Saturday, 15 March 2014


If you're one of the (very, very, very, very few) people who regularly visits this blog, you'll probably have noticed two things:

1) every weekend a short background story has been posted here, and, 

2) this weekend no such thing happened. 

Some explanation may be wanted. The short stories are the result of an initiative I've begun in response to the new version of White Dwarf now published by Games Workshop. Alas, despite my wishes, the new publication has yielded no new major background pieces I am aware of. Because of this, I have decided to publish a short background story of my own devising, to ensure that hobbyists everywhere can get a regular dose of backgroundey goodness. This will continue every Saturday (the same time that this new White Dwarf is released) until they start publishing short stories of their own again. 

Now for the reason why there wasn't one put up this week. This was because I instead decided to put the time into finishing the second unit of Glade Guard for my Wood Elf army, this one equipped with a Banner of Eternal Flame. Work on this unit is the reason why there have been two short stories before any sort of background on why they're being written, due to me working to what was essentially the tabletop hobbyist equivalent to Stalin's five year plan in an attempt to finish the entire unit before university started back up again. Alas, numerous occurrences in life (not least of which was me coming down with a terrible head cold for about a week), resulted in several delays and eventually caused the endeavour to crash and burn. But now it's finally finished, so you can all have some nice army background instead of a short story. 

Glade Guard: The Warmth of Winter 

Fire is a common danger to any forest, and yet also often tragically inevitable. The great and wondrous forest of Athel Loren is no exception, and over it's long history the forest has suffered many fires, either through unrelenting act of nature or barbaric destruction by the torches of an invader. When such forest fires break out in Athel Loren, Fire Spites are often produced, usually from the transformation of a number of the Spites living in the afflicted area. Born from the burning death of the woodland around them and the destruction of their homes, Fire Spites are consumed by pain and murderous rage at the destruction of the forest, and filled with hatred for those who would instigate it. They are vicious even by the standards of the nature spirits that dwell in Athel Loren, though unlike other Spites they are often brooding and sombre. Fire Spites will often avoid Elves and even other forest spirits, either staying with their own kind or living in isolation. They are driven with an insatiable thirst for revenge upon those who would burn the forest, and the power of fire flows through them. A Fire Spite can unleash blasts of flame, or burn and scorch with a touch, and they vindictively suck all warmth out of the air around them. Should any number of Fire Spites become affiliated with a group of Elven warriors, they will assist them in battle, providing warmth and illumination, as well as magically setting their weapons ablaze to ensure the enemy is burnt just as their woodland home once was. 

The Elves of the Meadows of Heaven make frequent use of Fire Spites, primarily for defensive purposes in siege warfare, where packs of them contained in special mystically-protected baskets fulfil a similar role to the cauldrons of boiling oil employed by other races. Of all the various kinbands in the Meadows of Heaven however, the one with the closest affinity with Fire Spites is the Glade Guard kinband known as The Warmth of Winter. Unlike other Glade Guard kinbands, those in The Warmth of Winter no longer have a hall in which to call home. Instead, it is a nomadic group formed of Asrai who have had their homes destroyed, most often in warfare. While they may visit other halls within the Meadows of Heaven, those of The Warmth of Winter will most often be found roaming the forest, frequently making use of the large number of secret camps scattered throughout the Meadows of Heaven as part of the Invisible Fortress. Their experiences have made them hardened and merciless fighters, who will slay any enemies they come across with neither relent nor remorse unless explicitly instructed to do otherwise by an Elf of higher authority. Their shared painful backgrounds inevitably means that those of The Warmth of Winter become extremely tight-knit, and are very protective of one another and mistrustful of outsiders, even other Asrai. Once their trust has been earned however, they will be staunchly loyal to the end. The Warmth of Winter's close affinity with Fire Spites stems from the nature of the origin of it's members, which invariably causes both the kinband and the Fire Spites that accompany it to find mutual sympathy and kindred spirits within each other. 

For much of the history of The Meadows of Heaven, The Warmth of Winter has been an extremely small kinband, though their connection with Fire Spites and the potent flaming attacks resulting from it made them much sought-after in times of war. The destruction wrought on The Meadows of Heaven during Cyanathair's first assault on Athel Loren at the onset of the Secret War however resulted in large numbers of Asrai loosing their homes, friends and loved ones and consequently The Warmth of Winter grew in size until by the time of Cyanathair's defeat at the Battle of Anguish, it had become one of the largest Glade Guard kinbands in The Meadows of Heaven, and ever since then armies from there will almost always include at least one unit of Glade Guard from The Warmth of Winter. 

So there you have it. Don't worry, there will be another short story next Saturday and in the ones after that. In fact that may very likely be the only updates to this blog for some time as I take a break from tabletop hobby to focus on university work and a terrible new insidious threat to my free time: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

No comments:

Post a Comment