The Province of Villanelle was founded by Renius Firavel. It is made up of Merliscire Citadel, Almedha Castle, Alyrennas Castle, Aranor Keep, the city of Ronae, and the city of Nevassa. Almost all of the region's land lay east of Villanelle Castle. The Northern half of the holding is rich in wildlife including trees, tall grass, lynx, and dragonhawks while the southern half is relatively barren of life, instead possessing many mines filled with gold and silver. The mines give the Firavels substantial wealth while the wildlife allows numerous exports such as medicinal herbs, lumber and leather.
While the province is lacking in horses, the dragonhawks raised in the area are larger and faster than most others. Due to this, Villanelle's dragonhawk riders are both respected and admired. In fact, to the citizens of the holding, being appointed as a dragonhawk rider is almost the equivalent of being knighted in human society.
While very open to trade, Villanelle does not allow any race aside from Sin'dorei to settle within it's borders. Merchants must go through a thorough process to attain a visitors pass for their stay and are actively tracked by the ruling body.
Villanelle is not without it's woes, however. It's oldest and most blatant weakness is it's inability to raise a navy. The bay areas being unsuited for maintaining any semblance of a sizable navy. Furthermore, due to the arduous process that one must go through to gain access to Villanelle, many traders don't feel that the holding is worth the time to stop by. The occasional warband of forest trolls that find their way through the province's mountain passes only make the situation worse. As an initiative to offset this, Lord Firavel has started offering free room and board to verified merchants and devised strict patrol schedules to keep the renegade trolls out of his lands.
Formerly known as Villanelle Castle, Merliscire Citadel used to serve as the Firavel seat of power in the province. However, The Legion's invasion coaxed Feloirus Firavel to rename the structure to prevent confusion and change the capital entirely to Nevassa.
Merliscire was built upon the ruins of a troll civilization, nestled within a series of steep hills, where it serves to prevent any outsiders from entering the land it controls. After it was taken under elven control, two supporting spires were built to the north and south. Magi can use these spires to fire sun beams, but only in a western direction. The castle is not very defensible from the eastern side as the eastern walls are not built as high or with the same quality of material. Eastern defense is only further weakened by the supporting spires' inability to shoot in that direction. Due to the castle being built on troll ruins, many believe that any who live there are cursed. In fact, for years to come, an alarming amount of Firavels died within the walls of the castle, most of the deaths being due to freak accidents. This supposed 'curse' became so grave that at some point the Firavels went north to relocate their main residence, which became the Firavel Manor, in Falconwing Square.
Built upon the southern bank of the Goldoan River, named for the abundance of gold that Villanelle possesses, is Almedha Castle. Almedha Castle was built to give the Firavels more control over the civilians of their land, who may have gotten ideas of rebellion due to the weak defenses of Villanelle Castle's eastern walls. Until recently, the Lord of Villanelle would typically appoint his heir as Archon of the castle. However, Lord Feloirus Firavel has made a change in this system, converting Almedha Castle into a hereditary plot of land and naming his cousin, Lainnos Firavel as it's lord.
A recently built fortress, the primary goal of Alyrennas Castle is to be a deterrent to the forest troll warbands that frequently harass the southern fringes of Villanelle. Being the first successful attempt at a substantial settlement in the vicinity, Alyrennas is still viewed as "unsafe" by some citizens. Nevertheless, due to it's strategically placed position, it controls much of the gold flow throughout the province.
Assigned as it's 'Lord' by Feloirus Firavel, was a near ancient Sin'dorei by the name of Soliel Noire. Soliel had no family, no wife and no heirs, which ensured that the castle would default back to the head of House Firavel upon his death. However, Soliel's role as a "placeholder" didn't seem to bother him in the slightest, as he was counted among House Firavel's staunchest supporters. Unfortunately, 'Lord' Noire died only six months after his appointment; he was given a hero's burial. Now the current Lord Firavel keeps the castle under his direct control for the time being.
A far cry from the success of Alyrennas, Aranor was considered one of the worst blunders of the late Kieran Firavel. When the project to construct Aranor was suggested, Kieran failed to listen to the counsel of his advisors; he didn't send enough supplies nor enough soldiers to properly guard the settlers. While the settlement was in it's blossoming stage, it was subject to a merciless barrage of coordinated troll raids and despite numerous pleads for reinforcements, none came. Even when his own son, now the current acting head of House Firavel, publicly denounced him for not even trying to save those people, Kieran refused to listen.
Presently, a reconstruction and salvaging effort is in effect; under the directive of Feloirus Firavel. After having the area cleared out of savages, the current Lord appointed Aendalah Strangelove to oversee the reconstruction of the keep itself. Thus far the efforts have proven quite fruitful and a small population resides in the area.
A primarily agricultural little town, Ronae is a collection of farmhouses, taverns, and travelers. It is a frequent stop for those that are on their way in or out of the large city of Nevassa, and as such, it is regarded as a "melting pot" of sorts. Many lowborn settle here, and they range from shifty dealers to honest farmers. These villagers are under the jurisdiction of the mayor; whom is elected by these people.
There is a single large manor that sticks out in Ronae, and while it is currently owned by the Firavel family, the town lacks an appointed Lord. When it receives a Lord, they will reside within this manor, and likely take precedence over the mayor.
