About the Sylvan World:

Third Age Sylvan Continent for Sylvan Cycle books

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Sylvaeleth: the world in which members of the Sylvan Orders and of the Asheken Hordes exist. The world where Skinshifter, The Dryad’s Sacrifice, and all of the other Sylvan stories take place.

Deadwalkers: a general term used for any single member or multiple members of the Asheken Hordes; deadwalkers were once members of the Sylvan Races who were Turned by one of the vampires’ Tainted Bites into undead beings doomed to roam the world of Sylvaeleth in a state of eternal decay.

Sylvan Orders: often shortened to Sylvans, the Sylvan Orders is a general name given in reference to all of the different races populating the Southern Continent. Each Sylvan Order is made up solely of the clans of a specific race of beings. For example, Katja’s Feliconas Clan is a part of the Werecat Order, which in turn is one order within the Sylvan Orders. Zombies, ghouls, vampires and other deadwalker monsters are not members of the Sylvan Orders, but instead belong to the Asheken Hordes.

Sylvan Mage Types:

Charmchanter: Charmchanters (also known as charmed bards) have the ability to imbue their spoken words with magic. The gift is most common among brownies, dwarves, dryads, elves, giants, humans, and leprechauns. Charmchanting usually manifests itself after puberty when gifted individuals’ voices become extremely rich and soothing to other listeners. During this time, charmchanters should begin learning the special mage language of Kwaërm because this language has proven the most reliable in carrying out a charmchanter’s commands. While powerful, charmchanter magic is limited to the movement and manipulation of solid physical objects. It cannot influence living beings, beasts, or plants. Nor can it manipulate water, fire, or air. It can, however, move and mold stone, earth, and metal (with the exception of sunsilver). Caution: without proper training in word meanings and pronunciation, charmchanters can cause serious harm to themselves and others. Accidental earthquakes are a common cause of death. It is, therefore, wise for such mages to take a vow of silence until their proper training can begin.

Dreamdrifter: Dreamdrifters have the magical ability to mentally inhabit the thoughts and dreams of others. This ability is especially powerful when either the mage or quarry is asleep. This is the mage gift that can have the added specialty gift of prophesy in which the dreamdrifter will give divine-inspired predictions about the future. Such prophetically gifted dreamdrifters are known as seers. The gift is most common among the races of griffins, harpies, humans, satyrs and often manifests itself in individuals with ties to ancient royal bloodlines. Dreamdrifting usually manifests itself after puberty when gifted individuals experience a sensation often described as “constant whispering in the back of the mind.” During this time, individuals will often inadvertently share the dreams of their closest relatives and loved-ones. Caution: if left unchecked, such haphazard influence over others can cause horrible nightmares and dangerous hallucinations in both the quarry and the mage. Without proper training, the most powerful mages will experience debilitating migraines, which will lead to a comatose state and eventual death.

Fireforger: Fireforgers have the magical ability to produce, control, and manipulate physical and spiritual fire. This powerful ability is especially important because it is one of only two magical gifts able to purify the souls of others. Fireforgers have the ability to destroy Asheken deadwalkers body and soul. Therefore, they are the Sylvan Orders main defense against the evil of the Asheken Soul Taint. The gift is most common among the races of dwarves, satyrs, lamia, aspards, capanths, serpcaps, and werecats that resemble leopards and often manifests itself in individuals with naturally talented as blacksmiths or silversmiths. Fireforging usually manifests itself after puberty when gifted individuals begin to feel a sensation of warmth spread from their inner being to their outermost limbs. The manifestation culminates in a flame appearing just above the mage’s head. This flame will blaze without burning anything around it until it is extinguished. The Blessing of the Flame can only be extinguished by a more experienced fireforger. Once Extinguishment occurs, fireforger initiates will be able to create small, cool flames and may begin training to build their flame intensity and purity. Mage flame intensities follow a Flame Refinement system rank order of: guttering gold, bright orange, simmering scarlet, deep violet, medium blue, light blue, bluish white, and finally brilliant white. Caution: While all fireforgers are naturally immune to fire’s damage, untrained fireforgers can cause serious harm to others from accidental or intentional conflagrations. Use extreme caution when training them.

