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green lady

Y'ffre's Beckoning

Gwaering, the Green Lady

The song-story of the Green, now loud in my bones, has awakened me. I hear the tale as life in motion, the weave made real second by second, spun gleaming thread over gleaming thread. Every fleeting footfall is a drumbeat, a word, a thought blessed with shape. Each loosed arrow becomes an exclamation, a twist in the telling, a beginning in an end.  I am dissolved into we.

I have become the Hunter, the Protector, the Vengeance of the Green. My memories are drawn from the rivers of history known by Bosmer since the formless times. It was my hand that carved out the heart of the Bracken Malice, the writhing foe that devoured our children and made mothers and fathers wail in torment. My own arrow pierced the eye of Dulohoth the Axehaft, vile Orc who ordered his crowd-surge of followers to burn and hew tree and frond. When sickness came to the beasts of Grahtwood, I hunted without rest a hundred nights to feed the hungry. I will hunt a hundred more.

All of these things I have done, I will do again when I am called. The cries of Y’ffre’s children—their joy, fear, rage, and sorrow—only grow stronger in my heart. They are the thrumming of life in the deepest woods. I hear them in my dreams; their emotions become my own and echo a thousand times louder within me. Nothing will stop me from calling out my response. I will answer them until my blood soaks the loam and feeds the roots of graht-oaks.

Though I hear the tale the Earth Bones tell, some fear yet remains; some worry still haunts me. I am the Green Lady, and in my spirit there is no doubt that it is so. But in my mind, I am just Gwaering, archer-girl, brave but small. I am afraid. Will Gwaering fade away? Can she withstand the torrent of primal emotion that now rises? Is she strong enough to answer the Green and play her part? Can she protect her people and the Silvenar?

But I take some small solace knowing that my doubts and fears carry little consequence. They are a small digression, the interruption of an impatient child as the Spinner tells his tale. Time will carry on, and the story will be told without pause, never reaching an end, but ebbing and flowing. I will be called, and if my voice is not strong enough to answer, my role will end and another will emerge. Such, I see now, is the way of the world.

Diplomacy during the Handfasting


The wedding of Indaenir and Gwaering, the new Silvenar and Green Lady, is an important occasion for the Bosmer, and as such is important to the Aldmeri Dominion.

With the unrest currently rampant throughout Malabal Tor, it is important the Queen's representatives understand how to interact with the Bosmer.

The following information is based upon "Bosmer Traditions and Manners," by the highly respected Altmer author Cirantille.

According to their legends, the Bosmer were once wild and savage (not at all like they are now) and able to change shape at will. Wishing to become more civilized, they made a bargain with Y'ffre, giving up shapeshifting in exchange for (what they think is) a more civilized demeanor.

This Green Pact affected every aspect of their lives. They became very ritualistic and, while these rituals may seem odd to … differently civilized … peoples, they do keep the Wood Elves from becoming fully savage again.
One of their most important rituals is the Handfasting. It happens once a generation and is responsible for both anointing and marrying two of their three most important leaders (the third being the Camoran King or Queen of the Wood Elves).

No one but the Bosmer know how these two leaders are chosen, but they are, and the Handfast is the ritual that binds the Green Lady and the Silvenar together.

The Silvenar is the spiritual leader of the Bosmer, and a truly civilizing force on the entire race. Some say he is the embodiment of the Green Pact, others that he's simply a powerful mystic.

When a Bosmer becomes the Silvenar, he or she gains a great understanding of the land they inhabit as well as its people.

The Green Lady, on the other hand, is a pure force of nature. She is the physicality of the Bosmer: a hunter, warrior, and nearly-unstoppable fist of her people.

Do not confuse her passion for savagery, however! The Green Lady inherits the tactical poise of all those who've gone before her. The only thing that can turn her into a true beast is the death of her Silvenar … an occurrence some of us had the misfortune to witness on Khenarthi Island. It is a wonder anyone survived.

Take the Handfast as seriously as the Bosmer do and you should be fine. Eat what is offered (don't ask what it is), but drink sparingly—their ritual drink "rotmeth" will sicken the most powerful non-Bosmer stomach if consumed with abandon.

Avoid conflict when you can, but participating in a few non-lethal brawls during the celebration may not be avoidable. Indeed, it may be expected.

