THE WYLDFOLK OF ANNYR

Far beyond the borders of urban civilizations, where all the works of man are swallowed by primeval nature, dwells the mortal race known as the Wyldfolk, a people marked by their untamed independence and their kinship with nature. Wyldfolk possess an innate affinity for the beasts of the wilderness and are the foremost animal tamers in all the world, domesticating wolfhounds, exotic mounts, and monstrous creatures. What other cultures consider treacherous wilderness the Wyldfolk view as their preferred habitat, and it is within these forests, fens, swamps and highlands that the tribes build their settlements, a trait which sets them apart from other civilizations.

The Wyldfolk of Annyr are a mortal race hailing from the far off mythical continent of Zephyr across the misty Azure Ocean. They are a fierce and vibrant people who possess a deep affinity for nature, and boast many animal empaths. Like the wild creatures they befriend, Wyldfolk shun large cities, preferring to build their towns and villages into the local landscape and vegetation, for cities were cursed places to them – the Banebrood-infested ruins of a damned empire. Wyldfolk humans tend to be tall and slim with thick, reddish hair as untamable as their spirits, ranging from near-blond through ginger to auburn. Though slight of build, they are a hardy folk of endless endurance, and are also renowned for their agility. Conversely, Wyldfolk Ogres generally possess thick dark hair, ruddy complexions and a burly physique.

The Wyldfolk use terrain, missile weapons and ambushes to wear down the enemy before the clan warriors close for the kill. One should not think them averse to melee – quite the contrary. Their former traditions of martial pride were tempered by their new situation – being vastly outnumbered by enemies on all sides within a hostile and uncharted land. Necessity forced them to adopt indirect battle tactics in order to keep casualties within a viable level, or else face extinction. While their enemies may fight for gods and gold, Wyldfolk warriors fight for the sheer joy of battle! For they believe that only in combat can a man truly find himself.

Dressed in colorful clan tartans, and marching to the rousing tones of bagpipes, Wyldfolk are distinctive even from a distance, but these are just the warriors they mean to be seen; for preceding the armies like a shadow are countless scouts, rangers and hunters camouflaged in natural colors, as invisible as the wind. The men adorn their bodies with intricate tattoos, and on the eve of battle, apply war-paint of woad in solemn ritual. All Wyldfolk share a fierce and deep-rooted mindset of independence. Power is therefore decentralized, making inter-tribal warfare commonplace. This independence has left the Wyldfolk prone to piecemeal conquest by invaders, and only the Druids have been able to shepherd the disparate tribes into a unified flock.

During the foreign invasions of the Golden Age, the dispossessed Wyldfolk were one of the few peoples who remained faithful to the Asrae Gods – a time when Mortals turned to new ideologies and practices. Perhaps for this reason they were groomed for greatness as one of the five Blessed Peoples. After the Dark Age, and under the patronage of the Asrae, the Wyldfolk burst forth to spread their culture across northern Ghorn and beyond.

Thy Wyldfolk’s homeland of Annyrion is a vast and magical realm, largely unexplored by the Wyldfolk. Even in L├írtyr, which holds the greatest concentration of Wyldfolk, the settlements are separated by a great wilderness of misty moors, slate badlands, peat bogs, and high grass meadows, while overhead float hundreds of lush skylands trailing skirts of vines beneath them. Punctuating the wilderness are countless cairns, barrows, megaliths, ruins and chalk-hill figure carvings. The endless rains create a riotous growth of vegetation coursing with the life-force of nature. No wonder then that the anima of the shattered goddess Dhannya was drawn to Annyrion and dwells therein. One cannot help but feel this silent power which permeates all, particularly in the bustle of nature at dawn and dusk. Besides this subtle ambience, there are other magics at work; druids have channeled and stored vast quantities of keraunic power within their network of megaliths. The air of some megalithic sites literally hums with sorcerous energy, and occasionally discharges into the Otherworld with a thunderous crackle. Lurking at the corner of vision are the beguiling Fey, glowing with radiant enchantment and spreading their other-worldly magic in the lives they touch.