Arboria sprawls over the northwest of the Hyathine continent, and is the largest region of the former Silver Moon Empire and to this day has barely been explored. Within its confines are some of the most verdant ranges of forest, fen, and mountain in all the lands of Lyran Tal. Such vast diversity is unparalleled by the other six regions once known as the Silver Moon Empire, with perhaps the exception of Oceanuus, whose deep mysteries lie both above and beneath the waves. Even so, much of Arboria lies yet uncharted and none but the foolhardy leave the well-known paths that twine the outskirts of the region; not without a guide. Indeed, many a druid and ranger seek to gain knowledge within the fabled Selendoria forest for this very reason.It comes as no surprise that the largest and most diverse forestland of Arboria is home to both the High Druid and Cennebrae, the capital city of the Elven Nation and the heart of Geomantic training in all of Hyathis.
The High Druid, Elcine Rivervale, resides in Evergreen, a mystical and sprawling forest city. What remains of written record shows that Evergreen has been the home of Selendorian druids for over five hundred years, and likely has existed far longer. Evergreen cannot be found by just anyone; only a true druid or the Elven rangers (and Rangers) of the Selendoria know its exact whereabouts. Whether this is due to some magical property or simply that it lies deep in thick forest is debatable. Either way, Elcine Rivervale took power in the year 1261 after the unexplained disappearance of the only human High Druid, Cytorak Brownleaves, who held the position for over 10 years. Although Rivervale seems competent enough, her relationship with the Archmage of Geomancy, Tequin Shadolf-Sundew, has not the trust that existed between the Leaflord and the Archmage. Problems arising in the wilds are being laid at Elcine's feet, and some have even taken to calling her the Riverwitch. Behind closed doors.
Tequin Shaldolf-Sundew has led the Geomancers and the Elven Nation for the past three centuries. Late in his years for an elf, Tequin has the highest respect of all the Elven throughout Hyathis. Although many speculate that Tequin's power lies in his uncanny knowledge of the realm's affairs, his seat of authority is in Cennebrae where he holds court with the Geomantic Council. Located in the center of the Selendoria, Cennebrae is said to be a tribute to the beauty born of the stony earth with its towering, pristine marble columns and buildings, lined with intricate statues of polished stone. Those wishing to travel to Cennebrae must do so along the Onndar Road, else risk the poorly marked side trails that sometimes just vanish into the vegetation.
Despite the seeming tranquility of the Elven Nation, Archmage Shaldolf-Sundew has been faced with many trials in the past years that have fanned the old flames of distrust and prejudice between elves and men with fevor. It started with the return of an old enemy, Icaruss Ap-ol Ithgath, since many elves still remembered the faction of humans that sided with Icaruss during the great was that ended with the Battle of Dawn's Early Light. The hand of the Archmage has grown ever more strict since the disappearance of Cytorak Brownleaves, and when Emperor Tumian Dreven died six years later Arboria ceded from the Empire and claimed neutrality against the new regime of the Klockwork Master. Because of this, the Geomantric Council that rules not only the instruction of geomancers, but also the Elven Nation, closed the borders and cut off most of the trade to the remains of the Silver Moon Empire. After the fall of the Klock Empire, Arboria slowly started to open up again and re-connected with many of their former allies.
All of the upheaval in politics, trade, and seemingly even in the natural spirit of Arboria has set the three political factions active in the Elven Court into a fury of action. The Resistance, long striving for a semblance of equality between humans and elves, suffered a low blow with the loss of Cytorak, and is still recovering. The Elven Hand, however, has gained power. Extremely conservative, the Hand would rather see the humans removed from Arboria entirely; not so impossible a feat given the ratio of elves to humans. Ironically, the Fist - the human counterpart to the elven extremists determined to gain Arboria's wealth for themselves - has also gained power, but in a more subtle way.
Arboria is a land of vast diversity: lowlands that rise up to mountain peaks; cold, dry sweeps of forests and warm, moist expanses of swamp; thick, dark woods and open, light grasslands. Despite such variety, the most prominent feature known to Arboria is the Selendoria Forest that stretches from northern coast to southern border, and from the Talpeasea Mountains on the west to the Sturrbiths on the east. This forest, while a large swath of green on maps, is truly segmented into a number of different forests that subtly grade from one to another. Many streams, lakes, and rivers can be found in the wood, but there are five that are well-known by word, and four that are well-known by map.
