Sylvaneth

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Sylvaneth
Sylvaneth Sigil 001.jpg
Sigil of the Sylvaneth
Grand alliance Order
Main grouping Wargrove
Major characters Alarielle
Drycha Hamadreth
Allies Cities of Sigmar
Races Sylvaneth
Creatures Spite
Spell lores Lore of the Deepwood
Endless spells Gladewyrm
Spiteswarm Hive
Vengenful Skullroot
Scenery Wyldwood
Archetypes Branchwych
Kurnoth Hunter
Tree-Revenant Waypiper
Warbands Ylthari's Guardians
Skaeth's Wild Hunt

The Sylvaneth are the servants of life created by Alarielle.[4] This term encompasses a range of different creatures first created when Alarielle planted the seeds in the Realm of Ghyran during the Age of Myth. Since then they have multiplied, and while they remain at their strongest in the Realm of Life, they have spread to the other Mortal Realms.[9a]

History

Age of Myth

Origin

Alarielle was awakened by Sigmar and wandered alone through the wilds of Ghyran for a very long time, exploring its lands and wonders spoke with its many plants and creatures. She desired no companions and found solace in nature alone, nurturing life as she went along. But eventually she grew tired of her solitude and sowed her most treasured artefacts, seeds she had kept from the World-That-Was.[9b]

These seeds gave birth to the first of the Sylvaneth, growing into different creatures depending on the condition of the sowing. Under her guidance these nature spirits grew to maturity. After their creation she thanked Sigmar properly, joined his Pantheon and shared the gifts of life magic with the other realms.[9b]

Spreading throughout the Realms

Sylvaneth quickly spread out and became the the rulers of a large part of the Realm of Ghyran. They lived in harmony with nature and most of the mortal tribes of the Jade Kingdoms. The Noble Spirits destroyed threats like greenskin hordes, hostile barbarian tribes and rampaging beasts, while the Forest Folk nurtured the land and lived in peace. Thanks to their work Ghyran bloomed and many natural wonders blossomed like they never had been before.[9b]

They went further and spread throughout the other Mortal Realms to make enclaves, however travelling outside of Ghyran was dangerous for them as they ran the risk of being cut off from the spirit-song. Many Sylvaneth fled back to Ghyran or went mad. Those who endured sought out hotspots of life magic like verdant glens or waterfalls and build their settlements, planting soulpod groves and created sowed new realmroots. These enclaves took many forms, like simple clearing known as heartglades, great halls made out twisted limbs and boughs or even dwellings sculpted into cliff face behind cascading waterfall. Some of the enclaves that grew during this was the Hunter's Moon, the Singing Mountains, the Citycaverns of Briardell.[9b]

Age of Chaos

During the Age of Chaos, Nurgle, which deeply coveted the Realm of Life, saw that his corruptions seeped from his Garden into Ghyran. In such life-rich realm his spawn quickly multiplied and perverted rich veins of vital life magic. New Plague Legions manifested throughout the realm.[9c]

Alarielle launched dozens of campaigns to defeat Nurgle's minions and began the long war known as the War of Life. Hundreds of Sylvaneth Clans were sent to a thousand fronts and faced again warbands of Daemons, the war itself dragging for centuries. The Sylvaneth in other realms reinforced those in Ghyran, but as Realmgates fell and the enclaves were sieged, the reinforcements dried up. Alarielle and her children in Ghyran fought on, not sure if they were the last of their people.[9c]

Despite their resistance many regions of Ghyran were reduced to tainted wastelands and clans were driven from their homes. Many of the human tribes of Jade Kingdoms turned from their worship of Alarielle to Chaos. Plague Legions captured the sacred sites of the Sylvaneth and corrupted them and urned their Soulpod groves. The ancient weapon of the Sylvaneth, the Tear of Grace, didn't work as it should and had to be hidden again.[9c]

Ghyran itself was twisted as woodlands contorted into horrible parodies of natural shapes, rivers congealed with filth and the great cities of the Everspring Swathe were destroyed by plagues and invaders. The suffering of the land and her followers drained Alarielle's strength until she became filled with grief and haunted by sorrow. Alarielle and the monarchies of the Glades withdrew behind veils of sorcery and misdirection and changed their campaign into guerrilla warfare. But after a string of disasters, like the Battle of Tears and the Last Hunt, she broke and fled to the Hidden Vale of Athelwyrd, a hidden land concealed from Nurgle's gaze and gave up on the war. For all intents and purposes the war was lost and hope itself had withered.[9c]

