Testing… 1… 2… testing… is this thing on? Hello, this is Michael. I am one of the creators and writers for the Legends of Barsaive campaign series. Along with a few other new faces soon to be posting here, I’ve been working with FASA Games for the last four years. The response from fans on our adventures has been amazing so far and I can’t wait for you guys to see what we have planned for the next set of modules. However, our living campaign is not what I plan on discussing today.

Along with Legends, I’ve had to opportunity to collaborate on the upcoming Elven Nations sourcebook. Josh gave a great overview of the book last week, so I wanted to delve a little deeper into the central conflict between the three Nations. We’ve advanced the storyline of Blood Wood to include a power struggle with Sereatha and Shosara over who the “rightful” Court should be. Each of these nations has defined elven culture in a different way and is fighting to have their leadership recognized by Namegivers throughout the world.

But what gives Blood Wood the right to call itself the ruler of all Elves? What must Sereatha and Shosara do to take this responsibility from Queen Alachia in the eyes of the elven people? For many, the answer lies within the deep connection to Oak Heart that each queen has thus far exhibited. Legends speak of a time when Oak Heart stood in the company of Jaspree. It is said that the passion created the elves to serve as Oak Heart’s companions when he went off into the world. Most believe that the very essence of Oak Heart was used to do this and that the rightful elven ruler is recognized by the great tree upon ascending to the Rose Throne. Despite what any may say about the state of Blood Wood and its people, Alachia remains the only living elf to have received such approval from Oak Heart.

Believing this blessing necessary to have their Court recognized outside of the Western Kingdoms, Sereatha began to research a method to create a new Oak Heart in the City of Spires. They plan to establish a pure incarnation of the great tree from the essence that supposedly birthed the first elves. This would likely cause those across the world to hold the corrupted Oak Heart of Blood Wood in less reverence and question the legitimacy of the current Elven Court. Sereatha’s scholars hope to accomplish this through experimentation with acorns that were shed prior to the Scourge.

Shosara, aware of its rival’s plan, followed suit and has pursued the acorns in an attempt to install themselves as the protector of elven culture. Spies from Blood Wood caught wind of these plans, with rumors spreading that Alachia is intent on  circumventing any such challenges to her rule.

Another group with interest in Oak Heart’s acorns is the Seekers of the Heart, led by Monus Byre. While they believe that the Court of Blood Wood should remain at the center of elven culture, the Seekers view the Ritual of Thorns as a perversion of its people. They plan to use the acorns to restore Oak Heart to its pre-Scourge state and heal the corruption the Ritual has caused to the Forest’s Heart. Though each member of Seekers trust that they are on the correct path, only the inner circle knows what truly guides Monus’s pursuit of the acorns scattered across the world.

Her motivation is best described by Monus herself, so I’d like to share a journal excerpt written after returning home from her first visit to Blood Wood:

The dream came to me again last night, just as it did when I was in Wyrm Wood. No, not Wyrm Wood anymore. It is now Blood Wood. Just as my dream of our home was found to be a nightmare, my vision of Oak Heart’s spirit has soured since learning of the blood elves.

I awoke at the base of the great tree’s trunk and saw the tormented truth that lives within. Its heart pierced by thorns, its roots soaked with blood. A red-haired elf stood opposite to me, but she did not answer when I called to her. I watched as this woman gathered acorns of Oak Heart and pierced each one with the thorns of a rose flower. I asked her, ‘why are you doing this?’ ‘This is now the way of our people’ she replied, ‘this is how we must protect the essence of our home.’ The luster of each acorn faded as its shell was penetrated and I could feel Oak Heart’s anguish grow stronger with every thorn that was placed.

Is Oak Heart calling to me? Could its screams be heard so far from Blood Wood? Has it chosen me to become its protector? The queen has tainted our people with the Ritual of Thorns and would rather sentence them to eternal agony than heal the damage she has caused. I don’t intend to stand idly by any longer. I will restore Wyrm Wood to our world, no matter the cost.

Does the Wood want me to protect the acorns? Perhaps my people’s salvation is locked inside their shells. My mentor knows of them but says these favors of the queen are treasured artifacts that one does not simply borrow. I remember now, the Tan family received one during Queen Liara’s reign for valor during the Orichalcum Wars. I will have to pay Yoruial a visit and see what secrets may lie within.

This struggle for power between the three nations is one of many things that will be explored in the book, so hopefully you’re as excited as I am to see what Elven Nations will bring to the world of Earthdawn.

I’ll leave you with these questions to ponder: What would happen to Blood Wood if Sereatha or Shosara were successful in creating a new Oak Heart? Will the corruption of Blood Wood be purged from the forest if the Seekers of the Heart can restore Oak Heart? What unforeseen consequences could result from either of these group’s activities? I encourage everyone to discuss their answers over on the FASA Discord Server #Earthdawn, which is one of the best places to interact with myself and the rest of the development team. I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with. Until next time, thanks for reading!