Harmhealer: Harmhealers have the magical ability to heal others through a unique combination of medicinal knowledge and spiritual knowledge. Effective harmhealers must have a well-developed knowledge of curative plants, a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, and a deep understanding of Kwaërm. They are therefore the mages most reliant on education to complete their work. The harmhealer’s gift is most common among races such as centaurs, elves, dryads, naiads, leprechauns, and merefolk. Harmhealing usually manifests itself after puberty when gifted individuals experience miraculous rates of healing of both bodily sicknesses and injuries. With proper training, they can learn to transfer this restorative magic to others. Harmhealing and skinshifting seem to be closely related. Harmhealers are able to heal mental, physical, and spiritual disease and injuries, while powerful skinshifters also possess a limited ability to heal physical wounds in themselves and others. Both gifts also seem to draw their initial power from the full moon. Skinshifters transform under a full moon’s influence, while harmhealers often bathe their own injuries in moonlight to help restore them faster. Caution: with or without proper training, harmhealers can easily overexert themselves during the healing of patients. Magical overexertion can injure or kill the harmhealer. This is why harmhealers must rely on medicinal remedies as well as magical therapies. This is also why advanced training and education are needed by those with this gift.

Shadowshaper: Shadowshapers have the ability to twist light and air to suit their needs. This allows shadowshapers to seem invisible, create illusions, and direct wind. While powerful, shadowshaper magic is limited because it cannot influence solid objects, living beings, beasts, or plants, water, or fire. The gift is most common among brolaghans, brownies, dwarves, dryads, elves, humans, and leprechauns. Shadowshaping usually manifests itself after puberty when gifted individuals’ undergo a loss of colored vision and then blindness. Caution: without proper training, shadowshapers will remain blind. Once training begins, mentors should never allow initiates to experiment on their own as they can cause serious harm to themselves and others. Accidental suffocation is a common cause of death among untrained mages.

Skinshifter: Skinshifters have the magical ability to change forms between their “true form” and one or two “alternate forms”. The gift is most common among bestial races such as ogres, werecats, and werewolves. Skinshifting usually manifests itself after puberty when gifted individuals experience the influence of a full moon. During this time, individuals will skinshift from their true form into either a beast alternate form or a being alternate form. Caution: without proper training, skinshifters can experience intense pain during transformation, some may even develop “skinshifting madness” while in beast form and behave violently toward themselves or others.

Sproutsinger: Sproutsingers, often called sowers in ancient texts, have the magical ability to communicate with plants of various types and to use plants to pass messages to other beings. Some of the most powerful sproutsingers can even be able to Merge with certain trees and camouflage themselves inside the hearts of trees for a limited amount of time. The gift is most common among races such as dryads, elves, and pixies. Sproutsinging usually manifests itself after puberty with manifestation indicated by plants seeming to move or grow toward the mage. Caution: without proper training, sproutsingers may not be able to control their encounters with plants. Some plants such as vines can strangle their untrained sproutsingers in an effort to grow close to them while other sproutsingers will have difficulty understanding the difference between a plant’s limited emotions and their own. Another caution, even advanced sproutsinger mages can become trapped inside the trees they choose to Merge with and die.

Waterweaver: Waterweavers have the magical ability to produce, control, and manipulate water. The gift is most common among the races of brolaghans, merefolk, naiads, and sea serpents. Waterweaving usually manifests itself after puberty when gifted individuals begin to feel a sensation of coolness spread from their inner being to their outermost limbs. The manifestation culminates in a sphere of water appearing just above the mage’s. This flame will blaze without burning anything around it until it is extinguished. The Blessing of the Flame can only be extinguished by a more experienced waterweaver. Once Extinguishment occurs, waterweaver initiates will be able to create small, cool flames and may begin training to build their flame intensity and purity. Mage flame intensities follow a Flame Refinement system rank order of: guttering gold, bright yellow, rich orange, blood red, simmering scarlet, deep violet, medium blue, light blue, bluish white, and finally brilliant white. Caution: While all waterweavers are naturally immune to fire’s damage, untrained waterweavers can cause serious harm to others from accidental or intentional conflagrations. Use extreme caution when training them.

