Her Fey Majesty, Queen Yolande of Celene, Lady Rhalta of All Elvenkind
Capital: Enstad (pop. 7,020)
Population: 21,000 Demi-Humans: Gray Elves (9,700), Sylvan Elves (8,300), Gnomes (13,500), Halflings, Tallfellows (2,500)
Resources: Foodstuffs, Cloth, Silver
NATIONAL ALIGNMENTS: NG, LN, N
The Kingdom of Celene is a fruitful land protected on all sides by natural
terrain. To the north, it is bounded by the Kron Hills and a spur of the Lortmil
Mountains. Gnomes and dwarves still hold this land against any unwanted or evil
forces. To the west lies the southern half of the Lortmils, which still remain
free of the humanoid forces, which boiled out of the Pomarj prior to the Year of
Peace. The eastern reaches of the land border the Welkwood, one of the three
forests which separate the Wild Coast of Wooly Bay from the interior of the
continent. The portions of this wood west of the Jewel river still remain firmly
in the hands of elves and rangers allied with Celene. The lands east of the
river, however, are constantly changing hands in a struggle between elves, human
bandits and orcs from the south. To the south, Celene is bordered where the
Lady's River meets the Jewel River on the northern edge of the Suss Forest. It
is from this dark wood that humanoids constantly test the borders of Celene; few
elves or humans feel comfortable beneath the dark and twisted branches which
Celene is a geographically sheltered land and
this aspect is reflected in the tradition of Celene's aloofness from the
politics which trouble the rest of the Flanaess. The kingdom has, in recent
years, traded with the nations of Ulek, but it rarely opens its borders to
others. Celene remains, for the most part, a mysterious and unknown place,
although its fine silver, magnificent cloth and extraordinary wine is known
across the continent.
Celene lays claim on the entire Welkwood,
although this is debatable at best on the forest east of the Jewel, and the
easternmost portions of the Lortmils (including the range of hills which borders
Courwood). From these areas comes Celene's vast natural resources.
Celene is an ancient land. The gray elves of this area have been ruled by an
Elven Queen in the "heart jewel" of the elven peoples since long
before the invasions and migrations of the Oerid, Bakluni and Suloise peoples.
During the time of the Flannae migration into
the Flanaess, the elven kingdoms were the mightiest realms of the East. The
Eastern portion of Oerik marvelled at the mighty elven mages, and shook under
the forces of the elven hosts. In time, however, one man changed all of this.
That man was Vecna. The forces of Celene suffered a severe defeat at the hands
of this powerful wizard. The result of the expenditure of magical energy of this
battle was the creation of the Bright Desert. All of the elven realms suffered,
and the mightiest of the elven realms was even destroyed. During this time,
Celene closed its borders and ceased all contact with the outside world
(including the other elven kingdoms). This was the beginning of what is known in
the Elven calendar as "The Sleeping Years." The elves slept long.
In 446 C.Y., the 15th Queen of Celene,
Astaranthe made a decision of which the full import is still unknown--she aided
a large group of High Elves from the northeastern Ulek province of the weakened
Kingdom of Keoland, along with a group of disaffected Suloise and dwarves from
the southern hill range of the Lortmils to form their own independent
governments. In doing so, Astaranthe opened Celene for the first time in
thousands of years to contact with the outside world.
The opening of Celene's borders proved
prosperous for both Celene and the countries with which she traded. Celene's
beautiful silver products, fine cloth and clothing, and distinctive and
flavorful emerald green wine flowed across the Flanaess. In the year 498 C.Y.,
in the three hundredth year of her reign, Astaranthe stepped down from her
throne in favor of her daughter, Yolande. Yolande and her consort, Prince
Fasstal Dothmar, ruled Celene well. But the tradition of seclusion was still
strong, and the older Celenese were still wary of "outsiders." Many of
the elves of the realm indeed felt that treating with humans was no better than
dealing with orcs. And many hearkened back to the ancient days when dwarves and
Many of the elves of the realm (especially the
younger ones) found fault with Yolande's isolationist policies. These
individuals formed the Knights of Luna, a group of young nobles, organized both
to offer aid to Celene's allies, and to try to convince the Queen to change her
policies. Foremost among these adventurers was Melf, once Prince Brightflame of
the royal house of Celene, nephew of Yolande.
The council of the "traditionalist"
forces proved disasterous for Celene's neighbors during the Greyhawk Wars.
Yolande, listening to these conservative voices, refused to involve Celenese
forces when the great evil of Iuz, and the less evil, but more immediate Turrosh
Mak began warring on the Flanaess. Yolande cited the destruction visited upon
the realm when Vecna walked the face of Oerth as defense for her seeming
indifference. Some elves refused to listen. These took part in the valiant
defense of dwarves and gnomes at the Battle of the Pass of Celene (584 CY) which
halted the northwestard push of Turrosh Mak into Uleki lands. Despite this, most
of the land's allies saw Celene's failure to participate as cowardice at best,
and treachery at worst.
