The sylvaneth, sometimes called "Alarielle's Children," and once known as the Treemen of the World-That-Was, are a species of intelligent, usually humanoid tree spirits created by Alarielle, the goddess of life and nature.
The term "sylvaneth" encompasses a wide range of different tree-like humanoids first created when Alarielle planted seeds she had saved from the destruction of the World-That-Was in Ghyran during the Age of Myth.
The sylvaneth's fey spirits are shaped from life magic; their physical bodies grown from soul-pods located in the Wyldwood.
Sylvaneth favour a humanoid aspect over other shapes. There is a great variation among their size and shape, as both spirit and body are crafted towards a definite purpose. For instance, the Branwych and Tree-Revenant subspecies of sylvaneth stand on average 5 feet 11 inches tall, while the Kurnoth Hunters tower over others of their kind at an average of 10 feet 3 inches.
A sylvaneth’s bark acts as armoured skin, beneath which is a heartwood core. The bark can vary wildly in colour and pattern, and may be further adjusted by the immediacy of its needs, becoming thicker when fighting or lighter when on the run.
Sylvaneth often encourage other plants to grow on their bodies, adorning themselves in crowns of living flowers or mantles of lush vines. Many grow manes of twigs on their heads that resemble hair, or jagged branches that act as horns or antlers.
The visage of a sylvaneth is shaped by the knots and hollows in their heads, with fey lights glowing from the pits of their "eyes." A sylvaneth's face does not typically change with age, but instead remains locked in whichever expression the sylvaneth consciously adopts.
All sylvaneth are bound to Alarielle's gestalt Spirit-Song, the magical song of power woven with divine love and wisdom, which resonates within each of Alarielle's Children and grows stronger when they are gathered together.
It is a source of limitless comfort to the sylvaneth, bolstering and strengthening them. To be separated from the Spirit-Song is any sylvaneth’s greatest fear.
In Ghyran, the sylvaneth are connected through the Spirit-Song, a haunting melody that allows them to communicate over vast distances. However, beyond Ghyran they are cut off from their goddess' song -- a truly terrifying realisation for any sylvaneth who travels the Mortal Realms.
Sylvaneth in other realms can still perceive echoes of the Spirit-Song but many would rather return to Ghyran than risk the madness and melancholy that affects many sylvaneth who can no longer hear it.
While in the Realm of Life, a sylvaneth can add their own harmony to the Spirit-Song in order to communicate with another sylvaneth in the realm.
Sylvaneth can communicate with one another through the song over vast distances, adding their own verses into the totality of its harmony. Verbal communication is employed only when speaking with non-sylvaneth, and their voices range from a reedy whisper to a groaning rumble.
Only a sylvaneth accustomed to outsiders who desires to make them feel at ease bothers trying to move the hollow of their mouth when speaking, otherwise their face remains unmoving.
The inclinations of the sylvaneth are unlike those of other mortal species. They have no desire for riches or power, their motivation is solely the protection of the natural order, for which they were created by the Everqueen.
In this respect, their ambitions are more far-sighted than those of the other mortal peoples of the realms. The immediacy with which humans and duardin -- the "quick-bloods" -- react to the world around them has led the sylvaneth to distrust them.
Sometimes this view manifests as outright hostility to outsiders, while at best a sylvaneth will have a kind of nurturing pity towards outsiders because they seem incapable of accepting or appreciating their own place in the natural order.
A sylvaneth's body is made from bark that is suffused with Alarielle's life magic. This hardened bark is able to resist some of the damage dealt by blades, bullets, teeth, claws, and other weapons.
For the sylvaneth, the passage of time upon their physical forms seems to have little meaning, with ages ranging wildly from 2 or 3 years up to thousands of years old.
As plants, sylvaneth can feel the presence of water even far underground, much to the awe of the people of Aqshy, the arid Realm of Fire. Many of these sylvaneth "water-finders" have become beloved of the Aqshians, who are quick to aid Alarielle's Children if they are ever in need.
