A survivor of the Age of Chaos, he was burned and badly wounded by a champion of Khorne, Lord Fangmaw. In order to heal and return to the fight he ordered the other sylvaneth of the forest to bring him sacrifices - enemies or former allies alike. 
When his dryad's refused and tried to convince him to head to jade wellsprings to heal, which would take many decades. He destroyed them in his fury and took their soulpods, wearing them as a necklace. Hundreds of creatures were subdued and dragged to him by his Spites.
Prince Maesa had travelled to the Realm of Ghyran and found a small tribe of humans surviving in the dying forest. When a child was abducted, he found his way to Svarkelbud (now known as the Black) and killed him, saving the child and replanting the seeds of the dryad's so that they might grow again.