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Sylvari Syndicate this thread: rss 2.0
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Sat Dec 11 2010, 07:32AM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286







Long ago, a weary soldier planted a strange seed in the depths of the Maguuma Jungle. For centuries, the Pale Tree grew, branches arching over the forest, until at last--twenty five years ago--it bloomed, and the Firstborn stepped into the world. They were followed by their brethren, season after season of sylvari, wide-eyed with wonder and searching for purpose in this strange land. Shaped first by the Dream that nurtured them before they awakened, the sylvari now travel Tyria seeking adventure and their place in the world. They struggle to balance curiosity with duty; eagerness with chivalry; and warfare with honor.

The Dream still lingers in their souls, like an echo of a distant song. Through it, they can sense the ebb and flow of their race, feel the empathic connections between all sylvari, and share their discoveries and knowledge like water into a river's current. They have a deep connection with the land and the riches it bears, and know that all things which grow and blossom are their brethren. Guided by the lessons carved into the sacred Ventari Tablet, they have built a city within the forest, and created a culture that blends the mystery of magic with a steel-tempered resolution to do good.

But not all sylvari are noble, and not all Dreams are pleasant. Some of the children of the Pale Tree walk a shadowed path, devoted to a Nightmare that boils beneath the surface and whispers of dark moons, wicked revels, and terrible secrets murmured at midnight. The Nightmare Court rejects the virtues of their brethren and seeks to draw all sylvari toward their sinister philosophy. If they are not stopped, they will taint the Dream with their evil deeds and corrupt the Pale Tree herself, condemning the noble race of sylvari to a future of vice and corruption. In the battle between Dream and Nightmare, the fate of the newest race in Tyria will be determined by heroes.


[ Edited Mon Dec 19 2011, 07:19PM ]
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Thu Aug 11 2011, 08:53AM
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The sylvari are an enigma. Humanoid in form, plantlike in nature, they are recent arrivals in Tyria and have roamed the world for only twenty-five years. They are all born of a single parent—the mighty Pale Tree that dominates the Tarnished Coast. They are bound together with a common origin and a shared dream. No one knows why they have suddenly appeared in Tyria, least of all the sylvari themselves, and they seek to discover their purpose in the world. Of all the races, they have the greatest appreciation of the danger posed by the Elder Dragons; the sylvari battle the undead minions of Zhaitan on a regular basis.

This, then, is their story.

History

"There was a time that I cursed this world for taking away everything that I had. But living here, I have come to understand that these memories, even those that are painful, are seeds of our identity. They shape our growth." —Ronan, Human, formerly of the Shining Blade.

The story of the sylvari begins with a human and a centaur. The human was Ronan, a warrior with the Shining Blade. Separated from his patrol, he discovered a cavern filled with strange seeds and guarded by powerful plant creatures. He took one of those seeds and brought it home to his family, only to discover that his entire village had been slaughtered by the White Mantle and their powerful would-be gods, the Mursaat. Grieving, he planted the seed on their graves and swore to never take up the sword again.

Ronan was joined by Ventari, an aged centaur who also tired of continual conflict. Together they formed a small community, a refuge for those seeking peace in a violent world. The tree that grew of the strange seed came up tall and proud, and beneath its boughs, man and centaur lived at peace. Ronan passed on in time, and aged Ventari passed as well. But before leaving this life, the centaur carved his lessons on a marble tablet and set it among the roots of the Pale Tree. Then he too passed on, the eldest and wisest of the centaurs.

The tree grew and spread her shade over the surrounding area, and in time, she bore fruit. At the heart of this fruit were the first sylvari. And while they were still cradled by the Pale Tree, she sang to them and told them what she knew of the world. The Pale Tree spun a dream that would be shared by all the sylvari: a dream of human lives and the centaur's wisdom. When these initial sylvari emerged as the firstborn, they knew something of their world and yearned to learn more.

The sylvari appear human at first glance, but that comparison breaks down almost immediately. Their flesh is made of vines and leaves, their hair of foliage and petals, and their bones of stronger wood. Golden sap moves through their veins, and pollen shakes from their flesh. They are "born" (they would say "awakened") as adults, with some knowledge of the world around them. Sylvari are instilled with an inherent sense of nobility, curiosity, and a need to explore.
And as each sylvari explores and learns of the world, that knowledge comes back to the Pale Tree, who sings it to a new generation.

The Grove

The Pale Tree now dominates the Tarnished Coast, her towering top higher than many mountains. In the shelter of her lush foliage, the sylvari have made their homes. The Grove, created by the Pale Tree, is a multilevel, verdant, organic city. The roots and branches of the tree form broad terraces where other plants have grown and been spun into homes and buildings. Some of the sylvari have lived their entire lives beneath the tree, but most choose to wander, to adventure, and to let the Dream take them where it may.

The sylvari are divided into houses or cycles, and feel that an individual's personality is determined by time of day when they awaken. The sylvari born in the Cycle of Dawn tend to be loquacious and diplomatic. Those of the Cycle of Day are often problem-solvers, meeting challenges head-on. The sylvari of the Cycle of Dusk tend to be intelligent and reflective. And those of the Cycle of Night are quiet, secretive, and keep their own counsel.

The firstborn are the closest thing the sylvari have to rulers, yet the respect they command comes solely from their wisdom and time spent in the world. Each cycle is advised by one of the firstborn who serves as a luminary, as a guide and tutor, to the newly awakened. Yet the ultimate ruler of the people is their parent, the Pale Tree herself. Her song is found in all sylvari, and those who seek understanding travel to the heart of the tree to commune with her and seek her wisdom.

A Shadow in the Dream

The sylvari are a young race, yet they face challenges from within and without. Not all other races have welcomed them, and their early experiences with the nearby asura have shown them that not all other peoples share their virtuous outlook. But their greatest dangers come from within, both in the form of those sylvari who have rejected the Dream and in the form of a warning in the Dream itself.

