Caithe of the Firstborn

It’s tough to talk about the sylvari because there’s still so much we don’t know about them. The newest of the playable races, they’re the only ones we haven’t encountered in Guild Wars and so we lack any hindsight for their existence or basis to really compare to. The state of their design also adds to the enigma; due to their nature as “plant-people”, their physical appearance is very important to understanding how they work in general. Do they use the sun for energy? What effects does seasonal “birth” have, if any? Etc.We won’t know for a while, and until then our primary source of information comes from the sylvari characters we encounter in the two companion novels. Which brings us to Caithe, the most well-known sylvari of them all.

 

Appearance:
Despite the cartoonish original design of the sylvari, Caithe’s looks always seemed much more elegant. Specifically, her current 3D model skin tone is fleshy and short silver pixie hair is..well, not particularly leafy. However, in most of her concept drawings her skin has a greenish tint to it, as we’d expect from her race.

There’s yet to be any official word on her season, but most fans believe she is winter due to her cooler and more subtle features, as well as her darker personality.
Whether or not she’ll get a model re-design as well has yet to be determined. There seems to be no real indication of it so far.

Personality:
Like most of her people, Caithe has an innocent, almost brutal honesty that makes her companions a little uncomfortable at times, especially when she points out those awkward yet obvious things nobody seems to want to bring up. This is especially true when she speaks of Rytlock and Logan’s rather entertaining banter. She’s blunt and doesn’t really care for fickle nuances and sometimes simply cannot grasp metaphorical language.

She also differs from general conceptions of her race in a few ways. Most notably, it’s been stated that Caithe has a more fearless nature, willingly “seeking the shadows” to find truths that most others shy away from.

It has only been a score of years since the first twelve sylvari awakened from the branches of the Pale Tree; a handful of lives scattered into the world like petals on the wind. These Firstborn were quickly followed by others, more and then more, until the Grove was born in the heart of the Caledon Forest. Caithe was among those first to step upon the earth of Tyria, but where the others turned toward the sun, she sought shadow. While her fellows revel in the beauty and joy the world has to offer, Caithe has never been afraid to gaze into darkness–or to seek truths that others fear.

From this, we can make an assumption that the attitude of most sylvari is not much unlike sheltered children, in a way, curiously and cheerfully exploring their world and discovering what secrets and wonders it holds. Caithe seemingly deviates from this perception in her dark curiosity, something that bound her to the equally mysterious but considerably more sinister Faolain.

In contrast to Kileen (the sylvari necromancer in Ghosts of Ascalon), Caithe appears to have much more extreme emotions as well. However, it seems she doesn’t fully have a handle on them as much as the other races do, as seen by her distress over the conflict with Faolain. Frustration, confusion, despair, and betrayal are all feelings she has a hard time dealing with. She laughs, she cries. She seems unaffected by Logan’s rash exit, but then reacts somewhat dramatically to Edge of Destiny breaking up. How she compares to other sylvari in this regard is hard to tell.

There is a talk on whether or not Caithe is “bad”. According to her voice actress (via Races of Tyria, and Giving Tyria a Voice videos), she mysteriously pops up every now and then in game with seedy information that makes you wonder where she’s getting it from. I find it hard to believe, however, that she (or any sylvari, really) could be traditionally called “evil”. Even the nightmare court, judging by what we know and have read, seem more misguided than anything.

It would also go against a lot of how she was portrayed in the novel. Yes, a lot could have happened in the years since the events of EoD and it’s not impossible she turned to the seedier lifestyle due to the break up, but it still feels unlikely. Not after how openly hurt she seemed by their demise, her resistance of Faolain’s corruption and the resulting conflict, and the fact that the book ends with her “picking up the pieces” (literally and figuratively) after all is said and done. There is, however, Faolain’s dark insistence that she would one day get Caithe back; as such, it might not be out of the blue that Caithe eventually returned to her friend out of despair and is following a darker path.

She is also, unsurprisingly, a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.

Profession:
Despite having come out before the official profession reveal, it was obvious from the start that Caithe is a thief (although at the time, considered an assassin). Her weapons of choice are two white stiletto daggers which she uses to inflict quick and deadly strikes against her opponents.

