Monday, 3 February 2014

Summer Days

Wow it's been far too long since I updated this. I had meant to sooner, but once again I was without wifi, and then other things kept coming up...

So anyway, the other day I bought a copy of the new White Dwarf. In case you don't know, White Dwarf is a magazine published by Games Workshop to cover new products, hobby articles, battle reports and other things. As of late it's developed a bit of a bad reputation, largely due to the scaling back of hobby and background articles, but just this month it's been rebooted as a weekly magazine (before it was monthly).

I'm... not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, well, it's a pamphlet. it's a mere fraction of the size of the older format, and I don't feel as though I get as much as I used to. On the other hand, it has a much more reasonable price, and I like the way some of the articles are going. I'm a bit disappointed with the lack of new background articles, and the absence of a battle report seems a bit.. odd, but it seems to me like a step in the right direction. They've even started putting in rules again, just like the good old days of Chapter Approved!

So, all in all, the jury's still out as far as I'm concerned when it comes to this new version.

Oh, and guess what I also got...

That's right, a vintage copy of 6th edition Warhammer. I happened upon it in a nearby second-hand bookstore, along with a copy of the rules for 5th edition Warhammer and the 5th edition Orcs and Goblins army book. I was only able to snag the 6th edition book though, but I'm very glad I did. As well as being extremely nostalgic for me, it's also given me more than a few ideas for hobby projects in the future. For those wondering, checking the inside cover shows it's a third imprint from March of 2002.

And I also painted up both of my Wood Elf nobles, to help with all the tedious bureaucratic administrative work that comes with ruling a woodland kingdom. Background ahoy!

Mir'q'arielle the traveler

Like the current Wishmaster, Mir'q'arielle hails from Imaginaerum, the provincial capital of the Meadows of Heaven. Of all the Asrai of the Meadows of Heaven, Mir'q'arielle is by far the most well-travelled, having visited over the course of her life nearly every part of Athel Loren inhabited by the elves, and many many locations beyond the forest's boarders as well. Indeed, Mir'qarielle rarely spends much time at all within her homeland, instead spending her time roaming the forest and wandering between different areas. Strangely however, considering this wonderlust, she has never taken up the path of the Waywatcher. It is likely that this is due to differing focuses in travelling, for where most Waywatchers are content to simply roam the pathways of Athel Loren, Mir'q'arielle also has a rare taste for discovering new lands outside the woodland dominion of the Asrai. Indeed, it is said by many that Mir'q'arielle embodies the spirit and joy of exploration that the first Elven colonists to settle outside of Ulthuan, long before the discovery of Athel Loren and the formation of the Wood Elves. 

As a result of her constant travelling, Mir'q'arielle eschews much of the more traditional wear of the Meadows of Heaven, and instead wears garb and ornaments picked up from other parts of Athel Loren. Her frequent journeys also give Mir'q'arielle a number of important tasks, especially diplomatic roles. It is often Mir'q'arielle that is sent to entreat with other Asrai kindreds and factions, the good reputation built up in previous adventures serving her well. Even when not representing the Meadows of Heaven, she will often accompany delegations from the territory as a guide, ensuring the group reaches it's destination with speed and safety. 

The other important role Mir'q'arielle often fulfils is that of inquisitor or investigator. Her many travels have left her with a number of sources of information, and she is frequently occupied with hunting down potential cures for the Winterheart. Any word of such a treatment, or something that could lead to one, is swiftly pursued, for amongst the Asrai of the Meadows of Heaven Mir'q'arielle is second to none and equal only to Aneaeth Ollissin in her drive to see the end of the Winterheart's malign influence over the Wishmaster. Her connections with the rest of Athel Loren work both ways however, and as much as she debates in the name of the Meadows of Heaven, she is also influenced by the rest of the forest, and so represents the interests of greater Athel Loren within the royal court of the Meadows of Heaven, as well as acting as a watchful eye for the King and Queen in the wood to ensure that the Wishmaster and the irregularities brought on by his condition do not spread to the rest of the Asrai, and that he and the Meadows of Heaven conform to the rest of the forest where possible. 

