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Nov 05 2012 -
A Visit to Ab'Dendriel
b'Dendriel, built by elves in and out of trees, is located on the northern coast of the main continent.

History

The history of Ab'Dendriel is closely bound up with the history of the elves. Thus, a short summary of their background is essential to understand how and why Ab'Dendriel was founded.

The elves were created by the elder gods as a race that would hopefully be strong enough to face and prevail over Urgith's undead legions. Unfortunately, the elves failed their purpose. While they fought bravely, they did not manage to turn the tides of battle. Yet, unlike many other races, they did not perish in the Corpse War. They fled the battlefield before they could be wiped out, and scattered in various directions. The resulting groups were not only separated by distance, though, but also by different ways of life. While it is not known when elven castes were originally formed, the years of separation certainly increased their alienation from each other. Five castes have been identified by historians so far. Two of them are commonly considered lost or even extinct nowadays but this still remains a matter of debate.

The Cenath caste long turned a blind eye to the rages of war after they had settled in a secluded valley far away from the battlefields. But as the chaos of war was spreading out across the Tibian lands, the Cenath started to grow uneasy, and soon, their anxiety turned into fear. Being skilled in the use of magic, their best wizards managed to unleash spells so powerful that their whole valley was torn out of this world and moved to another dimension. In a place more secluded than ever before, the Cenath focused on their studies and enhanced their magic powers pretty much undisturbed for centuries. Yet, the dimension became unstable over time and their safe haven started to crumble. Despite protective spells, their fragile valley returned to this world at last. It plummeted from the sky, and hit the ground like a meteorite. Only half of the Cenath survived the impact, and almost everything of their rich cultural heritage was destroyed. The survivors wandered around aimlessly for some time before they were picked up by scouts of the Deraisim caste.

The Deraisim were turned into nomads by war. Retreating into the safety of forests, they had many places to hide but no place to call home. Deraisim families frequently banded together in loose groups for a certain time but they were still an easy target for marauding enemies. So over time, they moved even deeper in the woods where hardly no one would follow.

Abdaisim

Some Deraisim preferred to stick to their nomadic culture and left their brethren in order to continue roaming the lands.
Over time, they began to refer to themselves as Abdaisim, restless, elven wanderers.


At first, the Deraisim travelled back and forth between numerous encampments there, but eventually, more and more families settled down in one of the camps. They adapted ideas from other races and cultures they had come across, and even started trade relations with some of them. Several encampments soon became trading posts, and when the Cenath were brought into the woods, most Deraisim families agreed to settle at the biggest trading post together with them. While the Cenath did not appreciate the rather simple lifestyle of the Deraisim, they soon came to regard themselves as shepherds who need to tend and guide the flocks of scared and vulnerable elves.

So it came to pass that the first elven city was founded: Ab'Dendriel, named after the ancient word "déndron", which means "tree". The growing city also provided refuge for members of the Kuridai caste, fierce fighters and hard workers but a bit rough around the edges. The war had forced them to retreat into a volcanic area at first, where life was a constant struggle for survival against savage beasts. Yet, the Kuridai proved to be tough and adapted to their harsh surroundings by developing devious fighting techniques. Courageous and determined, they stood their ground for centuries. Nevertheless, the ever-growing number of attacking orcs eventually wore them down. Reluctantly, they left their volcanic home and settled in Ab'Dendriel's underground parts.

Orcs also made the life of other races and cultures increasingly difficult, and the orcish threat hung over everything like a shadow. The next bloody encounter between elves and orcs was only a question of time. Ab'Dendriel was more or less on neutral terms with Carlin. Both cities strived for independence and kept trade relations with each other on a low level. Still, they also knew that it would be wise to assist each other in case of an orc attack in order to stand a chance. Some elves even trained young women from Carlin to scout the surrounding woods and to raise alarm when necessary.
When Bella Bonecrusher, a young warrior from Carlin, eventually called to arms against approaching hordes of orcs, Ab'Dendriel agreed to send military reinforcements to aid Carlin. Due to their determination and resolve, elven and female warriors prevailed over the orcish army in the end, and managed to secure the woods. Although trade relations between both cities began to flourish to a certain extent afterwards, their relationship has remained a loose alliance until today.

