The unofficial Guild Wars 2 Blog by fans who LOVE GW2!
GUILD WARS 2 BLOG KREWE LOVES THE SYLVARI!
Guild Wars 2 Race | Sylvari
Of all the playable races in Guild Wars 2, only the Sylvari are new to the GW2 world. Their emergence in the southern lands of Tyria is due to two other races, the Humans and the Centaurs.
A human soldier named Ronan discovered a cavern filled with strange seed-pods being protected by terrible plant creatures. When the opportunity arose he entered the cavern and stole a single seed, as big as a man's fist, to show his daughter when he returned home from war. Upon his arrival, Ronan discovered the Mursaat had destroyed his village and murdered all within it, including his family, leaving only burned houses and mass graves. Discarding his Shining Blade uniform and swearing never to return to battle, he planted the mysterious seed on their graves in the ground of his ruined village, along the southern tip of the Maguuma Jungle. This area is now known as Arbor Bay on the tarnished Coast of Tyria.
Ronan was later joined by a Centaur named Ventari, who had also begun to lose hope in ever seeing peace return to the land. The human and the Centaur formed a friendship and together they decided to begin their lives anew and create a refuge from violence and warfare for any who yearned for peace. They built their safe haven near the ocean and the mysterious tree that had now grown from Ronan's seed, offering peace, shelter and friendship to all those who sought it.
Over the years, the pale tree continued to grow, becoming healthy and strong as the two friends aged. Many years later, long after Ronan had passed away, the old, wise Centaur carved his life's lessons upon a marble tablet. He placed the tablet containing his "seven tenets to live by" at the base of the tree so that future travelers might read it and, perhaps, learn the ways of peace and harmony. Then Ventari laid down beside the tree and died. The year was 1180 AE.Over the next hundred years the pale tree continued to grow until small cocoons appeared among its branches. As the cocoons grew the pale Tree sang to them and told them what she knew of the world in the form of a dream that would be shared by all the sylvari. A dream of human lives and the centaur's wisdom.These cocoons grew in size, eventually opening in 1302 AE, giving birth to a new race, a dozen fully-grown beings, humanoid in appearance, with their gender decided by their mother, the Pale Tree. They called themselves the Sylvari, and these "twelve firstborn" were only the beginning of the race, all born from the same pale tree planted so long ago in what is now known as "The Grove".
When a Sylvari is born it is already fully-grown and from that point forward will show no signs of ageing. Instead of flesh and bones, a Sylvari is made of vines and leaves with golden sap flowing through their veins. Pollen shakes from their flesh, their hair is made of petals and foliage, their bones of the strongest wood.Sylvari eat meat and vegetables, sleep and drink like the other races in Guild Wars 2 and if they drink alcohol they can get drunk.They have no children and there are no families in the traditional sense. Instead they choose their families, growing bonds with others through shared experiences and acts of loyalty.
Each Sylvari is empathic, and they can sometimes feel "echoes" of another Sylvari's emotions if the emotion is strong enough.This special connection to others of their race comes from what they call "The Dream of Dreams", a mystical place where Sylvari memories are collected, which they share before incubating in their pods. In this dream, this collected subconscious, they commune with the inner mind of the race, learning how to walk, talk, use implements and interact with the world. Thus, when a Sylvari is "born" they know a great deal more about the world than one might expect. Not all Sylvari experience the the same Dream visions, so each awakens with their own unique mixture of worldly knowledge. Their first few days in the world are critical, as they are disoriented and naive, so they are met by mentors and other newly awakened who help them find their way.
Ree Soesbee explains the connection between the Pale Tree, The Dream and the Sylvari people in this way...
"The Pale Tree holds the race's collected knowledge and emotion, like a lake into which is poured the sum of sylvari experience. When a new sylvari is born, it's as if they draw a bucket of water from that lake, a small portion of the whole. Only a few memories reach the Pale Tree, the most important or those that have the greatest emotional impact or meaning. They can include entire scenes from a sylvari's life, such as their first battle or their first time cooking an apple pie. They can also be a single poignant moment such as pain, fear, or the face of an enemy."
The Sylvari who emerged from the cocoons found themselves strangely guided by the words Ventari had inscribed on the marble tablet. Whether the tree somehow became imprinted with the noble Centaur's ethics and moral code or whether it absorbed both the remains of the Centaur's flesh as well as the essence of his compassionate soul upon his death, no one knows for certain. What is certain is that his influence over the Sylvari is strong even to this day and the Ventari Tablet is their most sacred artifact. This influence helped make the Sylvari an honorable people who live by a personal code, taking their duties seriously.
Over the years the Pale Tree grew rapidly and now dominates the landscape on the Tarnished Coast. Her towering top is higher than many mountains and within the shelter of her lush foliage, the Sylvari have made their homes. The Grove is a multilevel, organic city with roots and branches of the tree forming broad terraces where other plants have grown and been spun into homes and buildings.
Enjoy The Grove and the Guild Wars 2 Sylvari people!
