The Vale is the home of the Alfiren, or Elflings. It is located in the Westlands, southwest of Ferryport. Long ago it was considered part of the kingdom of Bordon, but as the kingdom slowly divided, the Vale became its own land.
In the Third Age the Vale was the easiest way of travel from the city of wizards in the west southwards. The Elflings were discovered then (and named such as to their resemblance of their larger “cousins”). The wizards were uninterested in them from the start and the King of Bordon named Terrin Vinestock the first lord of Vale. Not knowing or caring what his new title bestowed them from the larger people, they Vale continued much as it had, save that the roads had to be widened and some inns along the way had to be built to allow for bigger folk.
The population of the Vale and its size does not increase much, though it would be hard to tell, since due to expanded roads, the Elflings have been able to indulge in their favorite pastime of traveling more than ever. Some theorized among the Elflings that better roads would make it easier for those who left to find their way back, but it has only seemed to allow them to travel further away. Some other speculate that another great gathering of Elflings has occurred somewhere, which is why many have not returned.
Many of the peoples of the world are welcome within the Vale, though they have become a little more cautious as time has gone on.
Alfiren homes are built in the stands of trees that dot the landscape of the Vale, separated by hills and open fields. They often build these simple but sturdy structures right up against the trunk of the tree and use the roots as stairs or even furniture inside the home. This is not merely done out of convenience, but is borne of what they call a “respect for the chaos that is nature herself.” Their construction reflects this chaos of nature rather than distorting it into the straight lines and perfect angles of human construction.
They are an agricultural society, but they eat so little that their stores rarely run low, and excess is shared freely with any needy outsider willing to transport it home. They have large fields of shared honey bee colonies and partially domesticated cows. Their fields are rampant with berries which the Alfiren harvest and turn into various berry wines, of which they drink often. Their honey mead is well known throughout the Westlands, though the supply has often fallen far short of its high demand.
All of this lends itself to a very unusual, yet beautiful, landscape. Immense open fields are dotted with cows meandering aimlessly. Large wooden boxes house thousands of bees, which can be seen flying from flower to flower across the multicolored hills. Large patches of trees spring sporadically from the ground, surrounded by honeysuckle and wild berries. Mixed among all this beauty, young Alfiren play among the flowers, and the older ones watch over them with a caring eye while going about their daily business.