Laurelorn Forest lies at the northern coastline of the Empire of Man, home to reclusive communities of Eonir. While both Middenland and Nordland claim the forest as theirs, the Elves dare either to try to enforce their claim. It lies west of Salzenmund and the Silver Hills above it, and stretches west to the borders with the Wasteland, though similarly to Athel Loren it may somehow in fact be significantly larger than it seems.
Flora and Fauna
Although it has a grim reputation amongst humans, Laurelorn actually appears to be quite a pleasant and verdant woodland. Birds sing from oak trees, while rabbits run through the undergrowth. However, upon closer inspection, these creatures seem to possess an uncanny sentience and have a level of intelligence far above that of other normal animals. Any traveller granted safe passage may hear crashing and thrashing sounds from deep within the forest, they may see arm-like branches beckon to them, or hear distant calls from lost loves. Any traveller not granted safe passage will never be seen again, swallowed by the Forest during their journey.
Since the War of the Beard, the Eonir have had an independent matrilineal monarchy, a High Council and in addition an advisory Senate was created. The Eonir consider their government to be the most democratic of the Elf realms. A king may only be crowned if there is no female heir. [3a]
The current Queen, Marrisith is a descendant of Aenarion through his son Morelion and his daughter Maruviel who became a Handmaiden to the Everqueen. The High Concil has representives from each of the major noble Houses plus three of the four vicarii from the border wards and all are Toriour kindred. The hight court of the Eonir is formed of the monarch and two prefects, one elected yearly from amongst the four ruling vicarii, the other prefect is the Queen’s champion chosen at a festival of games concluding with trials by combat. [3a]
Once each season, the Laurelorn Senate assembles in Tor Lithanel to discuss matters of diplomacy and defence involving their neighbours but emergency sessions can also be called. Senators are elders, warriors, and scouts and although they can propose specific courses of action to the High Council they hold no political authority. [3a]
It was a Handmaiden of the Everqueen who first launched an expedition to study the forest spirits, leyline network, and lost Old One ruins in the area. The forest spirits were less hostile than those of Athel Loren and the elves of the old World colonies viewed it as a retreat comparable to Avelorn. In time, two large settlements were created - Kor Immarmor and Tor Lithanel. [3a]
The Sundering in -2748 IC resulted in 600 years of isolation from the other elves, during which the colonists united, ruled by a High Council of nobles who then declared themselves the 11th Kingdom of Ulthuan. When diplomatic contact was finally restored with Ulthuan, the Council reluctantly capitulated authority to the Phoenix King. [3a]
When the War of the Beard errupted, the relationship between the colonists and Ulthuan was further strained and the Phoenix King’s final decree to abandon the Old World was taken as a betrayal. Kor Immarmor was destroyed and Tor Lithanel placed under siege and in desperation, the Eonir turned to the disgraced Grey Lords. These were Elf lords who had been expelled from Ulthuan for conducting unsanctioned magical experiments - they summoned a spirit army from the forest’s depths and the Dwarf throng marched into the forest to meet them in battle and was never seen again. [3a]
Eventually the Dwarfs abandoned their outposts in the Silver Hills, allowing the Eonir to settle the previously contested glades of the Laurelorn. Although there were occasional confrontations with the Teutogen tribe, these helped to define the border between elven and human lands. The Treaty of the Leaf is signed in 738 IC allowing the settlements that will become Nordland to be created. [3a]
In 1109 IC the Eonir allied with the Empire after the Drakwald province fell to Beastmen and in 1124 IC the Emperor, Mandred Skavenslayer was allowed to march through Laurelorn in 1124 IC to intercept a Skaven invasion. When in 1337 IC, the beastlord Morghur appeared in the Forest of Shadows the Eonir aided the Asrai in tracking down the creature. [3a]
In the 21st century IC, a dialogue with Ulthuan began following the Phoenix King Finubars travels in the Old World and he later acknowledges Tor Lithanel’s formal independence. Eonir envoys also sail to Naggaroth with offers of trade in exchange for a cessation of raids on the Laurelorn’s coastline. [3a]
After skirmishes on the border with Nordland, an Eonir and Forest Spirit army marches on Salzenmund in 2168 IC, besieging it until the Baron begs for forgiveness. Some Elves assist in the fight against Chaos during the Great War Against Chaos. [3a]
- Ward of Frost. [3a]
- Schlaghügel: A human village founded near a stone circle to honour the goddess Rhya and tolerated by the Eonir who sometimes even trade with the villagers. [3a]
- Silver Hills: Lightly populated by descendants of Kor Immarmor but many of its hidden valleys teem with Goblins. [3a]
- Ward of Rain. [3a]
- Ward of Storm [3a]
- Fountain of Lebin: A huge stone basin that purifies the tainted river water beyond the Vale of Despair.[3a]
- Se-Athil: Ancient watchtower overlooking the Sea of Claws from which Kaia Fanmaris governs the Ward. [3a]