The Sylvari society is shaped by the seven tenets on the Ventari Tablet. The 12 firstborn "elders", having the greatest experience and wisdom of the world, are well respected among their people. Many have taken on positions of leadership, providing guidance and mentoring for the Sylvari people. Four of the Firstborn lead the internal "cycles", or houses, of the Sylvari, (Dawn, Noon, Dusk, Night), running the government of the Grove. These "Luminaries" spend their time on the day-to-day running of the city and the Sylvari's political interaction with other races. When conflict arises, their justice system involves duels, and when duels no longer satisfy, then the wisdom of an elder Sylvari prevails.
The Sylvari feel that an individual's personality is determined by the period of the day when they awaken.
Cycle of Dawn - From midnight to 6am : Aife is the Luminary to Sylvari born during this cycle. They tend to be outgoing, talkative, friendly and diplomatic.
Cycle of Noon - From 6am to noon : Those of this cycle have Niamh as their Luminary. They are the more action-oriented, agressive types.
Cycle of Dusk - From noon to 6pm : Luminary Kahedins guides these intelligent, philosophical, and retiring Sylvari, who enjoy solving puzzles and riddles.
Cycle of Night - From 6pm to midnight : Malomedies the astronomer is the Luminary of Sylvari born during this time, who tend to be quiet, secretive loners.
Individually, the Inner Dream guides each Sylvari toward their own unique destiny. A select few awakened Sylvari receive a calling to the "Wyld Hunt". They may have experienced the first hints of this in the Dream, prior to their awakening, although few would recognize those hints. These so-called "Wyld Hunt Valiants", have a particularly important purpose, unique to them and them alone. The Wyld Hunt offers a Sylvari a great opportuinity with even greater responsibility and most will take it so seriously that they would gladly die in service to this noble quest.
In the video below, Kristen Perry, the GW2 Character Artist who created the Sylvari artwork and Ree Soesbee (Guild Wars 2 Continuity & Lore Designer), talk Sylvari.
The Sylvari people have a very fresh look to the world. Everything is vibrant and interesting, though they don't understand many things as they have yet to experience much of the world around them. They go forth and explore and as each sylvari learns more of the world, that knowledge comes back to the Pale Tree, who sings it to a new generation.They want to know how things work yet they don't know the dangers and troubles that abound in Tyria as well as the other races do. They struggle to discover their place in the world and to forge relationships with other races. The Sylvari are very much the "outsiders", as many of the other races don't wholly accept them as they're unsure about their nature and their capabilities as a race.Not surprisingly, Sylvari have a special connection with plants, being able to empathize with flora. They also possess a number of magical abilities which allow them to "grow" useful items such as weapons, armor or protective walls from plants.
Not all is "rosy" in the Sylvari though. They battle the undead minions of Zhaitan on a regular basis, yet their greatest threat comes from within.Grand Duchess Faolain, one of the firstborn, is leader of a mysterious group of evil and cruel Sylvari called The Nightmare Court who reject the Dream and the teachings of Ventari's tablet. The Nightmare Court was founded by Cadeyrn, a second generation Sylvari who was born about six or seven years after the Firstborn. Though the exact numbers of the Nightmare Court are unknown, it is accepted to be roughly ten to fifteen percent of the Sylvari race.They believe that the centaur's influence has perverted the Dream and so they strive to flood the Pale Tree's collective consciousness with dark memories, emotions and thoughts by perpetrating horrendous acts against Sylvari and non-Sylvari alike. By doing this they hope to change the Dream, making the dream more and more touched by nightmare, so that other Sylvari might shun the teachings of the Centaur's tablet and join their dark cause.
Upon joining the Nightmare Court, a Sylvari participates in a ritual pageant to awaken the nightmare within their spirit. Over time their deeds may earn them promotion through the various ranks, earning greater respect and new titles.Initially they spend time as a courtier, acting as a servant to higher-ranking members. It is here that they learn the ways of the Nightmare Court and study how to break free of the influence of Ventari's Tablet. They may choose to become an apprentice or a squire by serving under a more senior member of the Court. If they earn the ability to spread nightmare on their own, they are promoted to the rank of "Knight".A Knight's duty is to create traumatic memories and experiences by spreading fear and despair in the name of the Nightmare Court. It is hoped that these memories will be taken into the Pale Tree and help to turn her, and any future Sylvari, away from the lessons of the tablet.Knights who perform their duties well are elevated into the the highest ranks of the Nightmare Court, the Retinue. Only the Grand Duchess Faolain can reward them with this rank and position which has a great deal of respect within the hierarchy of the court.
Added to that danger, The Dream now contains a warning, with fleeting glimpses of shadows of dragons and hidden whispers mixed in with the voices of their fellow Sylvari. Soon they will understand that the whispers are the beginnings of the nightmares. While the other races in Guild Wars 2 may be corrupted by the Elder Dragons, turned into undead minions or crystalline creatures of the Brand, the Sylvari are never turned. They simply die before the corruption takes hold. Why this is, nobody knows.Perhaps a true hero of the Sylvari could discover this truth?