The Aldene is the longest and slowest, casually snaking its way through the Selendoria's hinterlands. It originates in the Sturrbith Mountains, wending through the middle of the forest all the way to the northern shore of Arboria. Here it spreads out over the land in ever-changing mudflats covered in reeds, called the Sepalenne. The Cordunnda, named by the dwarves, is a rough and jagged river that cuts through the western base of the Sturrbith Mountains, sinking beneath the ground at Mount Spartak, only to appear again further north in its run to the ocean. While the Aldene is a slow flowing wide river, the Cordunnda is cold with dangerous rapids. The Océale divides the northern Selendoria from the Talpeasea Mountains. It flows down from the Talpeasea Mountain range then vanishes into the underground caverns of the mountains, never touching the sea. Finally, there is the Merlithú, whose beginnings spring from the southern Talpeaseas and border the Wooded Way) nearly to its beginning before turning and flowing into the Caedal Marshes.
The fifth river is much talked about, but rarely seen. The Eldethaine, the River of Dreams, is said to have magical properties and is reputed to show itself only to those with elvish blood... though more likely the various maps that pinpoint its locale are just incorrect.
Northeastern Selendoria: This region of the Selendoria, which runs up the sides of the Sturrbith Mountains, must withstand the cold winds of Northern Oceanuus. The higher elevations are alpine forest with freezing winters rife with snow, and even in the summer when the day is dry and hot, night temperatures drop to finger-numbing cold. As one moves down the mountains the clime becomes more temperate.Oaks and maples are prolific in this area, making the change of seasons a staggeringly beautiful time. Tall and sturdy trees provide a bright canopy, and undergrowth is thick in the warm summers. Many rivers run through the northeast, and most elven settlements located here as well, including Cennebrae. Many believe that the famed city of Evergreen is hidden within this region, though only the druids and Rangers know for certain.
Northwestern Selendoria: Walking the woods of the northwest is like entering another world. The gentle northern ocean breezes keep it cool year round, with only minor changes in temperature as the seasons fluctuate. The trees here are a marvel, rising hundreds of feet into the sky while the boles of their trunks grow so rotund an entire city tenement could be carved into the very heart. Misting rain is common, so light that the water hovers in the air like a cloud. Ferns and delicate flowers grow upon the moss-covered ground, struck by beams of sunlight that occasionally break through the mist.
Western Selendoria: Rain falls heavily here, and thunderstorms that shake the very boughs of the forest are common. Nearly tropical in nature, the closer to the Océale River one gets the more humid and thick the forest becomes, with climbing vines and bizarre flowers growing ladder-like from the ground up into the trees. Warmer year-round than the rest of the forest, the winter cycles see a decrease in rainfall and a slight drop of temperature, never truly freezing. Some say the weather is mystically connected to the Océale, and there could be some truth to this, for when the river floods high, it recedes leaving yet more life than before. Tens of thousands of exotic plants and animals make their home in the mild west.
Southern Selendoria: In contrast to the rest of the wood, the south has poor soil and stunted growth. Trees here are thinner, and oddly shaped and colored.Elves are scarce here, and rumours say that the nearness of the Caedal Marshes taints the earth. Some even whisper that the marshes are expanding, slowly eating away the forest until it all will be nothing but bog. Despite this, humans have braved the land and made homes here, building settlements where the elves refuse to go. Moist like most of the vast forest, the empty soil proves a challenge for all but the most resilient of flora and fauna. Still, the humans who call this place home are determined to survive and make the south their own.
Caedal Marshes: Not much is known of this fog-ridden land aside from rumour and hedgetales. The soil never dries and the mist never burns, leaving the Marshes (Somehow misnamed geographically, for their landform is distinctly swampy.)a sodden and impenetrable wilderness. The south marshes, nigh to Shadokhan, are expanses of still pools choked with vegetation and stumps, while the north is riddled with gnarled trees, their bark black with slime and moss. Only legends map this region, and it is said to be a place of trickster fae and troublesome spirits.
"There are places in the Caedal Marshes that the sun never reaches, so overgrown they are. Places where the swampy waters steam year round, regardless of the temperature, and where ground that was solid but a few minutes ago can turn to treacherous mud in the blink of an eye, to trap and drown the unwary. Some would call it a damned place, alive and evil, designed by some higher force to weed out those foolish enough to brave the marsh's depths. But the truth was that it was just nature, devoid of any guise and completely uncaring. The predator at its finest."
