The Pillars of Heaven
Quaill-wor is the city of the Elves, secreted far away on the other side of the Nyathu Mountains, on the edge of the forest of Eldwold. The city is literally one unfathomably massive tree, its trunk several miles across, its canopy blocking out the sky all around. Its massive limbs groan with the weight of thousands of residents, some of whom live in woodwyrd houses on the limbs themselves, and others who live in the labyrinth of its massive trunk.
The city is sustained and governed by woodwyrd magic, the ancient discipline of the Elves. They bend and shape the great tree of Quaill-wor to suit their purposes: smoothing out bark, creating shiny wooden footpaths, twining leaves and branches into rope bridges and canopies for their houses. Feylights illuminate the inside in a riotous rainbow of colors, mostly greens and blues and yellows, and woodwyrd crystals create soft, melodious music that the inhabitants frequently spend their days composing.
But all is not beauty in the city. Quaill-wor is an alien place, understood instinctively to the Elves but almost incomprehensible to outsiders, and certainly unfriendly. There are few acknowledged public venues, and one might walk from a public area into someone’s home without ever knowing. Notions of privacy are variable and highly specific, often taken for granted between families and Elven clans, but not explained to visitors.
Furthermore, the sustaining of Quaill-wor requires tremendous amounts of magic, and the life and vitality of the city is drawn from the surrounding countryside. One might look out from Quaill-wor to see green grass and bucolic hills, but beyond the line of sight, the land turns to an ugly hellscape of sinkholes, toxin pits, and lifeless scrubland. Quaill-wor lives like a parasite on the land, drawing vast magical energy from it to sustain itself, and giving nothing back.
The city’s politics are divided into two factions. The Sulat, a melancholy and nihilistic faction, believe in the Elven right to rule the land and live as they see fit. They seek to continue Quaill-wor’s isolation and magical traditions. On the other side are the Emdaru, a group of mostly younger Elves who long for a revolution and work toward actually living in harmony with the land, rather than maintaining the illusion of harmony. They are working to change hearts and minds among the Elves of Quaill-wor, but the residents of the city are notoriously difficult to motivate.