Athel Loren is inhabited by many strange and powerful beings, many as ancient as the forest itself. In spirit form, these creatures are insubstantial and may appear as nothing more than flickers of light, although they can take physical form at will. In times of need these spirits can bind themselves to fallen branches or the trunks of dead trees, changing their shape and form to resemble a powerful shell capable of routing enemies and aiding the armies of the Wood Elves. Once the battle is over the spirits will leave the dead trees and merge back into the forest. Like the rest of the forest, the forest spirits are Lethargic, slow and begin to hibernate during the long winter months.
Types of Forest Spirits
There are several types of Forest Spirits which can be itendified in varying levels as Treemen, Tree Kin, Spites and finally Dryads.
A Treeman is the result of one of the most powerful forest spirits merging with a tree, the main exception from normal spirits is that these will actually inhabit living trees rather than dead trunks and branches. However, the decision to merge with a living tree is not one to be taken lightly, because once merged, the spirit may not leave the tree it has joined with. Only death may sever this powerful bond. Once merged, the will of the spirit shapes and reforms the tree, driving it to serve where an insubstansial spirit-body may not. Great arms and legs formed of branches materialise, roots and bark crash down to crush the enemies of the forest and gigantic mouths open up in its trunk to swallow those foolish enough to come too close.
Tree Kin are spirits that inhabit dead wood and trees, shaping it to their will. They are able to remain motionless for years, and are completley indistinguishable from normal lifeless trees from which they are formed, they however remain fully aware and are capable of ambushing an intruder with vicious speed, smiting him dead in less than a second. Dozens of Tree Kin are also drawn to the call of the Wild Hunt and follow in Orions wake every spring.
Spites are inherently magical creatures who attach themselves to particular areas or people. They may occasionally play tricks or malicious practical jokes on that person or residents of the area they are attached to. Should the person or area to which they are attached come into trouble, the Spites react violently, with a malicious streak that rivals creatures many times their size. They are capricious nature spirits that inhabit Athel Loren and possibly other forests within the Old World. They are mercurial and quick to direct their anger upon anyone who offends them. As they can change their appearance at will, Spites come in any number of sizes, shapes, and guises. In their purest form, Spites exist as small spheres of ghostly light.
Dryads are mysterious and spiteful creatures which have no comprehension of compassion or mercy. They are utterly dedicated to their forest home and to harm the woods is to incur the wrath of these deadly forest-spirits. Dryads are able to shape-shift into different forms, often appearing similar to Elves. They are easily capable of beguiling and entrancing their victims with their false beauty and calm songs, drawing them deep into the forest where they swiftly transform into their war-aspect and mutilate their victims. Dryads often accompany the armies of Athel Loren and fight alongside the Wood Elves in vast numbers.
Notable Forest Spirits
- Adanhu: Once revered as the most ancient and knowledgeable of the treemen, Adanhu gave his life in order to save Ariel from her madness, caused by Morathi.
- Durthu: Terribly scarred by the axes of the Dwarfs, Durthu is one of the most powerfull and hatedriven creatures within Athel Loren. Being the last of the elders, Durthu has gone insane and no longer cares about the elves. He protects his beloved glades, slaying all trespassers, no matter who they are.
- Coeddil: After having fought Morghur, this ancient treeman attacked the Elves and tried (unsuccesfully) to destroy the King's Glade. He has since been banished into the Wildwood.
Notable Tree Kin
- Amadri Ironbark: Formerly an elf, he was slain by a group of Daemonettes who cursed him to never forget his pain. His spirit manifest itself in a Tree Kin and he now rules Arranoc, an area within Athel Loren.
- Drycha: The great Branchwraith, she is openly hostile to the Wood Elves and has recently been in contact with Coeddil.
Notes and Sources
- In older editions, there was a fourth elder named Rhydysann, however the current edition explicitly states that Durthu is the only surviving elder.