Wood Elves (Warhammer Fantasy)
"I don't feel safe in this world no more"
"I don't want to die in a nuclear war"
"I want to sail away to a distant shore"
"And make like an Apeman."
- – The Kinks, Apeman
"Mother Nature is the great equalizer. You can't get away from it."
- – Christopher Heyerdahl
" The trees have grown wild and dangerous. Anger festers in their hearts. Black are their thoughts. Strong is their hate."
- – Treebeard
The Wood Elves of Athel Loren are a race and playable army in Warhammer Fantasy and while you may complain they are tree hugging pansies, these are tree hugging pansies that can shoot you from a distance or set their favourite daemonic tree spirit ally on you for tea. Despite being Wood Elves they were named after a some aquatic Fae in Old English folklore that would turn to water the moment they went into the sunlight.
The dim, dim past
The ancestors of the Wood Elves were High Elf colonists to the Old World, who lived in big sparkling cities on the coasts of what is now Bretonnia and the Empire. However, like all colonists, they eventually got fucked over badly. The High Elves back on Ulthuan and the Dwarf kingdoms had a serious falling out and engaged in a war that was called the War of the Beard or the War of the Grudge.
What it boiled down to was a big series of running battles and sieges that last for decades and the poor colonists were the losers, their lands being the battlegrounds and their people used as the main forces. To add insult to injury, when the dwarfs claimed a win after slaying the phoenix king, the High Elves were attacked in the rear by the renewed Dark Elves (who were responsible for the entire war in the first place) and decided they must abandon the colonies to protect their island home.
Of course jaded and felt taken advantage of, the remaining colonists said fuck this and ventured deeper inland, to make their own home. Driven to desperation, the elves ventured into the forest of Athel Loren, which to this point they had avoided since it did mysterious shit and they were rightly afraid. This time though the forest didn't seem to mind them coming in and when they reach the big old tree known as the Oak of Ages, some of the elf mages went all witchy and claimed they could now hear the voice of the forest and it in turn could hear them.
Overtime the forest come to see the newly named wood elves as a beneficial force, to protect itself like a bunch of white blood cells during the winter months when it was dormant. In turn the Wood Elves gained a new home, new allies, and funky new powers, so it was seen as a good alliance all told.
When a big orc invasion attacked the forest, the elves tried to fight back but found they lacked the strength. It was now though the elf gods showed their hands; on the dawn of the last battle, as the elves drew together to defend the oak of ages against the orc host, spring returned and a massive power swelled from within the forest. The Elf Gods Kurnous and Isha had chosen mortals to be their agents, their demi-god champions, and they smote the orcs to pieces. Since then Orion, avatar of Kurnous, and Ariel, avatar of Isha, have been the King and Queen in the Wood, and the Wood Elves have protected the borders of the forest ever since.
The End Times
Of course, nothing lasts forever, although GW's previous policy of keeping the canon on what seemed like eternal lockdown seemed to challenge that and the Wood Elves we knew and loved have gone through some significant changes what with the End Times reboot of Fantasy. While the world was falling into hell around them, the Wood Elves were content to shrug and say, none of our business, even when three of their neighbours were getting overrun by giant rats (even when sane people would start to be feeling more then a bit worried about this).
Unfortunately this policy of laughing at others going through crap didn't last as Ariel started to fall ill as the Oak of Ages started to rot away and Beastmen started invading in droves. Help was at hand although again it bought crap; at least count through the character and army culling, the Wood Elves are no more after a final battle that reunited the three splinter races back into one Elven kind, with Malekith in charge; Orion is dead and Ariel has merged with Alarielle to become the one true queen of Elvenkind and Incarnate of Isha and life itself. Whether this is all a good thing is whether or not you want to be lumbered with the Dark and High elves now you have to share your forest home with them. Oh and your forest spirit allies don't exactly seemed thrilled about this recent turn of events.
Reasons to love the Wood Elves
Do you like Elves but don't want them to be stuck up assholes or edgy whiny pricks? Then welcome to the exciting world of Wood Elves, where time is wonky like in the Warp and where you can get all the delicious shota maids you could ever want! Wood Elves are basically Elves who didn't want to return to their little island continent and wanted nothing to do with the War of the Beard. So they went deeper into the forests and years later, became insane partying guardians of the forest who are bros with Bretonnia and thus are awesome. Currently they are the one of the fastest armies in Fantasy, don't need to take any tests even on horseback or penalties in regular forest terrains, and did we mention you get a free forest terrain in deployment and can use it to teleport to the other side of the table or use it to attack your friend's Dwarf Miners?
One of the best things about the Wood Elves army is the fact not only can you have Wood Elves, but you can also have forest spirits! You want crazy psycho tree ladies/Elf women? We got that. You want Treebeard rampaging and leading your army? We got that. You want Treebeard's midget friends to break shit? We got that.
