In the time before the DragonLords walked Tal'Vorn, before
the humans landed in their screaming ships of yellow flame, a single
Race lived within the woodlands, grasslands and the forests of
Tal'Vorn. This Race, though not immensely populous, was exceedingly
long lived and thus, with time, had spread across the entire of the
Eastern Land. They had slowly evolved in the quiet places of Tal'Vorn,
avoiding the high mountains and great plains where the more unpleasant
monsters made their homes, secure in their own power and their ability.
Calling themselves the Ist'A'Breth, meaning 'Blessed in the Light',
this Race was technologically young and yet themselves ancient, with a
history stretching back many generations. They developed a highly
ritualized culture, with strict adherence to tradition and the accepted
normality. They where slow to change, slow to accept an altering in
their reality or their world. They had their own highly structured
religious system, believing that when they died their bodies would
return to the planet, to the Life Flow. And thus the coming of Grathis
was like a sledgehammer.
Whether or not the God of Knowledge and Mani knew that the Ist'A'Breth
existed is unknown, and since none can know the mind of a God, not
likely to be known either. Regardless, his actions were the same and
they had the same devastating effect upon the Ist'A'Breth. The Mani
that Grathis created, the Mani that allowed the other Gods and their
creations to utilize Magic, was an anathema to the Ist'A'Breth, a most
lethal poison that killed thousands in the first month.
The Ist'A'Breth had no choice but to retreat, their usual tenants of
order forgotten, their culture and rituals forsaken simply to survive.
They travelled across the lands of Tal'Vorn on foot for many years, all
aiming for one destination, using all their skill with their magic, the
Scripture, to try and stave off the effects of the Mani. Though many
thousands survived to reach Lathrandar Forest, millions died, their
bodies collapsing as they walked, before the power of the Scripture
destroyed their cells, bones and flesh - Returning them to the great
When they finally reached the Lathrandar Forest they were horrified to
find that it had been occupied by the children of the Lady Vriclar that
called themselves the Elves. The Elves, however, were still nomadic,
moving about the forests and living in the treetops, allowing the
Ist'A'Breth to avoid them for the most part. And where they could not,
when the Ist'A'Breth ran into a tribe of Elves, a few spells from the
Scripture was usually enough to allow their escape.
It took almost a decade for the majority of the Ist'A'Breth, having
entered Lathrandar Forest, to reach their final city of Lara, their
greatest capital and the only place where there was enough Scripture
Runes to hold back the Mani Sickness. By this time the original
government had long since collapsed, the Ist'A'Breth all simply
focusing upon the century long walk and struggle across Tal'Vorn's
face. However, now that the Race was together again, they looked to a
new leader, one who could guide them and help them to rebuild their
The Ist'A'Breth are not immortal, though they can live for many
centuries if not killed or laid low by the Mani Sickness. In some ways
they resemble the Elves, with delicately pointed ears and slender,
almost fragile builds. However the Ist'A'Breth evolved within the
forests and were not created like the Elves. Thus the Ist'A'Breth were
even more at home within the high forests, their ears having evolved to
pick out the sounds of attackers in the woodland, their flesh a very
pale green and mottled to hide them in the leaves, eyes a dull red
without pupil or iris, designed to see in even total darkness.
Once the Ist'A'Breth where a peaceful race, with no need for the tools
of war, their Scripture Magic being more then enough to hold off any of
the more aggressive natural Tal'Vorn wildlife, however with the coming
of the Gods and their children, times changed and the need for the art
of war become dire indeed. This change was highlighted most in the way
the Ist'A'Breth referred to themselves, for in their society names
reflect upon who someone is beneath their fašade of daily lies.
Ist'A'Breth, Blessed In The Light, no longer fit a crippled and
vengeful Race, a Race abandoned by world they had been born to protect.
Thus they changed their name to the Lar'K'Leth which means 'We Who
Shall Not Fall'. From that moment the entire purpose of the Race was
altered, the Lar'K'Leth focusing their remaining, weaker, Scripture
magics upon more effective defensive and offensive Scripts and
schooling themselves in the arts of war. Outnumbered by the other,
newer denizens of Lathrandar, the Elves and the Beasts, the Lar'K'Leth
formed a hit and run form of warfare, their strange eyes and uncanny
sense of hearing allowing them to become expert trackers and huntsmen.
With their withdrawal into the forest, the Lar'K'Leth began to form a
symbiotic relationship with the woods themselves, becoming more a part
of the forest then any other living thing within it. Born within the
woodlands, knowing that the death of Lathrandar Forest would mean the
death of the Lar'K'Leth, and the forest knows that if the Lar'K'Leth
were to die, then the defender of the trees would be no more and the
great forest would follow soon after.
Because Lathrandar Forest was the place where the Goddess of Life, the
Lady Vriclar, first trod upon the face of Tal'Vorn, is gifted with a
strange semi-sentience and the oldest of the trees seem to have minds
of their own. Many strange and intelligent humanoid creatures make
their home amidst the woodlands.
The Dryads, or the Il'tain in the Lar'K'Leth tongue, are highly
aggressive tree spirits which have two forms. The first seems to be a
mimicking of the Elven image of Vriclar in that they resemble a
delicately featured, wild woman, leaves in her hair and clad in bark,
grass and moss. Yet when angered, as they often are, their features
seem to shift and melt, their flesh becoming as hard as bark and their
limbs turning to branches. In this form they have the strength of tree
roots that can crack stones and oaks that can withstand hurricanes.
