Of Ronan, Ventari, and the Pale Tree: The Sylvari

Written in the voice of Belzan Furu

I once knew the great centaur Ventari. We oft debated the human-centaur war over a campfire in Maguuma or the Tarnished Coast. He was wise and I learned a great deal from his teachings, even though our time together was short. He saw the conflicts between our races as wasteful and unnecessary considering the long history of peace our two races enjoyed. I was more concerned with the White Mantle and dodging roving packs of undead at the time. The centaurs were more of a nuisance to me than anything else.

Ventari and me under the Pale Tree sprout, circa 1078 AE (in game GW footage)

His words changed my opinion of conflicts in general. We had a common enemy in the White Mantle, yet we continued to battle each other. Ventari argued that the centaur were too proud to back down, while I rebutted that the humans were survivors. Neither of us could easily determine the reason for one race’s enmity for the other. Sadly, over a century after Ventari’s passing, the human-centaur conflict hasn’t changed.

What has changed, however, is the Pale Tree. Long after Ronan planted his seed; long after Ventari cared for it and laid his marble tablet at its base; the tree began to sprout…uh…children. These children are called “sylvari” and they have begun to make a name for themselves. I took some time this week to talk with as many sylvari as would sit with me over a cup of toadstool tea about their race, Ventari’s teachings, and their thoughts on Tyria and the Elder Dragons.

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Sylvari Lore Interview with Ree Soesbee & Kristen Perry

 

Sylvari Lore Interview

We here at TalkTyria are excited to bring you guys our first interview with ArenaNet! The lovely ladies Ree Soesbee (Lore & Continuity) and Kristen Perry (Character Artist) were kind enough to answer some of our questions regarding the mysterious sylvari lore, their emerging place in Tyria, and a few other tid-bits regarding the story of Guild Wars.

So let’s take a look, and enjoy!

Sylvari Lore

Q: Can you tell us anything about new about the Nightmare Court? Like how many of the sylvari have joined (population percentage, maybe)? Can players choose to be a part of it, or are there any related titles? Who started or leads it?
Ree: The Nightmare Court is going to have a lot of coverage in my blog post for Sylvari Week, so I don’t want to spoil too much of that! I can answer your direct questions, though. The population of the Nightmare Court is roughly ten to fifteen percent of the sylvari. As with all enemy groups (the Sons of Svanir, the Flame Legion), players may not join the Nightmare Court. The Nightmare Court began during the time of the Secondborn sylvari (the second generation of sylvari born from the tree, about six or seven years after the Firstborn). The Nightmare Court’s current leader is the Grand Duchess Faolain, who is a Firstborn. She converted to the Nightmare Court and was not part of its original inception.

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Should Guild Wars 2 have Official Forums?

This has been brought up a few times on fan-run forums over the years, but I noticed that the discussion never really took off and there didn’t seem to be much thought from the OPs. It’s certainly something I’ve mused over several times as well.

I’ve always been a forum fan for any game I’ve played, some more than others. As such, I am personally in favor of official forums and can’t help but curiously suspect that the recently released GW1 support forums may be an attempt to test the waters.

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Do Sylvari Dream of Dragons?

Earlier today I was thinking about what we know about Guild Wars 2’s new race, the sylvari, compared to the existing ones. Each race so far has had its own strengths, but also its own inner turmoils. For the humans it is the tension between the Ministry Guard, the Shining Blade and the Seraph. For the norn it is their dealing with the Sons of Sanvir and for the charr it is the Flame Legion Shamans stirring up trouble.

For the sylvari the tension is likely to come from their dealing with the Nightmare Court.

On my own blog I mentioned how it’s possible that the Pale Tree has some wider connection to the welfare of the planet, and how it might be imploring the sylvari to deal with the growing threat (no pun intended) which the Elder Dragons pose.

The sylvari have popped up in the 23 years preceding the events of Guild Wars 2. They emerge from the Pale Tree fully grown and are forever linked to it. Whilst they are growing inside the tree they experience dreams through which they learn the knowledge of their race. They also report that they experience nightmares – however, most sylvari attempt to ignore or at least not pursue any further knowledge of them. The sylvari that do embrace these nightmares are called the Nightmare Court.

Guild Wars 2 Sylvari - Concept Art

Just chillin’ wit my peeps.

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Legate Minister Caudecus: Can he be trusted?

Author’s note: As an author, I enjoy a bit of artistic license and have a great deal of fun writing articles and stories from the point of view of my characters/avatars. While this article is written by Belzan the Talk Tyria (TT) author, it is written in Belzan Furu, the GW character’s voice and from his perspective. I hope you enjoy the change of pace.

Statue of Caudecus in Beetletun (pic courtesy of GW2 Wiki)

Caudecus. Why is it every time I hear that name or see the smug look on that statue’s face I immediately become angry? Maybe it’s because he is so smug, sitting there in his mansion whispering conspiracy into the ears of any who will listen. He thinks he is above the law and treats the Ministry Guard as his own private army. He’s a thorn in the side of the Seraph and many believe him to be an outright political rival to Queen Jennah. I for one don’t trust him, but then I’m a bit biased; I was born in Beetletun and I’ve seen how it has changed since he settled in the area.

To those living in Beetletun now, he’s a bit of a celebrity. He expanded the little farming community, plopped down a mansion, and built a carnival to distract everyone from the problems in Kryta. That’s right, I said “distract.” That should be clue enough right there of his intentions. Elder Hezron would never have tried to distract villagers from the threat of danger, he would have enlisted aid to defend the shire, as he did in 1072 against the Undead Hoardes.

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The Engineer: Excess Baggage

Hello and welcome everyone, BigCat72 here with a new article for you today! I will be going over the recent release of the Guild Wars 2 engineer class and some of the conversation surrounding him. There is much to talk about so please pull up a chair, grab something to drink and lets rocket jump into this! The Engineer is a brand new class that was released not too long ago and shows off just how much has really changed in the past 250 years of the Guild Wars universe. From bows, arrows, swords and shields to guns, mines, flamethrowers and grenades! Guild Wars 2 – Engineer Skills

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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.

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