The Golden Wood
p. The Golden Wood is possibly the oldest forest on Halda, and is considered by many the birthplace of all life on the planet. As such its history is largely lost to the ages, though Elves tell many tales of those lost times.
p. The oldest ruins of ancient cities date back roughly 10,000 years, which Elves consider the beginning of the third age. While there are many stories of this time, Elven civilization was still quite young, and though long lived Elves still aged and died in those days. This leads many (non-Elven) historians to discount these tales as mere legend. The third age saw many advances in Elven society and the development of magic. Gnomes are believed to have been born in this age, but the exact details of their creation are shrouded in myth.
p. The first event of truly historic proportion in the history of the Wood is the great banishment. According to Elven tradition, dozens or even hundreds of lesser races lived among them and learned from them in the third age, though the exact nature of these races is unclear. Some Gnomish historians have proposed that they were all Gnomes of some form, but divided by tribe or clan. In the last years of the third age, many of these tribes rebelled against the Elves, and in the end the Elves were forced to use magic to banish them into the far reaches of the world, where they eventually became all of the modern mortal races. This banishment is considered year 0 in the elven calendar, and marks the beginning of the 4th age. Many also consider this the founding of the Golden Wood as a nation, as before this the concept of nations and borders was foreign to Elves.
WORK IN PROGRESS
p. While most outsiders tend to think of the Golden Wood as the Elven nation, the truth is a little more complex. Although Elves claim the land as their own and claim to be in authority within the borders of the forest, there are two places that authority does not reach.
Gnomes have lived alongside Elves for as long as either race can remember, though Elves often point out that they are the elder race by several thousand years. While Gnomes in Elven settlements may act humble and grateful towards the Elves, in many parts of the Golden Wood there are small Gnomish communities that do not recognize Elven authority. In many cases, Gnomes consider Elves far too arrogant, but know that the elves have them on sheer numbers and will never see them as equals. Gnomish settlements and traditions are far more relaxed than those of the Elves, but most outsiders will never see this, as the Elves control most of the borders. Many modern Gnomes travel to Farlend regularly to mingle with other cultures and learn more modern studies than those of the Elves.
p. In the deepest heart of the Golden Wood there lies a place of deep magic. It’s borders are a bit fuzzy, and anyone straying from the beaten paths may accidentally stumble into it. This is the realm of the Fey, or part of it anyway. The Fey realm actually exists on another plane, but in the heart of the Golden Wood the two realms touch, resulting in an area that is partly real and partly dream. The Fey claim this territory as their own, fearing that if outsiders, even friendly ones, control this land it could be used as a foothold into their realm. Gnomes in general are welcome to visit, as are some Elves. However the Fey hold absolute authority in this fuzzy region of the forest. Fey customs and laws are very strange and alien, even to most Gnomes. They cling to certain laws and taboos stricter than any Elf, while their lifestyle in general seems to be so erratic and hedonistic that it would make an Orc blush. Few mortals comprehend the ways of the Fey, and the Fey seem likewise clueless about mortals.
The modern Golden Wood: