Meet the Character: Nantharion

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Published 06/06/24. Original article can be found here.

Meet Nantharion Rayn, an enigmatic Wood Elf noble and the self-appointed ruler of the newly emerged Dawnwood, in the latest Meet the Character!

From the Journal of Beragon, Retired Imperial Scribe:

I’ve been watching with great interest since the seemingly overnight appearance of the new forest. It’s like Valenwood suddenly decided to flow across the Strid and mysteriously expand into West Weald. Today I learned of a fascinating development in the situation. Nantharion Rayn is leading many Wood Elves from Malabal Tor to establish a settlement in the new forest. They’re growing a town called Vashabar near the heart of the new forest. In fact, Nantharion has apparently taken the title of king and has proclaimed the forest as Dawnwood.

I certainly didn’t see that coming!

What this means for Skingrad, West Weald, or the Imperial towns of the Strid Vale is impossible to predict. Still, I must try. I’ll begin by setting down what I know of Nantharion Rayn. However this plays out, the self-proclaimed King of Dawnwood will likely be at the center of whatever comes next.

Nantharion comes from House Rayn, an old noble clan of Silvenar. The Rayns often ruled Silvenar as an independent realm during the Second Empire, but when the last potentate died and the Camorans reemerged as the royal house of Valenwood, the Rayns were obliged to accept a king in Elden Root. It’s said they don’t like bending the knee to the Camorans, resenting their own diminished power. In recent years Nantharion has publicly expressed concern about King Aeradan’s policies, especially his alignment with the Aldermi Dominion.

As king, Nantharion claims to oppose High Elf involvement in Wood Elf politics. He promises his followers that his new kingdom will not be ensnared in foreign wars. While a policy of avoiding war is persuasive enough, Nantharion also speaks passionately of embracing “Bosmer roots” and “honoring our ancestors.” He often points out that we Wood Elves aren’t just the children of the forest—we are also the descendants and inheritors of the Ayleids, the Elves of the Heartlands. What exactly these beliefs mean for his new kingdom, I can’t yet say.

On a personal note, Nantharion strikes an impressive figure. He’s quite tall for a Wood Elf, with a noble visage and a sharp mind. He’s well educated, but no one would mistake him for a scholar—he’s a doer, not a thinker.

I actually met Nantharion in Silvenar during my adventuring days, although I doubt he recalls the encounter. A number of people had gathered to listen to Spinner Dothriel recite the tale of Hectahame and the Heart of Valenwood. Nantharion was there, and he seemed powerfully moved by the story. He stood gazing off into the distance for some time after Dothriel finished speaking, a strange look on his face.

I happened to be standing near him. “Are you all right?” I asked.

“We have lost so much,” he replied, not even looking at me. “We have forgotten who we truly are. How can we remember what was lost?”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “What did we forget?”

“That this is not all of what we are,” Nantharion said. “Something is missing in each of us—something was taken. I am sure of it. We must look back to go forward.”

I started to ask him to explain, but the rest of his entourage joined us. The spell was broken—Nantharion shook his head, laughed, and dismissed me as he engaged with his companions.

I’ve always wondered where he was in that moment. And now I wonder what his plans for this new Dawnwood may actually be.

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