Each unborn sylvari hears the song of the Pale Tree and learns of the world, including what other sylvari have learned. Yet many dream of an enigmatic danger that threatens the awakened world. For most, it is but a fleeting glimpse. Only a rare few, the great heroes of their race, see the shadows of dragons and know it as a danger that threatens the world. As a result, of all the races, the sylvari see the challenge of the Elder Dragons most directly. The shores of their lands touch the Sea of Sorrows, and the undead minions of Zhaitan wash ashore and seek to despoil everything they find. While the other races may be corrupted by the Elder Dragons, turned into undead minions or crystalline creatures of the Brand, the sylvari are never turned. Those born of the Pale Tree simply die before the corruption takes hold. Many sylvari believe that this is because they were born to battle the dragons, blessed with a certain protection against their most horrible powers. Some non-sylvari scholars state instead that the sylvari's strange biology foils the corruption of the dragons. A few clever souls state that sylvari just taste bad to dragons. No one knows for certain which is the truth.

Yet the minions of the Elder Dragon are only one threat among many. There are sylvari who have rejected the teachings of Ventari's tablet and claim that the centaur's influence has perverted the Dream. They seek the shadow within the Dream, turn away from what they call "false morality," and explore the darker side of their personalities. Cold, cruel, and without mercy, these sylvari see themselves as the "true sylvari," the rightful children of the tree, and consider it to be their great purpose to bring others of their race into that darkness. They are known as the Nightmare Court, and with each act of cruelty and evil, they add their nightmares to the tree and hope, one day, to change the balance and turn their parent to their side. The leader of the Nightmare Court is one of the firstborn: the Duchess Faolain, once the cherished companion of Caithe.

A Brave New World

The sylvari are fewer in number than the other great races, but more enter the world each day as they awaken. They are new to Tyria, yet because of the Dream, they know what that world is about. Still, they are curious, seeking to understand things about which they have only dreamed. They find the world alive with potential and fascinating.

And though no sylvari has yet died of old age, they have learned about death. They find that fascinating as well.

Source: click here


[ Edited Sat Sep 03 2011, 04:50PM ]
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Sat Sep 03 2011, 04:46PM
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By Ree Soesbee
August 12th, 2011




The sylvari are the youngest race in Guild Wars 2, awakened with the rise of the new age in Tyria. They may be unfamiliar with the world, but they have dreamed of it, and they share a rich and compelling vision that guides their path. From the day of their awakening, each sylvari feels called to defend the land and fight the Elder Dragons. They are united in this purpose beneath their mother, the Pale Tree.

In the brilliant light of noon, a petal moved. A pod opened. A sylvari rose, stretched, and hesitantly entered the world.

The twelve firstborn, called by their mother’s summons, stood breathlessly to greet their new brother. They had lived for so many years alone, believing that they were all the sylvari that would ever be. And now the awakening had begun again. Other pods in the garden moved softly, gaining ground but not yet ready to open. It was the first flowering of a new generation.

“Welcome, Brother.” Aife greeted him, always the first with a question or a smile. She approached the stranger, holding out a cloak so he could wrap himself.

“Do you know us?” another broke in. “Did you dream of us?”

“Hush, Dagonet,” Aife shushed her over-eager friend. “You’ll frighten him.” She turned to the sapling again and spoke in a gentle tone. “Like you, we are sylvari. I am called Aife. What is your name?”

“Name?” The newcomer considered the question for a moment. At last, he said, “Cadeyrn,” but his tone was uncertain. He took the cloak and pulled it about his shoulders to ward off the sun. “What is this place?”

Aife smiled and tousled the sylvari’s hair, sending soft, black-willow fronds dancing around his shoulders. “This is the Grove. And she…” Aife gestured toward the massive tree beneath whose branches they gathered, “…is the Pale Tree. Our mother. Your mother too.”

Cadeyrn regarded the tree curiously, finding no strangeness in the explanation. With a nod, he looked to Dagonet. “I did dream.”

The scholar brightened, snatching up a scroll and quill. “Tell me of your dream. I have studied all of ours, but yours will be the first new dream in many years.”

Standing taller, Cadeyrn offered him a smile. “The first?” He looked around at the other pods, as yet unawakened. “Yes, I am the first, aren’t I? None of the others in my dream have awakened. The Pale Tree must have wanted to see me right away. She knew that I was special.” He puffed up like a dandelion. “I am first!”

“No, Cadeyrn. You are secondborn,” a deeper voice intoned. Malomedies was a tall, slender sylvari, with smooth hair that shone in iridescent color like the wings of a dragonfly. His proud bearing was that of an ancient oak, massive branches unyielding against the storm.

“Second?” Cadeyrn frowned. “Why am I second? I have awakened before the rest.”

“We were here first.”

The Pale Tree

Nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, a human soldier named Ronan found a strange seed during his journeys and tucked it away to give to his daughter when he returned home. Sadly, by the time he reached his village, it had been destroyed, wiped out by the White Mantle. Ronan planted the seed upon his family’s graves instead.

Twenty-five years ago, the first sylvari awakened. These firstborn knew comparatively little of the world, having experienced only the Pale Tree’s memories of Ronan, the centaur Ventari, and those who had visited during her first years. They knew, because the tree taught them of the tablet that Ventari had left behind, carved with lessons of his wisdom. Born as mature individuals, not children, the sylvari were curious, inquisitive, and eager to explore.


Some of the firstborn, like Caithe and Faolain, roamed far from the tree. Others stayed close, exploring briefly and spending their time in study and learning. Four took up the duty of guarding the Pale Tree and keeping her company: Aife, Kahedins, Malomedies and Niamh. One, and one alone, traveled into Orr. For a handful of years, the firstborn were the only sylvari in Tyria. When the next generation flowered and awakened from the tree, they had new dreams: memories of the skills and emotions that the firstborn had discovered, mixed in with the Pale Tree’s own memories.