Unclouded by the need for things like honor, showiness, or over-thinking, she has a very practical and straight-forward fighting style, which proves to be deadly effective. Her key tactic is exploiting the weak-zones of her enemies, like stabbing a certain spot on the devourer’s body which renders them helpless, for instance. Her strategy isn’t always the best way to go, however, which she sometimes finds hard to understand when the rest of Destiny’s Edge try to explain more delicate or complex plans.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of Caithe in-game so far. Newbie human players got a chance to encounter Logan during the demos at PAX-East and the recently showcased catacombs dungeons featured Rytlock and Eir. That leaves our lovely ladies Zojja and Caithe!

We can all hope we find out a little more about Caithe and her people in the upcoming sylvari week.

To the readers: What are your opinions on Caithe? Do you think she’s become a bad-apple or will still be a good-guy come GW2? What role do you think she’ll play in the game and/or for sylvari players?
Check out our lore index for more profiles and story-centric articles. 

About the author: Izari’s one of those obsessive fan types who’s been playing Guild Wars since the first beta weekend in 2004. She’s been blogging about video games for almost six years and is thrilled to have fellow fans to write for and with about the game. She can be found on twitter and really likes coconuts.

 

Further reading:

  • http://twitter.com/ThrangisTheRed B

    I think Caithe will remain a hero ultimately, but may traverse dangerous and questionable moral areas in the pursuit/aid of her Nightmare Court companion Faolain.  It should make for some great story/questline and hopefully a dungeon. 😀 

  • http://www.facebook.com/belgeode Drew Bolton

    I get this feeling I will meet Caithe when I least expect it. She seems like the kind of character that you simply “happen upon”. She does not strike me as someone who would frequent places like Divinity’s Reach or Hoelbrak much. Whatever the case, I would welcome her companionship in my journey, if only for a little while… Plants are so ephemeral, after all.

    • http://twitter.com/superstretch Dan

      Just look at where she came upon Rytlock and Logan at the beginning of EoD.. 

  • http://twitter.com/tmusem1 Trey Musemeche

    I would also like to point out that she gets drunk rather easily.
    You think Sylvari are open-speakers about anything? Well apparently not…but get one drunk and you’ll find out a lot more than you want to know.

    Rather hilarious when Caithe gets drunk in the book.

    • Anonymous

      Haha, yes. That was one of her highlights (I do mention she’s a lightweight in the story, too 😉 )

  • Nox

    I am so sick of YouTube commenters claiming caithe is an Ele and Zojja is a chronomancer. Omfg. ZOJJA USES GODDAMN EARTH FIRE AND AIR SPELLS IN TRAILER #2, tards

    • Anonymous

      Where in the twisting nether do they get ele from? She’s never used anything remotely elementalist like minus using…daggers, which really isn’t typically elementalist like. 

  • http://twitter.com/superstretch Dan

    Caithe was one of my favorite characters in EoD. I don’t see her as being a character who falls on a tragedy and becomes a villain of sorts (like Loki, Thor’s brother). I have a feeling that her actions will be questioned by other characters because of her failure to yield to norms that other races have adopted– even if her own race falls in line.

    Its interesting the distinction that is made with Caithe seeking out the shadowy parts.. Building on the revelation that Sylvari share a common knowledge, wouldn’t the knowledge of those shadows be present in the minds of the more naive? (for lack of better word) Do they then just choose to repress those memories?

  • Dndhatcher

    The Sylvari reveal is coming before the next convention.  Sometime in the next few weeks we are going much more solid sylvari info to work with.

  • ArcherAvatar

    This article was a very entertaining read… well organized and well written… and the questions posed in the article are exactly the right ones to be asking, which will hopefully be partially addressed during the impending sylvari race week.  (I say partially because I’m hoping that at least some of the mystery is maintained for discovery during play of the actual game itself.)

    One of the speculative questions posed – Has Caithe become evil?  Well, I suspect that the answer to that question, yes or no, falls right in line with whether or not a person thinks of Batman as evil.  (Talking about the original Dark Knight character, and the one more recently written by Frank Miller… not the Saturday morning cartoon one.) 
    Caithe very much strikes me as the type of character (including the physical abilities she displays) that could easily develop into the dark, brooding, but ultimately “good” superhero that the Dark Knight is.