The Lost Castes

The Teshial caste and the Chelabdil caste are considered lost nowadays. The Teshial were experts in the art of dream magic. Their skills enabled them to alter the appearance of their unborn children, and to enter the realm of dreams. According to folk tales, they completely withdrew from the world of mortals at some point of time by physically entering a dream realm. Since their teachings had often been met with little response, they had lost all hope for this world.
Unfortunately, the history and fate of the Chelabdil caste is even more unclear. They are said to have been massacred and extinct by orcs but direct proof of this has not been found yet.


Ab'Dendriel Today

Nowadays, the majority of elven inhabitants either belong to the Cenath or to the Deraisim. While the Cenath are living on the upper levels of Ab'Dendriel, the Deraisim are scouting the ground level. The Kuridai still prefer the underground parts of the city where they continuously hone their skills as craftsmen.
However, since the history of Ab'Dendriel has been a story of necessity rather than of choice, the tension and suspicion created by the uneasy alliance between the three castes lingers on until today. Nevertheless, the city they have built together truly is a masterpiece of architectural beauty and finesse. Many houses are located high above the ground, entwined with the thick trees and interconnected with picturesque rope bridges. Blessed with a luxuriant vegetation full of flowers and lush plants, the evergreen city is a feast for the eyes.

Due to the efforts of elves and dedicated wildlife protectors, the dwindling population of white deer in Ab'Denriel's forests has recovered to a healthy base in recent years. If you are lucky, you may come across these graceful and majestic animals when roaming the woods. However, starving wolves and unscrupulous adventurers still endanger the deer population from time to time.

In early summer, travellers should be careful not to run into groups of wild dryads near Ab'Dendriel. Rumour has it that some of the trees in and around Ab'Denriel were once humans who were turned into trees by some particularly furious dryads. However, these stories are mostly dismissed as fairy tales by serious historians.

So for most of the year, the woods around Ab'Dendriel do not pose an excessive danger. Nevertheless, the idyll is not what it appears. Far below Ab'Dendriel, the old structures of Hellgate still make the blood of many adventurers run cold. Dark creatures are roaming this forsaken place and a strange library holds untold secrets. North-east of Ab'Dendriel, Draconia, a small island with an ancient, dark pyramid harbours undead monsters and dragons, and outcasts of different races have occupied the small castle Elvenbane west of Ab'Dendriel. Thus, orcs, minotaurs, and trolls are more or less in plain view for the inhabitants of Ab'Dendriel. So, unsurprisingly, Elvenbane is a thorn in the side of many elves. Nevertheless, a few reckless elves have joined the motley crew there in order to study the ancient knowledge that is hidden within the castle walls.

Sights

We recommend you to travel to Ab'Dendriel by ship at night in order to witness the sublime moment when the flickering flames of the beacon fire on top of Ab'Dendriel's lighthouse appear in the darkness, illuminating the night sky and safely guarding ships into the harbour (1). Leave your ship before dawn, and climb up the great lighthouse tree (2), which is one of the eight Tibian world wonders, to enjoy the first beams of daylight above the treetops. After this contemplative start of the day, nothing stands in the way of a pleasant city tour.