Unlike many races, the sylvari have an intimate sense of their own history, having lived through it. They can name the first sylvari that ever died—Riannoc, one of the firstborn. They can tell you who first learned how to write and who, specifically, developed the methods to grow houses. They tell their stories and legends as if they personally witnessed them, because for many, they have at least dreamed of it.
The Dream of Dreams

In essence, the Dream of Dreams is a vast collected subconscious. 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.

A sylvari has no control over what experiences are gathered. They cannot communicate with the tree in this manner; the Mother Tree is drawing in hundreds of thousands of fragments from her children. Nor can an unborn sylvari choose which memories they will experience while within the Dream. When a sylvari awakens, the direct connection to the Dream becomes weakened. No longer surrounded by the Dream, their connection to other sylvari becomes more of an empathic bond, capable of receiving and sending strong emotions, but no longer detailed or communicative. It is nothing more than a subtle buzz.

They gathered by the Pale Tree, and rain swelled upon her upturned leaves, dripping in slow sparks to the earth below. Her roots cradled the firstborn that lay among them, his body covered in a dark blanket like moss over a grave. Malomedies was only sleeping, struggling against exhausting nightmares. From time to time, he called out, and Kahedins soothed him, placing a damp compress to his forehead in the hope that he would find rest. The healer looked up to the others, face filled with worry.

“Will he survive? Or will he…die? As Riannoc did?” The question whispered in every heart, but it was Niamh that gave it voice.

“The Mother says he will live,” Kahedins murmured, but it was little comfort.

Malomedies had been beautiful, as graceful as a willow kneeling by a stream. Now his face bore the carved scars of ill-treatment, and the branches of his once- iridescent hair had been broken and pruned into splintered, colorless pieces. One leg was withered as if kept too long from the sun, and where his fleshlike bark still clung to the vines of his torso, there were a thousand small holes.

“We must kill them all.” Cadeyrn’s eyes flashed dark gold, and his hand clenched around the hilt of his sword.

“The asura have offered peace. They did not realize that he… They thought he was simply another of the strange plants of the deep Maguuma, mimicking sentience,” Aife told them. “When they realized he was truly aware, they returned him to us.”

“It is not enough! How will Malomedies find peace if he does not take revenge?”

Kahedins stared disapprovingly. “Revenge? Revenge is not our way. Have you not studied Ventari’s tablet?” As the secondborn lowered his head belligerently, Kahedins lectured, “It is written, ‘The only lasting peace is the peace within your soul.’ You should meditate on that, Cadeyrn, and consider its meaning.”

Cadeyrn glanced at Trahearne, whose expression was as black as his own. No soldier would say such things. No one who had ever lifted a blade to stop oppression, or placed themselves in danger to free innocents, would say that revenge was unfitting. If Faolain and Caithe were here, they would argue his side, he was sure of it.

Abruptly, Trahearne looked up toward the spreading boughs. “Yes, Mother,” he answered a whisper only he could hear. Chagrined, the necromancer unclenched his fists. “The Pale Tree says we need to concentrate on our true enemy: the dragons. Every ally will be needed.” Gritting his teeth, Trahearne finished, “We make peace with the asura.”

Cadeyrn was not sure what was more troubling, that Trahearne had given in or that the Pale Tree had spoken only to the firstborn. Following suit, he bent his head. “As the Mother wishes.”

The Cycles

The sylvari believe that the portion of the day during which you were born speaks to a person’s personality, interests, and special talents. They pay close attention to this, and each of the four cycles—Dawn, Noon, Dusk and Night—are guided by one of the firstborn. Those four firstborn, called the Luminaries, tend to be the most active in the governance of the sylvari race. They work together to bring new knowledge into the Grove, defend the Pale Tree, and build political relationships with the other races of Tyria. Although the other firstborn are considered wise mentors and have certain authority, the Luminaries fulfill the primary tasks of maintaining society and guiding the sylvari as a whole.



[ Edited Mon Sep 05 2011, 01:11PM ]
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Wed Oct 26 2011, 05:07AM
Country: Romania
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Ronan was the founder of the pale tree, which gives life to the Sylvari and is the reason they are in Guild Wars 2!
This video was made (by a fan) a bit different and aims to give a better feel of how Ronan's life was like, when the tree was planted!



[ Edited Wed Oct 26 2011, 05:09AM ]
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Fri Dec 02 2011, 04:45AM
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"Going over the brand new 25 year old race, the Sylvari! There is not much deep lore because they are a new race! However I have gone over what you need to know if you are going to play!"



[ Edited Fri Dec 02 2011, 04:47AM ]
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Fri Dec 23 2011, 01:04PM
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Not quite lore but this seems suitable for a Sylvari thread.

A new Celtic Song and the Sister-Song for "Dance with the Trees".



© Music Copyright belongs to Adrian von Ziegler.


[ Edited Fri Dec 23 2011, 01:17PM ]
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Tue Jan 17 2012, 06:38PM
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A bit late with this one, someone told me that it was missing from the lore thread so here it is)

Guild Wars 2 Soundtrack | A world without war



Guild Wars 2 Soundtrack - Sylvari Theme




[ Edited Tue Jan 17 2012, 06:47PM ]
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Wed Jun 27 2012, 04:50PM
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Sylvari ART

Lore Audio Interview with Ree Soesbee: "TowerTalk LoreSpecial: Sylvari"

Source: click here
Note: This is the English version of "TowerTalk Lore Special: Sylvari" with Al'Ellisande and Ree Soesbee (ArenaNet's Lore & Continuity Designer) all credits go to ArenaNet and wartower.de

Elli: Hello and welcome to the TowerTalk, Ree!

