Wood Elves: the Deadwood Covenant

And in the fury of this darkest hour
I will be your light
A lifetime for this destiny
For I am winterborn

And in this moment
I will not run
It is my place to stand
We too shall carry hope
Within our bloodied hands

The Crüxshadows, ‘Winterborn’

The Wood Elves are my “away game” army – a collection I can put in a figure case and take on a train without the constant running repairs my brittle old Undead conversions demand. They are also tactically very, very unlike my Undead: fast, fragile, most dangerous at range, magic light and in multiple small units (for the most part). Rising in the Year of Nineteen Crows, the Deadwood Covenant are an… unorthodox kind of elf.

2000 points in six months. I’m pretty chuffed.

They hail from the forest of High Tiernmas: a far-flung and neglected heathland of Athel Loren, cursed with an endless magical winter. Its inhabitants have become more spectral and quixotic than even the average elf, under the terms of the titular Covenant, which has reduced most of the local Asrai nobility to bizarre half-trees, their vitality literally feeding the forest through the long dark and keeping its spirits from withering away.

The leader of those spirits, the self-declared Maven of Deadwood, is the closest thing there is to mistress of this cold high realm, seeming content to reign in arrested decline.

Walwen ap Hwel may be the only member of the ruling bloodline not bound by the Maven’s pact, but he is not the last hope for spring in Deadwood. There is nothing special, nothing sacred about him. He is not the chosen one. He will stand with his kinbands until the last, he will face the Maven as something like an equal, but whatever the solution is… he isn’t it.

King Celann and the Druid, the nobility whose failures in ancient days brought the Covenant into being. King Celann wears on his brow the feared and fabled Crown of Sorcery; the Druid was in his day a master of High Magic, but he turned his back on that path long ago.

Occasional friendly contact with the domain of Tessonfroid, the Bretonnians down the valley (the sidepiece of my oldest friend and longest serving playmate Dr. Shiny) does occur. At least, when Amaranth the Damsel of the Lady speaks, the Maven of Deadwood stares intently and does not kill her, for reasons that don’t bear too much analysis. But when the seasons of the world outside turn, the Deadwood Conclave have a habit of forgetting pacts once signed and sealed, and going to war again… and again… and again… the idea being that our armies may be mutual aggressors on their own turf but will join forces against outsiders in times of need (such as big team games or doubles events).

2021

While putting the army together I kept my proverbial pecker up by playing with myself, the results of which became The Maven & The Witch – a four episode jaunt into warband, skirmish and asymmetric play that I could generally tackle of a morning before work.

I took the Covenant to Warhammer Resurrection in the summer of 2021, to unspectacular results. A wave of reinforcements were acquired, but ongoing arthritis and the demands of full time labour conspired to keep me from doing much with them, or making the second event in November.

2022

I signed up to A Tale Of Many Gamers in the hope that public accountability would make me at least finish my Eternal Guard, second Branchwraith and new, non-Alter Highborn. Anything else I produced (Eagles, second Treeman, another wave of Dryads, 3D printed ‘Warhawk’ and Wild Riders) would be a bonus.