The homeland of the elven race on Golarion, Kyonin (pronounced ky-OH-nihn) was almost completely evacuated by the elves just before the fall of the Starstone. They only recently (by elven standards) returned to Golarion to reclaim their ancient homeland and have set about trying to repopulate their magnificent home while dealing with a world much changed from the one they left thousands of years before.
Queen Telandia Edasseril, the elven monarch, is the ruler of Kyonin. Although she is an absolute monarch, Talandia is a liberal queen who understands that freedom is one of the highest ideals of the elven race. She wishes to shepherd her people toward a greater future, and to rebuild elven culture on Golarion to the heights it reached before Earthfall. Unfortunately, Telandia’s subjects tend to focus more on their own pursuits, rather than in terms of national or racial goals.
Queen Telandia is surrounded by advisors from all walks of life to assist her in ruling the elven nation. Not all of these advisors are solicited, however; the Winter Council, for example, is a shadowy group of elven traditionalists who have secretly assisted elven kings and queens since the return to Golarion. The conservative Council has proved a thorn in the side of the liberal queen.
Kyonin may not always have been known as Kyonin and has not always had the same borders as it has today, but it has always been the spiritual homeland of the elves. It is unknown exactly how long elves have resided there. Before Earthfall the elves did not measure time in any meaningful way, only by the great astrological cycles and the ebb and flow of the seasons. Certainly Kyonin was inhabited for a very long time before Earthfall and the coming of the Age of Darkness. Despite the innumerable years the elves had spent dwelling amongst the vast forests and rolling fields of their homelands, they were forced to abandoned their ancient home in -5293 AR. The elven seers foresaw the coming of the Starstone and the devastation it would wreak on Golarion. Seeing no other alternative, the elves retreated from Golarion via a magical gate known as the Sovyrian Stone to the mysterious realm of Sovyrian. They left behind little more than legends and fantastical ruined cities. Some elves, however, did remain on Golarion. Some stayed as stewards of their former homes and ancient cities, some stayed out of a loyalty for Golarion, and some stayed believing that they could easily survive the coming apocalypse or believed that the seers were simply wrong.
These who remained behind went their various way after Earthfall, surviving as best they could in the new, harsher world. Some remained in Kyonin, continuing to watch their ancient cities. Kyonin remained effectively an abandoned nation, watched over only by a few elven sentinels for nearly 8,000 years.
The catalyst for the elves’ return from Sovyrian began thousands of years before their eventual return. They started at the end of the Age of Darkness, in the foul depths of the Abyss. The nascent Demon lord Treerazer attempted an unsuccessful coup against his demonic master, Cyth-V’sug. While this was not particularly unusual in the traitorous politics of the Abyss, what was unusual was that Treerazer was not killed for his treason. Instead, he fled and was banished permanently to Golarion. When he arrived, he found Golarion a savage world in the grip of the Age of Darkness. Treerazer wandered Golarion for many, many years, until discovering the abandoned kingdom of Kyonin. After discovering the powers of the Sovyrian Stone, Treerazer concocted a plan to pervert its energies and create a gateway to the Abyss.
The few remaining elves in Kyonin provided little resistance, and soon Treerazer had possession of the Sovyrian Stone. His infernal manipulations did not, however, go unnoticed. In distant Sovyrian, the elves detected Treerazer’s attempts to corrupt the Stone. The Elves returned to Golarion in 2632 AR, pouring through the gateway and driving back Treerazer and his foul minions.
Upon returning to Golarion they found it much changed. The world had recovered far more in the past seven thousand years than the elves had expected. Fighting for their homes, the elves pushed Treerazer back to the very limits of Kyonin, but found they were unable to destroy him completely. Content that the threat of Treerazer was contained, the elves set about guarding the southern area of Kyonin where Treerazer had fled, an area now known as the Tanglebriar. With the demon defeated, the elves steeled themselves for a further onslaught, expecting the hordes of savage humans that they had been fighting with when they left Golarion. The attack never came and when the elves began to explore Golarion, they found it in the midst of the Age of Enthronement. They found humanity to be generally far more civilised than when they had left. Instead of returning to Sovyrian, the elves decided to remain on Golarion, returning to their ancestral homeland and once again bringing elves back to the forests of Kyonin. Since then the elves have fought with Treerazer and now struggle to re-establish themselves in a new and very different world.
As an isolationist nation, Kyonin has complex relations with the human nations it shares borders with. The elves find some of their neighbors admirable, such as just Andoran and the crusaders traveling up the Sellen River to reach Mendev. Other neighbors, however, showcase the worst elements of human civilization—like bureaucratic Druma, chaotic Galt, and the constantly warring River Kingdoms. Additionally, Kyonin is effectively at war with Razmiran to the north, because its ruler, Razmir, has declared the elves to be heretics. The war is not a particularly active one, however, as Kyonin’s northern border is well-defended, and Razmiran is not eager to lose more troops attacking the elves on their ground. Rulers of the River Kingdoms have been known to seek recognition from the elven nation, but the elven queen has no interest in treating with such transitory ‘kingdoms’. This has caused considerable friction, even to the point of conflict, but River Kingdom inhabitants have long ago learned to treat the elves with caution and respect after several failed incursions into Kyonin.
Perhaps surprisingly, the elves have a cordial, even friendly relationship with the dwarves of the Five Kings Mountains as both support isolationist policies.
Kyonin has long desired to reclaim the human-occupied elven ruin of Sevenarches in the River Kingdoms and has established the colony of Hymbria toward that end. Kyonin’s control over this outpost has been growing increasingly tenuous in recent years due to populating Hymbria mainly with malcontents and other undesirables.
The elves have never fully forgiven humanity for the illicit trade of elven goods that were acquired during the elves’ absence from Golarion centuries ago. Organisations such as the Pathfinder Society are especially reviled, and the elves have responded violently to the Society’s interference in elven matters. This was demonstrated in 4708 AR when the elven queen had a Pathfinder group known as the Leaves of Talhindir assassinated.
The population of Kyonin consists almost exclusively of elves, despite their limited numbers and low birth rate. Kyonin is considered the spiritual homeland of the elven people; as such, many elves are steadfastly opposed to the idea of non-elves living in Kyonin. Some extremely conservative groups, such as the Winter Council, are known to be violent in their opposition.
There are, however, three communities where non-elves are welcomed. The port city of Greengold was founded to allow trade with foreign merchants on Kyonin soil, and has flourished into a cosmopolitan city inhabited by members of every civilized race. Additionally, half-elves occupy the fishing village of Erages, and gnomes have built a treetop community above the elven settlement of Omesta.
Kyonin is a haven of incredible natural beauty. The predominant feature of the country is the Fireani Forest, but Kyonin also boasts sweeping plains and the northernmost peaks of the Five Kings Mountain Range.
The exception to the immense beauty of Kyonin is the Tanglebriar, the demon-haunted swamps between the southern edge of the Fierani Forest and the northern edge of the Five Kings Mountains. The area was once part of the Fierani Forest, but became something far more sinister when Treerazer was banished there. The demonic essence of Treerazer and his minions has corrupted the forest, turning it into a dark swamp where the light of the sun rarely reaches the ground, and evil fey cavort with abyss-spawned demons.
The Five Kings Mountains form the southern border of Kyonin. On the western border lies Lake Encarthan, and the northern and eastern borders are formed by the Sellen River, which flows to the Inner Sea.