Ree: Hello, hello, and thank you for having me back again!

Elli: Yeah, I'm so glad that you're here. Ree, today we want to do a little gardening, won't we?

Ree: Yes, a little bit.

Elli: We want to talk about the Sylvari. The Sylvari are a new race for us. How did they come into the world?

Ree: The Sylvari are a little enigmatic. They have a city that is build around a great tree and they are born from this great tree in a very -like fashion and they started being born 25 years before Guild Wars 2 officially begins. And beyond that not a lot is known about their real origin. You can track back when the tree was planted - we saw it growing in Eye Of The North - but where the original seed came from and why is still a matter of mystery.

Elli: So what kind of tree is it? Is it something special?

Ree: It is absolutely unique. No other tree like that has ever been seen in Tyria. Not only that it is sentient, it is aware, it is awake, it is alive. The Sylvari can go speak to it. It has a spirit that will manifest and actually interact with its children and give them advice and help them with their troubles.

Elli: The Sylvari, are they plants or are they just formed...?

Ree: They are plants, really, their bodies, if you want to take a Sylvari and do experimentation, which the Asura did - these horrible creatures- , they have sap instead of blood, they have hard wood where bones are, they're built very much like a plant what's trying to replicate humans. Like it had looked at them, had seen them and understood how they worked and it made a plant form of a human.

Elli: What do the Sylvari eat then, if they are plants?

Ree: They can eat anything, they can eat other plants, they can eat salad, they can eat meat if they want to - much like a venus fly trap. They do have a stomach area in their body; it does decompose material just like a humans would and then uses that material to fuel the body.

Elli: What can you tell us about sylvari society? Is it like: we have the first-born and then we have cycles or are they born in a... regular way?

Ree: How does it work at all?

Elli: Yeah, good question.

Ree: The way it started was 25 years ago you had this great tree and it flowered and created first-born. Very limited number only, there were twelve. And those first-born were the only Sylvari in the world for several years until the tree had a second flowering and the second-born came out. And then slowly over the last 25 years those flowerings have come faster and faster until we have today where players are making characters and that replicates the Sylvari each stepping out of the tree and being born into the world. For that first period of years the first-born - there were only twelve of them. Some stayed there at the tree, some wandered, some traveled, some went and came back. They had their own adventures. And when the second-born were created and stepped into the world they told those tales, some of those tales the second-born already knew, because the dream of the tree had been sort of collecting the memories from the Sylvari that had already been born and the tree continues to do this. It's a very random sort of thing whether the tree gets a memory. If it's a powerful memory then she will more likely pick it up and when a Sylvari is born, he is born with basic understanding the world. He knows what a sword is, he knows how to swing it, but he has never ACTUALLY swung it. It's like seeing magazine pictures of chicken but never having eaten it. You understand what it is, but you don' t really know. And as this continued while each generation of Sylvari was born, the Sylvari began to create a culture where the first-borns led, because they were the wisest, they had seen the most of the world. But the younger ones were off in the adventures to take the information they had gained and go off into the world and do something with it. The tree herself provides the center of the culture and the city around the tree is where they congregate, where they live.

Elli: What kind of basic or what principles do they live on, the society?

Ree: The Sylvari, when the tree was very, very young, before she had given birth to any Sylvari at all, she was planted in a human encampment. Human and centaur. Centaur named Ventari. Ventari was a noted pacifist, he was a gentle spirit, who wanted to see the world live in peace. And he outlived the other humans who lived in his campground, because he was a centaur. And when he died, he wrote his lifes lessons on a big, white sheet of marble and he left that at the base of the tree not knowing that the tree would one day flower and give birth to a race. But when it did, the tree had sort of taken those lessons into itself and taught them to her children, internalized them in the dream. So that when the Sylvari come out of the dream, they know these lessons and they kind of hold fast to them as a code of morality.

Elli: Do the Sylvari still have a connection to the centaurs?

Ree: They see as sort of a mentor race, but the centaurs have changed so much since the time of Ventari. And even when Ventari was alive, he was very different than many centaurs. So it's more like they look on the centaur and realize these are sentient creatures who could be something noble, but that they have sort of chosen a fiercer, more primitive way of life. It's probably pretty sad.

Elli: The pale tree as a tree is rooted into the earth and is the tree like connected into the earth and knows what's going on like the world has changed so much with the awakening of the dragons?

Ree: Yeah, and it's questionable whether that's because that she's concretely in the earth or there's something about her spirit that knows. But she has a sense of Tyria, she has a sense of where the world is in pain, whether the world needs help. The Sylvari have sort of a calling called the wild hunt and not every Sylvari gets it. A Sylvari who has a wild hunt and completes it doesn' t necessarily get a new one. But these are when the tree realizes something going on that is very bad like the dragons are attacking a certain place and killing all the humans there. Some Sylvari in the area or some Sylvari who is particularly well suited to handle the situation will suddenly feel themselves called to go north, called to go to this place and when they get there they will feel themselves called to help the humans and defeat the undead. And that sort of wild hunt or that sort of quest comes subconsciously from the dream, it comes from the tree and from the tree having a sense for Tyria, for what needs to be done to save the world from the dragons.

Elli: So maybe the tree felt like the urge to bring a new life or the Sylvari into the world in order to defeat the dragons?

Ree: Entirely possible, yeah. That's one of the main theories, the things that the Durmand Priory believes.

Elli: Quickly explain what the Durmand Priory is.

Ree: The Durmand Priory are a group of scholars throughout Tyria who study and research ways to defeat the dragons.

Elli: Ok, let's go back to the dream. The dream is not only filled with good memories isn't it?

