Westernesse

From Anstepedia


Eldamar Numenessë
Flag of Elven Realm of Westernesse Coat of Arms of Elven Realm of Westernesse
(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
Motto: Oio naa elealla alasse'
Ever is thy sight a joy
(Unofficial)
Anthem: Edhelea, ere' hini a Valerion
Elves, true children of Valerion
(Unofficial)
Location of Elven Realm of Westernesse
Capital Westernessë
Largest city Westernessë
Official languages Eldar
Religion Elven Pantheon
Government
King
Crown Prince
Monarchy
Ajax I
Solinox Avelhar
Founded
FA 1
Population
 • 4A 11 est.
 •Makeup
 
1,875,000 ([[List of countries by population|]])
99.92% Elves
0.08% Others
Currency malda (em) (12 SP)


Overview

Situated comfortably between the rivers Swift and Slow (as translated from Eldar) is the Elven realm of Westernesse, a land where tall, ancient trees dominate the landscape and the inhabitants are one with the land. Long before the great civilizations of Calenndor rose to prominence, the elves prospered in their magnificent cities. Westernesse is named so due to the capital which lies exactly in the center of this fertile land (which is denoted by a accent on the last vowel, as "Westernessë").

The arrival of the first Elves to Calenndor predates even the most ancient of human and furre scribes, but there is enough evidence and lore passed down through generations of elves to know that the first elves did indeed take their first steps on Calenndor on this piece of land. Finding it fertile, yet somewhat barren of forests, they took it upon themselves to settle down on this land and make a beautiful forest out of it. Isolated both politically and by magical means, they were left in peace for millennia to do as they wished.

Westernesse is now a huge forest, thanks to the magic-weaving of the first elven mages and druids, some of which still live today in the forms of magical foci for the upkeep of the forest. While Westernessë is the capital of the elven realm, it is but one city amidst a myriad of others, each located in different places throughout the land. Most of these do not match the splendor of Westernessë, but each specialize in one area of Elven society.

Table of contents


Cities and Society

Westernessë itself is a city of about 500,000 elves, located in and around a grove of trees of gargantuan proportions, each several hundred meters high. Walkways and bridges unite the groves of trees, while the elves have learned to carve within the wood without damaging the tree. The grander Houses of elves tend to live towards the top of the trees, with their estates built amongst the greater branches. Houseless elves and/or lesser Houses live amongst the trunk of the tree, with houses built either within or outside of the wood.

Inside, the trees are a maze of walkways and tunnels, all lit magically. Countless tapestries and decorations liven up the city, including smaller trees and plants which feed off of the main trees themselves. Shops and stores of all kinds can be found in the capital, which is the economic center of Westernesse. The city also sports a renowned school of magic, the High Academy of Magic, built upon a solidified platform of ironwood and leaves on the top of the central tree of the grove. Only the children of the highest Houses are permitted in this school, and it is considered a bad omen if a child does not progress well.

Amongst the lower branches and within the trunk are various schools of swordplay, which all children are supposed to attend. These teach the basics of swordsmanship and other weapons. There are also a few schools of archery and bowcraft, but these are attended with less concentration, allowing their fewer students to recieve a more focused learning. Due to their lengthy lifespans, many Elven children find that they have time to pursue other hobbies, and develop different skills, such as craftsmanship or poetry and songwriting. The most prestigious martial academy, Fyrgen-Draca, is home to the order of warrior-scholars known as the Swordmasters.

Curiously, having a profession is not as important to Elves living outside of the cities as might be to other races. In many small communities, supplies and goods are shared, or purchased collectively from merchants. Food can easily be foraged and found in the forest, if not cultivated in small plots of land. Within the cities, however, this isn't exactly true. There is a greater tendency to take up a profession, and practice it to earn money.

Dotted around the realms are, as mentioned, other cities which specialize in their own doings. These are still mostly untouched by the flood of new arrivals from the human and furre lands, and are known by the elves themselves as small, sleepy towns. The port-city of Evendur to the west, situated on the banks of the ocean, is known for its spectacular ships and for being the home of the Elven fleet. Celeb, on the northeastern corner of the realm and the banks of the Still Lake, where the rivers Slow and Swift are born, is known for its annual fishing competition, where the lake becomes dotted with countless little boats.

Government

Westernesse has recently restored its ancient monarchy. Although the dynastic line of the last ancestral king has gone extinct in ages past, any of the greater houses of Westernesse had traditionally maintained loose claims on the throne. Following a period of intrigue in the elven court, Ajax of House Avelhar declared himself king with the support of the (mages), (priesthood), and the armies of the realm. The elven houses who did not swear fealty were stripped of titles and banished, but most embraced the restoration. King Ajax I is the first monarch to rule Westernesse since (look up the date).

The King is advised by the Grand High Council, a legislative body of eighteen members formed by the thirteen Great Houses of Westernessë. By statute, the First House is entitled to three positions on the council, whereas the Second, Third, and Fourth Houses are each entitled to two, and the remaining nine are entitled to one. Each House is ruled by the eldest direct descendant of the House's founder, and are expected to perfect either the art of battle or wizardy and act as the leaders of the elven nation during times of strife.

The Grand High Council is convened at least once every year by the High Councilor who is elected for life. By tradition, the ruler of the First House of Westernesse is appointed to this position. He or she may be removed by an absolute majority vote of the Council, but this has only been done once before. While the council enjoys a degree of privilege and independence from the monarchy, all laws passed by the body must receive royal assent and the monarch may, by tradition, command the council to take any action he or she sees fit.

Each House is ruled by the eldest direct descendant of the House's founder, and are expected to perfect either the art of battle or wizardy and act as the leaders of the elven nation during times of strife.

Trade

Westernesse has opened itself up only recently to Calenndor by starting to export its weapons and fruits, and importing furre and human-made raw materials such as iron and cotton, which are found in less frequency in the huge forest. The capital itself has also opened itself to visitors, and now flourishes with the small population of outside cultures living within it. The elves still mantain a significant majority, however, and have made it publicly known that it shall remain as such.

Military

Westernesse is not really known for any military achievements, as it remains a peaceful nation, isolated from the affairs of humans and furre. Shielded by unforgiving lands like Thamrivol, it remains mostly untouched by worldly matters, and wishes to remain so. Notwithstanding this, the elves are able to draw upon their highly skilled leaders, mages, and citizen levy army in the event of war, and maintain the most powerful navy on their side of Feanor. The combined military forces of the nation are known as the Grand Elven Warhost. Highly reliant to the effectiveness of the military are Westernesse's skilled mages.

History

Westernesse has been the homeland of the Elves of Calenndor for over twenty millennia - many scholars believe that the original seven (and tallest) trees in Westernesse were grown within a fortnight of the arrival of the first group of Elves of the diaspora from the continent of Hæ'eska to the west. Ancient scriptures claim that the "land was so perfect, and evergreen" that the Elves knew this would be their new homeland. Scholars also believe that at the time of arrival, there existed no divisions of race within the Elves, and that the classification of High Elf and Wood Elf only came into existence after the former settled in cities, and the latter began to roam the forests. The so-called First Age of Calenndor began upon the Elves' arrival upon the continent.

Throughout the First Age, the Elves maintained a strict isolationist policy, and the lands of Westernesse were spared the devastation wrought in the Empire of Taigorr's name. Except for the Aramágî, refugees from Taigorr's anti-mage policies in the middle of the First Age, the Elves maintained little contact with the Furre or Human populations of Calenndor.