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"A thousand years in the building, a millennium of work by hundreds of the greatest mages of the elf people. Webs of geomantic power spun within webs of geomantic power, monstrously powerful spells layered upon monstrously powerful spells, built in a place that was already sacred to the God of Wisdom and a font of awesome power. It is the greatest work of the elves, I think it will most likely endure after we have gone. I sometimes think that it will endure the wreck of the world and that it was intended to do so."
Lady Malene on the White Tower.[2a]
White Tower of Hoeth Banner

Banner depiction of the White Tower.

The White Tower of Hoeth is the greatest repository of arcane knowledge within the whole world, compiled down the millennia by the Tower's Loremasters—the greatest mages and scholars of Ulthuan, and therefore the world—who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit and documentation of knowledge, wisdom, and truth.[1a] Indeed, the Tower is not just a tremendous feat of architecture, but also the centre of learning for the entire island-continent.[5b]

Built on the orders of the Phoenix King, Bel-Korhadris the Scholar King, more than twenty centuries before the current era, this ivory-white structure thrusts more than a mile into the air above the surrounding forests, a feat made possible only by the incredible magic of Saphery's Archmages. The Tower stands at the point of a particular confluence of the coursing magical energies of the Great Vortex, a fact lending the Tower a greater strength than any creation of mere brick and mortar.[1a]

Here the High Elves learn and study High Magic, the only spellcraft that uses all the Winds of Magic in harmony. Teclis, the same mage that helped the Humans of the Empire found the Colleges of Magic, is now the High Loremaster of the White Tower and he presides over some of the mightiest wizards in the world.[1a]

Defences

The White Tower is visible tens of miles away, a sharp white needle of marble thrusting up into the sky. Its approaches are guarded by rings of illusion and mazes of spells spanning leagues around the structure, which mean only those people whom the Loremasters want to approach the Tower may find the true path towards it. Indeed, the magic of these wards was described as being subtle and sly by Teclis, hidden from even the most magically sensitive of Elves, but there.[5b]

It is said that those who seeks wisdom and learning will find it at the Tower, but those who seek power for its own sake will become lost in Hoeth's spell-mazes for the rest of their days.[1a] No daemonic guardians patrol the roads, no spectacular magic blasting intruders from a cloudless sky. The ancient wizards who built the tower had protected it in a manner befitting their cleverness.[5b]

Yet, should one manage to bypass the enchantments, they will find the Swordmasters of Hoeth prepared to do battle in defence of their home. Potent spells also wall the Tower, protecting it from attempts at divination and supernatural intrusion. The Loremasters do not approve of being spied on, and have it within their power to make sure no one does.[5b]

Geography

The White Tower is described as being sat within a sweeping emerald forest, rising a mile high from a colossal crag of shimmering black rock. Yet even at a distance, one can make out details upon its white walls: arched windows, crimson banners, and golden, rune-etched carvings that weave their way up the Tower's entire length. These runes will glow incandescent if, for whatever reason, their magic becomes needed to contain the power within.[3c]

Flocks of white birds circle the tower's topmost spire, whilst countless waterfalls plunge from the black rock to foaming white pools arranged in tumbling tiers at its base. The air is spliced with the colours of a million rainbows.[3b]

The trees of the surrounding forest pulse with the energy of living things empowered beyond their natural growth cycles, their leaves and branches shivering even when no wind is there to stir them. The white-feathered birds of the Tower are known to perch atop every tree branch in welcome of returning archmages, singing in such a way that gives the forest a gloriously festive aspect.[3b]

One route to the Tower climbs through the forest, passing numerous streams and wondrous groves where Swordmasters - alone and in groups - train with their great blades, sparring, performing incredible feats of balance, or meditating while spinning their swords around them with a speed other Asur could never hope to match. Should an Archmage pass them by, the Swordmasters present break from routine to bow in respect.[3b]

The closer one gets to the Tower, more and more will one come across larger and larger clearings. Some of these are home to glasshouse farms that provide food and drink for the wizards, whilst in others can be found small villages where the retainers live.[5b]

Mages of the Tower often gather in these clearings to discuss matters of research as they walk the grounds. Loremasters, too, will convene here with their students to teach magic.[5b]

The Tower Exterior

Even should one reach the base of the Tower, unless they are a mage or seek to become a Swordmaster, supplicants must create their own door. This is done by speaking (or thinking) one's purpose. The Tower itself then judges said-supplicant's honesty and thus their worthiness to enter. If approved, the walls of the tower will ripple as the magic bound in its creation becomes fluid and malleable. The stone of the tower then fades to form a golden portal ringed with silver symbols cut directly into the rock. Beyond this entrance lies a vaulted chamber devoid of furnishings and occupants. However, upon entering the portal, the supplicant will feel a sudden shift, and discover the door behind them has been replaced by one of the many arched openings formed in the face of the Tower, potentially thousands of feet above the Tower's base as they look out over the Sapherian landscape.[3b] Fortunately, the enchantments of the tower prevent any wind force from disturbing its occupants.[3d]

