Kingdoms of Frandum - Phodela
The origin of the high-elves and of their kingdom is shrouded into the mists of legends, and only the most ancient among this people have any knowledge of it, but it is a secret more than well kept.
From long years, the slowly aging high-elves have been there, along the western frontier of the world, living in their island so far and so close from the mainland. Myths cannot stop citing them, and even the events of the Third Age sometimes look like mythology to the unwarned eye. Yet what is pretty sure is that Phodela has existed for a long time, and that its borders have not changed much over centuries.
Stateless as its main inhabitants, the kingdom has played a remote yet decisive role in the events of this age and the previous one, elven diplomats trying to quell any rising quarrel, even though they sometimes teased them, yet few were those who attacked the elves, and none succeeded.
Today Phodela remains the kingdom it has always been, like a living museum of what the world used to be, yet the elven rulers have slowly followed the changes of the world, integrating them smoothly, ignoring the brisk movements to follow the general and slow evolution of civilization.
As such, the latest major change which has come upon Phodela is the slow withdrawal of the elves into Sunset Island proper, while humans took over the rule on the mainland.
Climate and geography
Climately speaking, the island of the high-elves is a kind of paradise, warmed by a Dusk sea which draws its heat from the distant waters of the south. The temperatures do not change much on the island over the course of a year, and the rain is always soft, as no climatical events trouble the elves. On the mainland, the situation is barely harsher, as the Dusk sea's influence stretches over the coast.
On a map, Phodela is the addition of an island kingdom with a piece of coastal mainland, building a world of low plains and forests, rising toward mountains on its northern and southern borders.
Yet the influence of the elves extends towards the whole Dusk sea, and further inland than the borders suggest.
Raw materials and resources
Food in Phodela comes from the natural resources of the forest and the sea. The elven population being thinly spread over the land, and the elves taking care of never harming Nature, plants, fruits, fishes and some game are the first source of food, well before farming or breeding.
Around the human settlements of the mainland though, and mainly the city of Rivercross, a more traditional provisioning of food can be observed, as fields surround the human villages, eating up the forest.
Stone is rather unknown in Phodela, and only the cities -and obviously Liriel- make any use of it. Wood is by far the building material.
As for metal, it is also rare, and unneeded in a non-technical, peaceful country.
People of Phodela
Phodela is the kingdom of the high-elves, like Leavern is the realm of their sylvan cousins. Over the millenia though, the elves have welcomed a fair share of other races in their kingdom, among which mostly humans.
Recently, the pulling back of the pure elven influence toward Sunset Island has left human in charge of the administration of the mainland, and the elves have become a minority there, even though they still rule from the distant Liriel.
Cities and countryside
Obviously, Liriel eclipses any other city of Phodela, and most people agree to call it the most beautiful city in the world. Not as big as Sanctuary, yet as powerful in everyone's heart, Liriel governs the small elven settlements of Sunset island, and the new cities of the humans to the east, and firstly Rivercross.
Unlike their sylvan cousins, high-elves are rather social and prefer living in cities rather than in the wild, which explains why there is no real hamlet in elven Phodela, only smaller or larger cities.
Obviously, the human part of the kingdom gives more room to a certain kind of rurality, yet human try to imitate their elven masters in their own faulty interpretation of the elven way of life.
Politics and laws
We have said previously that Phodela is stateless: one of the most obvious symbol of this is the uninterrupted reign of Queen Denaelyn's family, who has ruled over her people for thousands of years, Denaelyn herself ruling for so long that the name of her dead husband, king before her, has been almost forgotten by history.
Yet Denaelyn does not exactly rule the kingdom, she simply gives her counselor and magistrates all over Phodela general directives regarding where the kingdom should go, and lets them determine their own politics, thus leading to the law being slightly different in every Phodelan city, yet consistant when it comes to the general principle of freedom.
No real political force opposes itself to Denaelyn's rule, as the elves simply state their disagreement and talk their differences over during endless meetings.
Wars and armies
Elves rarely make war, and when they do, their strength is respected by their opponents. Wielding weapons, strategy and magic as experts, they often win whatever battle comes upon them even with unfavorable odds. Yet the last elven wars date back to the end of the Third Age, when elven soldiers followed Begethine, and later on Aemir.
Trade and craftsmanship
During their long lives, elves have developed skills unmatched by human beings in the art of craftsmanship, and there is no realm of knowledge they have not explored. Thus, the elven crafstmanship is the most reknown of the world, and it is often considered as luxury to possess an item designed or built by an elf.
As a consequence, the elven trade is small in volume but great in riches, and the little elven production more than enough to provide the kingdom with the money it needs to buy the required raw materials.
Science and education
Education is the central part of an elven life, and the elves never stop learning, as their thirst for knowledge never diminishes. As elven children are scarce, only small schools are here to teach them the basis of life, after which they begin to develop their own theory, and read the teachings of their elders.
The library is a central room in a high-elven home, and countless are the essays elves have written in their long history.
Religion and magic
High-elves follow Galanhir, whose cult allows the time for contemplation and thinking they crave. Being a devoted and thoughtful people, they wield a powerful magic which is only matched by the druids and elementalists of Dostenia, and the elven commoner would beat most of Sanctuary's apprentice magicians.
On the human side of the kingdom, the people are less faithful, and thus less powerful.
Arts and culture
There is no place like Liriel when it comes to art, safe of course for Sanctuary, whose only advantage is that of presenting a variety of influences where Liriel only shows elven art.
As elves learn, so do they paint, play, write, carve, weave, ... Art is a part of their life, and this elven art clearly is among the most beautiful, even though it is most of the time poorly innovative.
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