Elriston is a small village just south of Almedha Castle. Due to it's location, it is often frequented by bounty hunters who are travelling south to hunt trolls. As such, it is looked upon as the last place of real comfort before descending into the grey south. The village is primarily agricultural, and like Ronae it possesses an unoccupied manor owned by the Firavel family. Until a Lord of said manor is appointed, the village is left to elect their own leaders for small disputes; though it's proximity to Almedha leaves them with little in the way of complete self governance. While at first glance, the village may look quite open to bandits or troll warbands, it's closeness to Almedha Castle and the fact that it is frequently visited by troll hunting mercenaries provides the village with an adequate amount of safety.
The Goldoan River
The Goldoan River begins at a lake near the center of Villanelle and flows eastward to drain into the Foribidding sea. It was named for Villanelle's abundance of gold and legends say that in the years right after the troll wars, the river itself glistened with gold. The Goldoan River comes to an end at a steep cliff waterfall located just south of Nevassa. Almost all of the farmland in Villanelle lays somewhere along this gently flowing river and polluting it is considered a capital offense.
The Starsinger Forest is an ancient woodland that was named after the family of elves that lived in the nearby Blackened Woods, many eons ago. During the late spring and early summer time, the denizens of Villanelle would report hearing the soft ring of bells echoing throughout the valley. Many claimed to see figures moving along the outskirts of the forest.
During the reign of Renius Firavel, it became a regular occurrence for these same elves to sing and occupy the forest for celebrations and festivals such as the Noble Garden and Midsummer Fire Festival.
Many sightseers and guests that traveled Villanelle would frequent the forest, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the fantastical evening events that unfolded as well.
"At the bottom of the hill, a small creek flowed through a series of moss and lichen covered rocks that leads to the centre lake held within the whispering hues of the forest itself. Various trees hung overhead allowing only faint shimmering green light to penetrate to the forest floor. Coils of vaporous mist unwrapped the shaggy heads of the oak trees. They writhed around them like a conjuror’s milky smoke, sensuous and illusory. Sieves of mist caressed the lichen-encrusted bark, adding its phantasmal mist to the damp breath of the forest a hollow echoing, like the hushed tones of a great, slabbed cathedral, entombed the wood."
- An excerpt from a poet's writing whilst visiting Starsinger Forest. Est. April, -1983 K.C.
On the far northeastern coast of the holding, high atop a grassy promontory overlooking the Forbidding Sea, sits the city of Nevassa. Most of Villanelle's population resides in the city to enjoy it's renowned beauty; on all four of it's sides Nevassa has breathtaking landscaping. To the north stand the tall, near impassable mountains that cut Villanelle off from most outside contact. To the south runs the Goldoan River, which ends in a steep waterfall that trickles into the Forbidding Sea. To the east lays a well known cliff that gives onlookers an amazing view of the sea, resulting in many shops being built there. To the west there are fertile, grassy rolling hills, riddled with cherry blossoms and all sorts of wildlife; it is considered a crime to chop down any of the trees that grace this area and is punishable by death.
In the center of the city stands a tall tower, embellished with crimson and gold, this building serves as the local administrative headquarters; where the mayor, his master of coin and his master of laws govern the city. Governance of Nevassa is rumored to be the most inclusive throughout all the noble holds of Quel'thalas, and perhaps even Azeroth in it's entirety.
The population of Villanelle is comprised completely of Sin'dorei. As a result of this, the elves of Villanelle are said to be very racist and completely foreign to other cultures. That being said, the governing body of Villanelle is extremely welcoming to trade and encourages it's people not to turn away foreign visitors.
The citizens of the province are relatively happy. Unemployment is a near non issue, plaguing only 2% of it's population; the infrastructure is very well maintained; the roads have ample patrols; and the general landscape tends to be inspiring. Many liberal arts are practiced and supported in Villanelle such as: painting, dancing, singing, and plays. However, rogue forest troll warbands use their expertise of the land to navigate their way through the mountainous terrain that protects Villanelle. The smaller villages are frequently harassed by these trolls; their wares stolen or destroyed. In retaliation to this, many solar powered sentries, based upon the design of the Arakkoan's 'Nest Guardians', are in the process of being constructed to serve as a part of Villanelle's local policing effort.
Due to the land's excellent condition, many of the civilians of Villanelle are quite loyal to their current lord. Plays in Nevassa frequently romanticize his character, making him out to be a great hero. Feloirus has tried to politely tone down these kinds of actions due to concern that their idolizing may turn into worship, thus forming a cult.
The military forces of Villanelle have developed a distinctive traditional composition that carries to this day; it can be sufficently described by two words: mithril and dragonhawks. While, like most elves, they make use of their exemplary marksmen; their most famed and formidable division is their dragonhawk riders. Being named a dragonhawk rider of Villanelle is akin to being knighted in human society. Once sworn into the fold, the rider is given a custom set of mithril armor for their dragonhawk. Throughout history, the lords of House Firavel have been shown time and again to greatly rely on their air superiority.
To give their forces staying power; the entire infantry corps is equipped with heavy mithril armor. The infantry is split, seventy percent being halberdiers; who's halberds and great shields are used to great affect in a phalanx and shield wall formations. The remaining thirty percent of the infantry are specialized sword wielders, often used as a flanking force. The abundance of halberdiers has the added boon of making a Firavel battle line difficult to charge with cavalry; further protecting their archers.
While Villanelle does possess a cavalry division, it is sparsely used due to the lack of horses that the region suffers from. The few horsemen that they do have are treated to mithril horse barding and are usually kept near the back line in order to ensure the safety of their magi and archers.
The most recent addition to this tradition are Villanelle's spellbows. Each and every spellbow is a personal apprentice of the current Lord, Feloirus Firavel. Normally charged with commanding squadrons of patrols, the Firavel spellbows are the epitome of typical elven warfare with their mastery of both archery and magic.