The ancient game of archensoar was originally created as a training regime to prepare soldiers of the Alendrian Army for combat against the goblins that dwell in the underworld, thousands of miles underneath the Tree of Life, which the elves inhabit. In the days before the monarchy was overthrown and Alendria became a republic, elves were significantly more warlike, and it was compulsory for every elf to participate in archensoar as part of a strict training regime by the time they came of age at twelve years. But the rules had relaxed over the centuries, and after a civilian vote, the High Council ruled it was important that young elflings be encouraged to develop their intellect and skills in the arts. So it was no longer compulsory for elflings to take up archensoar, except for aspiring guards and protectors, which formed the bulk of the Alendrian Army. In Elly's day, archensoar is considered more as a recreational sport for regular elves.
Each archensoar team has six players: two shieldans, two arsenals, one decoy, and one hawk eye. The hawk-eye is responsible for taking down the golden apple of Eris, which appears randomly throughout the match. It would appear in the sky, hover above the Cluster for any given time before it drops, where it is zealously guarded by the morgons. As any missed shots at the morgons would cost the team one hundred points, the hawk-eye must take a calculated risk. The hawk-eye is vulnerable to attack by the arsenals on the opposing team, especially when the golden apple is spotted. If a hawk-eye is shot by an arsenal, the team loses one hundred points. If shot a second time, the match is concluded. In addition to taking down the hawk-eye, the two arsenals are tasked with taking down individual morgons.
Each downed morgon earns the team twenty points. It is not easy to take down the morgons, for they are cunning and swift and dodge arrows as they writhe about. The morgons cloak and conceal the golden apple like leprechauns greedily guarding their hoarded treasure. Outside the arena, the morgons are strange, shadow-like creatures that emerge in the night and literally feed on the darkness. They are extremely long-lived, more so than most creatures, including griffins and unicorns, and they can only be killed by fire.
The two shieldans protect the hawk-eye by deflecting arrows, even risking being shot at. A shieldan can take three direct shots (the arrows are enchanted not to pierce the armour, thereby not causing real bodily harm) before they are disqualified from the match. The lone decoy from the opposing team constantly guards the hawk-eye to distract them from scoring the granduin. The decoy must stay at least five feet away from the hawk-eye, and physical contact is forbidden. If skilled enough, the decoy might even be able to deflect arrows shot by the hawk eye.
An archensoar match can last up to two hours and may conclude without the hawk-eye ever having scored a granduin. If that is the case, the score depends solely on the tally of downed morgans, much to the disappointment of the spectators who always want to witness a hawk-eye scoring the highly anticipated granduin.
Alendria: Order of Kaizendil
After King Kaizendil passed away at one thousand years old, his only son, Fangorn –unfortunately, a much lesser man in courage and honour –ascended the throne. But King Fangorn was tainted with a dark soul. Because of his greed and tyranny, many elves were slaughtered by the goblins at the Battle of the Herschent Fields. This prompted a band of high officials to force his abdication, spurring a revolution which lasted two years, culminating in the disintegration of the monarchy. The Republic of Alendria was thus established, led by the high officials that formed the High Council. King Kaizendil founded the Order of Kaizendil, a secret society whose members are sworn in to protect Alendria against the Beast and its goblin minions.
Dragons were created by Freya, and they were noble creatures before some became corrupted by evil forces. Unlike elves, goblins cannot fly, but they have foul creatures at their disposal that can, namely the malicious red dragons. Those massive, foul-smelling, sharp-fanged creatures with mace-like tails allowed goblins to ride them in exchange for fresh meat. Noble white dragons still dwell in Aranon, where the Vierran elves reside, for both prefer the cold climate.
Gaya, the human realm
Elly's mission takes her back to London, and after reuniting with some human friends she teleports her way to far-away South Korea, where she ends up in the vibrant city of Seoul and then the tranquil southern island of Jejudo.