- "I’ve heard the backwoods nobles near Laurelorn have strange dealings with the Elves. First... What’s-his-name, and now this! It’s treason I tell ya!"
Laurelorn Forest lies at the northern coastline of the Empire of Man, home to reclusive communities of Eonir. While both Middenland and Nordland claim the forest as theirs, the so-called "Wood Elves" dare either to try to enforce their claim.[1a] It lies west of Salzenmund and the Silver Hills above it, and stretches west to the borders with the Wasteland.[1c]
The Laurelorn, since its first colonisation by Elves, has been a place of hope, joy, and laughter. The Elves held summer games and celebrations under its boughs, giving the wood its name. The colonists named it Loren Lauroi (‘the Golden Wood’), after the greater rune Ladroi, meaning ‘Season of the Sun’, or ‘apex of joy’. The colonists called themselves Eonir after the greater rune Daroir, meaning, remembrance, memory, and strength of stones, Eonir feel their Asur cousins no longer walk the true path of Elves from the past — those who helped the Old Ones create the waystone network.[3a]
The Elves of Laurelorn are isolationist, wanting to be left alone in the beautiful woods they have come to call home. Unlike Men, who seek to tame the lands in which they live, the Elves of Laurelorn regard the forest and its land as a living thing, something they should live in harmony with, something over which they feel protective. They do, however, recognise that Mankind provides the bulwark of the defence of their lands against Greenskins and Chaos, so they try not to antagonise the surrounding realms of the Empire, unless they try to establish dominion over Laurelorn itself.[1b]
Although nowadays it's technically a part of the Nordland Count’s domain, the Laurelorn is in truth a wholly independent realm.[1f] By agreement with the Elector Counts of Nordland, the Elves allow Imperials to settle the area between the Rivers Salz and Demst, which enters the Sea of Claws at Hargendorf. The agreement strictly limits numbers, however, and the Elves must approve before any new settlements are made. This they have been loath to do, placing many restrictions on what the settlements may harvest from the forest. The humans chafe under these restrictions (as timber from the Laurelorn commands a high price in Salzenmund because of its exquisite grain, lightness, and durability[1e]), and nobles have pressured Grand Baron Theoderic Gausser to demand a renegotiation. Impatient as ever, some humans have made illegal settlements in the area, which the Elves have threatened to remove by force, if need be. Some observers fear a coming clash between the Elector Count’s knights and the warriors of Laurelorn, but the war has held Salzenmund’s hand, so far. There are worries, however, that the Elves may see this as a time to assert their rights.[1d]
Beyond the Demst is the core of Laurelorn, a place Nordlanders call “the Witch’s Wood” out of their superstitious fear of the Elf Queen. Imperials are forbidden to cross into it under pain of death: even the Elector Counts of Nordland are under this ban. What lies within the Witch’s Wood is unknown: Some have speculated that the Elves have no capital, living a nomadic life under the trees. Old books, on the other hand, mention a nameless city of glass deep in its heart, a place that glows with its own light. Whatever the truth, it is certain that neither creatures of Chaos nor Greenskins last long once they enter the Laurelorn, for the Elves defend their home ferociously against all comers.[1d]
Although it has a grim reputation amongst humans, Laurelorn actually appears to be a pleasant and verdant woodland. Birds sing from oak trees, while rabbits run through the undergrowth. However, upon closer inspection, these creatures seem to possess a sentience above that of a mere animal. Inside the forest, the sun is blocked by the lush canopy, providing for a dark atmosphere. Any traveller granted safe passage by the inhabitants of Laurelorn may hear crashing and thrashing sounds from deep within the forest. They may see arm-like branches beckon to them, or hear phantom calls. Any traveller not granted safe passage, on the other hand, will never be seen again.[2a]
Like the Athel Loren, it seems that space and time work somewhat differently in Laurelorn than in the outside world. For example, Mandred Skavenslayer's army was able to travel in a matter or hours a distance through Laurelorn that should've taken days.[2a] The Laurelorn is less heavily saturated with magic than Athel Loren, therefore its spirits are fewer in number, and they’re often weak or hungry.[3b]
Laurelorn is divided by the Eonir into four wards:
- The Ward of the Sun, the heart of the Forest and the location of its capital, Tor Lithanel. The region was originally used by the Old Ones for some kind of experiment and potent magical energies suffuse the entire forest. Nordlanders refer to this independent enclave as the Protectorate of the Laurelorn and know that humans are only rarely permitted there.[3b]
- The Ward of Rain, the southern reaches, consisting mainly of swamplands
- The Ward of Storm, the western reaches , consitsing of overgrown forests that are home to many mutants and chaos beasts
- The Ward of Frost, the eastern reaches. The Eonir living there are mainly nomadic, with no fixed settlements.
Human cohabitation is tolerated in the three outer wards, as long as certain treaties are respected and the elves are left alone to conduct their business.[3b]