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Sprigs

Wardens of the forest

"Sometimes when you feel like the trees are watching you, they are"   The sprigs are self appointed manifistation of natures defiance against those who seek to harm it, what it considers harm varies to a large extent.The Sprigs are oft described as moving trees and it is an apt description, altough the smaller Sprigs are more akin to a bush than a tree in their size. The common denoters for Sprigs is their Grasslike hair, Glowing eyes and Barklike skin. Sprigs are eternal and never die unless slain in battle, but there's said to only be a certain amount of Sprigs and once one dies they are reborn in the next generation. this theory of rebirth is what leads to many thinking that Roots are Barks or Branches that we're heroes in a former life reborn as hulking beasts.   Most Sprigs can be catagorized into one of four types:  

Saplings

The smallest of the Sprigs, usually around 60-70cm in height and with a very thin frame. They not to be trifled with however, as large packs of them can tear even bears asunder with their razor sharp branch-claws and bites. Their intelligence is consider sub-human and almost hive-minded, there are cases of more intelligent Saplings but these are few and far between.  

Branches:

Consider the most humanoid out of sprigs branches are well known by most species as Intelligent creatures. According to themselves they are the wardens of the forest that understand that violence isn't always the answer. With that being said branches are not always friendly and can be equally viscious as all the other sprig species. They stand about 150cm on average and have a thin build with powerful legs. One of the traits that set Branches aside from most other Sprigs is their innate magical sense. Some Branches have learnt to control this magical sense into becoming quite potent spell casters, these Branches are oft referred to as "Branchwyches" and are oft seen leading groups of Sprigs. Most Branches seem to have a power to persuade other sprigs and control them, that's why they are often considered the brains of the Sprig Species  

Barks:

Considered by most the frontline of the sprigs, Barks appear as large humanoids with a large variety of weaponry at their disposal. Anything from Swords to Bows are expected to be found when dealing with Barks and if there's one you can expect there's more. Being slightly larger than their Branch counterparts barks do most of the hard labour and frontlining. Since they not as intelligent as branches they oft don't do much more than follow commands given by Branches Or Trunks, but that doesn't mean they are stupid they have a large amount of tactical know-how and some are even considered better commanders than even Branches Or Roots. Their heavy build and large posture make them perfect for taking on other infantry, Cavalry and whatever else gets thrown at them.  

Trunks:

The largest of the sprigs Trunks stand tall over their siblings, often getting above 5 meters tall, one would not be blamed for mistaking them as trees. Despite their brutish looks Trunks's intelligence is on par with that of Branchwych and their tactical sense could beat even the most elite commanders. Their impressive size also makes them fearsome combatants, and when they get accesss to their legendary weaponry even a hundred men would have a hard time taking one of them down. Unlike most other sprigs who are mostly uniform wtih one or two distinct features no trunk looks like the next. The reason for this is unknown but according to the sprigs who belive trunks are reincarnations of heroic figures they claim each Trunk is hand crafted by Bjurk as a show of her will. Unlike what you might think trunks are qutie the poets and artists, they spend most of their lives not on the battlefield or on the commanders table but rather in their burrows reading books or learning via the roots. Due to their strength, Scarcity and Rareness of comabt Trunks oft live long lives, some have been recorded to be from before the "Great Scorching". Due to this rarity of death whenever one does die in the battlefield it is a huge deal to the sprigs and they enact a great festival to honor the dead before they return the slain to nature by burning the body to ash and spreading it around the tree they were birthed from.  

Creation:

The way that Sprigs reproduced was long debated among Scientists and Arcanologist, until one "Malakor The Mad Mage" a exiled orkk from a southern tribe proved their reproductive cycle. Sprigs do not reproduce as most species but instead grown from trees, every 13 years certain trees start glowing and expanding. This process is know as Ritual Of Rebirth and involves the new Sprig being fed magic by Branchwyches until they are fully grown and simply exit the tree which they refer to as their motherthree. Sprigs do also not age in the normal sense but rather as soon as they exit their mothertree they are fully matured not growing by natural means any longer. Depending on which type of Sprig is being created the amount of Sprigs per tree change from anywher between 10-12 for Saplings and a singular for Trunks.

Creation:

How Sprigs are formed are a mystery but some of the most popular theories: -The god of nature created them to protect nature. -The arcane-soul of the forest taken form. -A Magical experiment done in the Age of Purity.   According to the sprigs themselves they are a holy creation made by Bjurk to protect his forests from the "Warmbloods" as they call most other species. Most of them consider themselves as guardians of the forests and think of most other intelligent species as intruders especially Wood Elves whom they claim are sullying their gift by tainting it with technology and metallic weaponry.

Mythos:

According to the most common creation theory of the Sprigs they are a manifistation of the god Bjurk's will and defenders of his domains, this is something all sprigs have learnt since they we're created and becuase of it they are devout followers of Bjurk. Many Sprig communties have priests dedicated to Bjurk and they are said to bless other Sprigs by etching in markings and seals said to give protection and strength. To be given a Marking is a high honour and is reserved for only those who have proven themselves as strong devotee's to Bjurk. Certain Sprigs, usually Barks have hundereds if not thousands of Seals and are called Bjarvilds these Sprigs pride themselves on their combat prowess and tactical sense, because of this they are often appointed to be commanders.

Hierarchy:

Sprigs follow a strict Hierarchy decided by the type of Sprig they are and other external factors like Rank and Renown.   At the center of power is the Heartwood, a council of the 13 most influential Sprigs. They are often the ones who decide upon political matters and some of them are masters of combat.   Under them is the Growth ring a group of all the leaders of Conclaves where they discuss matters such as New combat techniques, Exiletation and allied war efforts.   The most common group is the Conclave, a group of sprigs lead by a powerful leader, most often a Branchwych or a Trunk sometimes even a highranking Bark can take control and make a conclave.

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