Celene is a political oddity among all the elven lands in that it is the only
kingdom wthe elven lands in that it is the only kingdom which is always ruled by
a hereditary queen. Among the elven lands, Celene is the most purely gray elven,
and so it reflects more than any other elven kingdom on Oerth the strong
structured government of the gray elves. At the founding of the ancient elven
kingdoms, Celene was recognized as "the heart jewel" of elvendom, and
the Queen was established as the Lady Rhalta of all Elvenkind. Her male
counterpart, The High King of Elvendom, ruled in a kingdom that lay far north
and east of Celene. After Vecna destroyed that kingdom, Celene remained as the
sole Gray Elven kingdom in the Flanaess. The tradition of a ruling queen has
been maintained, and it is said that if there is ever a time when a Queen does
not hold the throne of Enstad, The Queen of Celene may be selected from among
any of the adult females of the Royal Family by the adult members of the House
Royal of Celene. This decision is then ratified by the heads of the 10 Noble
Houses of Celene. A queen, once ratified, retains the monarchy until either her
death, or until such time as she deems it proper to step down from the throne.
Once ratified, a queen may not be removed except by the Act of Grand Censure,
requiring a unanimous vote of the adult members of the House Royal, the heads of
the Houses Noble, and the Queen's Council. Never has a queen of Celene been so
The queen is advised by a council which
includes the Queen's Consort (Fasstal Dothmar), the Royal Court Mage (Onselven),
the High Minstrel, the Lord Constable (Parseval), the Lord Protector and the
chief priests and priestesses of Corellon Larethian, Sehanine, Hanali Celanil,
and Labelas Enorath. However, the queen's rule is absolute. Only certain people
are allowed to attend Council meetings to voice opinions, to ask for royal
favor, or to voice dissent against the queen's policy. These people include all
adult members of the House Royal, all heads of the Houses Noble, all High
Priests of other Elven deities, the Lord High Mayor of Enstad, and the Lord
Mayor of Courwood. The designated Princes of the High Elves of the Gnarly Forest
and the chieftans of the Sylvan Elves in Welkwood, as well as nobility of other
states (elven and non-elven) may also petition to speak before the Council.
Each of the Noble Houses has three to five
Houses Merchant (which include the Guild Houses) which it oversees; artisans,
traders and merchants come from these Houses. If the head of a House Merchant
has a need or complaint, he must petition the lord or lady of his Noble House
for action. Some few of the Houses Merchant are actually High Elven families,
although this is a fairly recent development. Finally, Each Noble House has
charge over several Houses Servant. The general working population comes from
these Houses and they may include human families, families of other elven races,
gnomes, halflings and in one case even a dwarven family.
Despite the current disatisfaction with many of
Yolande's policies, it would be unthinkable for an elf in Celene to attempt to
change this system in any way. Even the Knights of Luna revere and respect their
queen, feeling simply that she has been given bad advice by her Council.
Although all of the Elven gods are honored in Celene, the "Four Noble
Gods" are the most worshipped. Corellon and Sehanine are held in almost
equal reverence throughout the land. The Kingdom itself is named after one of
the moons, Celene, and Sehanine is also called "Moonbow." The Queen
and the High Priestess of Sehanine perform magical rites during the time when
the moon, Celene (Kule), is full. The role of both Corellon and Sehanine is seen
in part to be the perfecting of elves--something near and dear to the hearts of
Gray Elves. Hanali Celanil, the goddess of beauty, and Labelas Enorath are also
seen as important in their representation of the truest attributes of elves and
so they, too, have many worshippers. Many human generations ago, an elven
priestess of Hanali gifted the ruling queen with a fountain and pool which in
which the Charisma of the bather is permanently raised by one (once only). The
fountain, called the Pool of Celene, also strips away mental and physical
fatigue...and bathing in the pool for one hour is the equivalent to one night of
elven revelrie, or one night of sleep for a human. Fortunate indeed are those
invited to bathe in this fountain's waters.
In the environs of Welkwood, the sylvan gods
are favored over those worshipped in Celene proper--Rillifane Rallathil, Solonor
Thilandira, and Erevan Ilesere are the chosen deities of the elves hard pressed
by bandits and the troops of Turrosh Mak. It is whispered that some of the elves
who dare the Suss Forest, including possibly tribes of Grugach, the wildest of
elven kin, worship Fenmarel Mestarine, a secretive, little-known elven deity.
The culture of Celene is as rare and fine as is the green wine made there.
