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Wendar (Elven Kingdom of)
Location: North of Glantri and Ethengar, south of Denagoth and west of the Heldannic Territories.
Area: 78,170 sq. mi. (202,460 sq. km.).
Population: 400,000, roughly 40% human and 60% elves (including 25,000 Alfheim refugees).
Languages: Elvish (Genalleth and Alfheim dialects), Heldannic.
Coinage: Di (gp), on (sp), teci (cp).
Taxes: 20% income tax, collected yearly.
Government Type: Monarchy.
Industries: Logging, agriculture (grows barely enough for its own use).
Important Figures: Gylharen (King, elf, male, F11/M11), Bensarian of Kevar (Sage, human, male, M9), Doriath (Exiled Alfheim King, elf, male, F12/M15), Brendian Erendyl (Clanmaster of Clan Erendyl, elf, female, F7/M8), Starwatcher (Treekeeper of Clan Long Runner, elf, male, F10/M20).
Flora and Fauna: The region boasts tall ancient sequoias and pines, along with other evergreen trees that make the logging industry the most profitable one. Throughout the whole region the terrain is rocky and difficult to cultivate, hence only the most resistant and healthiest plants and crops can grow here. Animals commonly encountered in Wendar are moose, elks, bears, wolves (in forests), horses, boars, snakes (in open fields and hills) and even mountain lions. The land is far from being tamed, and the monstrous species abound, especially near the Mengul Mountains and the Wendarian Range, including snow apes, white apes, giant bats, dragons (white and green), giant ferrets, sasquatches and unicorns. Tribes of ogres and trolls have been reported living in the Mengul Mountains, while actaeons, centaurs, dryads, fairies, fairy folk, gremlins, treants and wooddrakes can be encountered in the forests.
Further Reading: X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord, previous almanacs.
Description by Christopher Dove.
Wendar, a land where Mother Nature dances cheek to cheek with Father Time and the Fairy Folk. Wendar, a land of mysteries to discover and monsters to slay. So similar to a frontiers-land, yet so overflowed with ancient traditions and customs that are all but barbaric. It is a nation of proud men and stout elves, of sages and fearless rangers, of monster hunters and heroes. It is a country not so different from the so-called "civilised ones." Yet the traveller that arrives here for the first time can almost breathe the feeling of bravery and of steadfastness that fills the heart of the Wendarians.
Nestled among two plateaus and two mountain ranges, Wendar-or Genalleth, as the elven race calls it-is a secluded and ancient land that still holds many secrets and marvels even to its inhabitants. Thick evergreen forests blanket more than a half of this region, their beauty and stateliness mirroring the Canolbarth Forest in its glory days. There are four major "reserves"-this is the best translation of the term the elves use-in Wendar, all closely guarded and tended by Genalleth elves.
The first and most important one, the Korrigan Forest, lies in the western part of the nation, touching Wendar City and Sylvair, the two most thriving Wendarian cities. It is renowned for the beauty of its sequoias and for the many shrines sacred to the Korrigans, the Nine Elven Protectors that watch upon Genalleth. The legend says that they drew their name from the mythical (and believed extinct) korrigan, a woodland animal that once lived here.
The Forest of Bounty, renamed Forest of the Curse after the events of AC 1013 and 1014, lies in the southwestern corner of the nation and is currently inhabited by Alfheim refugees. Mighty and sturdy oaks grow here, protected by a small group of treants simply called "The Elders." Woodgate and Oakwall, the other two largest towns, lie at the easternmost border of this forest, and use its wood to boast their logging industry.
Right in the centre of the Genalleth Valley we find the Enchanted Forest, a mysterious patch of trees that the elves hold as sacred. According to the legends, here live the fairies with their friends, the centaurs and actaeons, and those who dare trespass against Nature in this place are bound to be abducted by actaeons and serve the fairies for the rest of their life. Tales of missing wanderers abound in this region.
The last important reserve lies at the northwestern border and it's referred to as the Dark Woods of Baamor. The Wendarians tell frightening tales about this area, whose trees are strangely darker and more twisted than the common trees of the region, and whose fauna is made up of deformed and evil parodies of the common woodland animals. The elven sages blame all this to a mysterious being (or race, this is not really defined) called Baamor, who tried to poison the entire continent in the ancient days to appease the Dark Immortals. However, the Korrigans rebelled against Baamor and ultimately defeated him/them, imprisoning the evil Baamor inside one of the blighted trees of this forest. So, in order to avoid freeing him, it is strictly prohibited to cut down any tree in this region. In fact, few people venture there, for it is said that Baamor tries to possess anyone who walks into his forest to use him into achieving freedom.
The rest of the region consists of rolling rocky hills to the east and to the south, where the few herders raise their cattle (horses and sheep mostly), protecting them from the predators. In the central plains and moors the humans raise their crops fighting against the elements. Wendar is indeed a harsh land, and only the fittest can survive here. The valleys and plains are usually safe and free of monsters, but the nearer one gets to the mountain ranges, the more the trip becomes dangerous.
