Gloralion, the Summervale
Table of Contents
Key to Points of Interest in Gloralion(Click the image above to enlarge it)
1. The palace of the Elvenking Baranwe. Attached is the home of the sacred swan, the pool of Melim.
2. Gardens of Gloralion, the Hatarglor. They run all the way around three sides of the city, right up to the base of the rhan, the cliffs.
3. Tower of Silver, the Celoth. Here the histories of the elves are kept by the Order of Historians, the Ithilmin. A revered elf named Elrath of House Dinan heads the order.
4. This is a guard post and way-station. It is flanked by a carefully sculpted hedge of beautiful but thorny bushes and trees. Less than a quarter mile down the canyon lies the first gate, the Garechant. There are three total gates: the first is of thick wood, called the Taurechant, and the second is of rock, called the Gondechant.
5. School of mages, the Balwen, literally translated as "Craft School." It is headed by the Elvenking's close friend, Lord Singol of House Birlithe.
6. Headquarters of the Talranuil, the Shadow Walkers. This group is headed by Leanorfin of House Arduval.
7. The Altapal, the high walkways that the Elves use to gaze over the hidden vale. They also access secret escape routes into the Elfspires.
8. This is the famous Rann Herran, the Street of Lords, where many of the noble Elf Houses in the city have their dwellings.
9. Traervalann, Halls of Art and Song. Many public performances and displays of art and music are held here.
10. Alutuar, the Glade of the God. This is where the famous Meet-of-Elhil is held, and is the largest temple in the city (all are outdoor areas).
General Information About the City
Who Rules: Baranwe the Tall, Elvenking
Other Power Centers: Lord Singol, leader of the Balwen, supports Baranwe in almost all decisions.
Leanorfin, the Captain of the Shadow Walkers, is a large influence in the city. He too supports Baranwe.
The heads of each house, when gathered in the Meet-of-Elhil, are powerful and indeed are the only entity to (rarely) speak against the decisions of Baranwe.
Population: About 5,100. The population is 99% elven with a few half-elves.
Major Products: The Summervale exports mostly textiles, art, and culture to the rest of the Belendale, although it does produce fruits and vegetables. It imports more than it exports.
Armed Forces: The Hidden City is protected by a contingent of 20 powerful Shadow Walkers. A force of 100 elven guards protects the city, and the Elvenking's High Guard consists of 30 heavily-armed and armored elven warriors. More elves can be called up in times of trouble.
Approaching the foot of the Elfspires, there is no obvious path up the mountain. Finally a careful set of eyes might alight on a dried riverbed, the entrance choked with foliage and old growth. After a long trek, finally there is a steep rock face, blocking the path entirely.
Suddenly a traveller will hear a firm voice in Elvish, "Halthar! Stand! Do not move or you will be pierced with arrows." Even eyes that have grown sharp with dangers will see no archers. It will take a password or special permission to proceed.
If the traveler has the watchword, one may step through the rock wall, and perhaps see a tall, raven-haired elf lowering his bow. "You have spoken truly and may pass into Gloralion, the Valley of Summer. I am Rana of House Nirovir. Follow me if you will." Soon one comes to the final gate, an arching structure of white marble and steel known as the Garechant. The gate seems to open of its own accord. Passing through, one beholds the beauty that is Gloralion, the Summervale.
The first thing that strikes a traveler is the sound of the valamarana, the many singing waterfalls that plash and chime down the steep sides of the sheer cliffs that enclose the Summervale on all sides. If one arrives at twilight, a mystical time to the Elhil or Elves, one will hear the voices of the elves raised in unison, their melodious song mingling in harmony with the musical waters. The plaintive sound of harps joins in the song, echoing through the vale. The valley is vast and slopes down gently from the northern ram, or wall, towards the gate, the waterfalls collecting in pools and running as rivulets and streams until they plunge into hidden caves and over a steep precipice in the south face of the cliffs. Even in winter when the wind this high up in the peaks is cold even to an Elf, the Vale is comfortable. Even snow seems to fall less in the valley, and this phenomenon gave rise long ago to a word in Altarian, glorawe, which would be literally translated into the mannish tongues as "summer-temperate," but which connotes a comfortable lack of change. The elves have come to refer to their agelessness as glorawe, as opposed to the brerive, the "soon-winter," of the other races.
Passing through the streets paved with smooth, white stone with the ultimate goal of arriving at the palace and the pool of Melim, one will marvel at the skill and craftsmanship that created such a marvelous city. Like the streets, the buildings in the vale are primarily stone, yet the white rock appears alive, carved in graceful sweeps and arching lines, with many windows. Trees line the thoroughfares, lindens and beeches whose leaves never seem to fall, and through their boughs as night descends shine green and gold and silver faerie-lights, some the product of crystal lanterns and others the result of elf magic. One will pass many objects of beauty and art, such as fountains, sculptures, and statues, as one strides through the city. White arching bridges, hung with crystal lamps, span the small rivers, and gardens surround the dwellings and fill the air with fragrance of summer past. Many elves pass in the street and nod or greet a traveler warmly in their native High Speech.
"Ah, Gloralion, the only abode East of the sea where dwells my heart," an elf is bound to intone with a wistful look in his eyes. "I am home."