Wurmwood

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Circle-orboros.png Wurmwood Circle-orboros.png

250px

Race Gallows grove
Gender None
Weapons Genesis
Birth Unknown
I seal the Oath with my blood, my life. I am nothing before Orboros.

Wurmwood, the Tree of Fate is a manifestation of the Devourer Wurm on Caen. It is a strong ally of the Circle Orboros.[1]

History

Wurmwood took root long before Menoth gave humanity the Canon of the True Law. Unlike most trees, it was thirsty for blood and quickly manifested a deep, predatory intelligence.[1]

The first written record of Wurmwood was the transcription of an oral saga made by one of the scholars in the court of Cinot in Icthier, around 6300 BR - the Manus Celer Menoth which recounts the struggle of Menite hero Utu-enki against the Devourer Wurm and describes the Tree of Fate as a drinker of blood and death, emissary of the Wurm.[2]

After the fall of the Molgur and the formation of the Circle Orboros in response to the rise of Priest-King Khardovic, the first blackclad omnipotents sealed ominous bargains with Wurmwood and the Lord of the Feast. The druids persuaded Devourer cultists to conduct sacrifices under Wurmwood's branches, and these tribes poured libations of blood upon the soil above its roots and hung skeletal offerings from its leafless limbs. The rites culminated in a great ritual wherein thousands were bled out to give Wurmwood a worthy feast. A single root burst forth and entwined itself about a young druid, through whom the tree spoke its name. This rite allowed the Tree of Fate to communicate through a human voice, and a lasting pact was forged with the Circle Orboros.[1]

Since that time in every age one druid, known as the Oathkeeper, must give over life and soul to become a conduit between Wurmwood and the humans of the Circle Orboros. When the time comes for Wurmwood to choose a new conduit, Circle potents gather their fresh wilders. In the night of Geremor's Feast, Wurmwood casts aside the aging Oathkeeper, his life extinguished, then its roots entwine around the selected candidate who must speak the ancient words of the Oath, and once the vow is completed, Wurmwood consumes the new Oathkeeper's memories and integrates itself into his flesh. The druid's personality lingers beyond the rite: Wurmwood's perspective is coloured by the current Oathkeeper's mind. Whenever the omnipotents are not in accord, Wurmwood is allowed to offer its opinion, its vote cast by the Oathkeeper having greater weight than that of all the collective potents.[1]

Following Khardovic's death, a young Umbrean noble in the city of Uldenspire, Lord Ulinchev, ignored the warnings of his town priest and turned his people to logging the Uldenwald Forest bordering his town. Three times he was confronted by the Oathkeeper who warned Ulinchev that his actions in the forest would spell doom for his people. Ulinchev ignored the Oathkeeper's warnings, resulting in an earthquake that swallowed him and his entire town whole.[2]

When the Orgoth invaded Immoren, Wurmwood and Egarohov the Oathkeeper fought alongside the Circle and defended several sacred sites. Though the blackclads ceded most of them to the Orgoth without a fight, those Wurmwood watched over are kept free of their influence.[2][3]

Wurmwood was possibly involved in the spread of the rip lung plague in 93 AR, which ravaged both Immorese and Orgoth alike.[2]

In the early Border Wars, Wurmwood was spotted fighting alongside Khador's Tharn allies against the Morrowans of Cygnar in the battles between Queen Cherize and King Malagant Govant.[2]

The current Oathkeeper is Cassius, chosen in 558 AR when he was a young, cunning and intuitive wilder.[1]

Wurmwood is next seen in 608 AR, arriving at a Circle army led by Potent Krueger the Stormlord stationed at the fringes of the Bloodstone Marches; at the same time the rest of the Circle potents and omnipotents are conducting a trial for him in absentia for stealing Omnipotent Dahlekov's Wyrmstone, consorting with dragons and betraying the Circle. Showing Krueger a Protectorate refinery, Cassius explains it was built over a primary fulcrum convergence buried deep within the sands, and has foreseen a disaster: fire will reach and ignite the unrefined Menoth's Fury below, forever altering the flow of Orboros through the desert. Krueger asks Cassius why wasn't Omnipotent Mohsar informed, to which he answers the omnipotents cannot muster an adequate force in time, and only Krueger's stands ready. Before leaving, Wurmwood agrees to support Krueger if he accomplishes his mission, and tells him to gather his allies.[1]

When Krueger was duelling Feora, Priestess and Protector of the Flame, he was suddenly interrupted by Dahlekov's messenger, Wayfarer Tal, whose attack suffices to give Feora an edge against him. As Feora is letting Krueger burn, Wurmwood suddenly returns, obliterating Flameguard and warjacks alike, feasting on the fallen and allowing Krueger to connect to the ley line fulcrum. The conduit of energy between Krueger and Wurmwood combined with a torrent invoked by Krueger destabilises the very earth, shifting the Menoth's Fury repository, sinking the ground, and a sinkhole devoured the entire chain of Menite structures. When the energy leaves Krueger, Wurmwood was gone.[1]

Wurmwood then arrives at the trial of Krueger as the potents are preparing to disperse, all of them except for Lortus having judged him guilty and sentenced him to death. Cassius affirms Krueger is no traitor to the Circle, and the druids is forced to rescind the death sentence, in spite of Dahlekov's and Morvahna's rage.[1]

Cassius continues to explain Krueger is Wurmwood's chosen oracle of the apocalypse: the coming of the dragons will invoke a tide of blood and cause fire and ash to rain down destruction, scouring Orboros' wounds so that healing might begin. The potents stare, unable to move, and in another moment Wurmwood and Cassius vanish.[1]

Wurmwood next sends the overseer Grayle the Farstrider to Mount Shyleth Breen in Ios, without letting him know his mission: to recover the fallen potent Baldur the Stonecleaver. A few months later, Wurmwood appears to the Tharn king and warlock Kromac the Ravenous and gives him an instruction: recover Rathrok, the axe of Horfar Grimmr, stolen long ago by Zevanna Agha and currently wielded by the trollkin chief Madrak Ironhide.[4][5]

In early 609 AR, Zevanna Agha invites Wurmwood to the ruins of Old Korska. Wurmwood warns the Old Witch she has sought to interfere with Krueger, and that what she took from it will be its again soon. The Old Witch tells Wurmwood the dragons will weaken it, and this outcome can be avoided with its intervention, but Cassius only shakes his head and says 'the seed is planted' before disappearing.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Forces of Hordes: Circle Orboros
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 No Quarter 49
  3. No Quarter 44
  4. Hordes: Domination
  5. Hordes: Gargantuans
  6. Hordes: Exigence