The sylvaneth are the offspring of the goddess Alarielle, Queen of the Radiant Wood. They are beings of nature, creatures of life magic whose flesh and sinew are crafted from the living boughs of the wyldwood.[1a]
The relationship between the sylvaneth and the Mortal Realms is wholly symbiotic, as are their bonds with each other – all the children of Alarielle are connected by the haunting spirit-song that courses through them. The unifying energies of this strange melody bind the sylvaneth together as one people.[1a]
Fey creatures of the wilderness, the sylvaneth can appear capricious or cruel to some. Their motivations seem inconstant, their deeds whimsical and strange. The sylvaneth are not moved by mortal desires such as expanding their borders or amassing plunder. Instead, they are driven to safeguard the natural cycles of the Mortal Realms no matter how weird or dangerous those might be, and to cleanse the land of that which taints it. The sylvaneth can thus prove difficult allies, for their goals and motivations often conflict with those they are fighting alongside.[1a]
Though sometimes misunderstood by mortal allies, the sylvaneth are good and noble beings, staunch enemies of Chaos. During the Age of Myth, the sylvaneth claimed places of natural power all across the Mortal Realms. It was these places they fought and died to defend during the Age of Chaos, battling with wild determination even as their Everqueen fought her own war against Nurgle in the Realm of Life. Despite their efforts, the sylvaneth were driven back, until only scattered pockets of resistance remained. Their doom seemed assured. Yet extinction was not to be their fate…[1a]
Age of Myth
In the days when Sigmar’s pantheon still reigned, the sylvaneth ruled much of Ghyran. They existed in harmony with nature and – for the most part – with the mortal tribes of the Jade Kingdoms. There was danger, of course, from rampaging beasts and hostile barbarian tribes. The Wargroves of the courageous Noble Spirits crushed each of these threats as they arose, fulfilling their role as protectors so that the Dryads could nurture the lands and live in peace. All were united by the spirit-song that echoed through their souls, and they enjoyed a concord with all living things. Alarielle looked upon her creations and knew peace at last.[1g]
Time passed, and the children of the Radiant Wood spread beyond the bounds of Ghyran. Whether by soulpod seeds carried through Realmgates, or by the staging of deliberate expeditions, sylvaneth enclaves sprung up across all the Mortal Realms. There was more danger outside Ghyran, for many lands were wild and hazardous. The Noble Spirits of the glades fought great battles against wild tribes of orruks and scurrying infestations of skaven. Entire sylvaneth clans were lost to war and catastrophe. Still, the sylvaneth prevailed and spread. There was one hazard they could not have planned for though; once beyond the Realmgates,the sylvaneth found themselves cut off from the spirit-song of their mother.[1g]
The sylvaneth who travelled to new realms could still perceive the spirit-song that echoed from within, but they found themselves islands of harmony amidst a terrible silence. Some went mad, while others fled back to the comfort of their heartglades. Tales are still told of the terrible season in which Silverthorn Glade was lost altogether. Those sylvaneth who endured sought out those places in the new lands where life magic flowed the strongest. In these places of power, they planted soulpod groves and sank their realmroots deep.[1g]
So grew the new enclaves of the sylvaneth, and from them, the song rang out once more. These were places of ethereal pulchritude. The vast Hunter’s Moon, the Singing Mountains, the Citycaverns of Briardell and countless others echoed the beautiful wonder of the sylvaneth homeland.[1h]
Then came Chaos. Though the sylvaneth fought bravely, mutants and monsters tore down their enclaves and torched the soulpod groves. Magical places of exquisite beauty were reduced to tainted wastelands, heaped with the kindlewood corpses of sylvaneth dead. Alarielle’s children were driven from their homes and forced into a desperate, hunted existence. But Chaos could not destroy everything. Seeds of hope were buried deep, and some roots remained untainted, waiting for the rains of a brighter season to coax them into life once again.[1h]
Alarielle and the War of Life
The War of Life began with an unctuous slithering in a lost, dank corner of Ghyran. Corruption seeped from the Garden of Nurgle into that of Alarielle, and there it bred with obscene ebullience. So swiftly did Nurgle’s spawn multiply that tides of squirming terrors were soon sweeping across the lands at an unstoppable pace.[1b]
The Queen of the Radiant Wood rose to repel this foul invasion, and a war began unlike any other. Renewal battled entropy, healing magic fought infection. Tallyband upon Tallyband of Nurgle daemons trudged through the Jade Kingdoms, the land writhing and screaming at their tainted touch. In response, the sylvaneth glades moved to stand against them as one, Alarielle and her Regents hurling hundreds of clans into battle with every passing day. The war ground on. Weeks became months, then years, then centuries – but still the battles raged with no end in sight.[1b]
At first, sylvaneth clans flooded into Ghyran from the other Mortal Realms, surging through Realmgates to aid their queen. But as the Age of Chaos darkened, and corruption spread far and wide, those enclaves in the other realms found themselves hard-pressed even to stand to their own defences. Soon, the flow of sylvaneth reinforcements into Ghyran dried up entirely. Alarielle and her children fought on, never knowing if they were the last of their kind. [1b]
For seasons beyond measure, the Queen of the Radiant Wood fought on. Only slowly did loss and betrayal render her strength brittle, like a fallen branch rotting from within. Many of the human tribes of the Jade Kingdoms – who worshipped Alarielle in all her forms – turned from her light in the hopes that Nurgle would spare them. Soulpod glades burned and ancient places of power fell. The sacred Tear of Grace was unveiled, but its power was twisted out of true, forcing the sylvaneth to hide their weapon once again. Woodlands contorted. Rivers congealed. Every day, the suffering of her land and her followers sapped Alarielle’s strength until, at last, she became grieved and sorrow-haunted.[1c]