    Now, as to the comments regarding Caithe’s speculated profession… I apologize ahead of time but, I often find it very difficult to be delicate about these sorts of things.  (Blunt is an understatement…)
    Anyone who thinks Caithe is an elementalist is myopic to the point of bing legally blind and/or self-delusional.  Caithe is a Thief.  The discussion begins, and ends there, and anyone wanting to press the matter further is in danger of putting themselves into the “intentionally stupid” category of folks that usually gets you put on an “ignore” list by me.

    As for where Caithe will most likely, or most often, be encountered in the game… my personal guess would be The Grove (natch) and also Lion’s Arch – which I think will be her “base of operations” so to speak.

    There was just one other point of speculation I want to comment on which wasn’t included in the article.  Do you think the members (former) of Destiny’s Edge will be individually associated with one of the three “Orders” in GW2? (The Vigil, Order of Whispers, and Durmand Priory)
    And if “yes” then which of these 3 seems like the most natural fit for Caithe?  I think the knee-jerk reaction of many folks would be to place her in the Order of Whispers, however, although I certainly understanding the reasoning for that, my personal gut-feeling says she will be more heavily involved in the Durmand Priory story lines.
    (http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Order)

  • Anonymous

    Caithe <3

    I think that, of Destiny's Edge, she's definitely the darkest of the characters. Not evil, but…I suppose kind of amoral? It's kind of hard to describe what I'm getting at. This comment is swiftly turning pointless. Anyway, I see her as remaining a good guy throughout the game, but being more willing to dive into the darker side of things. And she'll be the one you find when you least expect her to turn up.

  • http://www.gamerbc.com Tramell

    Excellent write up Izari. Caithe is a very interesting character. The drunk scene was a nice touch, getting beer goggles “You two are not as ugly as I first thought”. Mr. King did a good job of presenting her character. From her curiosity about a Asuran portable wash machine, Her unique insight(dont think that the word I want) as she watches and learn from people to the point where she has a headache and can’t be around crowds to long. Her bluntness when responding to people, the list goes on and on.

    Her relationship with Faolain is something I look forward to dealing with. With all the abuse shes given Caithe she never fights back instead just tries to push her away, so she has some form of influence over Caithe. Its possible that she’ll mess up somewhere along the lines with her difficulties in dealing with Faolain, I hope it doesn’t turn into a soap opera and gets dragged out to much. To answer your question she’ll be good but I can see a lot of roadblocks between now and then.As for what kind of role she’ll play for Sylvari characters I’m not quite sure. She’s always been portrayed as a companion rather than a mentor. Perhaps at the end or close by you can become a close companion and maybe replace the spot Faolain left when she went to the Nightmare Court.

  • Anonymous

    Brillo article Izzie; I’ve always liked the Sylvari characters in the books. It’s interesting to note the difference between Caithe and Kileen. Sometimes we lump races together (and it is somewhat necessary for ANet to make them almost comically stereotypical a lot of the time (ie, norn as drunken barbarians, asura as arrogant pests etc) but the writers in both the books did a good job of setting them apart.

    As for whether Caithe will be evil: never! I don’t believe any of Destiny’s Edge will be evil at all, I think in order for the game to be “balanced” and for each race to feel that their “representative” in DE is pulling their weight, they will each have to be equally righteous and equally flawed.

  • http://twitter.com/DaPhoolz Rp TheFoolz

    :Spoiler Alert: (idk maybe it’s kind of Ghost of Ascalon spoiler?)

    I like Killeen. So sad. I hope a tree grows from her. (or flowers bed)

  • Leonim

    Actually, she’s no near being an evil character, she’s imho a “brutal” heroin (as per the ingame personnality system really).

    We can even take into consideration her trade (thiefs are not particularly on the “good” side per definition) and background (one of the first sylvari, no elder’s education or direction past the pale tree’s more or less basic teachings). She indeed differs from most other sylvari as they are decribed to be a noble race… not a shady one, yet equally blunt in their dealings. 😉

    Eve or Nika (from GW1) are those kind of cold dedicated heroes probably (maybe a trend in the cover pinups of the game hehe).

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