Ree: It got bad memories too. There's a group of Sylvari, sort of a faction of the race, who believes that Ventaris tablet is wrong and that those lessons were forced upon the tree and forced upon the Sylvari during the trees very formative years and they think that real Sylvari, what they should have been, shouldn't be influenced by the tablet, because the tablet was an external, was outside forced, making them believe things. So they go out of their way and try to defy the tablet to go against its basic code of morality and in so doing they try to be as horrible and vicious and cruel as they can, because the trees dream that educates new Sylvari when they're born is built of memories of current Sylvari in the world. And those memories are chosen often by the strength of the emotion attached to them. So if I am a member of this group - they're called the Nightmare Court - and I go out and I commit some atrocity, it is very emotional and it hurts people. Those feelings and those memories will also go into the tree and it's possible that a new-born will see more of that than of the tablet. And therefore bit by bit I change the dream into a nightmare, into something that doesn't have association with the tablet, and in the Nightmare Court's point of view I free my people of that influence.

Elli: It's like an emancipation.

Ree: Yeah. A very dark.

Elli: A very dark form. So there is still a connection between the Sylvari and the tree, even after they are born?

Ree: Yes, when you are asleep, before you are born, you are living in the dream. It's like a real world and I believe we've said in the past that the Sylvari tutorial very much takes place in that dream before you're born. And then, when you come out of the tutorial and you're born into the world, your connection to the tree is not that strong anymore, it's much more a very gentle empathy, the tree can sort of send out a feeling to you like a wild hunt. But there is no mental connection, there is no telepathy or anything like that, it's just an empathic sense of the world and of each other and of what the tree desires.

Elli: Do the Sylvari have a connection between each other?

Ree: Very subtle, very subtle. Sort of like feeling like you dreamed of people before, especially in cases where they have. A Sylvari who is new-born may occasionally recognize a Sylvari from their dream, because something had happened in that other Sylvari's past that was communicated to the tree, that was communicated to the dream and then the new-born saw that image in their own dream.

Elli: So, you just said that the first-born were born a little while ago,..

Ree: ..25 years..

Elli:..yeah, did the Sylvari establish like a society with organisations, with institutions?

Ree: It started really with the second-born, because until the second-born were created the first-born didn't even realize, there were going to be more. As far as they knew, they were the only Sylvari ever, that would ever be. And the tree had not yet flowered again. And when she did she started to create slowly generation after generation and that's when they started to create a society. They had to break it up somehow; Sylvari are born very quickly -especially now. And they divided into the cycles of the sun because each of the first-born would tend to the tree for a period of the day. One was at dawn, one was at noon, one was at dusk and one was during the night. And at that period the Sylvari who were born, who awakened during that time, would be taken under the tutelage of that first-born. And so they were called the cycle of night or the cycle of day according to when they were born.

Elli: How do the Sylvari live? Like in houses or... do they just stand around?

Ree: No. They can create houses and so forth from plants, they shape plants, they shape the natural world around them. They live a lot more in harmony with the environtment than the other races do. They would prefer to take a tree and shape it into a house than to build one out of rock. They would prefer to get their food from going outside and finding it in the woods or finding it under a tree than by raising it in a garden. Though they have a garden, they feel like the world is its own garden and they just live in a balance with it and be just rewarded by it.

Elli: Do they have a special access to the norn spirits?

Ree: No. No, the norn spirits are separate. The norn spirits are very much entities, like a symbol, it's kinda hard to explain the spirits, they're almost totemic of all wolves; wolf is all wolves. The Sylvari are a little more..would say primitavistic or basic than that. They see the entire world as a singular spirit, all Tyria, all souls, all spirits, all things that live are sort of one. They wouldn't break it down to the point of "And that's the wolf, and that's the bear". They just.. all things are one.

Elli: How do relationships work between Sylvari?

Ree: Sylvari believe very much in the concept of love. Emotion, the empathy that I spoke of with the tree. Because they are created by the tree, - they have a sense of sex like male and female, gender - but it is based very much on what they chose in the dream or what the tree chose for them. And when they come out they don't reproduce like humans do, they don't think of it that way, they think of it as the spirit inside the person, no matter gender the person is and they very much fall in love with each other and even with the other races, when they do, because of the spirit. They don't need to have a sex with it, they don't need to figure out what..you know..., it's not a bipolar system, it's an all spirit system. Sylvari can fall in love with anyone who inspires them and to them that's the most important quality of love. They teach that throughout the world.

Elli: Beautiful, I hope the people will learn.

Ree: We have quests in the game where Sylvari are in love with other Sylvari and it very much ignores gender barriers. It isn't a matter of pointing out that this female is in love with that female or that male is in love with that male or that this male is in love with that female. It's a matter of them saying: "My lover is in danger, please help me!" And nowhere in the quest does it mention the sex of either participant, because that doesn't matter. What matters is that this person is in love and that person needs help.

Elli: Exactly. Elli: What about fire? Do the Sylvari have a natural fear...?

Ree: No,as much as a human would. You stick your hand into the fire, it's going to hurt. They don't burn more easily than anyone else, I mean, they're made of wood and sap, but green wood doesn't burn any more easily than flesh. It's a person. They don't have a fear of fire. They have blacksmiths. They've learned how to work with fire. They just take as many precautions as anyone else.

Elli: Right. So the Sylvari are a very curious race, aren't they?

Ree: They are! And the more they learn, the better they race, they feel. If no one has been to a place before and I go there and look at it, some of those memories will find their way into the dream and new young Sylvari may come up with something very interesting to think or to go there themselves.

Elli: So how do they organize to give the knowledge to other Sylvari? Apart from the dream?