By the time Sigmar’s Storm broke across the Mortal Realms, Nurgle had all but claimed Ghyran for his own. The last enclaves of sylvaneth were hidden. The kings and queens of the glades had withdrawn for safety behind veils of sorcery and misdirection. Here and there, fierce war leaders still led the fight against the myriad armies of Nurgle and their verminous allies, but for all intents and purposes, the War of Life had been lost. Overcome by melancholy, Alarielle fled to the hidden vale of Athelwyrd. Concealed from Nurgle’s rheumy eyes, the faded goddess had chosen defeat. She wished only to brood amidst the echoes of glories past, giving in to the mercurial nature of her people and becoming more bitter by the day. Blinded by her anguish, Alarielle did not know that an old friend was seeking her out.[1c]
As his war of reconquest rolled out across the Mortal Realms, Sigmar sent Stormcast Eternals to locate the Queen of the Radiant Wood. These envoys brought offers of a renewed alliance against the Chaos Gods and overcame many perils to find Alarielle. In doing so, the Stormcasts inadvertently led the hordes of Nurgle straight to the goddess’ hiding place. The battle that followed was brief and vicious. Stirred to war, Alarielle fought to protect Athelwyrd, but the enemy was too many and too strong. In the end, the goddess was forced to flee, escaping Athelwyrd with a ragged band of sylvaneth and Stormcast Eternals. Alarielle angrily blamed the Stormcasts for her terrible predicament, yet in being ousted from her hiding place, the goddess had realised that she still possessed the will to fight. On the heels of this revelation came crushing doubt. What if, in her misery, Alarielle had left it too late to make a stand? What if she had failed as no mother should? It was this thought that robbed the last of Alarielle’s strength and saw her transform into a soulpod.[1c]
Across the Frozen Ocean
When Alarielle collapsed and shrank into her glowing soulpod form, it seemed all was lost. The goddess could not battle her tormentors in such a state. With her realm so diseased, there was no guarantee Alarielle would have the strength to rejuvenate herself ever again. Even if she did, none could be sure she would not be irrevocably tainted by the poisons of Chaos that coursed through the land.[1d]
Led by the plague lord Torglug the Despised, Nurgle’s servants had smashed their way past the rearguard of sylvaneth and Stormcasts who stood to bar their path. Torglug’s festering horde was snapping at the heels of Alarielle’s guardians, sure of imminent victory.Amidst the darkness of such impossible odds, true heroes shine all the brighter. The Lady of Vines took up Alarielle’s soulpod and led her desperate warband into the wilds. The Branchwraith moved with purpose, determined that her mother would never fall into Nurgle’s festering clutches.[1d]
Alarielle’s protectors made haste along the Cascading Path. This magical causeway flowed across the lands in a raging torrent of life magic, bearing the sylvaneth and Stormcasts to the edge of the Forest of Druidia. Their head start was short lived, however, for Torglug was a native of Ghyran, and he also knew of the spirit path. By the time the Lady of Vines and LorrusGrymn were leading their forces to the edge of the Sea of Serpents, the hordes of Nurgle were slithering close behind. It was then that the land itself came to Alarielle’s rescue in the form of a dying Jotunberg, one of the fabled living winters.[1d]
An animate mountain of incredible size, this monolithic being had sickened beneath the influence of Nurgle, though it managed to muster enough strength to lumber into the ocean waves before it fell for the last time. As the Jotunberg passed, its ensorcelled energies flowed outwards, freezing the Sea of Serpents into a wave-curled ice shelf across which Alarielle’s guardians continued to flee.[1d]
By now, the protectors were fighting almost every step of the way. Lord-Castellant Grymn, and his Hallowed Knights, won one savage rearguard clash after another. Forest spirits from half a dozen different clans fought and died to protect Alarielle, Treelords of Clan Landragael battling alongside Dryads from Clans Bel’ath and Tethil. More Stormcasts flashed down from above, as Sigmar sent his Knights Excelsior to aid in the desperate fight.[1e]
Through heroism and bloodshed, Alarielle’s protectors at last won through to the far shore. They had entered the Kingdom of Blackstone, and there, the Lady of Vines’ plan was revealed. With their pursuers drivenback or plunged into ragged holes in the ice, the Branchwraith led her surviving followers along the Path of the Purified. This ancient way sang with cleansing life magic and would, the Branchwraith hoped, drive any Chaos taint from Alarielle’s soulpod. The healing road led up to Blackstone Summit, a high and lonely place upon which had been buried the heroic dead of the first Ironthorne War. The Lady of Vines intended to plant Alarielle’s seed in soil blessed by the touch of such heroes, hoping that their nobility and desire for vengeance would infuse the Queen of the Radiant Wood and allow her to be reborn in her most bountiful and warlike aspect, singing with the fury of a warrior queen renewed.[1e]
The Lady of Vines knew her efforts would not go unopposed, and sure enough, the final battle atop Blackstone Summit was as desperate as it was glorious. The Chaos Lord Torglug waited there, all the feculent might of Nurgle at his command. Alarielle’s defenders took a huge toll upon their foes, but still they fell. When Torglug hacked down the Lady of Vines, Alarielle’s fate seemed inevitable. Yet at that moment, Sigmar’s Celestant-Prime swept down from on high, smiting Torglug and scattering his followers. Alarielle’s soulpod was saved, taking root upon a fresh battlefield amid the cooling bloodsap of her most devoted daughter. The goddess’ spirit flowed into the land, and a change began.[1e]
Time flowed ever onwards, racing away from the moment of Alarielle’s planting like a gushing river. Lives fell like leaves from withered boughs, dancing upon the foetid wind before being swept away. Ghyran cracked and crumbled like parched earth in Nurgle’s covetous grip. The War of Life, once a raging forest fire, was little but embers and ash, smothered by rancid slurry.[1f]
