The Forest Folk are the most numerous and widespread of the Sylvaneth. In the Age of Myth, they were peaceful beings, but the harsh centuries of the War of Life have required them to fight in the wargroves alongside their more martial kin, and now they are vicious and determined defenders of their sacred places.[1a][2b]
|Here in the thickest forest,
So dark, so deep.
We offer all the blackest sleep.
It is always night and never day.
Those who enter shall be our prey.
We will bury you where none can see,
A gift of life to feed a tree.
So dark, so deep.
The Forest Folk often appear whimsical and unpredictable to outsiders - even more than other sylvaneth do - and they are more affected by changes in weather and seasons than their more disciplined kin. The harsh lessons of the War of Life have made them insular and untrusting, and more than one would-be ally has met a bloody end at their hands for entering the wrong forest clearing or copse of trees. When they fight, there is little thought put to grander strategies, but their instincts and knowledge of their forested enclaves make for deadly opponents nonetheless.[1b][2b][2e]
The Branchwraith matriarchs of the Forest Folk have had some of their more fey tendencies tempered by age and wisdom and attempt to guide their charges onto fruitful paths, but even they have trouble keeping the Dryads focused on a task that they find uninteresting for long.[1b][2e]
Like other sylvaneth, the Forest Folk are surprisingly resilient for their appearance, with bodies of hard bark-skin and tough heartwood. While they lack the lamentiri of their nobler kin, the elder Forest Folk take pains to pass on their knowledge however they can.[1b]
It is both the Forest Folk's triumph and their tragedy that so many of their life-giving skills have been turned to life-taking. Their hands can form vicious talons capable of ripping apart the armour of a Chaos Warrior, yet when at peace they can use them to perform incredibly delicate tasks like lifting a sleeping bird back to its nest without waking it. Similarly, the voices that in battle sing unnerving dirges and let out hideous shrieks that terrify their foes can in peace croon gentle songs of life and purity to encourage plants to grow and stave off disease. They can stalk their enemies for hours unseen and unheard before tearing them limb from limb, or they can walk through a verdant glen so lightly that they leave no trace of their passing and do not disturb the animals grazing there.[1b][2b][2e]
Making up the bulk of the Sylvaneth Clans as they do, the Forest Folk are responsible for much of the routine work that keeps the Sylvaneth Enclaves safe and filled with life magic. These duties might take the form of individually working throughout their clan's territory to heal the land's ailments and encourage growth, or it might involve working together on a collective ritual led by a Branch Nymph of Branchwraith. Branchwraiths themselves are charged with tending to the sacred soulpod groves at the heart of the enclave, should they not be keeping watch over groups of Dryads to ensure that the younger ones don't get distracted from whatever their current task may be.[1b][2a][2c]
When it comes time for war, the Branchwraiths will gather up the Dryads and form them into battalions. It is common for these Forest Folk battalions to make up the largest part of a wargrove; they favour ambush tactics to help the Households of Noble Spirits lock the enemy in place or luring the enemy into Wyldwoods and other overgrown areas in order to turn the land itself against the foe.[2d][2e]
- 1: Battletome: Sylvaneth (2019)
- 2: Battletome: Sylvaneth (2019)