Wraithwalker: Wraithwalkers, also known as discerners, have the magical ability to sense the spiritual realms. This powerful ability is especially important because it is one of only two magical gifts able to purify the souls of others (the other being the gift of fireforging). Although very rare, wraithwalking is most common among the races of humans, giants, griffins, harpies, accipions, girtab, ulfrions, canis, werewolves, and werecats. It usually manifests itself after puberty when gifted individuals experience an extra sense of the layers of reality around them often described as “seeing crimson shapes or glimmers.” Some wraithwalkers have been known to attack the evil within their enemies’ souls through verbal shouts, roars, or chants; however, most must directly touch their quarries to focus their mage attacks. Caution: Without proper training, wraithwalkers will be extremely vulnerable to evil influences and can Fall to the temptation of necromancy.

A note on mage names: Only mages who have achieved a Second Rank adept level or higher through their studies may be addressed using the mage moniker contraction of ’lyn or ’lynn.

Counteracting Magics:

Charmchanting magic can be counteracted with sproutsinging magic.
Dreamdrifting magic can be counteracted with shadowshaping magic.
Fireforging magic can be counteracted with waterweaving magic.
Harmhealing magic can be counteracted with skinshifting magic.
Skinshifting magic can be counteracted with dreamdrifting magic.
Shadowshaping magic can be counteracted with wraithwalking magic.
Sproutsinging magic can be counteracted with fireforging magic.
Waterweaving magic can be counteracted with charmchanting magic.
Wraithwalking magic can be counteracted with harmhealing magic.

Turned Mage Types:

Changeling: a Turned skinshifter mage

Enchanter or Enchantress: a Turned charmcanter mage, they speak their curses in a corrupted version of Kwaërm known as called Zrâthos

Necromancer: a Turned wraithwalker mage; the vampire elder Luther became the first necromancer

Psychic: a Turned dreamdrifter

Shade: a Turned shadowshaper mage

Shaman: a Turned sproutsinger; a slang term for a shaman is a hag, which is also the name for a Turned dryad

Undine: a Turned waterweaver

Witch: a Turned harmhealer

Note: Fireforgers cannot be Turned by deadwalkers; when bitten by a deadwalker, a fireforger’s flame will destroy the mage and the attacker at the moment of attempted soul corruption. Witch can also be used as a general for any Turned female mage, while Warlock is used as a general for any Turned male mage.

Some Important Sylvan Races:

Brolaghan: nicknamed the “Gray male” or “wisp” by others, a brolaghan (or grayman as he calls himself and others of his race) is a member of a race of male beings descended from the Nymph and the Hippocampus. Like naiads, brolaghans have such an affinity to water that they must be near it at all times in order to survive. Most brolaghans live in or near the sea, although there are some that inhabit freshwater lakes and rivers. Brolaghans usually court and become lifemates to naiads, with any progeny being raised within the family unit until they gain independence to establish their own territories in their teens. Few beings besides naiads know what brolaghans look like because almost all brolaghans are adept at shadowshaping and several also possess waterweaving abilities. Secretive brolaghans usually present themselves as a wispy gray mist, hence their nicknames. Mages are usually waterweavers or shadowshapers. Turned brolaghan are called revenants.

Centaur: a female or male being descended from the Nymph and the Hippocampus. Centaurs have a body of a horse and the torso, neck, and head shaped like those of a Nymph. Male centaurs are bigger than females with a long mane running from the top of their heads to the base of their torsos while females have manes only on their heads. Male and females all have pointed ears, hairless faces and chests, and fur covering their horse bodies in shades ranging from cream to black. Centaurs are a migratory race with various clans sharing the Shara Plains east of the Nyghe sol Dyvesé mountain range in relative peace with each other and other races. The most politically and magically powerful of these clans is the Apotharni Clan. Mages are usually skinshifters or sproutsingers. Turned centaurs are called dullahan.