Regardless of the reason or purpose behind her travels, Mir'q'arielle's journeys frequently take her into danger, and so she has become a competent fighter and expert shot with her longbow, in fact believed to be one of the legendary Hunter's Talons originally crafted for the master Waywatchers in ages past. Not only that, but Mir'q'arielle has also come to form close ties with a Murder of Spites, who now travel within her cloak and protect her from harm by both keeping lookout for danger and striking directly at assailants. Mir'q'arielle is also a close friend of the Eagles in and around the Meadows of Heaven, and has a number of gifts from the noble birds as a result of this friendship, including the great helm of raptors, a cloak of Eagle down, the dense feather coatings of which provide as much protection as an equivalent piece of metal armour while being considerably lighter warmer and more comfortable, and her faithful avian companion, Kaereon, whose vicious beak and talons prove just as effective in combat as any hand weapon. 

Gaerielle, the twilight storm 

Gaerielle is the current leader of the Twilight Glade, one of the smallest and most mysterious of the areas in the Meadows of Heaven. Isolationist even by the standards of the Asrai, the elves that live in the Twilight Glade rarely interact with even their kin in the rest of the Meadows of Heaven, and devote much of their lives to 'mastering the darkness', spending much time perfecting the arts of divination (such that it is said they rival the seers of the Celestial Heath in their ability to navigate the paths of fate), and prowess in combat, and consequently the Twilight Glade produces some of the most incredibly skilled, fearless, merciless and terrifyingly lethal fighters in all the Meadows of Heaven, and for many leagues beyond. Indeed, the warriors of the Twilight Glade are famous for having never surrendered or fled in battle in the entire history of the Meadows of Heaven, and such was the reputation they gained during Cyanathair's first assault on Athel Loren that many Beastmen would panic and run if they believed elves from the Twilight Glade stood against them. 

Because of this, elves from the Twilight Glade have often acted as bodyguards for Wishmasters, and Gaerielle continues this tradition as well as representing both her home and the armies of the Meadows of Heaven in the royal court. Adorned with Amethysts, considered by the Asrai of the Meadows of Heaven to be the gemstone of death, and a Helm of the Hunt formed from the antlers of a mighty Great Stag fallen in battle, and wielding a Spear of Twilight, Gaerielle acts as the Wishmaster's protector and King's Executioner. Almost unique amongst the peoples and civilisations of the world, those who dwell in the Meadows of Heaven hold no dishonour in a leader refusing a challenge, for should a particularly skilled ruler fall in such a test of strength their leadership would be lost forever. Instead, the Wishmaster of the Meadows of Heaven appoints a King's Executioner, a noble invested with the authority to represent their lord in personal combat, as well as to execute those the Wishmaster deems particularly worthy of their wrath. It is considered an honour to be appointed as a King's Executioner, for it is a task that requires exceptional honour, valour, conduct and battle prowess. 

Of the Asrai of the Twilight Glade, Gaerielle easily has the most contact with the world beyond her home, and is one of the most social of the elves of the Twilight Glade, something made necessary due to her role in the politics of the Meadows of Heaven. Even so, she is still sombre, brooding and of few words (a common trait in the Twilight Glade, for it's inhabitants strongly believe that actions speak far louder than words), and often stays to her own company. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, for her cold silent brooding temperament is often enough do discourage any who would intend harm upon the Wishmaster, and is often enough to restore order to a heated debate. Where Gaerielle truly excels, however, is not in court discussions but at the general's table and on the field of battle. Like all nobles from the Twilight Glade, she is an extremely proficient warrior and peerless tactician, and has led armies from the Meadows of Heaven to victory on many occasions, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. However, she is considerably less capable as a strategist, and while she can exquisitely orchestrate battles, she often struggles to master the greater scheme of conflicts, though this is something she would dearly like to rectify. 

There is also one final side to Gaerielle, one that is seen by almost none. For beneath her icy exterior there resides a kind, gentle and poetic soul. While her upbringing has left this aspect of her highly suppressed, she nonetheless is often silently upset when those around her stereotype her as only a cold battle-hungry killer, though she would never let such feelings surface in public. Indeed, it could be that one of the reasons she is so utterly loyal to the current Wishmaster is that he is one of the few who know about this and give her someone to confide in.. 

That's everything for now then, I have more Glade Guard to paint. 


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