Ree: There're two ways. You can't trust the dream. The dream isn't really reliable. If I go out and learn a lot with a sword , that doesn't mean the next Sylvari born from the tree does know how to use a sword. It's sort of distinct to each Sylvari what they experience in their dream, what they know. So once you're born, the Firstborn still gather each cycle and there're tutors and theachers in each area. If you're born in the cycle of the day, you'll meet the Firstborn, you meet teachers, you meet menders, which are like healers and people who can give you really concrete understanding of the world. But the Sylvari race is only 25 years old. So their sense of history is sort of skewed. They know that the Charr and the Humans have been at war for a long time. Who knows how long a long time really is when you're whole race has been around for only 25 years? Someone tries to express, you know, 250 years of war and you look at them like 'That's long, right? That's longer than 25.' So they have a very concrete understanding, but not a concrete wisdom about it. It's really interesting. We didn't want to make the Sylvari childlike, we didn’t want to make them naive and you know like babies wandering into the wilderness. They're strong, though, earnest people. They just don't have a lot actual experience with the things that they know.

Elli: They're greenhorns.

Ree: They're greenhorns! Yes, exactly! [laughs] Nice one.

Elli: What about the Charr? Aren't they like natural enemies to the Sylvari?

Ree: Well, they're very far apart in the world. If you look on the map of Tyria, they're about as distance as you can get. I think Rata Sum is just a little farther. So by the time the Charr really met Sylvari or had some kind of dealings with them, the Sylvari had a grasps of the world and have already - I have mentioned - been abused by the Asura, so they weren't are trusting as they had once been. The Charr respect the Sylavris' attitude towards exploration and fighting. The Sylavri would fight the minions of the dragons, almost at any cost. And a Charr sees that as a great bravery. They are very experimental. They are curious, they want to learn how things work and that also go with the Charr, who take things apart and put things back together. The Sylvari are a little more peacenik than the Charr, sure, there're also places where they argue, where the Charr strip-mining the world and the Sylvari would be horrified. But those are the things that make people different. Those are the things that make the two race very separate from one another.

Elli: Is there like a natural approach for the Charr to certain classes? Like ranger? Oh, sorry, for the Sylvari?

Ree: Sure, sure! A Sylvari does tend toward more magical classes. but they also tend towards classes, that are capable of simply mixing it up in combat. I mean, a stright up warrior, who defend the Tree, defends the groove. They are a little less likely to be engineers. For obvious reasons, but they're curious. They want to know how things work, so you find all sorts of Sylvari. Necromancers are also a little less common, but the necromancers the Sylvari do have look at death as a natural part of life. We live and we die and when we die, when a plant dies, its body returns to the soil and fuels other plants. This isn't a bad thing; this isn't a dark thing or an evil thing. It's just a course of nature.

Elli: Do they start to write down their own history or somehow 'tend' it somewhere, like in a libery? Just to keep the knowledge that they have?

Ree: The Sylvari? They have scrolls. They have writings. They go to places like Lions Arch and the Durmand Priory to learn other things. They are a very inquisitive race. If they don't understand something they'll try to find out how it works and some of them stay behind in the groove as teachers and try to tutor others in these things. Especially - some Sylvari get tired of traveling. You go out and see different places and you want to come home again. And it's more exciting that you can share what you've seen. So they'll educate the young.

Elli: How works their relationship to the Tree? Is it like a mother to them? Or is it more like a goddess?

Ree: Oh, no, they call her the mother tree. She is their mother. They don't worship her, they don't serve her in a way that the Humans serve Melandru. She walks among them. They can go to her in her chamber, her council chamber and she will manifest and speak to them if they have problems. And no one takes that very lightly, but you can go and completely interact with the Tree.

Elli: Oh, that's interesting. She really talks to them and there's an interaction?

Ree: Oh, yeah! She has a form, she has a Sylvari form. We're still kind of messing with it in the art deparment, but it's lovely. It's a little bit ethereal; it looks a little bit gossamer. But it's clearly a Sylvari and it talks and walks and it stays in the little chamber at the base of the Tree.

Elli: How do the Sylvari react to societies like the Charr, which have many hierarchies?

Ree: Ooh, they have so many questions! How does this work, how does that work? What's this? What happens when that happens? How's this? Sylvari can be a little tiresome when they're finding a brand new thing, 'cause they want to know everything about it.

Elli: Because I don't think they have many hierarchies in their society, do they?

Ree: No, not really. They have respect for one another. Especially for the Firstborn. Because they came first and they've seen the most. But other than that it very much comes down to who knows more about this thing. If three Sylvari wander into the world, they wouldn't have a leadershipssstem, so much they would have 'You know the most about this, so we'll follow you now. Oh, we're doing something different? He knows the most about this, so we'll follow him now.' They have a very egaliterian system in that way.

Elli: So the Firstborn are like their natural leaders?

Ree: Yeah, yeah, they are. And they had the most time with the Tree, because they had several years where it was just them and the Tree. So they sort of understand her better, they have a little more closeness to her. When you're born as a Sylvari now you don't get to see the Tree nearly as much as they did. She's very busy. But when there are only twelve of you and you lived with the Tree and you talk to her every single day, you got a little more of closeness to her.

Elli: Do they like to work in teams?

Ree: Yes. The Sylvari have a group called 'The Wardens'. And the Wardens are like the Seraphs of Divinity's Reach. Where they stay near the Tree, stay near Sylvari areas and protect it. And they really work better in teams. They really work better as a group. They like to rely on each other, they like to learn each others' strengths and utilize those, like tactics, much more than going alone. A Sylvari who goes on a wild hunt is the exception, because he has recieved the calling to go to a place and to do a thing. And in that case he usuall has to rely on himself, it's not often that more than one Sylvari will be send to a place to go and do a thing, because there just aren't many Sylvari. But they very much prefer to be with others. That's one reason why when a Sylvari goes out into the world they often get into groups with lots of other races. Anyone they can find. Because when they like the socialization. They like to learn, they like to experience things and that's always better, when you have someone else to answer your questions or to talk to or to share their wisdom.

Elli: The Sylvari cannot reproduce, can they?

Ree: No, no, they can't. The only way a Sylvari reproduces is the Tree. The Tree gives birth.

