The Kingdom of the Galasthin Elves
As the heat of the south fades away into the cool winds and snows of the north, an unforgiving living wall forged of the union of myriad trees marks the beginning of this kingdom's lands. Often referred to in shorthand as Galasthin, the Kingdom is the first domain of the elves upon Istralar after their departure from their home planet many thousands of years in the past. Despite having stood for many millennia, the elves have never been welcoming to others. Whilst elves of all kinds have always been welcomed to their ancestral homeland, many other races and nations have found the gates firmly closed to them over the years. The few Galasthin elves who travelled outside were instrumental in changing this policy - it was due to their interactions with others that the first gnomes were allowed within, sparking a close friendship between the Kingdom and Soniuch Zan to the south-east. The two nations, both steeped in magic, have multiple cultural exchange programs and often collaborate on arcane research projects. The Aletheian Empire, located on the far-off Western Continent of Valathe, is one of few other nations to have open diplomatic relations with the Kingdom, largely due to their incorporation of Ilendras. Other nations, and the many races of Istralar, generally find entrance to the Kingdom challenging, and their movement heavily restricted. The Kingdom's capital is Melaeden, the area where elves first stepped upon the planet after Verti Xi'corie allowed them to escape the curse on their former home. It is heavily guarded, and some areas are strictly off-limits to all not from Galasthin (excluding elves). Other parts are even further restricted to drow, if members of the accursed race are ever granted access through diplomatic action or necessity - whilst many outsiders seem to believe this is racist in nature, the elves have maintained otherwise and often share this sorrow with members of the drow race. Speaking of the drow, the race is usually under a total ban from the nation. However, on the rare occasion one might be granted access, they must be accompanied by others at all times or face expulsion, and will generally find themselves restricted in movement compared to their companions. When asked about their relations with the drow, most Galasthin elves react with fear, sadness or - on some occasions - anger. There is a long history between the two races, stemming from the drow's creation, and no country understands more of the fate of the drow than the Kingdom. The Kingdom has fully embraced arcane magic into its being, and has a large complex of magical research located towards its southern borders. This complex is shared with the gnomes of Soniuch Zan, and has recently become known for its improvements on the traditional gnomish flying machines. Located on the outer border of Melaeden is also their Centre of Arcane Warfare, where more secretive military research is carried out. Often, outsiders will be called into this facility either for questioning or consulting - they are usually sworn to absolute secrecy before anything of importance is revealed. As it is a Kingdom, it should come as no surprise that Galasthin is ruled over by a monarchy. The actual names of the two monarchs are generally irrelevant and used only by their confidants; in all official business, they are known simply as He of Sky and She of Forest. The 'of Forest' title belongs to the ruler as determined by bloodline; 'of Sky' is the title belonging to her husband. There are no restrictions on who can take the role of either other than that they must be an elf fully accepting of Galasthin and her traditions, who must also be of stable mind and soul. The current ruling Queen has held her position for over three hundred years, and is well-respected for her fierce wit and wealth of knowledge and wisdom.