And yet, a change was coming.[1f]
Rotting branches stiffened with new life, fresh green leaves unfurling from them. Waters that had long churned with filth ran clear and musical once more. Cool breezes blew from hidden dells, thick with the scent of wildflowers and pine sap. Gradually, the influence of Alarielle was felt, a burgeoning of life, a breathless pause before the plunge.[1f]
And then came the moment of sudden bloom. The Queen of the Radiant Wood was reborn from the land she loved, and as she rose, she sang. All across Ghyran, the spirit-song swelled, pouring out into every realm – a cascading, tumbling, soaring crescendo of hope, fury, loss and exhilaration. Alarielle’s children felt their mother’s might, even as the servants of Nurgle quailed. Wrongs would be righted, the lands would be healed and places of power would be reclaimed. The War of Life would begin anew. The sylvaneth would have their revenge.[1f]
As Alarielle sowed her seeds through the wilds of Ghyran, she sang a beautiful song for her children-to-be. More than melody, it was an outpouring of love and wisdom, an enchantment that would bind the sylvaneth to one another even as it bonded them to her.[1h]
Whether Dryad or Treelord, Kurnoth Hunter or Tree-Revenant, all sylvaneth hear this spirit-song from their first moments of life. It flows into their thoughts, courses through their bodies, and echoes from their roots into the land itself. The spirit-song is impossible for most non-sylvaneth to comprehend, and can cause terrible pain to those who do. It is as much emotion and metaphor as it is harmony, and only the barest edge of this magical phenomenon can be expressed vocally. The more sylvaneth present, the greater the chorus swells. Alarielle’s children draw comfort and strength from this melodic bond, and conversely, they know no greater fear than becoming a single, lonely voice amid the silence.The spirit-song is what ties the sylvaneth to those fractured realmroots that remain – the spirit paths along which the most powerful of their number can travel – and allows them to communicate as a race over great distances. It is a vital tool in battle, allowing Noble Spirits to coordinate their forces, to warn their warriors of danger, and to know their followers’ thoughts as though they were their own.[1h]
Children of Alarielle
Sylvaneth armies fight with the wrath of nature unleashed. They are terrifying foes for, though they can appear as graceful as a warm zephyr, they can swiftly transform into a howling gale. Keening bands of Dryads burst from ambush amongst the Wyldwoods, their Branchwraiths leading them in a lashing dance of war. While these Forest Folk encircle the enemy, the Noble Spirits flicker along the spirit paths to slam into their foes from unexpected angles, locking the enemy in place while the rest of the sylvaneth Wargrove picks them mercilessly apart. Under this onslaught, enemy battle-lines crumble like mighty cliffs torn down by swift-snaking roots.[1i]
The Forest Folk are the most widespread and numerous of the sylvaneth. They are the Dryads and Branchwraiths, whose numbers have been rising sharply since Alarielle’s return. Though now a key part of the sylvaneth war against the dominion of Chaos, the Forest Folk were not warriors during the Age of Myth. At that time, Dryads and Branchwraiths were peaceful creatures, deeply spiritual beings who instinctively tended the wild places of Ghyran.[1i]
When the Age of Chaos began, the Forest Folk suffered horribly. It was no longer enough to take shelter while the Noble Spirits fought on their behalf; any sylvaneth who could not fight were doomed to fall beneath the invaders’ blades. Through successive generations, the Forest Folk were winnowed down until only the strong and cunning survived. They learned to fight from the shadows, and to defend their enclaves with vicious determination.In contrast, the Noble Spirits have always been warriors. They lead the soldiers of the sylvaneth as commanders and champions. They are stern and sombre, from the Treelord Ancients who rule the woodland clans to the ranks of Tree-Revenants that patrol the enclaves and form the heartwood of any sylvaneth army.[1i][1j]
It is the Noble Spirits who protect and preserve the spiritual heritage of their people. Within the Noble Spirits live the race-memory of the sylvaneth people, echoes of former lives ringing back through the ages into the farthest mists of time. Some even claim that the Noble Spirits preserve dim recollections of the world-that-was, and that it is from these deep-set roots that the notion of the mythical Protectors sprouts.[1j]
None amongst Alarielle’s children knows precisely who or what the Protectors were, or whether these beings were even real. They know only that a notion persists, an idea of nobility and selfless guardianship that the Noble Spirits still model themselves on today. Many amongst the Noble Spirits even come to physically resemble the ghosts of the Protectors that echo in their memories, and draw the magic and minerals of the land up through their roots to craft weapons like those the Protectors are believed to have wielded.[1j]
The Noble Spirits rule over the sylvaneth enclaves with ancient wisdom and timeless caution. They serve their goddess mother in all things, and owe no loyalty to any other than Alarielle. It is upon the orders of the Noble Spirits that the sylvaneth march to war, and it is by their strength that they prevail.The division between the Noble Spirits and the Forest Folk is as natural to the sylvaneth as the flowing of water or the stirring of the wind. Alarielle’s children do not question such matters, but are content to know that their roles are sanctioned by nature itself.[1j]
Song of War
Sylvaneth armies, often known as Wargroves, are as mercurial and deadly as the individual spirits that make up their ranks. Not only are they fast-moving and supernaturally coordinated, but their mustering seems, to outsiders, a spontaneous and inexplicable phenomenon. In truth, this is not the case. Rather, it is the most powerful leaders of the sylvaneth who call the muster, be they clan leaders, the Regents of the Glades, or even the Queen of the Radiant Wood herself.[1k]
