The Elven Court (sometimes called "Old Elven Court" after its destruction by the drow) is one of four old elven communities in the forest of Cormanthor (the others being Myth Drannor, Semberholme and the Tangled Trees), part of the newly refounded realm of Cormanthyr. It is a holy site for the elves, a Seldarine-blessed place of pilgrimage, where the elves first convened to serve justice and decide the outcome of the Crown Wars and the fate of elves.
The area known as Elven Court was first visited after the banishment of the drow from the surface world around -10000 DR, marking the end of the four long and brutal Crown Wars. Important elves of Faerûn, including High Mages, nobles, and priests, were summoned by Corellon Larethian in reverie to convene and prepare for Court. Immediately, these elves began disappearing, and though originally thought that they were being summoned to Corellon's side consistent with their beliefs, they were instead summoned to a deep part of the Arcorar woods to the east. Corellon declared that it was here that they would decide their own fate.
For centuries, the elves summoned to Elven Court (numbering around 500) built a settlement in the place of reverence that needed no laws or government; it was truly a place ruled by the elven pantheon and the unflinching determination to seek justice. The elves established themselves well in the forest, increasing their population, and meeting to discuss the fate of the elves and where along their path they had strayed and allowed the Crown Wars to happen. By -9200 DR, they had arrived to the first proclamation of Elven Court; to oust the ruling clan Vyshaan from power in Aryvandaar. The proclamation was resisted by the clan, and so began the fifth and final Crown War, which lasted two centuries and resulted in the removal of the aggressors from power. Many elves emigrated from the old realms at this time, populating the Arcorar woods to form the realms of Semberholme, Uvaeren, Rystall Wood, and Jhyrennstar, most of which would later become Cormanthyr.
After the woods became settled, the village of Elven Court became a place of pilgrimage, and its sacred power became respected by the surrounding realms, who treated all proclamations as law. Some twenty-five of the famous moonblades were created in Elven Court. It was a place of equality where elves could walk amongst each other as equals, and weapons were forbidden to be carried within its borders. For millenia, it was a place of peace and safety, until a fateful night in -4400 DR.
Celebrating a two-thousand year old peace between Arcorar and the dwarves of Sarphil, the elves held a feast in the Hall of Ages on Midwinter Night, -4400 DR. Then began the "Dark Court Slaughter" as a combined horde of drow and duergar swarmed from the Underdark and attacked the city. Aided by magics that cloaked the area in darkness throughout the day, as well as the fact that none carried weapons on Elven Court's hallowed grounds, the drow and duergar easily routed the elves, sacked the city and desecrated its temples. Two Coronals (those of Jhyrennstar and Rystall Wood) perished in the battle, along with many nobles and commoners alike. In the end, the city was a monster infested ruin, and the drow abandoned it.
For millennia afterwards, the Old Elven Court remained forsaken by the elves. When Cormanthyr was founded in -4000 DR, the institution of Elven Court was moved to the city of Cormanthor, the capital, and that city served the purpose of togetherness and judgment in the wake of the loss of the old city. Too many monsters wandering the woods (now called the Darkwoods by the sylvan elves who lived nearby) proved an unsurmountable obstacle for the armies of Cormanthyr, already stretched thin in maintaining its existing borders against further threats from the dark-skinned cousins. All that was left was to mourn the loss of the most holy place.
Today, Old Elven Court lies still in ruins, but many old buildings of all sizes remain, though most are looted bare. It is covered in shadowtop trees, many of which still hold elven arboreal dwellings high in their branches. Much of the area around Old Elven Court was inhabited by the Cormanthor Drow after the Retreat in 1344 DR, of which House Jaelre was the most prominent, using the place as a home base and taking care not to disturb old elven barrows. Most of these drow were displaced after the Cormanthor War and the defeat of Sarya Dlardrageth and the Army of Darkhope by Ilsevele Miritar and the Army of Myth Drannor.
- Fifty miles south of Elventree, there is an oak grove populated with bats, most ordinary, with some azmyths and sinisters. An oak in the grove whose trunk diameter is exactly half the wingspan of a male Elven Court sinister is made of solid gold and disguised as a normal oak, apparently to guard it against grave robbers. Exactly which oak is not known.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 106. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 107. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Cormanthor”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- ↑ Richard Baker (August 2004). Forsaken House. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 273. ISBN 0-7869-3260-0.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 123. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.