Background: Sylvan Elves

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  • Sylvan Elves

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    In the mists of time, they rebelled against the en-igmatic Saurians to become guardians of muchof the world, while the ancestors of the Dwarvesheld the rest. Once they were a single race, yettheir united rule could not endure. Even thesemost graceful of beings are not immune to in-fighting or betrayal. The details are veiled in alle-gory and myth, but it is clear a great schism rent the Elven peoples asunder, resulting in the three powers we see today.

    Some argue they represent the oldest and truest of the Elven civilisations, closest to the primordial Fae.
    Their fate is entwinedwith the forests they callhome, and the spiritsdwelling within, bothnurtured by and alliedto the Elves beneaththe canopy. Thosesame spirits aremurderous whenroused, and Sylvan archery is feared across the earth.
    Since the withdrawal of the Highborn across theseas, they are what remains of the Elves in Vetia, occupying the forests of our great continent.Their disregard for human borders often causesstrife with their neighbours; many a woodsmanhas met a grim fate and every missing child is "lost to the fairies".

    I knew songs about the forest elves, but were they true or fiction? So rarely were they encountered in the wider world, unlike their meddlesome cousins
    from beyond the sea. The songs claimed the elves were the first to sing; that they disliked dwarves, and cared little about what went on beyond the borders of their secluded domains. They were also portrayed as mischievous, capricious and vicious; with my life hanging by a thread whatever I knew was woefully inadequate. Yet the sound of
    my captors’ voices was strangely soothing and the grace of their movement brought joy completely incongruous to my predicament.

    We were three days march west of Pontefreddo, returning from
    the sack of the Monte Falcone monastery and its silver apple tree.
    Chests filled with over five score of the magical fruit kept spirits
    high in the scorching summer afternoon – a true king’s ransom.
    But good things never last in my field. Of a sudden, an unnatural
    fog rolled across the plains from the south. Wind carrying the
    sound of clarions and the baying of hounds chilled brave men to
    their core. The veterans among us knew what was coming. They
    turned their horses and fled, leaving the column in disarray.
    Several heartbeats later, olive-garbed fey were upon us. Captain
    Cosimo tried to order a battle line, but it was too late. Bands of
    archers advanced while swift horsemen weaved between the men,
    taking their deadly toll. A few of us formed a testudo and tried
    to fight back, but we might have fought the wind for all the good
    it did us. Where we advanced the enemy retreated, where they
    struck we died. It was like swinging a sword at the smoke devils
    of Qassar, all the while being pelted by iron hail.
    I survived by hiding beneath the bodies of my fallen comrades.
    When I dared to rise upon the next morning, to my great surprise
    the chests remained. Why they attacked us I never learned, but
    the fear lent me strength to haul those chests back to Pontefreddo.
    I learned that day, if you hear an elven clarion, best have a battle
    line ready or a horse at hand.
    Captain Andrea Barbiano,
    The Tools of the Trade (948 A.S.)

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