Elfhame, sometimes referred to as the Vale of Elfhame, is a location in the far north-central part of Faerie, some distance from both Albric Tor and Persoc Tor. It represents part of the northernmost extremity of the Mephitist Empire, proper. To its north and west lie the Wild Snows, wherein can be found Frostheim and the hall of the Frost Lord, not to mention the Kringle.
Elfhame proper is composed of seven villages to be found along the banks of the Coldstream River, which flows south from the great lake known as the Star-Mirror, down to where it meets the Strangers' River, which formed the traditional boundary of the Vale. On either side of the Vale rise mountains, the tallest of which is Ben Humbert.
The Vale is dominated by roe deer, though it is not exclusively populated by them. The non-cervine inhabitants generally do not live in any of the villages, but in habitations scattered in remoter parts of the Vale. For the most part, they have no interest in, and take no part in, the affairs of the Vale, and are left to their own devices.
Elfhame is known for three principal exports. The first is toys, for which Elfhame has a Faerie-wide reputation for quality. The toymakers are skilled enough to create autonoma such as Little Toy and Tikki-Tick, though a royal decree did eventually ban the further making of such devices. A substantial tithe of toys is paid to the Kringle (through the use of magick devices that transport the tribute to the Tithe Barn, located near Frostheim). The second is persimmon brandy, which is known either as Tears of the Trees or Three and a Half (from the 350-year aging process used in its production). The brandy is a favourite among lovers of liqueurs, and commands premium prices. Lastly, there is the household production of sweet persimmon jam, which gets its particular flavour from the use of honey in its manufacture. Jars of this foodstuff often graced the royal breakfast table in the time of King Adler Sartoriusson.
It is believed by the inhabitants of the Vale (but by very few other furs) that the Elvish race had its origin there, hence the name. Whether or not that is true, the Vale had been populated by Elves from a very early time. In its own lore, the start of civilization in the Vale came about when they (meaning the roe-does) first "saw the stars."
The worship of stars, and their use in divination, was a major part of Elfhamian culture in the era before The Coming of the Skunks. It was during this time that the Elfhamian national epic, "The Princess and the Seven Stars," was composed. The principal temple dedicated to star-worship was found in Greytor-village, in the centre of Elfhame.
During his Northern Campaign, Irenaeus the Conqueror overran the Vale and incorporated it into the Empire. One of the subsidiary titles of the Emperor was Duke of Elfhayme (sic). Note that the villages of the Vale were not incorporated into the demense of the House of Irenaeus; they continued to be owned by other furs. Eventually, control of the villages of the Vale fell into the paws of Fumasgift Bowyer, a favourite of King Sartorius.
The Vale of Elfhame endured certain stresses and strains, much of it due to the fact that much of its male population was serving in the Elfhame Rangers, which put the stability of its population at risk. When the Rangers were wiped out at the Battle of Skull Forest, it sent the Vale into a downward spiral that seemed like it could not be checked. Fumasgift Bowyer, who was later found to have been implicated in treason, went mad, and his bankrupt estate added to the mire in which the Vale found itself.
The sole fawn born in the wake of Skull Forest, Westersloe Winterbough V, turned out to be the Vale's salvation. Through many services to the Crowns, he was given the vacant title of Master of Elfhame, and he was able to purchase much of the Vale out of bankruptcy. In addition, his ties to Anastasia Rosebush-Aspen, the descendant of the de facto ruling family of Elfhame, allowed fresh blood in the form of emigrants from Licksburg to come to the Vale, and revitalize its dying villages.
While not rich by any means (it barely avoided starvation during one particularly severe winter late in the reign of King Adler), the Vale's economy had stabilized. However, its remote location did leave it vulnerable to the Gaps that began to once more appear during the reigns of King Gawain Adlersson and King Estmere Gawainsson.