When such a mustering is needed, the spirit who will lead the army gathers their strength and sends forth the songof war. Around them, shivering on the air and thrumming through the bones of the land, the spirit-song takes on a bloody hue. Compelling notes of violence and anger twine jaggedly through images of battle and deep, wordless calls for vengeance and fealty.[1k]
Though it would not be impossible for the sylvaneth to refuse the song’s summons, few would choose to do so. Amongst Alarielle’s children, loyalty is more than a concept. It is an instinct as deep-rooted as the desire to survive and to protect their own. Thus, when the sylvaneth are called to war, they answer willingly, abandoning allother endeavours even should they be hundreds of miles distant.[1k]
Clans are drawn to their own glade’s war-song first and foremost, Harvestboon to Harvestboon and Gnarlroot to Gnarlroot, though it is not unheard of for clans to join the musters of other glades. The strongest songs – those sung in places of power or by Alarielle herself – summon clans from many glades, and it is then that the sylvaneth are at their mightiest.[1k]
Mustering can take days or weeks to complete, often occurring in stages as the Wargrove marches to battle. New clans and bands of Free Spirits gather around the regal being that first uttered the song of war. Households of Noble Spirits sway in silent communion while bands of Dryads raise lilting melodies to the skies. Outcasts – the shunned ones – stalk the shadows at the muster’s edge, while Treelord Ancients make their way through the growing throng, committing faces and names to memory that they might better sing of the battle to come. The tiny spirit-imps known as spites scamper and buzz hither and thither, chattering to one another or aping the patrolling sentries with their tiny faces scrunched into serious frowns.[1k][1l]
With every new band of sylvaneth that joins the muster, the spirit-song swells, becoming a hurricane of melody and metaphor that only the sylvaneth can truly interpret. It is like a roaring waterfall, like rolling cloud banks lanced by the rays of the sun, like the beating of a vast oaken heart deep beneath the roots of the realms, and yet it is like none of those things. It is the glory of the sylvaneth in its singular, mystical power.[1l]
When the mustering is done, the spirit-song rises to a final shattering crescendo that fills the sylvaneth with soaring vitality and vengeful purpose. Treelords boom out deep war cries while Branchwraiths raise their voices in melodious battle-songs and Wyldwoods burst spontaneously from the ground to ensnare the foe in their tall boughs. Nature’s wrath is set loose in a flood as the sylvaneth sweep down upon their hapless enemies, and battle is joined.[1l]
In the Age of Myth, Alarielle walked her garden realm and sowed her seeds in lakes of light and sighing glades.From golden mountains to the ocean depths, Alarielle planted soulpod groves, and from these enchanted plants came the first of the Sylvaneth. The first were the ancestors of the Oakenbrow and Gnarlroot Glades, though more sylvaneth soon followed.
- The Bonebark March - Noble Spirits of Clans Dernoth and Laeril marched to war alongside the ranks of the undead. They crushed a horde of Beastmen at Sunderstone Peak, a major victory for Sigmar’s alliance
- The War of Life - As the Age of Chaos began, Nurgle’s foul daemons gained a toehold in Ghyran. Spreading like a plague, his followers soon shook the Jade Kingdoms with their trudging feet. Alarielle and her children fought back, and the death toll climbed…
- The Shorouded Time - The War of Life worsened daily. The sylvaneth Wargroves found the conflict turning against them despite their every effort. Alarielle vowed to her Royal Moot that she would turn the tide, no matter the price. What horrors followed are a mystery, veiled from memory by enchanted forgetfulness. Some sylvaneth speculate that it was during this time that the curse of the Outcast fell upon their people. Others say that whatever transpired, it began Alarielle’s waning.
- The Son's Quest - Alarielle despatched twelve of the Sons of Durthu into the Ulgulands. They sought a weapon of incredible power that would liberate Ghyran, but after many great battles, the last of them vanished altogether. Some say they quest still, and will one day return with their prize
- A Bitter Harvest -As the sylvaneth places of power across the Mortal Realms fell one by one, Alarielle was forced to ever more extreme measures to save her children. Seeking a way to turn the tide of war, she planted the seed of Drycha deep within the vale of Hamadrithil. What emerged from that dark place was not what the goddess expected… 18
Ambush at Widowbite
Atop Widowbite Crag, the root clans of Winterleaf Glade faced their doom. With fatalistic determination, the sylvaneth hurled back waves of frenzied skaven, but with each assault more Tree-Spirits fell. Just as all seemed lost, drycha Hamadreth burst from the caves at the mountain's feet leading a horde of Outcast, and fell upon the ratmen. Few skaven lived to tell of the horrific massacre that folloed.
- The War of Cinders - In Aqshy, the clans of Ironbark Glade were pushed back to the Bladewood Gate by the fury of the Bloodbound. The archduke of Ironbark secured an alliance with the Fyreslayers of the Vostarg lodge that, after a crushing victory at Baelmaw Chasm, became both lucrative and long-standing.
- The Silvered Grove Besieged - A vast Rotbringer army laid siege to the Silvered Grove, greatest stronghold of Gnarlroot Glade. Household after Household sallied out to drive the Nurgle hordes from the great rootbridges, while a conclave of Treelord Ancients unleashed life magics to tear their attackers apart. Eventually, the plague horde was broken, though the cost was steep.
- The Ironthorne Sabotage - Before the Ironthorne Wall, the human tribes of Blackstone marched against Nurgle’s hordes, this time with sylvaneth Wargroves at their side. Tragically, the Blackstone shamans were infested by blightworms, and at the battle’s height, summoned a vast Tallyband of Nurgle daemons that swept all before it.
- Saving Grace - A thousand Tree-Revenants marched into the ruins of Ghoremfel, led by the Lady of Vines and a coven of Branchwyches. Carving through Slaaneshi cultists, the sylvaneth recovered the sacred Tear of Grace from its embervault.