Dryad (also known to Tyglesean humans as Glen Folk): a female being descended from the Nymph and the Hippocampus. Dryads look similar to humans, but have green skin, oak leaf shaped ears and red or auburn hair which resembles trailing vines. Dryads are excellent warriors and hunters, but generally prefer vegetarian diets and livelihoods built around crop-growing and art. Dryads hate fire due to its damaging effect on plants and have therefore always had an uneasy relationship with fireforger mages. When dryads seek a lifemate, they usually court and marry elves, but can marry males from other races. Any female offspring of a dryad will be dryads themselves and will leave the family unit at the age of 12 to live and work within a clan of the dryad sisterhood until they themselves marry and produce young. Most dryads will outlive their lifemates and will therefore rejoin the sisterhood soon after their lifemate’s death. Dryads are bonded to a specific tree at the time of their births and stand as fierce protectors of their trees. They have the ability to merge into the trunk of their bonded tree to rest or heal an injury. When dryads journey, they always carry a special fagot of twigs, roots, and leaves from their tree with them. This sacred fagot helps them heal from any injuries during the journey. As long as a Sylvaeleth dryad’s tree lives, she will live. If her tree dies, the dryad will die. Dryad mages are usually sproutsingers. Turned dryads are called hags.

Elf: a male being of a race descended from the Nymph and the Hippocampus. Elves look similar to humans, but have tall, willowy bodies with skin: tones ranging from lilac to deep eggplant purple and aspen-leaf shaped ears. There are currently two elf clans currently in existence: the darker-skinned Aevry Clan and the lighter-skinned Toulouse Clan. Aevry Clan members usually prefer to take well-educated occupations as mentors, politicians, scribes, etc. while members of the Toulouse Clan prefer manual labor jobs. These clans do not interact well with each other due to the schism in occupation attitudes. Many members of this race are adept as harmhealers although mage abilities of shadowshaping and sproutsinging are fairly common among elves as well. Mages are usually sproutsingers or harmhealers. Turned elves are called ghouls.

Giant: a male or female being of a race descended from the Sphinx and Manticore. Giants are humanoids roughly three to four bodylengths tall (15 to 20 feet tall) with skin as hard as stone (a trait shared by trolls and girtab). Giants are incredibly strong and are excellent warriors and masons even though they are largely ungifted in mage talents. During the Clan Wars, giants remained largely neutral until several clans of elves tried to overrun their territories and enslave them as workers. The giants rebelled and won their independence as a separate Sylvan Order with the help of the dwarves and ogres. Turned giants are called cyclopses.

Griffin: a male or female being of a race descended from the Sphinx and the Manticore. Griffins have the head, torso, talons, and wings of an eagle with the hindquarters and tail of a lion. While this race has produced several powerful fireforgers, dreamdrifters and skinshifters are also common among its members. Originally there were three griffin kingdoms: the Alce, the Kirni, and the Opinicus. Members of the kingdom of Opinicus had both foreparts and hindquarters of a lion with only the wings and head of an eagle. Intermarriage between these sub-races led to the extinction of the Opinicus Kingdom’s citizens. Then, during the Second War of Ages, most Kirni males were lost during the Battle of Eppon Gue so their widows and orphans were given shelter in the kingdom of Alce. Thus the kingdom of Alce is the only remaining group of griffins and its members now make their home in aeries among the peaks of the Nyghe sol Dyvesé mountain range on the northern edge of the Southern Continent. Griffin mages are usually fireforgers or dreamdrifters. Turned griffins are called gargoyles.

Harpy: a female being of a race descended from the Sphinx and the Manticore. Harpies have the head and foreparts of a human coupled with the wings and hindquarters of an eagle. As strong allies with griffins, harpies make their home in aeries among the peaks of the Nyghe sol Dyvesé mountain range and often become lifemates to griffin males. Harpy mages are usually harmhealers or shadowshapers. Turned harpies are called sirens.