Age of Sigmar

At the start of the Age of Sigmar, Nurgle had claimed most of Ghyran for himself, with both his daemon and mortal armies roaming freely, searching the realm for hidden Sylvaneth enclaves that escaped their notice. The land was rotting at the edges as more of the Garden of Nurgle corruptions leaked into the Realm of Life.[9c]

Sigmar sent his Stormcast Eternals, mainly led by the Hallowed Knights, to find Alarielle and mend their alliance. They helped many of the surviving wargroves, but none helped them find the location of their hiding goddess. Such meeting were not always cordial, as Stormcast trespassed on their sacred sites and were dealt with as trespassers or invaders.[9c]

The Hallowed Knight under Gardus Steel Soul and Lorrus Grymn faced many perils and eventually found Alarielle, but also led the forces of Nurgle into the last hiding place of the goddess, Athelwyrd. She fought back against the forces of Nurgle but they proved too strong and were forced to flee, escaping only with warband of Sylvaneth, led by the Lady of Vines, and the Stormcast, retreating to the Cascading Path. Overcome by change the goddess turned into a soulpod.[9c]

The retreating warband fought a series of battle while more Sylvaneth and Stormcast came to reinforce them, even the land themselves rose to defend her and a Seraphon constellation, led by one of the ancient Slann, came to protect them. After many struggles the Lady of the Vines reached a place of purity and planted the soulpod of the goddess to absorb the glory, heroic deeds and vengeance of that land. As Alarielle's rebirth began the Realm of Life filled with the promise of burgeoning life.[9c]

Season of War

The newly reborn Alarielle sent a pulse of pure life magic and called forth a great muster of the Sylvaneth with her Spirit-Song, summoning the wargroves of every glade, even the disbanded Sons of Durthu and the disdained Outcasts. She took up the spear of Kurnoth and called a Royal Moot with the Regends of the Glades, some that were too deeply rooted to move send a part of themselves. The God-King sent his Celestant-Prime and Alarielle made the decision to ally with him.[9d]

This alliance then attacked the Genesis Gate, one of the All-Gates that connected to the Eightpoints, assailing the fortifications of Chaos, lead by the Glottkin and the Ring of Corruption. The Sylvaneth became overjoyed and awed at her new incarnation of war and sent their Wargroves to march with them. The Chaos forces were destroyed and Alarielle used her purifying magic to seal the Realmgate, halting the influx of Chaos forces tot he Realm of Ghyran and changing the tide in the War of Life.[9d]

Seeds of Hope

With the closure of the Genesis Gate, Alarielle started a massive campaign to reconquer Ghyran. Hundreds of battle fronts formed that saw Nurgle's power wane as the wargroves reconquered lost lands. The lands of Thyria were the first to be seized. During this time the three cities, Phoenicium, Greywater Fastness and the Living City, that would be known as the Seeds of Hope, were established and raised with the help of the magic of Alarielle and settled by the people of Azyrheim. The War of Life was once again on more equal terms.[9d]

They reconquered Erosia, the Glade Gathering of Thyria and destroyed the towers of Invidia.[9e]

Soul Wars

The Sylvaneth who were attuned to the natural world, felt the cold winds of death before the Necroquake even happened. Alarielle convinced Drycha Hamadreth and the Dreadwood glade to fight off against Nagash in the Soul Wars as her foces was on purifying Ghyran from the forces of Nurgle.[9e]

Biology

They are creatures shaped by an arcane blending of flesh, bark and sinew infused with the living boughs of the Wyldwood and elder spirits.[9a]

Despite having bodies of knotted heartwood clad in thick bark these creatures move with a flowing grace and their willowy limbs are not weak.[9a] The average height of differnt types of Branchwych and Tree Revenants is 5’11’’ and Kurnoth 10’3’’. [10a]

Sylvaneth are all able to detect water even if it is far underground, which has made them powerful allies especially in the Realm of Aqshy. [10a]