The Wendarian Range to the south and the Mengul Mountains to the north are renowned for their snow-capped peaks and for the fierceness of their inhabitants. The Wendarian Range, whose peaks average 11,000 feet in height, is home to many tribes of yeti, sasquatches and even a few white dragons, and the few passes known are so unreliable that nobody ever tries to enter Wendar from the northern Glantrian region. The only two southern passes maintained and guarded actively by the Wendarians are the Elven Pass to the southeast, which leads directly to Oakwall, and the Kevar Pass to the southwest, from which the Royal Way leads to the capital winding through the Korrigan Forest. There is a third pass leading northwards through the Mengul Mountains and up to Denagoth, but it has not been used since the last war with Essuria, about 80 years ago. Gylharen Keep has been built near the border with Denagoth under the supervision of King Gylharen, and the standing garrison has the sole purpose of stopping (or slowing) any possible invasion attempt from that land. However, since Denagoth has not given any significant trouble in the last decades, the soldiers stationed here have taken on the duty to harass and annihilate any humanoid band trying to cross the border and cause mayhem in Wendar.
The Wendarians are no weak folk whatsoever. The climate, the wild land and the wilder monsters living here have toughened them, so that even the elves seem somewhat fiercer and braver than their Alfheim cousins. The humans, all descended from the Antalian stock, are used to the cold and humid weather so much common here-it snows and rains seven months a year-, and the elves, who've been dwelling here for a longer time, are no less tough than their human countrymen. But even though the Wendarians could seem at first a united and peaceful folk, there are many differences and problems that still divide this people.
Just an example: the name of the country is different for each race. The elves call it Genalleth after a mighty figure of their obscure past, while it is Wendar for the humans, in honour to the man who created the Wendarian League at the beginning of the millennium. Even the label "elven" near the word "kingdom" in the entry for Wendar in every Thyatian almanac would be considered questionable by the majority of the humans living here; but there's more. Every major town has its name translated into both Heldannic and Elvish [the ones written on the map given in the almanac for AC 1010 are the human terms. Ed.] and the proclamations and laws must equally be issued and written in these two languages. Also, every town with a mixed population has two bürgermeisters, one for each race, and they both must cooperate and agree to issue anything, from a simple announcement to a legal document. The Wendarian militia is composed 50% of elves and 50% of humans, and each division is either made up of humans or of elves only. It seems that in the ancient days things didn't go this way, but in the last decades many small frictions have occurred and the wizard king deemed it right to reshape the political and military system this way to avoid bigger problems.
As for the Alfheim refugees, they're not really happy these days. The first and foremost concern they have is of course the fate of their beloved Canolbarth Forest, and from my observations in Wendar I've noticed they've not yet given up the hope to once again walk under the sturdy trees of Alfheim. Now, eight years after what they call "The Expulsion" from Alfheim, the clanmasters are more ready than ever to reclaim their homeland, and they seem sure that their comeback is near at hand. Anyway, as long as they remain in Wendar, they have to face another issue, that is the open feeling of hostility and sometimes xenophobia the humans show towards them. The events of year AC 1014 and 1015 [See Recent History section below. Ed.] have caused an uproar of the human population of Wendar against the Alfheimers, and the elves have not reacted very wisely. The so called "Alfheim Avengers" have indeed undertaken retaliation acts against some minor provocation by the humans, and now the situation is escalating in a very unpredictable way. I fear that if King Gylharen is not able to contain these acts of violence, we will soon have another nation in turmoil after the cases of the Heldannic Territories, Ylaruam and Ethengar. I wonder if some kind of mental disease has not spread amongst the people of the Old World to cause so much unrest in this brief lapse of time...
The past three years have been troubled for the Wendarians. First of all, a plague originated by the magical healing fruits found in AC 1013 in the Forest of the Bounty (the Alfheimers' territory) killed over 40,000 humans during AC 1014, and only the intervention of King Gylharen with the use of the Elvenstar has avoided the disease to claim more souls. However, this fact caused the humans to loathe and mistrust the Alfheimers, who were hold responsible for not testing or even for creating the malign fruits on purpose [because they only killed humans, merely draining the elves of their strengths for a while. Ed.]. The situation degenerated in a matter of months, despite the king's attempts at lowering the tension, and this caused a few minor skirmishes between Alfheim Avengers and human purists, with casualties on both sides. King Gylharen was forced to issue a decree confining the Alfheimers in the southern part of their forest and repeatedly suggested their clanmasters either to stop the Alfheim Avengers' activity or to relocate to another country.
Since the situation was becoming too dangerous in Wendar, some of the Alfheim clans decided to find another land to live in, and they sent explorers up in Denagoth, where according to historical evidences another clan of elves should have lived. Unfortunately, the returning explorers reported of the extermination of that clan by the minions of the Shadow Lord, a mysterious being that is said to live in a fortress called Drax Tallen, where now the remaining Geffronell elves (this is the name of the clan) were held prisoners along with some members of the exploring party. The clanmasters of Grunalf and Long Runner clans thus decided to go on a crusade to reclaim the lost Forest of Geffron and to avenge (and possibly rescue) their brethren. The elven army made up of representatives of these two clans and some others (including Genalleth elves) marched towards Denagoth to battle against the Shadow Army in AC 1015.