Human: a male or female being of a race descended from the Sphinx and the Manticore and from the Gorgon and Chimera. Tyglesean humans are mainly descended from the Sphinx and the Manticore and have fair skin ranging in hue from alabaster to creamy-peach. Vihouset humans hailing from the more southern kingdom of usually are descended from the Gorgon and Chimera. Humans are ruled by kings instead of clan chiefs and elders. Humans are thus members of either the kingdom of Vihous or the kingdom of Tyglesea, both located along the Southern Continent’s West Coast. Mages are usually fireforgers or dreamdrifters. Turned humans are called zombies.

Ogre: a male (female term is ogress) being of a race descended from the intermarriage of giants, satyrs, and werecats. Ogres walk upright and resemble brown-furred giants with cloven hooves for hind feet, claw-tipped hands, leopard-like faces, and two ram horns curling around their heads. Ogres work and live in marshy areas of the Southern continent. Known for their unique masonry and farming techniques, ogres build swamp cities consisting of step-style stone pyramids called edhuklo supported by massive pillar and arch systems. Travel between the four clan-run ogre cities of Buggane, Jhalag-Og, Kanoboni, and Orclag is largely accomplished by boat through canal networks and eddy systems. Mages are usually waterweavers, sproutsingers, or skinshifters. Turned ogres are called oni.

Satyr (Pan): male or female being of a race descended from the Gorgon and Chimera. Satyrs, which refer to themselves individually and collectively as pan, walk upright and have the hindquarters of a goat and a human’s upper body. They are semi-migratory and share the Shara Plains with centaurs. Silenus is the formal title of a pan clan chief. Mages are usually sproutsingers or harmhealers. Turned satyrs are called imps.

Werecat: a male or female being. There are two races of werecats: the race that descended from the Sphinx and the Manticore in which members resemble upright-walking lions and the other race descended from the Gorgon and Chimera in which members resemble upright-walking leopards. There are two surviving clan from these races: the lion-like Feliconas Clan and the leopard-like Rosmelan Clan. Members of each of these clans usually refer to members of the other clan as “cousin” to show their respect. Should a war ever break out between either clan of werecats and another race, it is understood that both werecat clans will unite to fight the enemy. While it is considered highly taboo for a werecat to marry any race other than its own, members of the Feliconas Clan and the Rosmelan Clan may marry one another if no appropriate suitor can be found within one’s own clan. The offspring of such unions are called felme meaning “blessed family members” or “blessed ones”, and accorded a special seat among village elders as liaisons between the clans once they come of age. Werecat mages are usually skinshifters or shadowshapers. Turned werecats are called nemean.

Werewolf: being of a race descended from the Sphinx and the Manticore. Werewolves resemble upright-walking wolves with broad shoulders and fur-covered bodies ranging from 1.2 to 1.5 body-lengths tall. Like werecats, werewolves have large paws with opposable thumbs; however, werewolf claws are not retractable like those of their feline cousins. Werewolf fur ranges in color from white to black with most werewolves having some combination of light and dark gray fur. There are three werewolf clans in existence: the Boecker Clan, the Geirgerd Clan, and the Wilhelm Clan. Although werewolves and werecats were sire from the same two racial Founders, the two races share a mutual mistrust and often fight each other for territory and resources. While most other Sylvan races have continued their truces since the conclusion of the Clan Wars, it is rare for werewolves or werecats to trade or work together in any capacity. Even werewolf and werecat mages typically avoid each other. Werewolf mages are usually skinshifters or harmhealers. Turned werewolves are called grim.

Vampire: also known as Víchí, vampires are a special class and race of deadwalker; they are the most powerful of all deadwalkers because they have the ability to use the Tainted Bites to Turn others into deadwalkers; elves, dryads, humans, werecats (if they can skinshift into humans), and werewolves (if they can skinshift into humans) can all be Turned into vampires through the special Tainted Bite of Soul-Sharing.