Not only that, but the Wood Elves army got some awesome units like Wood Elves surfing on the backs of giant eagles while sniping Orcs with longbows. That isn't enough? How about crazy Elves riding on horseback and slaughtering anything they run against while protected with magical tattoos? Not cool enough? How about dancing Elves using the power of magic to kill shit and serve your ass on the dance floor at the same time?
That is not mentioning they are led by a living demi-god of the hunt who can smash through your enemy like broken twigs, that they can call on dragons for pimped up rides, or that you can ride a beastly stag into battle.
Religion (Gods and all that stuff)
See Warhammer Fantasy Elf Gods for just who the Wood Elves give a damn about sending a prayer to.
- Orion: What happens when you combine an already awesome Elven Lord with a freaking god. The nominal King of the Wood Elves, every spring he comes to life from his own ashes and leads a rampaging blood fury charge out from Athel Loren. Oh, and every winter he dies, cause nature just rolls like that. Downside of this, if there isn't an Orc/Dwarf/Beastman/Undead/something else threatening, Orion just goes and murders a bunch of Bretonnian peasants, possibly the most shat upon people in WHFB. Orion is kinda an ass, but hey, nature is True Neutral even when it is murdering thousands of people. Unfortunately he is now dead, chopped to pieces by Tyrion as the Avatar of Khaine (re-enacting the War in Heaven) and probs not coming back now now we have GOD DAMN ETERNITY KING MALEKITH!
- Ariel: Orion's wife, combo between an Elven mage and Isha,
and (probably) the Lady in the Lake from Bretonnian fameNope. She is officially not the Lady of Peasants. Back when she had rules she was a very powerful caster who became so pissed off in wartime she became a wicked hot Mothman that killed people with her voice. Got mad at Morathi for killing her sister (who happened to be Malekith's waifu), so she went apeshit and almost killed her. Morathi was spared because she taught Ariel a bit of Dark Magic, so Ariel could go back home and fuck up the forest for a few centuries. Oh, and she also carries a 12" wood in her pocket. Take that as you will. Like her husband, she has now been dethroned after she caught whatever the Oak of Ages had and started to waste away. Knowing it would be a waste to lose her power, Alarielle came along and nommed Ariel like a Chaos daemon and merged them together into one super fairy queen, becoming the Incarnate of Isha and Life. Prepare for a spanking, evil doers; the suped-up fairy queen is coming after ya.
- Drycha: Crazy, evil, and hot at least part of the time. Reminds me of Witch Elves. Anyway, she is leader of the anti-wood elf faction of Athel Loren. She wanders around the woods muttering under her breath all the spirits she thinks the Wood Elves somehow let down, and every time there's a battle, more names get added to list. Hmmm, dwarven level of grudge here. She is also older than the Elven presence in the old world. The fluff implies she is up to some shit that will fuck up the wood elves and possibly everyone else, the most recent being she handed the fey enchantress (now a vampire, wut?) over to Nagash for a tasty snack and she is currently gathering an army of fellow pissed off spirits to kick the united elf race out of Athel Loren. Someone needs to stop this bitch... and did. After being misled by Bea'lakor she came to her senses, tried to undo the damage but Eternity King Malekith had had enough and cut her head off.
- Naieth the Prophetess: She hasn't been seen in the game for a while, and wasn't terribly useful when she was. Fluff is fond of her though, with an alarming tendency towards just as planned. May have tricked a Bretonnian knight into becoming the Green Knight. Also has the most badass owl in WHFB. Possible Tzeentch worshipper. Tends to predict the end times quite a bit. Now the End Times are here, she doesn't seem to be able to foresee shit. She helps the Wood Elves until she makes the mistake of scrying on Archaon, who used Tzeentchian magic to warp her body into a chaos portal through which daemons invade until she is destroyed/mercy killed by the united elf alliance.
- Durthu: Old crotchety treeman with a rather freudian attack. Also known as Oakheart to the High Elves (you know, the guy who saved Aenarion's children). Basically hangs around napping until some damn kids come and mess up his lawn. Then he turns into the entire damn ent army from LOTR and shreds whatever he comes across (in older lore he smashed them even harder if they had beards). If he did get brought down by something he would fall over and crush people. His pass time is killing anything that isn't a tree or a Wood Elf but if you were a Wood Elf and you looked at him wrong he is liable to fuck you up. Not that he blames the Wood Elves but they did indirectly by pissing off all kinds of other factions bring a lot of destruction to Athel Loren and that in turn pissed of Durthu. The thing is though he is completely blind with rage but he could actually turn into a really chill guy if only he remembered that he has the power to calm himself down with tree magic.
|Playable Factions in Warhammer Fantasy Battle|
|Human Kingdoms:||The Empire of Man - Bretonnia|
|Elves:||High Elves - Dark Elves - Wood Elves|
|Dwarven:||Dwarfs - Chaos Dwarfs|
|Undead:||Tomb Kings - Vampire Counts|
|Heirs of the Old Ones:||Lizardmen|
|Greenskins||Orcs - Goblins|
|Servants of Chaos||Warriors of Chaos - Daemons of Chaos - Beastmen|