Elli: So how do they deal with the family experience they make with other races?

Ree: They are so curious. Families and children. Children are just fascinating to a Sylvari! They're smaller and they are like...a Sylvari doesn’t physically grow. He comes out of the Tree, full born. So it's interesting to see a Mini-Human and it doesn't know as much and it has a really different way of thinking, it's very strange. They feel very protective towards it, because they don't have any. So they understand that this child is smaller and weaker and not able to take care of itself. And that's sort of strange, because none of them experience that stage. But at the same time it's got to be scary or the child, right? So that's the way they approach it. [Elli laughs] They understand a certain amount of family, because they understand groups and socializations, because they do fall in love. Sylvari who fall in love and have a relationship will live in the same house, will congregate together. But children - they're just mystified.

Elli: What do the Sylvari think about the Gods of the Humans for example?

Ree: They are very agnostic. They've never met a god. They've been never able to ask it questions. When I ask two priests of the same god questions sometimes their answers aren't exactly the same. So the Sylvari are not sure what to think. They haven't made any religious determinations. You can call them agnostic.

Elli: Is there someone like a spokesman or someone who speaks for the people of the Sylvari? Like when Queen Jennah for example wants to make a connection or a treaty with the Sylvari in order to fight the dragons or something, is there someone she can like talk to?

Ree: Oh, yeah! Depends on what she's doing it for. If you go to Divinity's Reach and I believe also in the Black Citadel, there's an ambassador from the Sylvari specifically that the Tree has chosen. The Tree will call them to her and explain what she needs and then send them to the Black Citadel to be her ambassador to their emperor there.

Elli: And what happens then? Is it like the ambassador is coming back with the suggestions and the whole society makes the decision?

Ree: No, the Tree makes the actual descion, but she calls together as many of the Firstborn as she can or as many people that she feels are specialists. Like the treaty of Ebonhawke. It's a treaty between the Charr and the humans. They try to bring peace betwen the people. The Sylvari are watching that and her ambassador in the area will send letters back to the Tree, back to the Firstborn, explaining what's going on. and the Tree will call together the wisest around her and she will get their advice, she'll get their thoughts. But then the Tree will also go into the dream. Because the Tree is the only one with the ability to sort of freely access that information. And she will look at all the things that have been brought into the dream about the Charr, about the treaty and so with the advice of her council, but also drawing on the strength of that dream primarily, she'll send out her recommandations or her orders, what she wants them to do.

Elli: The nightmare court - is it a strong group?

Ree: Uh, yeah! The Nightmare Court grows stronger with each passing year as more Sylvari are born, but also as they twist the dream more towards nightmare. And their final goal is to twist the whole Tree. When the Tree abandons the tablet, than the dream would be entirely nightmare and they would have won. And they work towards it. They have much more of a structure and a hierarchy. They're individuals in the Nightmare Court who have very much seized power and commanding the other ones around. Because they don't have the Tree, they don't have that gentle wisdom they can call on, they don't have the dream. They have the nightmare and without that connection they're kind of have to be more organized. They have to be more structured. They have to able to say these people are in charge and we will listen to them, because they can't fall back on the wisdom of the Tree in the same way the regular Sylvari can.

Elli: So there has been some disconnection between the Tree and the nightmare court?

Ree: Right, right. And in the Nightmare Court's opinion that's because they are doing the right thing and the Tree has been brainwashed.

Elli: So the Nightmare Court - is it like a secret group or is it open?

Ree: Oh, they are open and they are disliked. They don't walk openly through the groove, the Sylvari city. But you can't really tell if someone is Nightmare Court by look at him. They look like every other Sylvari. So they have secret meetings in the woods and they have groups who congregrate or one or two of them go through the Slyvari and try to convert them and then just vanish away in the crowd again. They have villages in areas in the game where they live, where they gather, where they have their dark vigils and so forth. Where they make their plans to cause pain and destruction and otherwise unfold the dream.

Elli: But do they have the same goal, I mean fight the dragons like the other Sylvari?

Ree: Yes and no. They believe that fighting the dragons isn't part of the tablet. The tablet doesn't say anything about the dragons. So they agree, the dragons are bad, but their primary goal is free the Sylvari. Because how can we fight the dragons when we're all slaves to the tablet? For all we know there's something we should be doing, there's something else Tyria needs, how will we ever know? We can't get past the tablet. It is twisted the dream. So they see that as a secondary goal.

Elli: I see, so they don't feel the urge to fight the dragons now?

Ree: If you see Nightmare Court on the beach with the undead, they'll fight them. But their primary goal is the dream and the tree.

Elli: How about their relation to other races? Do they try to make alliances with other races like the Sons Of Svanir or something?

Ree: No, not usually. They certainly wouldn't with the Sons Of Svanir, because they worship a dragon and the Nightmare Court does think the dragons are probably pretty bad. They don't like the Asura at all. because they remember the Asura used the Sylvari when they first awakened and they have a very strong sense of vengeance in the Nightmare Court, because it's a dark emotion, any dark emotion powers them, it fuels them and fuels their nightmare. The other races, when they do bump into them, they don't get as much from doing horrible things to them, because if I do a horrible thing to a Sylvari, my dark joy of doing a bad thing might go into the dream and your screaming because you're in pain might go into the dream. If I do that to a human it's only half as good. So they really don't focus on the other races, again, they're very, very almost obsessively focused on freeing the tree. Once the tree is freed then we can focus on the rest of the world.

Elli: How does the tree react to this threat?

Ree: Very sad. She's very, very sad.

Elli: But she's not like forming an army or something?

Ree: She has the wardens and the wardens protect the grove and the wardens protect the places where the Sylvari live. She fights the Nightmare ourt through those means, she tries to stop them; there is no way known from stop them influencing the dream, so sorrow is pretty much what she has.