- The Storm Approaches - The sylvaneth enclaves across the Jade Kingdoms, and the realms beyond, stood abandoned. Yet there were those who felt a strange hope at the dark clouds filling the skies… 19
Long seasons of death and disaster had withered Alarielle's hearthwood and embittered her spirit. Her best efforts to heal the land had failed. Betrayals had eroded her faith in even her own beloved children, and in a fit of madness, she had banished her remaining sons of Durthu. No longer believing that victory over Nurgle was possible, the Queen of the Radiant Wood retreated to the hidden vale of Athelwyrd and left the last enclaves of sylvaneth to fight on alone.
- Hope Springs Anew - With the coming of Sigmar’s Storm, the sylvaneth found fresh allies. From Briarhaven to the Gnarled Spire, the sylvaneth went into battle alongside the Stormcast Eternals. Meanwhile, in Ghyran, the Lady of Vines helped the Stormcasts find Athelwyrd with hope in her heartwood, little knowing what would come next.
- Death and Rebirth - Discovered by Torglug the Despised and his revolting Nurgle horde, Alarielle fled Athelwyrd. Though the Chaos worshippers’ pursuit was foiled at the last, and Alarielle’s soulpod planted atop Blackstone Summit, her life-force would have to become one with the land before the Queen of the Radiant Wood could return to the fight. In the meantime, the Realmgate Wars raged on
- Queen of Malice - Drycha’s claims that their mother was gone for good moved many sylvaneth to join her ranks, several clans of Dreadwood Glade foremost amongst them. She assembled a vast Wargrove, leading her followers on a destructive rampage that left millions dead.
- Black Hollow - During the infamous battle of Blackhollow, the clans of Dreadwood were forced to ally with the Hallowed Knights to prevail over the Nightmare Host. Sigmar’s warriors were horrified at the spite and cruelty of their fey allies, though the sheer monstrosity of their enemies was a more pressing concern
- Heartwood's Revenge - Early in the Age of Chaos, Heartwood Glade lost Verdantia in Ghur to a Tzeentchian daemon lord. Then, with a constellation of seraphon at their side, Heartwood’s clans marched upon the usurpers’ kingdom and, over a bloody decade, reduced it to glittering rubble.
- Sons of Behemat - Following the death of the zodiacal gargant Behemat, his last sons wandered lost across Ghyran. Wise and compassionate, the clans of Oakenbrow welcomed these powerful – if crude – allies to their lands.
All nine clans of Harvestboon Glade mustered to besiege the Foulspine in Ghyran. Though many Sylvaneth fell, a band of Treelords tore down the Suppurant Gate, and hundreds of Dryads poured into the Dreadlord's festering heart. Putrus the Rotlord was left impaled upon his own thorn-strangled battlements, the willow queen of Harvestboon proclaming her victory as a sign of new hope. 20
Alarielle was reborn in her most warlike aspect. As she rose up, her song of vengeance echoed across the Mortal Realms. The soulpod glades surged with life, birthing new generations of sylvaneth and strange forest spirits with every passing day. The scattered sons of Durthu began to return to their queen's side, and everywhere, the sylvaneth struck back with fresh determination against the dominion of Chaos.
- Before the Genesis Gate - From atop the Starspun Coil Alarielle called a great muster, gathering Wargroves of every glade to her side. Alongside Sigmar’s Stormhosts, she led this mighty army against the Genesis Gate
- The Cycle of Renewal - As the Ironjaw warclan of Megaboss Drogg rampaged across Lunarium, Clan Vendrith of Harvestboon followed in its wake, sowing new Wyldwoods in areas razed by the hordes of destruction
- The Anvil Gate - One hundred Kurnoth Hunters scaled Mount Anvil, seizing the Realmgate at its peak from the verminous swarms of Clan Feesik
- Old Alliances - Despite their malcontent, the clans of Dreadwood fought alongside those of Ironbark and Oakenbrow to turn back the Poxfang Tide. With the defeat of this scourge, a stretch of the Cascading Path was purified once more, opening new tributaries throughout the Jade Kingdoms
- Hunter's Vengeance - The Mistwoods of Shae-Rahat rang to the sounds of battle as the sylvaneth Wild Hunt pursued monstrous quarry. Led by a spearhead of Kurnoth Hunters and Tree-Revenants, a muster of clans hunted the Great Unclean One Gruxulok. Cornered and outnumbered, this hated plague-bringer and his followers found themselves fighting a desperate battle in which the very landscape itself turned savagely against them.
- Wyldwoods Rise - Across the Mortal Realms, the sylvaneth were resurgent. With their queen in the full bloom of war, their soul was whole again. In the Stormcasts, the sylvaneth found strong allies, while the seraphon and Fyreslayers also fought in common cause with Alarielle’s children. Sylvaneth numbers grew by the day, their soulpod glades knowing abundance they had not seen for many miserable seasons. Musters were staged the like of which had not been seen in centuries, and the spirit-song shivered the air. The hordes of Chaos fell back in disarray on hundreds of battlefronts before the spite and strength of the sylvaneth, for this time, Alarielle and her children would know victory. 21
Carefully assembled in ranks according to ritual, talons and teeth ready to rip into the enemy, a sylvaneth Household is adept at engaging and pinning their foes. Able to close in with the swiftness of the wind and draw enemy units in with the hypnotic allure of the forest, the Household allows their brethren ample time to make swift assaults on the helpless prey of the sylvaneth.