A Tale Forever Told


The Silvenar walked with eyes open across Valenwood. His heart, torn from its primal aspects, was an empty pit.

From the wild came a Bosmer unlike any other. Her eyes were of fire, hair of wind and rain, and all who gazed upon her quaked in fear. All except the Silvenar.

Though she bared her fangs, he did not shy away. Though she sought to lose him in the underbrush, the vines parted for him to follow. She growled, filled with confused desires, wishing both to stay, and to leave.

In a bright clearing, she faced the Silvenar, and ripped at him with claws and teeth. Though he fended off her blows, still his blood soaked into the grass and the flowers wept. Her rage spent, the Green Lady finally stepped back and addressed the Silvenar.

"Why do you follow me? You are not one of us!" She spat upon the ground, her fists still clenched, stained with his blood.

"But I am of you," the Silvenar said quietly. "Come, let me open your eyes to the green singing."

Curious, the Green Lady came to the Silvenar. Long did they stare unspeaking, until they warmed to union. The forest shuddered as spirit and body became one.

With his touch, she saw the dance of frond and leaf, and learned the ways and wiles of Valenwood. His emptiness filled with her passion, and his nameless longing waned.

Their union both tamed the wild and invigorated the greenery.

Wardens of the Green


The hunter waits in the boughs, clad only in leaves and shadow. She breathes as the wind shifts, and listens.

Her quarry's fear grows thicker than the canopy. A glance, a turn, and it breaks cover. Her eyes open.

Footsteps, muffled as owl's wings, beat softly through the Green. Any other would lose the quarry to the vineswept earth, yet the hunter does not waver.

Over and through the forest goes the silent chase. Briefly, the hunter alights upon a branch. A quick pull from her waterskin and she is off once more.

A stream bubbles through the wood and the quarry stops to drink. Claw leaves scabbard, slick and shining. Teeth bare with anticipation. She leaps.

A sirocco of splashes. Claw meets neck. The quarry relents. A moment more would see crimson intrude upon the stream's mirth. She licks her lips.

"Not this one."

At the stream's edge stands a simple Mer. In his silhouette stands every woodsman, hunter, and guide; every jaqspur, every treethane and spinner. Every child and every elder stand with him, yet he stands alone.

Her hunter's gaze meets his. She sees herself beside him, too. She blushes, and so does he. "My Silvenar," she says at last. "My Green Lady," he responds in turn. She lowers her claw and turns to the quarry.

"In stalking these woods, in keeping them free of terrors, I lose myself to the Green." She helps the quarry to its feet.

"But I will always bring her back," says the Silvenar. "You have nothing to fear from us, child of the forest. So long as there is the Green, we walk where you walk."

The Silvenar vanishes among vines. The Green Lady leaps for the boughs. She watches the Bosmer trudge out of the stream and continue through the forest.

But she smiles, for the Bosmer is no longer afraid.

The Eldest: A Pilgrim's Tale


In bright springtime, when the ground is drunk with rainwater and the sun smiles on Valenwood, the Wood Elves travel to the Den of the Eldest, an ancient strangler. There, they offer thanks to Y'ffre for the blooming of yet another spring, and they read the history of their home in the branches of the Eldest.

Then, a great festival is thrown by the Green Pact Bosmer, in celebration of the Springtime and the Eldest. Then Elves celebrate long into the night, drinking and regaling each other with stories of past festivals and pilgrims.

The tales run both sacred and profane.

There's the tale of the notorious warlord whose entire army stopped at the Den of the Eldest and went in to pay their respects. When they emerged, they dropped their weapons to the ground and left them where they lay. They never made war again.

But there is also the tale of the impish Wood Elf who spiked the pilgrims' punch with a powder ground from the dung of timber mammoths, that caused the entire gathering to be troubled by the most foul odors from their backsides. Long into the night they groaned as the stink grew unbearable, until they were all so inured to the smell that their groans turned to bursts of laughter that filled the wood.

They also tell of the first pilgrims, an old, childless couple who tended the Eldest as their own offspring. They became the first Silvenar and the first Green Lady.

There are many more tales the pilgrims tell, but few have been written down. The curious would do best to travel to the Eldest in the Springtime and hear the stories and behold the ancient strangler for themselves.