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The land of Ulthuan lies in the ocean between the Old World and Naggaroth. Shaped like an inverted horseshoe this land is home to the High Elves. Like much of the Warhammer World, Ulthuan has been shaped by magic, for good and for bad.
The High Elves of Ulthuan see themselves as the guardians of the world, trusted with immense secrets and the power to hold back chaos and prevent the world’s destruction. How true this is depends on who you ask.
In ancient days the High Elf presence was global, including in the Old World, where trading links with the Dwarfs in particular brought wealth to both. Since the War of the Beard (don’t ask) and the rise of Malekith, the High Elves have retreated. However their ships still ply the oceans, and a global network of fortified outposts provide sheltered harbours for High Elf captains on long voyages.
The lands of Ulthuan are the focus of the High Elves in these times. The land sits atop the sea by magic; it does not connect to the sea bed. Strange, but it keeps the lands free from subterranean raiders.
The land of the elves is not idyllic. In true Warhammer style it is a hard land with its own share of treachery and tragedy.
Ulthuan is ruled by the High King who sits on his throne in Etaine. This southern province guards the entry to Ulthuan’s Inner Sea, and no ships can pass through without the leave of the King. Each other province in the land has its own particular cultural uniqueness, and many provinces provided specialised troops to serve in High Elf armies.
Where the shadows lie
Nagarythe is a ruined kingdom, once ruled by Malekith. When his revolt against the Phoenix King was defeated he left, taking his followers with him and established a new lair on Naggaroth.
Not all the inhabitants of Nagarythe sided with their rebellious ruler. Those who remained loyal fought a series of ambush battles against Malekith’s forces. These days Nagarythe stands a ruined and blasted land, pocked with the scars of old battles, now known as the Shadowlands. From this harsh land comes a harsh kind of High Elf. The Shadow Warriors stand watch over their old realm, and while they aren’t especially popular among other High Elves, their battlefield prowess is still valued.
On the other side of the mountains from Nagarythe lies Ellyrion. Here the horse breeders produce some of the finest steeds to serve in the High Elf armies. They must always be watchful, for Dark Elves ride horses stolen from Ellyrion. Black-coated steeds are especially prized by the Dark Elves.
The realm of Tiranoc is also famed for speed. Their chariots can often be seen rushing around the battlefield to confound the foe.
Once were dragons
Caledor is a realm with a long history, even by High Elf standards. The people of Caledor are often lost in their past glories, since the present pales in comparison. The Dragon Princes of Caldor are an elite cavalry unit. They ride horses rather than their eponymous dragons these days. In peacetime they are aloof and arrogant, but on the battlefield they are implacable, and capable of laying down a shattering charge to break enemy lines.
Some rare individuals in Caledor can wake a slumbering dragon, and these become the Dragon Mages of the High Elf armies.
Axe and pelt
Chrace is often the first port of call for Dark Elf invaders, probing for weaknesses in Ulthuan’s defences. From Chrace come the White Lions, elves wearing lion pelts and carrying great axes, which they wield with great skill. Like Tiranoc, Chrace brings chariots to battle, though in this case they are pulled by large white lions.
The realm of Saphery is steeped in Magic and is a somewhat reclusive realm, as its inhabitants are concerned with Magical study more than anything else. In Avelorn, the Everqueen rules a court that never sleeps in the same spot twice, always moving through the forests.
Yvresse is an land that stands empty. Many of its remaining fortresses are subterranean; large parts of the land are uninhabited – a testament to the decline of the elves. In ages past Yvresse was the landing point of Grom the Paunch, a Goblin king who led a greenskin Waaagh on a rampage through Ulthuan before being slain.
What is the Vortex?
Evil forces are often drawn to Ulthuan by the power of the Vortex. This was created in ancient days by desperate elf mages in an attempt to stop the chaos incursion from destroying the world. The vortex was created to gather the Winds of Magic and drain them before the power becomes so great the world is shattered.
The vortex lies in the centre of the inner sea, and the geography of Ulthuan helps gather the guide the winds into the vortex. Those ancient elf mages are there still, standing on the edge of the vortex, chanting the spells that keep the world from being consumed by chaos. Let’s hope they remain standing.