The top of the tower is a spartan place of meditation and serenity. The floor is of gleaming blue marble, save for a circular pattern of an eight-spoked wheel at its centre, marked in a mosaic of shimmering onyx. Eight narrow windows pierce the tower at regular intervals, each the terminus of one of the wheel's spokes, and aside from a from a slender silver stand upon which a golden ewer sits, the chamber is devoid of furniture. A door is also worked seamlessly into the wall of the chamber. Normally such a door would lead to open sky, but in a place such as the White Tower, such is not always the case.[3c]

The Library

The Library is a vast, strange place, much like the Tower itself. There are sections that some people never see and yet others can visit every day. Sometimes, a mage will find a chamber full of books just once in his life and never be able to find the way back. The Library is part of the Tower and the Tower has a mind, of sorts, of its own.[2a]

As the greatest repository of knowledge that the Asur have ever created, it is believed to surpass even the fabled Library of Caledor back in the dawn of the world. Hundreds of the greatest sorcerers from all across the continent come here to consult the Library; talk with colleagues and share their knowledge with the students.[5b]

Both the Library's shelves and corridors fill the entire bottom of the Tower, as well as the huge labyrinth of tunnels and cellars beneath it.[5b]

Even more impressive is the complex labyrinth of spells that make the experience of studying the Library different for every person who visits it. For one mage, there will be shelves that they have seen that haven't been visited since the Library was first built. Other mages, meanwhile, may find their way to parts of the Library that not even Teclis would ever find. It was as if some guardian spirit presided over the place, and gave to each student what they required.[5b]

Repairs

In situations where the Tower has been damaged, be it by war or accident, Priests of Vaul are summoned to shape stone from the Annulii, whilst mages in service to Hothar the Fey lift them into the air on magical currents. These materials are set with such precision that none but a master mason could spot the joints between them. Shipwrights from Cothique, meanwhile sing songs to shape the heartwood beams of the roof. Anurion the Green has been known to put all his energy into aiding the priests of Vaul in their war-magic, accelerating the growth of arrow shafts that were as straight as sunlight to be fitted with enchanted arrowheads that could pierce even the thickest armour. Anurion can also grow spear shafts that would seek out an enemy's flesh in forests around the tower, and shaped bowstaves of golden heartwood for the citizen militias of Saphery.[4a]

Trivia

  • In Defenders of Ulthuan, it's detailed that the wards of the Tower can range from redirecting the unworthy away, to having them never seen again. Even the loremasters do not know where such individuals disappear to, and not even with an invitation will the wards lax.[3a]
  • The influence of the Tower as it judges would-be seekers is described as a gentle, non-invasive brush of a presence against the mind. The sense is familiar, as though whatever power is seeping into one's mind is that of a friend, an old and trusted companion. At this point, one will no longer see the tower in the distance, but instead find themselves surrounded by the verdant fields of Saphery, with soaring white peaks spanning every horizon, as though one stood trapped within a great plain surrounded by a ring of mountains. If the presence within the mind is allowed to roam freely, and deems the seeker worthy, it will eventually withdraw, and the illusions one was not previously aware of will fade away.[3b]
  • Lady Malene Emeraldsea believes that the Tower is as much a vault as it is a repository of knowledge. She believes that, when the elves are gone, it will still be there, preserving their knowledge, all that the elves are, all that they were, and all that will be. There was never a place like the Tower built before and there never will be again.[2a]
  • The Library contains a number of maps showcasing the layout of Slann Temple-cities.[5a]
  • Early into his career, Teclis had often wondered how the illusory effects of the Tower had been achieved. He could understand some of the components - reasoning there to be an enchantment of divination present. The spells that guarded the Tower needed to be able to detect any evil intention within those who approached. They needed to be able to reach into the enemy's mind, or perhaps even their very soul, to find out. And after that, they needed to be able to twist that person's perceptions so that they could not find a way into the heart of the wood. The basic theory was simple enough. Like many other scholars of Hoeth, Teclis had poured over Bel-Korhadris' notes. He had caught glimpses of the workings of the Scholar-King's mind, but he had not been able to follow the whole process. No one had, for Bel-Korhadris had been the greatest geomancer since Caledor Dragontamer, with a gift amounting to genius when it came to the building of magical structures. When Teclis looked at the King's notes he felt akin to a peasant looking at a pile of bricks and an architect's plans for a mansion and then at the mansion itself. He could see that the two things were connected, that they could somehow be used to create something magnificent. He just did not understand how. Yet.[5b]
  • When Teclis arrived at the Tower, after returning from Lustria and then Lothern, his mount was led away by a retainer that seemingly materialized just for the purpose of doing so. It is unclear if this is done for all mounts brought to the Tower, or if it is limited to students, faculty and/or graduates.[5b]

Gallery

  • A depiction of an orrery within the White Tower.
  • The White Tower of Hoeth as depicted in Total War: Warhammer II
  • The Tower as depicted in the Total War Warhammer II Campaign Map

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery
    • 1a: pg. 36
  • 2: Blood of Aenarion (Novel), by William King
    • 2a: Chapter 4
  • 3: Defenders of Ulthuan (Novel), by Graham McNeill
    • 3a: Chapter 8
    • 3b: Chapter 9
    • 3c: Chapter 10
    • 3d: Chapter 12
  • 4: Sons of Ellyrion (Novel), by Graham McNeill
    • 4a: Chapter 9
  • 5: Sword of Caledor (Novel), by William King
    • 5a: Chapter 5
    • 5b: Chapter 15

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