("The Destruction of Eidonath," by Vassily Decados)
The Talpeasea Mountains: Colored silver for three days just before spring, the Talps are a fae-dominated mountain range. Hard to navigate, there are paths granted through the Talps by the faeries, who are said to only allow those people through that do them no harm. But faeries can be fickle, and few are the number that travel the Talpeasea with ease. Many magical herbs and mystic wonders are reportedly hidden within this mountain range, but no charts declare their presence. The Talps are not quite so high as the Sturrbiths, only a few peaks reaching into the airs where few plants can grow.
Lealóre Plateau: South of the Talpeasea Mountains and west of the Marshes lies the windswept plateau. The western winds blow off the sea and over the grasslands, sparing the plateau from harsh winters and cooling it through the summer with refreshing breezes. Ranging from fertile to dry depending on the weather, the plateau is devoutly faithful to the Druidic beliefs, for it is the Ritual of Joining that seems to guarantee them prosperity.Elves and humans both dwell on the grasslands, though their methods of living vary drastically. Some tilled fields and pasturelands can be found run by humans, while the elven 'farms' consist of native plants herded together for gathering. Indeed, it is difficult to tell an elven farm from the wild grasslands around it. The coasts of the plateau are spotted with fishing villages, both human and elven, with the same difference between them as the farms, although some of the human settlements have tried to adopt elven ways.
Sepalenne: A saltmarsh on the northwest coast, it is here that the Aldene meets with the ocean. Mudflats swamped with shorebirds are the key feature, and reeds sprout up in thick mats on the ever-changing mounds of silt deposited by the river.
A druid circle on the Lealóre Plateau. They are a small group, and make their living on the native herds of antelope that are a keystone in the ecology of the grassland. The colony is having difficulty with a near-by human village, whose ways do not match their own.
Exclusively Elven, this Druid Circle is located in the central portion of the Selendoria forest of Arboria near the Aldene River.
The capital city of the Elven Nation, and the largest settlement in Arboria. The Tňrrea Talamh, the largely elven School of Geomancy is located here, as is the Geomantic Council. Created with the aid of geomancers, Cennebrae is a breathtaking marvel of earth and stone twined with nature.
Located in the north of the Sepaleen Delta, right on the border of the Selendoria forest in Arboria, it means 'City of Ambrose.'
This settlement is no longer in existence, and has been vacant since 1256, its human citizens having been driven out due to political complications. Not much of what happened here is known to the general public, but should anyone ever run into an ex-colonist of Dellman's Pine, they are sure to share unkind words regarding the elves.
The second largest city in Arboria, and peopled completely by dwarves, Dvarnia's Hold is located beneath Mount Spartak. Few outside of the dwarves know much about the city, for few are allowed into it.
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The oldest settlement of Druids in the Silver Moon Empire, Evergreen is often noted in fables and legends. Home to the High Druid, the location of the mysterious city is known only by the Druids. It is rumored to be in the thickly forested Northeastern portion of the Selendoria forest of Arboria.
This once-affluent city lies just beyond the eastern border of Selendoria Forest. The town is strategically located for trade, for it sits upon the only well-paved path that links Fort Klimteg, Cennebrae, and the rest of Hyathis. Before the elves closed the borders, Gaimalli was known as 'The Trading Center of the Arborian Wood,' for most Arborian woodsmen needed to travel through Gaimalli if they wanted to reach the rest of the Empire, and many merchants came in an attempt to get the first bid on the much wanted lumber. Now, the biggest human colony in the Elven Kingdom is under much duress, for their source of income 'trade' had been snuffed out.
This small village is another human-founded settlement within the embrace of the Selendoria Forest, and does not boast of anything but quiet tranquility and peaceful existence.
Agriculture accounts for about ten percent of Arboria's economic output. The main farming products of Arboria are sugar cane, exotic fruits, various beans, sunflower seeds, nuts, corn, alfalfa, citrus fruits, herbs, and tea leaves. There are scattered rice farms in the southern regions, and corn/wheat farms west of the Caedal Marsh. Near the base of the Sturrbith Mountains to the east and the coastal plains west of the Marshes, cattle, horses, and sheep are raised. Pears, apples and wheat are also grown on the plateau. Grown along the slopes of both Mountain ranges are Arboria's wines, both white and red, while the ales and stronger drinks come from the plateau.