Yet other creatures are even closer to the trees, some saying that they
evolved from the very forest itself similar to how the Lar'K'Leth did.
Resembling little more then mighty plants, these creatures, these
Issa'rn, are even spoken of in human legend as the mythical Treemen.
And indeed these creatures have now grown so rare that they are almost
extinct and when one falls, either in battle or through misfortune, it
is a cause for great sorrow amidst the already mourning Lar'K'Leth.
Most inhabitants of the forest however are less powerful, though
perhaps more vicious. They stir up the trees and cause the endless maze
of pathways within the forest to shift and change from day to day until
it is almost impossible to map the forest for more then a few weeks at
a time. Of course this does not effect the Lar'K'Leth who have no need
for maps within the forest that forms their home, the Beasts simply
wander where they will and gather at their Waymarkers easily enough for
the forest refuses to grow near these conduits of power and of course
the Elves simply travel through the tree-tops in straight-lines.
Lar'K'Leth society is as simple now as it was once complicated.
Everything is geared for war. Any able bodied Lar'K'Leth, male or
female, is trained to fight form a young age and taught how to handle a
bow often before they can walk. Because the forest provides food and
water there is no need for farming and clothing can be made from grass,
shed bark or the leather of animals for the Lar'K'Leth respect only the
Forest, not the things that live within it. The greatest of the
Lar'K'Leth archers can shoot in total darkness, their eyes blinded, and
still hit at a distance of more then three hundred yards, their
Scripture enhanced bows allowing them to shoot far further then is
naturally possible and are known as the Has'ter. However there are many
ways to wage war and, though the Lar'K'Leth are the unsurpassed masters
of the ambush and the hit-and-run, just as the Beasts are expert
raiders, the Dwarves superb siege-engineers and the DragonLords, Demons
and Anvar consummate shock troopers, the Lar'K'Leth have been known to
engage forces in other ways.
For some the sorrow of their dying Race simply becomes to much to bear
and they will abandon all their worldly possessions, keeping only basic
clothing, their Scripture amulet and a pair of swords. Calling
themselves the Wis'arn these Lar'K'Leth leave Lara with the intention
of bringing the fight to their enemies, to drown their sorrow in a
flood of rage and glory. However these Wis'arn are still Lar'K'Leth,
are still connected to the forest and thus will not simply lie down and
die. They fight with all of their considerable skill, turning their
speed and agility with a longbow into furious, frenzied assaults,
ducking, diving, leaping through combat almost like a dancer.
On rare occasions the individual Wis'arn survive and join up with
others of their kind, forming small armies lead by the wildest fighter,
the most frenzied dancer. These Wis'arn, the Wis'arn'ai, mark their
leadership by the usage of a long spear instead of two swords, the
wooden shaft allowing for even more exuberant dances and movements. It
is said that a Wis'arn'ai can strike an opponent anywhere, even if they
are separate by up to 100 metres, within a heartbeat.
The third form of war used by the Lar'K'Leth, other then the ambush and
the wild charge favoured by the Has'ter and the Wis'arn respectively is
utilized by the Scripture Casters. They use the very power of the forest
itself against the invaders, turning the full force of the Scripture
against the living flesh of their enemies. The full wrath of a single
Scripture Mage can be terrifying, especially when he is near
Lathrandar, and a group of them is a force to be truly feared. Yet,
unfortunately, the number of Scripture Casters is falling every year as
they are killed, die of old age, or are beset by misfortune.
Indeed it is this, misfortune, that seems to plague the Lar'K'Leth as a
Race. Ever since the Gods came to Tal'Vorn, this race has been on the
back foot, forced to retreat into the deep forest, forced to live in
seclusion, slowly dying out and unable to do anything about it. It is a
source of unending sorrow for the Lar'K'Leth and a font of incredible
rage that drives some of them into fits of violence against the other
races that would do a Demon proud. Yet, despite it all, the Lar'K'Leth
still strive to live with the forest, as one with the trees and as one
with the place of their birth, knowing in their hearts that their time,
and the time of the forest, is numbered.
We will not fall!
She was a blur, a twisting blur of limbs and wood and a blade that
we couldn't even keep in one place, let alone hit. She killed David
before we even knew she was there and more then a dozen of the others
followed before we could even finish drawing our swords and prepare any
spells! But for all of it's lethality, I must say that her dance was
beautiful. Her long dark hair seemed like the sea, her pale flesh
tinged with green, limbs lithe and smooth and clad only in simple brown
cloth. Her visage was covered in delicate whirling tattoos, intricate
endless patterns of swirls and whorls and circlets, all merging
together, etched into her pale flesh in a deep bloody red, red like her
eyes as she stood over me, spear planted into my thigh and thus the
ground below me, staring into my eyes before smiling, jerking her
weapon free and vanishing back into the woods. She only let me live so
I could tell you this, so I could tell you not to go into the forest. .
The ramblings of an unnamed Order Mage, later executed for incompetence in killing one aggressor.
(Aggressor later identified as a Wis'arn'ai)