Hidden among the dense oak forests of Thilsand lays the old village of lore...
Originally a sleepy elvish village in the country side, Shael Serin has seen it's share of sickness and war; despite restoration projects led by government efforts from Vallumar, the town has never truly returned to it's former glory.
Shael Serin is the former capital of Thilsand and the locale most physically impacted by the Battle of the Dark Days. It was formerly a highly populated town, but after it was bombed during the war, its population has declined to around 19,000 or so permanent residents. It was founded by members of the Frey family, low elves who left the haven of Vallumar in search of their own power. Efforts to rebuild the town and restore it to a more autonomous state have meant that many citizens of Thilsand are choosing to return to Shael Serin.
The population is mostly elf (96%), with smaller numbers of fae (2%), half-elfs (1%) and humans (1%).
Shael Serin has gone through many changes in government throughout its history. It was first a feudal town, with the various patriarchs of the Frey dynasty serving as lords. The Frey's have remained in power throughout most of Shael Serin's history, even with the collapse of the feudal system. Post-feudal Shael Serin is still governed by a lord, though a council system was introduced in order to include the interests of the city's citizens.
After the decimation of Shael Serin during the Battle of the Dark Days, the council system was abolished and Shael Serin was left without a formal government. The remaining citizens of the town signed a treaty with Vallumar - under the treaty, Vallumar would govern Shael Serin and aid in its rebuilding if given a share of resources.
This arrangement has thus worked out very well, but in recent weeks rumors have begun to spread across Thilsand. It's said that Solana Frey intends to redeem her family's name by wedding the future king of Vallumar and assuming the position as leader of the city...
Once a small village of farmers, ironmongers and miners, Shael Serin was first founded as a place of haven for low elves and fae. When Lord Eldrin Frey, previously a member of the council in Vallumar, set a siege upon the village, the battle was bloody and many lives were lost. The Siege of Shael Serin remains an important moment in Thilsand's history, as it marked the beginning of the Frey family as the first powerful elven house outside of Vallumar. Originally, it was only the Frey that lived in Shael Serin, but its gates were opened to all as the years went on. Lord Eldrin was notorious for his brutality against those who dared to challenge him. It's said he and his siblings were plagued with insanity, brought on by years of inbreeding to keep the bloodline pure.
After Lord Eldrin died, his eldest son, Iliphar, rose to power. Iliphar was perhaps more insane than his father, and yet it was under his rule that Shael Serin experienced its biggest period of development. It was also during this time that Ygragara Vallumar took interest in the growing village, believing Ilithat to be a promising young leader. She invested a large sum of her own money in the village, which went toward building new homes for the increasing population. While Shael Serin itself was flourishing, the late Lord Eldrin's children were at each other's throats, vying for power. Eventually, middle child Ardreth murdered his own brother.
Initially, Shael Serin slipped into a state of decline after Ardreth became the new Lord Frey in the years before the Battle of the Dark Days. Ygragara, having been very fond of Iliphar, ceased her investment and moved back to Vallumar. While Shael Serin remained the capital of Thilsand, many of its residents were choosing to leave for Starkweather and the Cinder Hills, believing Ardreth would eventually become just as crazy as his predecessors.
Shael Serin found peace in the arrival of Cellica Vallumar. She initially stabilized Ardreth's condition enough to the point where he was able to put the village back on its feet. Eventually, people began to settle in the village once more.
Unfortunately, history was bound to repeat itself. The toxicity of Ardreth and Cellica's relationship leaked out into Shael Serin's governance. It was around this time the House of Vallumar were gaining more and more presence in the city, and it was they who foresaw where Ardreth Frey's condition was headed. His existence was quietly snuffed out and to this day, mystery surrounds his disappearance. With no siblings fit to take over his reign the governance of the city was left in the hands of wife Cellica. After her own death, the village was without governance for a period - though without the influence of the Frey's, this was probably Shael Serin's most peaceful time.
Eventually, Ardreth and Cellica's oldest daughter, Solana, came of age and took control over the city; she was fairly successful in running the populace until Ilithar's own bastard, Ayen, came out of hiding, looking to claim his birthright as Lord Frey. Rather than clashing over this power struggle, the first cousins began a romantic relationship... Thus continuing the unfortunate succession of incestuous relationships within the Frey family. Insanity bred more insanity - the vicious cycle continued.
It was with the outbreak of the Battle of the Dark Days that Shael Serin would fall back into ruin. The city became something of a headquarters for military forces, and over sixty-percent of the city's infrastructure was completely obliterated. After the war, Vallumar took over governance and has since made progress in reconstruction, though rumor says Solana Frey is planning her return...
Shael Serin is located in the middle of a densely forested area that fills the dale in which the town sits. A number of small streams run through the town and surounding woodland, all which lead to the River Raven, after which many of the local places are named. Many of its suburban buildings are actually within the forest itself, rather than the cleared area that serves as the towns center. This was previously ideal for hiding it from intruding forces. The towns center is surrounded on three sides by a stone wall. The forth side of the wall sits on a hillside. Shael Serins history as a feudal center is evident in its layout - Ravenside House, also known as 'The Black Manor' is at the very heart of the town, and many homes, businesses, and small farms surround it.
Post-War Shael Serin
After the city was bombed during the Battle of the Dark Days, a lot of Shael Serin is in ruins. Many homes and areas of the surrounding forest were destroyed and still remain in shambles. There have been recent efforts to restore the city to its former charm and glory, but this process has been slow due to lack of interest in the project.