Forestry is unquestionably Arboria's top industry and it is equaled by no other region in the former Empire for timber production. From ironwood to bloodwood, Arboria has so many species of trees that not all have been identified yet, with many of those species within the Talpeasea Mountains and the Caedal Marshes. Trees are also the main sources of tannin, which is used to treat leather.
Mining. Arboria's mining industry is mostly headed by the dwarves that reside within the Sturrbirth Mountain Range east of the Selendoria. Arboria is the top producer of Soniarium, as well as many other precious metals and ores. Elves and dwarves also harvest numerous gemstones from the two mountain ranges, the elves preferring the fae-ridden range of Talpeasea and the dwarves calling Sturrbirth their own. They lead the known Regions as producers of precious stones and gold.
Fishing. There are scattered fishing villages along the northeastern coast as well as the southwestern coast along the Lealore Plateau. They mainly catch shrimp, lobster and other shellfish. There are some isolated villages along the coast west of the Talpeasea Mountains, but they are rumored to be isolationists and of fae origins, and therefore do not trade with outsiders. There are no official ports there, but sailors speak of white sandy beaches along the shore.
Textiles. Since the beginning of trade between elves and men, the unique quality of the delicately soft yet tensile elven silk has marked the fashion and the look of elven culture, setting them apart from their human counterparts. This elven silk, comparable to regular silk except for a certain inherent iridescent sheen, is the main fabric favored by the elven nobles, and is produced solely from silk farms within Northeastern Selendoria. A few noble families within Arboria society boast ownership of these silk farms, where they nurture and grow a special species of silkworms called Coreisse. While widely sought after, the elven silk industry is often wary and resistant to trade with non-elves, making them one of Arboria's rarer exports.
Architecture. With the earth magic of Geomancy, along with the innate familiarity dwarves bring to working with stone, Arboria boast some of the finest architects and architectural designs. Many sculptures and buildings throughout the former Silver Moon Empire are said to be smaller replicas of the grand buildings in Cennebrae, or Dvarnia's Hold, while only a few have seen the underground marvel that is Dvarnia's Hold.
Art. The art of paint, sculpture, and jewelry is one claimed by the elves, for anything of elven design is distinctly different from that of man or any other race. The most intricate of the sculptures, created by geomancers molding stones, decorates the halls of Cennebrae famed buildings. Elven paintings incorporate traces of ores and gems along with vibrant colors extracted from the exotic plants within Selendoria, and some say that certain works are tainted with the touch of the Fae. Setting a gemstone is a skilled viewed as art of perfection by the elves. There are many stone-setters within Arboria that boast skills equaled by no other, and many who own jewelry sets by elven hands will agree it is true.
Weaponry. No other race can claim to best the dwarves when it comes to weaponry and armor. Rare and exotic metals seem to be a dwarven staple, and this reflects in their weapons and armor. But perfection carries its price; most common soldiers cannot afford anything made by the dwarves.
Hunting. Many hunters and trappers used to make their fortunes by selling furs and supplying leather from the abundant game in Arboria, but due to the Ranger's and Druid's protection of the forestlands, this is not considered an Arborian export, but a rather private individual venture.
Fort Klimteg sits at the base of the western borders of the Sturrbith Mountains on the same latitude as Cremen's Peak, overlooking the most well known path into Arboria, the Onndar road. One can picture the Onndar as a straight line drawn nearly due west from Wanasonda, through the width of Sturrbith at the midpoint of the mountain range, and into Selendoria and Cennebrae. Near the Cloosidian border, the Onndar proceeds northwestward into the heart of the Selendoria. Those traveling from Shadokhan can actually bypass entering the mountain range by following a path called the Cracked Pass that travels northward just between the eastern border of the Caedal Marshes and the western border of the Sturrbith Mountains. It skirts the mountainside northward until it joins up with the Onndar at Gaimalli.
The Onndar road is the most direct route to Cennebrae. There are other smaller paths through the forests and the Sturrbith Mountains, but they are more windy and treacherous as well as difficult to map. The road that links the major cities of the Plateau to Cennebrae is called the Wooded Way.
Lastly, there is a little known path that links northern Balthazor to the northern shores of Arboria, called Crandal's Crawl. It is rarely traveled, and the Elven Blades and Rangers that guard the pass have their hands full with the undead of Balthazor invading. Needless to say, these are not friendly borders.
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