Gaean Vale

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Lore[edit | edit source]

North of the Island of Flame, off the shores of Avelorn, lies the Island of Rebirth, site of the Earth Mother's shrine. Here, in the depths of the beautiful Gaen Vale, lies the cavern-temple of the Mother Goddess, where the Everqueen is crowned. Herein dwell the priestesses of Isha, an oracular order whose origins lie shrouded in the mists of time. Within the underground complex, many mysterious rites take place which no male Elf is allowed to witness or learn of. Every female High Elf is expected to make a pilgrimage here at least once in her life, and hear the words of Her oracle.[1]

From the Inner Sea, the island is described as a beautiful swathe of green, gold and sapphire. Glittering cliffs, shaggy with lush forest, and the scent of flowering plants carried on the breeze. Game roams free within the low lying forests, with onlookers able to spot deer and pale horses running wild through the surf that skirts the island's western shores.[1]

Bay of Cythonedit[edit | edit source]

An outthurst spit of rock fringed with tall evergreens forms the edge of a natural bay known as the Bay of Cython. Here, golden beaches and verdant forests spread out before those coming towards the bay, with crystal waterfalls tumbling from rounded boulders into foaming pools that run to the Sea of Dusk. Flocks of white birds circle overhead and silver bells are sounded from somewhere out of sight. Here, the waters of the ocean are unimaginably clear, the sandy sea bottom rippling beneath ships like the freshest streams of Ellyrion.[1]

The Gaen Vale[edit | edit source]

The Gaen Vale itself is a beautiful, high-sided valley of wildflowers, apple trees, and fresh mountain springs.The landscape spreads out in a rolling patchwork of bountiful forests, fast-flowing rivers, and wide groves of graceful statues and temples of purest white. Music fills the air, not the tunes of Elvenfolk, but the melodies of the earth: birdsong, the rustle of wind in the branches of tall trees, and the gurgling of life-giving waters flowing from a rocky peak at the island's centre. Together the sounds form a natural orchestra that plays the symphony of creation with every breath. If one is welcomed by the oracle, an Elf-maid armed with a moon-coloured bow will appear and guide supplicants into the valley below.[1]

Unicorns, pegasi and griffons roam freely within the vale, unafraid of passersby. Indeed, the deeper one journeys in, the more of its fay inhabitants can be found. Dancers and archers who practice their arts within groves of glorious splendour. White marble temples sit within overgrown arbours, priestesses of Isha pouring wine and honey on the sacred places as they gave praise to the fertility of the land. Kneeling maidens receive instructions from the island's inhabitants.[1]

Temple of the Mother Goddess[edit | edit source]

Somewhere within the valley can be found a path leading through an archway formed from the overhanging branches of looming trees. Through the gently waving canopy, one can see the tall peak at the centre of the island, streams of mountain water pouring down its flanks like trails of tears.[1]

A wide stream tumbles energetically over a cascade of pebbles worn smooth over thousands of years. From here, one emerges from the forest to find a dark cavern ahead. The path curls up towards the flanks of the peak through a procession of votive statues and piles of offerings to the Mother Goddess. Sparkling mist clings to the rocky ground before the cavern as shimmering rainbows arc from the glistening stones.[1]

Sources[edit | edit source]