Terrors that lurk in the forest’s shadow, creeping things that menace and slaughter, when the Outcasts surge into battle as a single great mass it is all the enemy can do to avoid dying of fright. They come to rend with their talons, to feast on the fallen, to revel in the fear that precedes them. Where the Outcasts of the sylvaneth stalk, cold dread can be found.
Elite warriors whose presence hones the sylvaneth into a swift and deadly weapon of singular purpose, the Free Spirits are the instrument of Alarielle’s will. Led by a Spirit of Durthu, the Kurnoth Hunters move with haste to fulfil the will of their vengeful Queen.
First and most glorious amongst sylvaneth society is the Royal Moot. This is the court of Alarielle herself, and it comprises the Queen of the Radiant Wood and the Regents of the Glades. This mighty assemblage has gathered in person only a handful of times in all the history of the Mortal Realms. Some of the Regents are strange beings for whom travel across vast distances is not easy, and even for those who can, it is perilous to journey in such war-torn times. Thus, the Royal Moot most often meets in part, or else the Regents send to Alarielle their most trusted lieutenants to speak on their behalf. It is this assemblage that makes the most important decisions for the sylvaneth race and that enacts Alarielle’s will, even if some of them resent it more than others. The Everqueen has more direct and warlike agents in theFree Spirits. These include the Sons of Durthu and the Kurnoth Hunters, courageous forest spirits who exist outside the hierarchies of the glades and who speak with the voice of Alarielle. The Free Spirits are powerful fighters and this, coupled with their unquestioning dedication to their mother goddess, makes them indispensable warriors in the battles to retake the Mortal Realms.
Lastly, there are the shunned ones, the Outcasts. Cut off from all but the most violent notes of the spirit-song, these malign creatures are quite mad. They are filled with cruelty, and delight in tormenting other living beings, yet they are still sylvaneth. When war calls, these dark creatures slink from the shadows to join the fight, though they are little loved by their nobler kin
Armies of the glades
Outsiders observing sylvaneth armies often believe them to be anarchic and disordered, but this could not be further from the truth. The sylvaneth obey ancient, instinctively binding social conventions, which are as clear to them as they are strange to others.
The sylvaneth race is made up of glades. The closest mortal comparison would be nations, or perhaps empires, though each glade is more like a vast extended family whose descendents are scattered in enclaves across the Mortal Realms. At least seven glades were known to exist at the time of Alarielle’s rebirth, though glades dying out, springing up, or being lost and subsequently rediscovered is not unheard of. Each glade is ruled over by one of the mighty Regents of the Glades, and possesses its own traditions, traits and culture. Oakenbrow, for example, claim to be the most ancient glade, and their ways are noble and proud. By comparison, Harvestboon is the youngest and most vibrant glade. Having sprung up during the Age of Chaos, they have known little but war and the fight for survival. No glade is superior, though they vary in size and age; all are equal in Alarielle’s eyes.
Each glade is made up of a number of clans, many of which are given names like Il’leath, Tethil and Gilhead, echoing lives and times long turned to dust. Within a particular glade, most of the clans will share certain similarities, such as the grim fatalism and pale hues of Winterleaf Glade, Gnarlroot’s endless thirst for knowledge, or the strength and warrior spirit of Heartwood. Otherwise, each clan is its own distinct social and military gathering, with many occupying territorial enclaves while others travel as nomads across the realms. Just as the number of clans in a glade can vary, so is the size of the clans themselves fluid. The smallest are little more than tribal bands of Forest Folk watched over by a few Noble Spirits, while the largest are entire kingdoms in their own right. pg. 24
Organisation of the Sylvaneth (Under construction)
- Alarielle - Alarielle is the goddess of life, the mother of the sylvaneth race and the warrior regent of Ghyran. By her hand were the first soulpod seeds sown and the sylvaneth brought into being. The Queen of the Radiant Wood is also the foremost defender of the Realm of Life from the predations of Chaos. Alarielle’s sigil is the ultimate symbol of power to the sylvaneth, and it is borne by each member of the Royal Moot alongside their own. The Free Spirits also march beneath the Everqueen’s personal banner, and through their courage and might is her divine will done. 25, 26, 132
- Royal Moot - Wherein the High King of Oakenbrow, the Old King of Gnarlroot, the Willowqueen of Harvestboon, the Old King of Winterleaf, the Dowager Queen of Heartwood, the Archduke of Ironbark, the Keeper of Dreadwood, and the Huntmaster of Kurnoth, or chosen representatives, gather and attend upon their mother goddess Alarielle, the Queen of the Radiant Wood.