If you want to increase your knowledge about metals, you might want to visit the smith Bencthyclthrtrprr, a sweaty cyclops (3), who lives in the tower next to the lighthouse tree. Since the locals have a hard time pronouncing the cyclops' name, they call him Big Ben. His parents already inhabited the tower before the elves settled in this area, so the smell of ancient history still lingers in these walls. [Editor's note: Some people say that it rather reminds them of the stench of sweat and unwashed skin, though.] Travellers who rather enjoy the comfort and quietness of reading, may want to stop by Ab'Dendriel's library (4) which is located across the street. It offers a decent collection of books, especially if you are looking for information about elven culture and history. Head south from here to reach the depot tower (5), an ancient building which also has a bank in the basement. We advise you to take care of your belongings here, as bank robbers may show up from time to time.
The embassy of Thais (6), including the local post office, lies directly south of the depot. Even though ambassador Roderick tries to promote friendly relations between Thais and Ab'Dendriel, his architecturally uninspired house is considered shallow and out of place by many elves. Behind the embassy you can find a bug farm (7) where bugs are grazing all day and night. Full of thick grass and bright flowers, this pasture offers high-quality feed and contributes to the special flavour of Ab'Dendriel's famous bug milk.
If you want to meet the leaders of the elven castes, you should walk to the west until you reach a beautiful platform (8) supported by wooden poles. Faluae, leader of the Deraisim caste, prefers the shadowy area on the ground level, whereas Eroth, leader of the Cenath caste, enjoys the view from the platform. The roof of this platform is a great example for the marvellous elven architecture as it is fully covered with exotic flowers and gnarled roots. If you want to pay your respects to Elathriel, leader of the Kuridai caste, you need to descend the stairs next to the platform: Welcome to the Shadow Caves! Keep going down, pass by the sealed door leading to Hellgate, and head on until you reach the prison cells to find Elathriel. Rumour has it that he not only guards prisoners but also offers keys to Hellgate for a pretty penny.
Facts about present day Ab'Dendriel
  • Approximately 5.5% of all Tibians reside in Ab'Dendriel nowadays.
  • About 81% of the inhabitants of Ab'Dendriel are male, while only around 19 % of the inhabitants are female.
  • Despite Llathriel's efforts, only 2.4% of Ab'Dendriel's inhabitants are married.
  • The average level of characters who reside in Ab'Dendriel is 24 - in comparison: the average level of characters in Carlin is around 21; in Thais 26; in Yalahar 77.
  • As in most other cities, the main vocation in Ab'Dendriel is the Knight with around 37%.
  • Around 26% of all inhabitants of Ab'Dendriel are paladins.
  • Maybe inspired by the Cenath, around 37% of Ab'Dendriel's inhabitants focus on the use of magic. 18% of them are druids, while 19% have chosen the sorcerer vocation.

In order to roam the woods around Ab'Dendriel, leave the city through the southern city gate (9). South-east of the city, you can find the philosopher and healer Edala on top of an ancient, giant tree called Suntower (10). Edala blesses you with the fire of the suns for a fee, and is a connoisseur of music just like many other elves. However, she seems to feel a certain resentment to lyre music. West of Ab'Dendriel, strange powers are emanating from Elvenbane (11) so be careful if you cross this castle full of outcasts.
Let us get back into the city now! In the western part of Ab'Dendriel, an impressive maze (12) of bushes astounds every visitor. By walking through this labyrinth, you can meditate and connect your spirit with nature. If you manage to find the way to the inner sanctum, you can even become a citizen of Ab'Dendriel. As soon as you are ready to continue your stroll through the city, head to the north end of Ab'Dendriel, either by walking on the lush green natural carpet or by crossing the rope bridges that connect the elven homes high in the trees. On the northern coast, you can see the Castle of the Winds (13), a massive building that has already braved countless storms. It is a perfect stronghold for noble guilds. Lovebirds might want to stop by Llathriel (14) to tie the knot and get married in the midst of nature's beauty.
On the way back to harbour, a strange sacrificial stone (15) within a stone circle might attract your attention. Those who manage to leave Draconia alive, will end up here. Also, items which you place on top of the stone will get teleported to this isle due to some kind of mysterious magic.
Before you board your ship again, stop by the temple (16) to find solitude and peace, or climb up the lighthouse tree again to take one last look around Ab'Dendriel. Silently watch the dim light of fireflies spread as dusk wraps its arms around this breath-taking city, and the wind in the treetops sings "Asha Thrazi!"

Enjoy your stay in Ab'Dendriel!
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