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This verdant valley and walled city of the elves is the greatest known concentration of moon elven Fair Folk remaining in Faerûn - beautiful, cultured place of beauty where few are welcome. Evereska vale is encircled by supposedly unbreathable mountains and can only be entered via gate, through a narrow, well-guarded cleft east of the Halfway Inn, or from aloft.2 There are rumors of gate linkages with Waterdeep, the island elven realm of Evermeet, and ruined Spellgard.3 Elven archers patrol the skies on giant eagles to prevent unwanted intrusions, and wards of the strongest sort prevent teleportation into or out of the vale. If there are any pass tokens to these wards, they are kept very secret.

Some sages believe the vale is defended by the magics of the elven deity Corellon Larethian himself. Its defenses certainly do include bolts of hurled magic that strike from the sky to smash hostile armies. Few beings venture within 10 miles of the foothills of the Evereskan mountains without being seen by the elves of one of the many ever vigilant watchposts and mobile patrols. Don?t expect to get into Evereska unless you have legitimate business and are an elf - or can persuade an elf to escort you in. Harper pins are usually known to grant passage unless there's evidence they?re carried by a non-Harper. Dwarves, half-orcs, and the like are usually not admitted, whatever their aims.

Most trade between Evereska and the nonelven world is carried on at the trading compound of the Halfway Inn, constructed for that very purpose. Elves do not welcome strangers into their city or their homes, and won?t grant a tourist or merchant passage into the vale just because she or he wants to see its glories.

And those glories are considerable. I've seen them briefly and can report a gardenlike series of lawns and wooded terraces interlaced with crystal-clear streams that link spill pools and fountains. Birds, cats, and small forest creatures are numerous, and music is heard here and there. Splendid tall houses with many spires and balconies rise up through the many huge, old trees. These trees are mainly duskwood and bluetop, but almost all varieties can be seen in the vale.

Even the poorest, most crowded streets are clean, beautiful, and luxurious by human standards. It is on these streets that artisans live and work close together, sharing the use of a public park rather than enjoying their own private grounds. Imagine an entire city about as splendid as the royal palace and gardens of Suzail - or the best areas of Silverymoon, without any of the cobblestones or crowding'and you'll begin to see what it must be like. Amid all of this splendor are temples to all of the elven deities, the Evereska College of Magic and Arms, and palatial noble estates. The Evereska College is a training academy of the highest standards. The training it provides is one of the reasons that Evereska is so well defended. Harpers are the only nonelves who can normally get training at arms or magic in Evereska, although the occasional half-elf, if of sufficiently exalted parentage on the elven side, may be taught.

The palatial estates are home to powerful and ancient noble families. The cold, sneering pride of these elven families is the greatest weakness of Evereska, and the prime reason most nonelves wouldn?t want to enter the vale. The haughtiest of the elves even look down on elves of their own race whose lineages aren?t as exalted as their own. Their contempt for elves of other races is usually open, and their abhorrence of nonelves loud and ostentatious.

Some haughty elves have gone so far as to move their estates as far away as possible from places most often visited by humans. These places include Moondark Hill, where human worshipers of Solonor Thelandira come, and the Unicorn & Crescent, an inn that welcomes Harpers, the Heralds, and the Chosen of Mystra on the rare occasions when such visitors are in the city. (Incidentally, these are places I couldn't visit, and therefore can't rate.)

Elves of Evereska need little from the outside world. Most of what they want comes under the heading of pursuing hobbies, from collecting coins or weapons from places as far afield as Zakhara, to breeding experiments, to collecting magic.4 (Sometimes Evereskan noble elves are thought to manipulate humans into marriage and watch the results from afar by magic.)

In exchange for items or equipment needed for the pursuit of their hobbies, they usually sell baubles: the tinkling blown glass and metal wind sculptures that hang in trees making soft music in the breezes from one end of the vale to the other; tiny ornamented, sapphire adorned, silver-bladed throwing daggers and belt knives that are much favored as hidden defenders among noble ladies all over Faerûn; vintages considered too poor for Evereskan tables; and small poems set down in exquisite calligraphy on slabs of ivory or the like in delicate hanging frames. The occasional spell scroll or glowing globe is the most magic they?ll willingly sell. Sages, thieves, and artisans from all over Faerûn would give much to see more of the glories of Evereska.