Although the Gray Elven rule is strict, the quality of life is very
high--possibly the highest of any land in the Flanaess. Yolande is noted for her
lavish dinners and gala balls. The food is heavenly, and the music played in the
elven courts is unearthly, beautiful and haunting; many is the human who has
been transfixed and charmed by the sweet notes. The Royal Library at Enstad
rivals the very best libraries of the Universities in Greyhawk and Rauxes, and
it contains many volumes which are extremely old by human standards, including
some printed in the youth of the Suloise Empire. The sages of Celene are well
thought of and frequently sought out by the young adventurers from Celene (alas,
non-elves and those from outside of Celene's borders have a much harder if not
impossible task in trying to set up appointments with these worthies).
The architecture of Enstad and Courwood is said
to rival that of the greatest elven citadels of Old...and is even compared with
that of the City of the Summer Stars before its fall. The stonework and artistry
of the several concentric rings of the cities' walls, surmounted by fairy
spires, is said to bring tears to the eyes of the most taciturn dwarf of the few
who have actually seen the cities. It is rare for any visitors to actually see
these cities, for the entire realm of Celene is shrouded in illusion and magic
to fend off both foe and unwelcome visitor.
The military of Celene is unique in that it is fairly consistant in structure.
Each Noble House has its own standing army (generally 10 to 30 knights plus
leveed troops--this may include leveed knights of High Elven or Sylvan houses,
human retainers and in some instance gnomes or even dwarves). Each house also
provides ten knights of the highest quality to the House Protector, each of
these knights brings ten elves at arms (all drawn from among Gray Elves). The
knights of this House are called Knight Protectors of Celene, both knights and
the men at arms may add "ni'Celene" to their names. This is considered
a great honor. The House Protector is led by the Lord Protector of Celene.
A separate force, the Royal Guard, consists of
10 knights and 100 elves at arms and is charged with protecting the person of
the queen. This force is commanded by the Lord Constable and is stationed at
Enstad. In addition to these units are four special forces in Celene. The Royal
Hippogriffs are 50 elven knights who each maintain and fly on hippogriff mounts.
They are among the most feared cavalry on the Flanaess. Each holding of the
Royal Hippogriffs has a small shrine to Aerdrie Faenya. The Royal Archers are
made up of the 100 best archers of the kingdom from among any of the Elven
races, each is at least specialized in the longbow, and some are full masters of
their craft. The Royal Rangers are a specially trained group of Sylvan Elves
assigned to keep watch on the Welkwood and the Suss Forest. Finally, the
Halfling Slingers are a group of 100 Tallfellows who use both the short bow and
the sling to great effect.
In addition to these formal forces are the
bands of Gnomes and Tallfellows which number somewhere around 1000 when fully
mustered. The Sylvan Elves of the Welkwood are also capable of mounting a
significant force if necessary (almost 4000 when fully mustered). The Knights of
Luna, led by Prince Brightflame, also number around 50 plus personal retainers
and men-at-arms (occasionally humans and half-elves).
Sir Anelwreth Skywarden: Only 130 years old,
this young knight has made a name for himself among the Royal Hippogriffs. His
family, the Naerallyn, is one of the smaller Noble Houses of Celene. Anelwreth
is hoping to change his House's status in the realm. He is personally credited
with leading a foray in the Eastern part of Welkwood, which helpethis young
knight has made a name for himself among the Royal Hippogriffs. His family, the
Naerallyn, is one of the smaller Noble Houses of Celene. Anelwreth is hoping to
change his House's status in the realm. He is personally credited with leading a
foray in the Eastern part of Welkwood, which helped stem the encroachments of a
company of orcs. This young fighter/mage is very aware of his present popularity
at court, and does much to make sure it continues. Like most Gray elves,
Anelwreth would be considered arrogant by non-elves (or even non-Gray Elves).
He, however, has a sense of humor which borders on irreverent and is seen as a
bit of a rogue among the other members of the Royal Hippogriffs. He once had the
audacity to fly his Hippogriff into the central court of Enstad and land beside
the Pool of Celene where Queen Yolande sat.
In spite of Anelwreth's apparently flippant
nature, his heart is true, and he fights well and bravely to uphold the land and
the Queen. He has, however, recently begun to question Celene's refusal to help
her neighbors. He admires the Knights of Luna, and is thinking seriously about
joining them when his present tour with the Royal Hippogriffs ends. Fortunately,
his first tour is up in the near future...only twenty years remain of his
twenty-five year duty.
Anelwreth was chosen to be a member of the
Royal Hippogriffs at the young age of 125. His delight for flight (as was early
seen by his teachers in spellcasting) and his iron will and admirable use of a
blade, made him an excellent candidate for this post. He is currently the
youngest of the Royal Hippogriffs. As with all knights of the Royal
Hippogriff's, he was gifted by the queen with a non-magical suit of elven chain.
As is the tradition, this suit was exchanged for a magical suit of elven chain
when he was feted for his exploits in the Welkwood.