Elli: Are other races able to talk to the tree?

Ree: Yes, they go to the chamber where she manifests, they can see her manifestation and they can speak to her.

Elli: Which won't happen often I guess.

Ree: Won't happen often, but it can happen. You can go there in the game.

Elli: That's great. I'm looking forward to that.

Ree: I can't promise the tree will be manifested when you go to her chamber, but if she is...

Elli:.. you can talk to her. And the Sylvari will allow that?

Ree: About as often as the humans allow you to talk to Queen Jenna.

Elli: Which is not very often I guess.

Elli: So do the Sylvari now have the feeling that they should form an army or something? Like organize, you mentioned, the wardens; I mean there is like a part of organization on a military ground. Is there a tendence to do this in order to fight all these threats that we have in this world?

Ree: The Sylvari are still a very small race, they are nowhere near the size of the Charr legions. They definetely feel like they should raise an army and fight the undead and along the shores of the Maguuma where they live they do that. The wardens do that. Every Sylvari feels a certain call not always to fight, sometimes to be a blacksmith, sometimes to otherwise support their race. All Sylvari have a sense, the dragons are evil and the minions should be destroyed. Some of the wild hunts in existance take you to... - a Sylvari will go to a dragon area. But instead of bringing an army of Sylvari with them, because they aren't that many, he will try to help the people there fight. He will go there and be the hero that leads a small group of Hylek to free their people from the dragons or that helps the Quaggans get away from something horrible that's chasing them. There aren't just not enough Sylvari to do it alone even if they all gather together and threw themselves at Orr. They aren't enough and they don't have the information, they don't have the wisdom. It would be just throwing themselves against a tide of battle. Charrs knowledge of tactics and history and historical battle would be hugely invaluable there; the Sylvari just don't have it. So they know they need to seek out those other races and they need to bring them together in order to fight against the threats that they see in the dragons.

Elli: Do the Sylvari work like glue between these different races?

Ree: Yes, very much. Someone who - I don't think this isn't a spoiler - someone who goes into the game and looks at the three orders - we've mentioned briefly the Durmand Priory, but the Vigil and the Order Of Whispers are the other - you will find a Sylvari in the upper ranks in every single one.

Elli: This is how they want to make the races to work together?

Ree: It's one of many ways. But the Sylvari see that the orders are trying bring some unity between the races and they support that, absolutely support that.

Elli: Sounds great. So..is there... now I forgot my question.

Ree: Before I make the Sylvari sound to much like peacemakers I wanna bring up something I mentioned a couple of times: the Asura. When the first-born were first created and wandering round the world trying to figure out, you know, what's going on and where am I and what is thing here and what's that, the Asura found one of them and performed experiments on them because they thought it's just like a druid, like a tree-creature. They were very surprised they discovered it was living and sentient and totally screaming in pain. The Sylvari have not forgotten that and they do see some races as inherently evil, the Krait for example. The Sylvari have no interest in bringing the krait into an alliance of all teh races against the dragon, because the Krait are simply evil. They were very, very touchy on the Asura for years because the Asura would say: "Oh, we didn't do that and it was a mistake." And then the Inquest would come and do something else horrible and the Sylvari did have a sense of "Those guys aren't different than you guys. You seem to work in little krewes and you don't seem to control all those little krewes. You're just wandering about doing bad things. How do we know which of you is the bad guy and going to be awful?" And so they do have a certain resent having to mistrust the Asura. And they have come to a point where they believe the Asura can be redeemed, they're very important members, very important to bring them into the strife against the dragons. But individual Sylvari especially those who have memories or were born with dreams that told them of the things the Asura did, they find it hard to get over it bias.

Elli: I see, so they are not always nice, friendly people.

Ree: Right, they are people with a goal and when you have someone who is very driven towards a goal that person is not always easy to get along with. Elli:

So they're not only always-happy-hippie-trees.

Ree: Not always, no. And because they never experienced childhood sometimes their emotions can be a little too strong. When you're ten years old and someone steals your toy or smash your hand - boy, are you angry! You just don't know what to do with that anger, you're throwing things at the wall and the Sylvari have to go through that too, they have to understand what those emotions mean, they still have them very powerfully and they don't always have the sort of defense mechanic out of growing up, defense mechanisms to really just deal with it in a mature fashion. And it's not like their children or babies, it's very much like they just respond so passionately that sometimes they're not nice to be around. Sometimes they're very difficult.

Elli: I think what's like this is a civilisation that is - when a child is growing up, then you learn things, you don't do this, you behave like this and that.

Ree: Exactly. And some of that they have in the dream and some of that they have being educated after being awakened, but a Sylvari who goes out in the world is maybe...say two years old. You're Sylvari is significantly less old. So imagine consolidating your whole childhood into two years. That's how much time you've had with those lessons.

Elli: I think it will be pretty interesting to be around them.

Ree: Yeah, they're an interesting race.

Elli: You mentioned earlier that death for them is part of life, but do they have a ritual when a Sylvari dies?

Ree: Less a ritual and more sort of a type of (morning?). The Sylvari tend to bury their dead, they very much are returned to the earth sort of a system, but once someone has died the body itself is returned to the earth and it's less important than the spirit, because the Sylvari don't know much about the mists. They aren't entirely sure what the mists mean to them, but they do know the dream. And in your dream your memories are still a alive. If you and I loved one another and you die in the dream I might find someone with that memory of that love as if they saw it. And so you are still alive and the fact that I loved is still alive somewhere in the dream, somewhere in other peoples memories and within the tree. And so they have this hope, that goes on even past death, this continued empathy and emotion for each other that surpasses death.



[ Edited Wed Jun 27 2012, 04:54PM ]
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[ Edited Mon Jul 16 2012, 10:20AM ]
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Choosing Your Race (Sylvari)

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