Reproduction

Sylvaneth are born from Soul-pods, objects of life magic that can take many different forms, because life favours variety. Even the life that will grow from it is unknown, not even Alarielle knows what life will be formed from them, but their forms will come from her loves, hopes and dreams. These Soulpods are planted in groves at the heart of enclaves of the Sylvaneth, which will eventually grow into new Sylvaneth.[9b]

The eldest of these Soul-pods are echoes of the World-That-Was and within them there is a potent magic that cleanses the land in which they grow.[9b]

The servants of Chaos seek to destroy these soulpods with great fervour, for they allow the Sylvaneth to restore their numbers.[9b]

Lamentiri

Lamentiri are beautiful soulseeds that contain the racial memories of the previous generations of the clans and have been likened to motes of a collective of souls. They grow within Sylvaneth of higher standing above that of the Forest Folk, usually Noble Spirits. When their bearers die the Lamentiri is harvested and planted back in soulpod groves, releasing their energies and the essence of the last bearer into the land. The next generation of Sylvaneth from that grove will sprout with the accumulated experiences of the Sylvaneth already in their mind.[9e]

This recycling of souls greatly infuriate Nagash.[9e]

Habitat

They choose to inhabit areas rich in life magic and vitality, like deep forests or places of natural wonder. Sylvaneth often form a symbiotic relationship with their homes growing stronger as the forest flourish.[9a]

The Sylvaneth groves have been known to incorporate deposits of the Realmstone of Ghyran into their waystones to strengthen the spells that hide their settlements.[8]

Spirit Song

All of Alarielle's creations are connected by the spirit-song, a magical melody of unifying energies that bind them to the land and other Sylvaneth, regardless of distance since the moment they are podborn. This mean that all Sylvaneth are united through it and that the entire race live and fight as one people.[4][9a][9b]

It is emotion, metaphor and harmony in one and very few parts of it, the barest edges of this phenomenon, can be expressed vocally. This song flows through their thoughts and bodies echoing in the roots of the lands. When more Sylvaneth are close to one another the stronger the Spirit-Song becomes. They draw comfort and strength from this magical bond and the greatest fear of their kind is to become a lonely voice.[9b]

The Realmroots throughout Ghyran allows the Spirit-Song to connect and for the Sylvaneth to communicate through vast distances.[9b]

It is impossible for most non-sylvaneth to comprehend and those who try suffer from terrible pains.[9b] However those with the keenest perception can feel on the edge of their senses that the growing disquiet of the forests when the musters of the Sylvaneth are running through the Realmroots, feeling that something momentous is going to happen. [9f]

Song of War

A song of war is used by the leaders of the Sylvaneth to muster a wargrove into war. The air around them shivers and the land thrum as the song turns into compelling notes of violence while feelings of anger, images of battle and wordless calls for vengeance and fealty form in their minds. Clans will always answer the call of their Glades first, but they will also join the wars of other clans. Few Sylvaneth refuse to answer these calls as they are deeply loyal creatures.[9f]

Songs sung in place of power or by Alarielle can summon vast gatherings of clan. These gatherings can take days or weeks to be completed. The Free Spirits are the first to converge upon the being that sang the song. Outcasts stalk the the edges for they are shunned. The Treelords Ancients move through their forces commiting names and faces to memory so that they better guide them into battle. Spites themselves scamper to join such assemblies chatting with one another or aping patrolling sentries.[9f]

It's at these musters that the Sylvaneth are at their strongest, the song swelling in power as more Sylvaneth join the muster. When the muster is complete the song reaches a shattering crescendo the Sylvaneth are filled with soaring vitality and vengeful purpose. Treelords release deep war cries, Brancwraiths raise their voices with the melodious battlesongs and Wyldwoods start to burst spontaneously from the ground.[9f]

Most foes only realize they are under attack when they hear the piercing shrieks of the Dryads. At this time the spirit-song soars and mixes with battle-cries to be become a ringing sound of terror that twists their opponents into dread.[9f]

Realmroots

The Realmsroots are magical, deep-burrowing roots that form paths in Ghyran that the Sylvaneth can use to communicate through the Spirit-Song. The most powerful can even transform into pure life magic and move vast distances through them. Still they could not connect between different Realms like the Realmgates could.[9b]

Diplomacy

After the ages of war Sylvaneth have become untrusting of those outside their kind and aggressively protect their forest homes.[9a]

Warfare

The Sylvaneth are always ready to defend their homes or march out to war. When they do they are organized into Wargroves, Sylvaneth armies that advance with an unnatural speed that rivals that of cavalry of other armies.

