Wargrove

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Wargroves are the armies of the Sylvaneth, mustered from various clans and households at the call of a powerful Noble Spirit or even Alarielle herself.[2a]

Formations and Tactics

Wargroves do not have a set structure and are based on what answers the call to arms. A wargrove called by a senior member of a clan will likely comprise their clan's households of Noble Spirits and some portion of their Forest Folk, but all manner of outsiders can also join.[2a]

Even in their largest wargroves, the sylvaneth prefer hit-and-run tactics, bursting from the cover of their forests to strike hard and fast before fading away. Their mastery of the spirit paths of the realmroots means that attacks can come suddenly and from any direction, and enemies often have little or no warning of battle before the forest spirits are upon them.[2a]

The Song of War

In order to muster a wargrove, the powerful forest spirit who will lead the army sends out the Song of War, a distinct tune within the Spirit-Song with notes of violence, images of battle, and wordless calls for vengeance. All sylvaneth who hear it know that they have been called to fight; while they are not compelled to answer the call, they generally do so absent a pressing duty that prevents them from joining the muster. Clans respond most readily to the song of their own glade, but nearby clans can and do occasionally join the muster when they hear the call of another glade.[1a][2a]

When a muster is called by a senior member of a clan, the other senior members of the clan often join in the war-song, enhancing it and sending it out further into the wilderness to call more sylvaneth to the muster.[2b]

Each group that joins the wargrove causes the spirit-song to swell, and by the time the wargrove is fully gathered and marching to battle, it is a powerful crescendo of energy that fills the sylvaneth with purpose. Most of the time, non-sylvaneth cannot hear the spirit-song, but a large wargrove on the march can cause sensitive individuals to feel something at the edge of their senses, a disquiet in the forest that they cannot place. In battle, the song can swell even further, becoming both a powerful aid to the sylvaneth to warn each other of danger and coordinate their movements and a terrifying sensation that fills the enemies of the sylvaneth with dread and can even cause their hearts to burst.[2a][2b]

Mustering

The mustering of the wargrove can take many weeks, especially when sung from a place of power or by extremely venerable beings such as one of the Regents of the Glades or Alarielle. In some cases, large and lengthy musters happen on the march as those initially joining the wargrove head to war, trusting their kin to catch up. Smaller musters generally take place where the call was made.[1a][2a]

The first to respond to the muster are usually the Households of Noble Spirits of the wargrove leader's clan. As the standing army of the clan, the households are always ready for battle, and they join up and conduct their pre-battle rites as soon as feasible.[2b]

Soon behind the households are the Forest Folk of the clan that sent out the song. In the glory days of the Age of Myth, the Forest Folk were peaceful beings and did not answer the war-song, but the long centuries of the War of Life have made them a vital part of the wargroves.[2a][2b]

As the mustering continues, Free Spirits may join, either as simple wandering bands of Kurnoth Hunters or large formations under the command of a Spirit of Durthu or Arch-Revenant. These powerful warriors are often integrated closely with the more conventional soldiers of the Households, bolstering their battle-lines and providing powerful formations to lead assaults.[2b]

In contrast, the Outcasts lurk around the edges of a muster and of the sylvaneth formations. The war-song is the only part of the spirit-song these strange spirits can hear, and this is the only time most sylvaneth will see them. Though only Dreadwood Glade usually acknowledges their presence and fully integrates them into their battle plans, they are effective outriders for the wargroves they shadow, capable of operating independently and preventing the main force from being outflanked.[2b][2c]

Sources