Land of Song and Chivalry
"Fairytale" is the first word to spring to mind when one thinks of Valderia. Vibrant green hills kissed by wildflowers, gracefully snow-capped peaks and gleaming, fresh lakes make up this land of peace and plenty. White marble castles of delicate fluted spires rise to blue skies whilst farmers whistle as they till fertile fields and vineyards before retiring to rustic taverns and cozy villages. Lords and ladies tread the sweet dance of courtship whilst bold and honourable knights in gleaming armour embark upon noble quests or meet in thundering contest upon the tournament field for the sake of a lady's honour.A land truly blessed by nature and history, Valderia is one of the oldest kingdoms in Eramon and wears its rich and layered tradition with pride, embodied in rather baffling layers of heraldic emblems, chivalric codes, and aristocratic titles. Enriched by generations of prosperity and fertility, it has been centuries since Valderia faced any real external threat or war, for its fiercest and most ancient enemies lie far away in Tamuz and Qadoris, and they are kept at arm's length by the rough and rowdy Midkingdoms, whose squabbling lords are kept propped up - and shamelessly manipulated - by Valderian wealth. Here, most of the races of Eramon may find sanctuary. Sylvan elves uphold their own kingdoms within the woodlands, and the cozy villages of gnomes and halflings and the merry mining towns of dwarves are scattered throughout the countryside. Travelers find welcome in the streets of the great cities, and it is only the more warlike of folk who find themselves squinted at with wary eyes. Orcs and goblinoids are few here, mostly driven off either by local distrust or their own boredom with Valderia's saccharine pleasures, but those who do remain may find a measure of peace in Valderia available in few other corners of war-tossed Eramon. Yet all is not as pristine as one might imagine when one sings with longing or envy of Valderia. The lofty courts sweep beneath velvetine rugs many webs of lust, intrigue, ambition and even murder. Remote valleys and deep forests, as beautiful as they are, are haunted by fey and ancient spirits who lure mortals to enchanted doom, mighty monsters still dwell in the wild places for knights and heroes to challenge and sometimes slay or be slain by. And not every back-alley in the great city of Corvalion nor every forest path in the pristine wilderness is safe, for not all bandits lurking there are jolly outlaws and not all beasts well-fed. Every fairy tale, after all, must have its wicked queens, cackling witches, rampaging giants and big bad wolves...
Demography and Population
Valderia's population majority is made up of humans and those with strong human bloodlines of native Valderian stock. Dwarven and halfling populations are also prolific, with dwarven mining communities twinkling from many a valley between the Kingdoms' imposing alpine mountains and halflings a frequent sight both in Valderian cities and in their own hamlets and shires throughout the Valderian countryside.
The hardworking and prosperous dwarves and halflings have a good name in Valderia, having contributed mineral wealth and agricultural plenty to the Kingdom over many generations. Few Valderian nobles would be seen without jewelry of fine dwarven craftsmanship and the halfling wine and cheesemaking families have turned a tidy profit and built a grand reputation only questioned by a few jealous human rivals. Forest gnomes are rarer sights, usually scattered in small settlements along the fringes of Valderia's mysterious woodlands, whilst rock gnomes are usually visitors from Wulveral or hired on as inventors and tutors to the noble houses and trade companies for their skills.
Elves have their own special place in Valderian culture and society. It was here that Sylvan elves first made their appearance in the aftermath of the Godsgate Calamity, melting out of the forests as if they had been there all along. Their otherworldly grace and beauty, and their connection with the magics of the Feywild fascinate the Valderian aristocracy, leading to much art and poetry in their likeness, whilst the commonfolk tend to regard elves and all with elven associations warily, more so the farther from the cities and their noble caste.
To commoners, the elves represent the perilous and bewitching beauty of all things faerie, made manifest in semi-mortal flesh; to the aristocracy, the same connotations take on airs of romance and mystery to be desired, envied and emulated. Over the course of time, elven blood has found its way into many aristocratic families, up to and including the royal line, and elves and half-elves are woven tightly into the fabric of the upper classes of the Valderian hierarchy as well as maintaining their own domain within Aelfendar, in the heart of Faewhisper Forest.
Glory is the Sweetest Wine
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