- The Free Spirits - Grown from the seeds of war, planted in the bloodsap of the courageous and the heroic, the Kurnoth Hunters and the Sons of Durthu stand ready to do the bidding of their beloved queen, and to make her will manifest across the Mortal Realms. 25
- Oakenbrow Glade. 20, 25-26, 31-33, 121 (Paint 3, 26-27) Clans - Nathir (Order 32-33), Erith'or (Order 330), Vaeldoth (Order 33), Naethor (Order 79),
- Gnarlroot Glade. 25-26, 39, 122 (Paint 18-19) Clans - Durnoth (Paint 18-19),
- Heartwood Glade. 25-26, 39, 123 (Paint 16-17) Clans - Gilhead (Paint 16-17),
- Ironbark Glade. 25, 27, 38, 124 (Paint 22-23) Clans - Phaelion (Paint 22-23), Dar'Noth (Order 38),
- Winterleaf Glade. 25, 27, 39, 125 (Paint 20-21) Clans - Torluthien (Paint 20-21),
- Dreadwood Glade. 20, 25, 27, 38, 126 (Paint 24-25, 30-31) Clans - Vilithul (Paint 24-25),
- Harvestboon Glade. 20, 25, 27, 34-37, 127 (Paint 14-15, 28-29) Clans - Vendrith (Paint 14-15; Order 21, 36-37), Talath'aan (Order 36-37), Heithedil (Order 36), Tethil (Order 9, 88), ;Possible Clans - Landragel (Order 9), Bel'ath (Order 9),
- Free Spirits - The Free Spirits are the instruments of Alarielle’s will, a cadre of elite warriors whose presence hones the sylvaneth muster into a swift and deadly weapon of singular purpose. 115
- Lords of the Clan - The spirit-song surges through the Lords of the Clan like a raging river. As they stride across the battlefield, the Treelords harness that energy to marshal their forces, and to punish their foes. 116
- Household - In ritually ordered formations, the warriors of the Household advance into the teeth of the enemyarmy, pinning them in battle while the rest of the clan rips into them from all sides. 117
- Forest Folk - Moving quickly through the undergrowth, the Forest Folk plunge into battle. Attacking from everyside, multiple bands of Dryads lash their victims to bloody tatters before vanishing once again. 118
- Outcasts - The Outcasts are the terrors that lurk in the shadows, the creeping things beneath the forest eaves. When great masses of them surge into battle, it is all the enemy can do to avoid dying of sheer fright. 119
- Sylvaneth Wargrove - Drawn together by the strident melodies of the song of war, a sylvaneth Wargrove moves and fights as a single mighty warrior whose swift and deadly attacks have been the death of countless foes. 120
- Guardians of Alarielle - Combining the swift strength of the sylvaneth with the resilience and courage of the Hallowed Knights, the Guardians of Alarielle formed a nigh-unstoppable force to defend the dormant Alarielle. 129
- Treelords. 44, 45,136
- Treelord Ancients. 44,45,135
- Branchwraiths. 46,137
- Dryads. 49, 139
- Sons of Durthu. 51, 134
- Spite-Revenants. or Outcasts. 54,55,138 (Paint 26-31)
- Drycha Hamadreth. 55,133
- Branchwych. 48, 49,137 (Paint 13)
- Kurnoth Hunters. 52,53,139 (Paint 12)
- Tree-Revenants. 47,138 (Paint 3-11, 14-25)
- Wyldwood. 140
Artefacts of the Glades
Whether ancient heirlooms of the fabled Protectors, or weapons crafted upon thornspite looms by the Branchwyches, these artefacts are potent relics of war.
- Daith’s Reaper: Drawn up and fashioned from the only ever seam of Harrowgold, no armour can turn aside this ancient blade if its wielder’s aim is true.
- The Oaken Armour: Twined from bark shorn from the mighty Oak of Ages, it is all but impossible to tell where this armour ends and the hide of its sylvaneth wearer begins.
- Briarsheath: This shadowed branchcrest renders its wearer’s true form difficult to discern.
- Seed of Rebirth: Should its bearer ever fall, the seed’s rejuvenating energies will pour into its host to grant them new life.
- Wraithstone: This crystal emits the ghostly screams of all whose souls were torn from their bodies by the ancient spirits of the forest and bound within it.
- Glamourweave: Such are Glamourweave’s illusory enchantments that even the surest blow struck against its wearer can be proven false.
- Acorn of the Ages: This unassuming acorn is verdant life given form.
- Warsong Stave: This staff’s bearer can call upon all the forest to lend aid.
- Moonstone of the Hidden Ways: This incredible shard reshapes the spirit paths as its bearer wills.
- Ranu's Lamentiri: Even in death, Ranu's Lamentiri serves to lend sorcerous strength to his kin.
- Hagbane Spite: These rare forest spites are deadly to the sorcerous foes of the sylvaneth.
- The Silverwood Circlet: This silverwood crown enables its wearer’s perception to travel far afield. 111
The sylvaneth take their names from the ancient aelven language of their goddess Alarielle. They usually use only a single name, for each sylvaneth is united in the Spirit-Song no matter where they reside.
Some sylvaneth bear titles, but often times these are bestowed on them by outsiders rather than claimed.
- Example Sylvaneth Names: Ardaneth, Brachlyaena, Crann, Darach, Dollenhal, Duilleog, Drycha, Felyndael, Freihe, Geaha, Haaldhorm, Kelara, Lharenthol, Maesleir, Nellas, Siol, Shaddock, Talamh, Usniel
- Example Sylvaneth Titles: Bramble-Maiden, Coldleaf, Deeproot, Fallen Wood, Greatbud, Lady of Vines, Sternbark, The Harvester
- Warhammer Age of Sigmar - Soulbound - Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 25-26, 30-31
- 1 Order Battletome: Sylvaneth (2nd Edition)
- 2 Games Workshop - Household
- 3 Games Workshop - Outcasts
- 4 Games Workshop - Free Spirits
- 5 How to Paint Citadel Miniatures - Sylvaneth
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