Sylvaneth are stealthy to such a degree that an entire wargrove can emerge from a forest, without any hint of their presence coming from their cover.[9f]

Thanks to their Spirit-Song their attacks are extremely coordinated and fluid, at a level unheard by other forces, so much that their attacks seem more like a spontaneous natural phenomenon, rather then premeditated actions of intelligent beings.[9a][9f]

A wargrove assemble at a call to arms issued by a powerful clan leaders, a Regent of the Glades or Alarielle through a song of war. This song can be refused but few would chose to do so, as loyalty is a deep-rooted instinct. Clans are drawn to the war-song of their glade first, but Clans from other Glades might also join.[9f]

Each warrior in a wargroves instinctively knows their place in its distinctive layers, their military strategy forming from a naturally ordered perspective. This was not the way in the past.[9f]

Past

In the past the Sylvaneth avoided war and battle, only used as a last resort after everything else, like diplomacy, palisades of Ironhedge and barrier spells failed to maintain peace and they needed to defend themselves. Most of the conflicts during the Age of Myth with Sylvaneth kept them on the defensive trying only to protect their sacred sites from invaders. Rare were the times were the Sylvaneth send hunting parties to track down and slay rampaging warbands and monsters. Only Outcats were capable of entertaining such thought as campaigns of mass slaughter.[9f]

The Age of Chaos changed this attitude as millions fell during that age.[9f]

Current Purpose

The wargroves march to battle to reclaim lands once lost, to reconnect realmroots that have been severed or eradicate outsiders, especially those of Chaos.[9f]

Tactics

The Forest Folk, lead by Branchwraiths emerge from Wyldwoods to encircle their foes. Noble Spirits flicker along spirit paths to strike at their foes from unexpected directions. Then, when the foe is locked in place the rest of the wargrove arrives and chooses their targets with merciless precision. The enemy battle-lines quickly erode afterwards.[9f]

Society

Sylvaneth society is divided into a number of groups:

Forest Folk

Once peaceful and spiritual beings who's main purpose was to tend to the wild forests. When the Age of Chaos began they suffered the most and the Noble Spirits could no longer keep them sheltered. Those that did not fight were slowly exterminated and those that didn't learn to defend themselves and use battle tactics. With successive generations only the fighters survived until they became a key part of wargroves. In the Age of Sigmar they still tend to their forests sings songs of purity to help the living grow or stave off plagues, but can just as easily stalk invaders through the forest and tear them apart. Even allies or innocents that stumble into their sacred glens will be mercilessly deal with, for the concept or honour is utterly alien to them. They are the most widespread and numerous of the Sylvaneth, composed of tribal bands led by Branchwraiths.[9f][4a]

The members of the Forest Folk are:

Noble Spirits

The warrior noble class since their creation, made to lead the Sylvaneth as both commanders and champions. As such they are high-minded and less prone to instinctual behaviour. This is especially through amongst the Treelord Ancients who rule the clans. In the same way they have become embittered by the Age of Chaos and have lost their compassion, savagely pressing any advantage they can find with their powerful tree-like bodies.[4][9f]

The members of the Noble Spirits are:

Free Spirits

Free Spirits are powerful warriors whose unquestioning obedience to Alarielle makes them important agents of the goddess in her fight to reclaim her lands in the Mortal Realms. They speak with the authority of the goddess.[4b]

The members of the Free Spirits are:

Outcasts

Outcasts are terrifying, dangerous and vicious Sylvaneth spirits who can only hear the war aspect of the Spirit Song of Alarielle.[4c]

Even the sylvaneth are unsure of the origins of the outcasts, they consider that they may be a dark reflection of the other tree-folk or even tainted from Soul-Pods that grew in corrupted soil. They are, however, sure that they were first sighted in the Shourded Season a forgotten period of time that even the eldest Sylvaneth cannot access memories of, denied by their goddess. What is most disturbing to the sylvaneth is that do not know where new outcasts come from, although they can be found in any wild place that has been twisted by malice and hate, not an insignificant number of tree-folk worry that the bitterness and hate is contagious.[4c]

