None can say for certain how old Elva Autumnborn is, nor confirm from what point in her existence she could be considered a living being. To some, she was born the moment her ethereal essence danced among falling leaves. To most Sylvan, the day she formed a sentience beyond the Rhythm, and first conducted the dances of the leaves and chose where and when they fell is the time of her birth.
Most commonly, storytellers open the tale of Elva’s long life speaking of a day a family of Fae foragers heard her wailing winds in the branches and found her spirit mourning a tree that had withered and shed its leaves too soon. Feeling her grief as their own, these Fae gathered the once verdant leaves and scattered them in twisting patterns around the roots of the dying tree. With their magic, they breathed a new bloom into the tree so that its leaves could once again be the dancers to Elva’s song. From then on, Elva accompanied the foragers.
Elva’s form changed frequently in those early days. Once an evanescent wisp on the wind, she appeared in plants, using vines and twigs to mimic the faces of those in her company. When words were not enough to help them, she sprouted limbs from branches to better assist the family in their tasks. She taught them how to sing to the flora of the Mistwood, and they taught her how to revive those who had grown too tired or frail to dance. Eventually, her form settled into the shape of a woman with leaf-green skin wrapped in garments of flowers and vines. It was around this time of physical settling that she named the family of foragers as her kin.
This family welcomed Elva into their village and their elders began training her in earnest how to mend what was broken and how to heal the sick. Once her talent exceeded the elders’, they took her to the great tree city of Nyresa. Elva’s power over the falling leaves found her a place in a Fae Court and she was named Duchess of Autumn.
For centuries, Elva Autumnborn served the Fae and Elves of Nyresa, curing their sick and tending to the forest’s autumnal needs. From a splinter in a finger to cleansing a grove of disease, no ailment was too small or great for Elva’s attention, and she often visited the Sylvan Watchers to heal the injuries the warriors had suffered defending the forest, though she never dared fight herself.
During missions to purge the corruption from the lost parts of the Mistwood, Elva assisted the Sylvan Watchers and made no small attempts to try to heal the damage caused by Siroth’s corruption. On one of these vital excursions, she asked her family to join her so that they might lend their strength in healing the old and corrupted Heart Tree. But she had not foreseen the power of the malice that still thrived in its roots. She bid its leaves to fall and her family scattered them in the same ritual they had performed the day they had found her. Only this time, their magic was rejected. It was twisted and sullied, and rebounded back into them. They were poisoned from within, and they attuned to the corrupted old Rhythm. Their bodies decayed and their souls burned with a hatred for all creatures and spirits of the forest.
Cursed, the corrupted Fae lost all recognition of those whom they once loved, and turned on Elva with sudden ferocity. Elva was unable to subdue them, and so the Sylvan Watchers she was accompanying killed many and drove the survivors into the forest’s darkest depths.
It was then that Elva Autumnborn began a new pursuit. Her body shifted, her beautiful vine-gowns hardening into armor and her face, which she had modeled after those of her family, she concealed behind a helmet of iron-hard bark.
Elva continued to accompany the Sylvan Watchers and tend to the forest, but no longer did she stay her hand from battle. To this day, she still searches for those of her family who escaped. If she cannot find a way to force the malice from their hearts, she will bring them a merciful end, hoping her family can know peace once again.
Yet the Sylvan Watchers have come to whisper of their concerns for Autumnborn’s sanity. Violent crimson veins can be seen glowing beneath her skin and the souls of those defeated by her scepter appear to linger around the weapon. Had she been of lesser strength, the years wandering the Mistwood’s lost lands might have turned her already. The Sylvan can only hope she is powerful enough to withstand the call of evil, else they may face a devastating adversary.