar, I must say that I respectfully disagree with Durkème's theories. Maybe twenty years ago (when Durkème made his studies on the field) Wendar was indeed the perfect example of social integration, but now it has become a place where hostility can be smelt in the air and social tension is the most dangerous problem the ruler has to face. And the Alfheimers are apparently in the eye of the maelstrom, so to speak.
Since the arrival of the Alfheim refugees the situation has been changing in Wendar. With the Alfheimers came the plague, and even though the Wendarians helped the elves resettling in their own territory, the humans began to view the newly arrived with mistrust. After all, they were bringing more problems to their country (plague and demographic changes) and the Alfheim clans were not so much open to the humans either (some of the most conservative - if not xenophobic - clans migrated to Wendar and they were not really in the right mood to make friends with the humans; they had just lost their homeland after all). Mistrust soon began to spread all around the nation as if carried by the winds, and many small frictions between bordering human and elven settlements came to happen, with the fault on both sides. At first these were nothing more than squabbles regarding logging rights and exploitation of the forest, but they soon degenerated into open rivalry when humans became the target of jokes and pranks by the Alfheim Avengers. The burgomasters were able to calm things down for a while, but the friction fuelled by false rumours spread by unknown people (though a reliable source blames the phantom like Church of Idris) couldn't be eliminated simply with proclamations of goodwill. And then the Second Plague came. The climax of the tension between humans and Alfheimers was reached during last year (AC 1014), when some magical fruits discovered in the Alfheimers' forest resulted to be lethal for humans who ate them. The magical disease caused the death of nearly one fifth of the human population and the Alfheimers were soon blamed for the whole thing.
Their denial of any involvement in the fact was of no avail for the humans, who now felt threatened by the Alfheimers. Open skirmishes occurred then in the forest of the immigrants, causing unrest among the races of Wendar.
This is the current situation in this country, a tense one at best, and that's why I think the proposal from Norwold could be pivotal in relieving (albeit a bit) the elves who now feel loathed, and the humans who, on the other hand, feel "besieged."