The members of the Free Spirits are:

Water Spirits

Some Sylvaneth have adapted to live in the seas and oceans. [7]

Glades

The Glades are the nations of the sylvaneth, although they could also be described as truely vast extended family. Like a family they share traits, traditions and culture.[4]

A Glade is ruled over by a Regent and has a number of clans which again have their own shared traits. In times of war they will gather Wargroves to fall upon their enemies.[4]

  • Dreadwood Glade: Even the other glade spirits do not trust those from Dreadwood, they are renowned as malicious, cruel and spiteful. [4]
  • Gnarlroot Glade: The glade seeks knowledge and lore above everything and will ally with the scholars and sorcerers of other races to gain it. [4]
  • Harvestboon Glade: Led by the Willowqueen, the glade spirits have a reputation for powerful magic and youthful exuberance as they were only created in the Age of Chaos. [4]
  • Heartwood Glade:Worshipers of the god Kurnoth who they consider Alarielle's consort and unsurprisingly the first to welcome Kurnoth Hunters. [4]
  • Ironbark Glade: Not only in Ghyran but a strong presence in the Realm of Chamon and have forged strong alliances with the duardin. [4]
  • Oakenbrow Glade: The First Glade - their soulpods planted by the goddess herself, they have built a reputation for generosity and nobility but also so some claim, arrogance. [4]
  • Winterleaf Glade: The Age of Chaos has devastated their once beautiful lands and their outlook is full of fatalism and introspection. [4]

Leaders

The following are the deities of the Sylvaneth:

  • Alarielle the Everqueen: The ruler of Ghyran and creator of the Sylvaneth. The Queen of the Radiant Wood
  • Kurnoth the Hunter

The inner court of Alarielle is known as the Royal Moot and comprises the goddess and the regents of the glades - the nearest the sylvaneth have to nations or empires.[4]

Spirit Allies

  • Spites: Diverse magical imps and creatures that spring up around the Sylvaneth, they can be whimsical, cruel, foolish and enigmatic. They assist the tree-folk in many little ways and they in turn indulge them in their playfulness and protect them.[4]
  • Greater Spirits
    • Jotenberg: Massive giants whose heads scrape the clouds, a kind of living winter that dwell in the north of the Realm of Ghyran, one dying giant saved Alarielle and her followers by spanning the Sea of Serpents with its glacial body.[3]

Other Allegiances

There are some Sylvaneth who have turned away from their goddess. Although Alarielle has first claim on their souls, as she faded in the Age of Chaos, they found a different lord in Nagash and they still serve him in the Realm of Shyish.[6a]

Sources


Sylvaneth
Units Forest Folk (Dryad - Branchwraith) - Free Spirits (Arch-Revenant - Kurnoth Hunter - Spirit of Durthu) - Noble Spirits (Branchwych - Tree-Revenant - Treelord - Treelord Ancient) - Outcasts (Spite-Revenant)
Characters Ardaneth - Bramble-Maiden - Cuthrucu - Ithary - Lady of Vines - Brachylaena - Dollenhal - Maesleir - Oadenwul - Shaddock - Felyndael - Haaldhorm - Wilde Kurdwen - Lharenthol - Nellas the Harvester - Rhalaeth - Sternbark - Svarkelbud - Wytha - Drycha Hamadreth - Kelara - Usniel
Glades Dreadwood - Gnarlroot - Harvestboon - Heartwood - Ironbark - Oakenbrow - Winterleaf
Armoury - Artwork - Miniatures - Endless Spells - Scenery
Grand Alliances and factions
OrderChaosDestructionDeath
Cities of Sigmar (Collegiate ArcaneDarkling CovensDevoted of SigmarDispossessedFreeguildIronweld ArsenalOrder SerpentisPhoenix TempleScourge PrivateersShadowbladesWanderers) • Daughters of KhaineEldritch CouncilFyreslayersIdoneth DeepkinKharadron OverlordsLion RangersLumineth Realm-lordsMonsters of OrderOrder DraconisSeraphonStormcast EternalsSwifthawk AgentsSylvaneth