Most of the races of the world of Tyria have been around for a good while. The charr and humans have been at each other for centuries; the asura, though new to the surface world, have been around for a considerable amount of time. Even the mighty norn have a rich history that has been told for generations by their skaalds. There is also a newcomer to the field, a race that has only come into existence within the last 25 years: the SYLVARI.
Though the sylvari are the youngest race they have a fascinating history. Many years ago a human named Ronan and a centaur named Ventari gave up the warring ways of their people and sought to establish a safe haven for those ravaged by war. The tenets of this haven were carved upon a tablet and set at the foot of the Pale Tree. It reads:
I. Live life well, and fully, and waste nothing.
II. Do not fear Difficulty, hard ground makes strong roots.
III. The only lasting peace is the peace within your soul.
IV. All things have a right to grow. The blossom is brother to the weed.
V. Never leave a wrong to ripen into evil or sorrow.
VI. Act with wisdom, but act.
VII. From the smallest blade of grass to the largest mountain, where life goes- so too, should you.1
It is from these beliefs that the sylvari society was formed.
The sylvari are perhaps the most unique of all the races of the world, being that they are not composed of the same flesh and blood as everyone else. Instead, the sylvari are plant people – their bodies have the same form and function as that of a human, though slightly smaller in stature. Instead of bones, they have hardwood skeletons; instead of muscles, they have vines and plant fiber. Golden sap takes the place of blood, and leaves and bark instead of skin. Physically, they are quite unique.
Another unique aspect of this race is that they all share in The Dream. Before a sylvari awakes in the world, they are grown in pods, and during this time they exist within The Dream, where they share in the experiences of the sylvari that have come before. They do not experience the same exact details, but rather the impressions and feelings of those other sylvari. This makes the world somewhat familiar to them when they awake, though there is much they have yet to learn.
Not everything is sunshine and rainbows – there are some sylvari that believe Ventari’s teachings are a crutch, or a leash, that is holding the sylvari back from reaching their full potential. Then, adding another set of foes to the equation, the Nightmare Court’s goal is to flood the dream with as much pain, suffering, and darkness as possible so that The Dream is corrupted by the nightmare.
There are four cycles under which a sylvari may be born, and these do affect their characteristics.
The Cycle of Dawn refers to those born between midnight and 6 a.m. These sylvari are typically diplomatic and friendly, and they’re naturals when it comes to planning and conversing with others. Their Luminary is Aife, an experienced diplomat who has traveled to the major cities of Tyria.
The Cycle of Noon refers to those born between 6 a.m. and noon. Those born at this time are fighters, skilled combatants who prefer actions over words. They prefer to experience things firsthand and attack problems head-on. Niamh is their Luminary, the leader of the Warden and a bold warrior.
The Cycle of Dusk are usually intelligent and philosophical. They enjoy studies and puzzles over physical pursuits. Their luminary is Kahedins, a kind soul who helps newly awakened sylvari understand their visions in the Dream of Dreams.
The Cycle of Night are inclined to be secretive and self-contained, preferring to travel alone. Their Luminary, Malomedies, is very private, and considered a stern and caring mentor. Malomedies describes Sylvari of the Cycle of Night as “sentinels, scoundrels, and mathematicians.”2
So which race will you choose? The noble and curious sylvari? The fierce charr? The brilliant asura? The mighty norn? or the majestic humans? We’ll see you on the 25th!