[According to some reports made by the Wendarian elves and a few scrolls signed by our correspondent Mr. Dove coming from Denagoth, the elven army was able to conquer all of the Geffron Forest, including the site known as Drax Tallen, by the end of AC 1015. They are currently holding their position up there. Ed.]
All the reserves are worth a visit, with the obvious exception of the Dark Woods of Baamor. In particular, the Enchanted Forest is the place to go if you want to relax and to receive "inspirations." But beware: only those who don't trespass against the laws of Mother Nature will be allowed to see the realm of the fairy folk. However, even if you don't meet the fairies face to face, you will remain enthralled by the beauty of the plants, the purity of the air and the gentleness of the landscape. To many Alfheimers this place seems the perfect copy of what they called Dreamlands back in Alfheim, and many often visit it two or three times a year to forget their fears, attaining peace of mind and soul.
And talking about legends and mysterious places, I've heard of a shrine called Shadowmere that lies somewhere south of Wendar, near the mountains. According to the elven sages, this wood is an ancient sanctuary sacred to the very god of all the dragons! Could you have ever imagined: the dragons worship Immortals other than themselves! However, nobody has ever found it-or rather, never found it and lived to report this discovery, according to the elves. Rumours want it to be constantly guarded by the spirits of dead dragons and by a clan of elves that has sworn fealty to this Great Old Dragon instead of the normal elven Immortals. I've always thought the elves have no rival to spin tall tales... besides halflings, of course.
Also, in the western part of Wendar, near the small hamlet of Kevar, lives a wise old sage known as Bensarian, respected by both elves and humans. I had the pleasure to have a nice and scholarly talk with him, and I have to say that all the rumours about his great knowledge and quickness of mind are well earned. He looks like an old wizened man in his eighties, but there are slight physical traits that reveal a bit of elven blood in his veins (he is probably one of the half-elves hiding in the forests of Wendar). He is undoubtedly the greatest living expert about the history and the races of Wendar, and I suspect from the conversation we had that he's well versed in the history of the region known as Denagoth, too. Strangely enough however, he seemed a lot less talkative about this topic. However, Bensarian of Kevar is a trustworthy and friendly sage, and I advise any of the readers who have problems and travel through Wendar to pay him a visit.
The last important feature of Wendar is the Korrigan Forest, the biggest forested area of the country. It is dotted with shrines dedicated to the Nine Elves, the Korrigans, the Immortals who according to the legends saved not only the Genalleth Valley, but the whole Norwold from the Great Rain of Fire. According to the Alfheimers, this forest resembles Canolbarth in its glory days and its inhabitants are friendly and helpful towards all the good-hearted travellers that stop in their small communities. In particular, there is a wonderful holy festival that is performed once a year in this part of the country and that all the worshippers of the Korrigans must attend at least once every fifty years: Adàn Dainyàs [The Land Reborn. Ed.]. This celebration usually takes place around the first two weeks of Fyrmont, when the temperatures and the climatic conditions are the best possibly found in these lands. The sacred festival begins at noon of the first day of the week and ends at dusk of the 9th day, going on unbroken for the whole time. Each day at noon the holy keeper of one of the Nine Sacred Shrines "lights up" the shrine dedicated to one of the Korrigans, using some herbs and minerals that provoke an alchemical reaction that makes the whole area glitter. Each of the nine shrines has a different colour, mirroring those of the rainbow plus pink and grey, and the hue slowly extends to the forest around the shrine during the following days. At the end of the ceremony the forest is divided into nine zones of different colours, and it is said that each one colour is somehow magical and related to some kind of spells that can be invoked by the followers of the Korrigans during the last day. Aside from this mystical ceremony, all the elves in the forest celebrate the festival with dances, songs and tales about the goodness and bravery of the Korrigans, who saved the Genalleth Valley from various perils and were finally invited to join the Immortals in the upper skies.
If the demons had a place to call home on this planet, it would surely be the Dark Woods of Baamor. This forest-I've only seen it from a hill far enough to be considered safe by the elves-is literally pulsing with negative energy. I've looked at it especially at night, and what has most impressed me is the faint greenish haze that envelops all the trees like a fouled cape. It's not just the bright green of the evergreen forest so common in this land, but it's a more sick and disgusting colour, like that of the mould on a bad preserved cheese. I am neither an emotive nor a superstitious person, but I can assure you, dear reader, that even looking at these woods from over a mile's distance made me shiver. This forest is alive with an evil far older than the oldest dragon living on this planet, but I am sure that as long as the Genalleth elves will watch over it, nothing will come out of the Baamor Woods to reclaim its lost heritage.
Another obvious place to avoid-if you're not interested in testing personally what's in the afterlife, that is-is Geron Pass, and in general the whole Mengul Range. This part of the country is literally infested with goblinoids and feral beasts like mountain lions and wolves, and dragon-like shadows have been reported much more frequently near the highest peaks. Suffice to say that the pass leads to Denagoth, and nobody wise enough would ever go there without an army as a personal escort.