- Vale of Despair: A apparently bottomless crevasse swallows up the Wyrebrook river here and Chaos influence has turned the nearby trees grey. When the Chaos moon is full, Chaos Spawn and even Daemons emerge whilst Tree Kin near the vale are have odd growths and horrific passions gifted by Slaanesh. [3a]
- Ward of the Sun: It is populated exclusively by the Eonir and forest spirits. [3a]
- Tor Lithanel
- Verdan Lithridrom (Wishing Woods), a dense plantation of larch and firs and larches sacred to Sarriel, God of Dreams. [3a]
- Ystin Vaul Menluith Qhaysh (Rainbow Falls): The River Demst cascades over a jumble of broken waystones, the water refracting into the eight colours of magic. Priest of Vaul dwell here and work the magic and metals. [3a]
- Vale of Memories: It appears to be trapped in a unending twilight was unending. Near the end of the War of the Beard retreating elves placed a spell over the countless fallen soldiers, that their bodies would not rot, nor their minds wander into death. In the eons since then, earth has covered them and trees have grown through and over them .Now it is a haunted place laden with the dreams of the fallen on the edge of death. For some however, the Vale of Memories can provide knowledge of the past, for those left underneath the earth dream of the things they remember. There are few buildings, and only a single community which is dedicated to Ladrielle, Lileath, and Morai-heg. [2a]
- Capa the otter, patron of the naiads. [3a]
- Delynna, Lady of House Malforric, Warden of the Sun and Vicarius on the High Council. [3a]
- Galenstra, Lord of House Cloudwalker, Warden of the Rain and Vicarius on the High Council. [3a]
- Kaia Fanmaris of House Everglade, Warden of Storms and Vicarius on the High Council. [3a]
- Lindialoc, Lord of House Elwyn, Warden of Frost and Vicarius on the High Council. [3a]
- Yadoh: Ancient Elf and Champion of the very first Queen and who still remembers the War of the Beard. [3a]
- Viydagg, the primeval maiden. [3a]
Relations with other races
The kingdom of Laurelorn is older even than Athel Loren, retaining elements of Asur culture from Ulthuan but they also regard the Asur as hypocrites who abandoned the Old World. Citizens of the Empire have learnt to resppect and fear the Eonir and the forest spirits but they do not consider them ‘alien fey spirits’ as the Asrai are perceived in Bretonnia. [3a]
Eonir diplomats, scouts, spies are frequently encountered in Middenland, Nordland and the Wasteland. Nordland have multiple treaties with the Queen of the Eonir and Graf Boris of Middenland employs two of her people in his court. [3a]
Although nowadays it's technically a part of the Nordland Count’s domain, Laurelorn Forest is in truth a wholly independent realm, though a small number of human settlements do exist within or around it. This is due to agreement made with the Elector Counts of Nordland, the Elves allow Imperials to settle the area between the Rivers Salz and Demst, which enters the Sea of Claws at Hargendorf. The agreement strictly limits numbers, however, and the Elves must approve before any new settlements are made. This they have been loath to do, placing many restrictions on what the settlements may harvest from the forest.
The humans chafe under these restrictions, for timber from the Laurelorn commands a high price in Salzenmund because of its exquisite grain, lightness, and durability, and nobles have pressured Grand Baron Theoderic Gausser to demand a renegotiation of the agreement. Impatient as ever, some humans have made illegal settlements in the area, which the Elves have threatened to remove by force, if need be. Some observers fear another coming clash between the soldiers of the Empire and the warriors of Laurelorn, but any such war has been avoided, for now. There are worries, however, that the Elves may see this as a time to assert their rights.
What others know
The core of Laurelorn is a place Nordlanders call “the Witch’s Wood” out of their superstitious fear of the Eonir Queen, Marrisith. Imperials are forbidden to cross into it under pain of death, even the Elector Counts of Nordland are under this ban so what truly lies within the Witch’s Wood is unknown.
Some have speculated that the Elves in fact have no capital, living a nomadic life under the trees. Old books, on the other hand, mention a nameless city of glass deep in its heart, a place that glows with its own light. Whatever the truth, it is certain that neither creatures of Chaos nor Greenskins last long once they enter lands of the Eonir, for the Elves defend their home ferociously against all comers.
The Elves of Laurelorn are isolationist, wanting to be left alone in the beautiful woods they have come to call home. Unlike Men, who seek to tame the lands in which they live, the Elves of Laurelorn regard the forest and its land as a living thing, something they should live in harmony with, something over which they feel protective. They do, however, recognise that Mankind provides the bulk of their defences against Greenskins and Chaos, so they try not to antagonise the surrounding realms of the Empire, unless they try to establish dominion over Laurelorn itself. The few times the Empire has tried this, whether through diplomatic or martial means, it has always ended with the Eonir still in control of Laurelorn forest.
- 1: The Enemy Within (Supplement), Geography of the Empire pg. 23
- 2: Patrons of the Old World
- 2a: Nayadaryn Frostweald, pg. 13
- 3: Archives of the Empire Vol I
- 3a: Laurelorn Forest, pg. 72-86
- 4: The Imperial Zoo (book)
- 4a: Great Raptors of the Grey Mountains, pg. 63