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"You want to put me in a book? What, squished between the pages like a flower? Just try it, big man, I’ll slit your jugular quick as blinking."
—Dixiebell Buttercup, Spite[2a]
Spite

Spites (known only as Sprites in peasant folklore) are a kind of nature-spirit that exist to protect forests. Their natural form is a glowing light, but they are capable of shapeshifting into other forms. There are as many different kinds of Spite as there are trees in the wood, each kind having different abilities and favoured shapes. Some appear as tiny Elves riding beetles or miniature, skeletal horses, others as beautiful winged humanoids or woodland animals with slightly unnatural features.[2a]

If treated well, Spites can be friendly, if mischievous. However, they are just as likely to be murderous and, well, spiteful, if the mood takes them. They are the essence of capriciousness. Only Elves and Wizards have any real hope of dealing with them, and even then the history of the Wood Elves is filled with instances in which Spites have turned on them or abandoned them in times of need.[2b]

Shortly after death, Spites dissolve. This has made it difficult for Old World scholars to study them, and they are considered a myth by most. They prefer to appear as winged figures or wooden people covered in thorns. Sometimes they appear to be riding animals or constructs, but these are just part of the Spites' shapeshifting ability.[2b]

Known as a Murder when in a group, Spites are vicious manifestations that take countless forms. Some have barbed, thorn-like limbs and razor sharp talons, others take the form of diminutive winged figures armed with tiny weapons. Some seem to be all teeth and talons, while others may hide their viciousness behind a facade of innocence and beauty. They hide within the cloaks of their hosts, or within the cracks and hollows of ancient Treemen, peeping out maliciously and ready to attack any who draw near.[1a]

Subtypes

  • Luminescents: As they bound from branch, to bow, to cloak, Luminescents leave behind a magical spoor. Should they alight upon a weapon of any kind, their presence bestows a minor enchantment that can prove lethal to magical beings. A group is called a Resplendence.[1b]
  • Malevolents: These appear in countless guises and are aggressive defenders of Athel Loren, utilising poisoned darts and needle-like arrows, known as Elf-shot to the Bretonnians, to bring down their enemies. Some say that to be wounded by a Malevolent is to suffer a long and painful death, others that their darts can make their victims fall into a nightmarish sleep that can last for centuries. A group is called a Muster.[1a]
  • Mischiefs: Also known as Marshlights, Mischiefs sometimes appear as glowing spheres of light, or tiny elves that seem to glow from within, with large staring eyes and tattered wings. They befuddle the minds of mortals and send them into sleep-like trances. They fly in patterns that stultify viewers and, when feeling mischievous, they use this ability to lure travelers into bogs or off the edges of cliffs. A group is called a Befuddlement.[1a]
  • Netlings: These spites commonly look like small, spider-like creatures, often scurrying over and attaching to hosts with feverish abandon. Any enemy that attempts to strike a being that is under the protection of a netling is likely to find their weapon snagged in a web of magical filaments. A group is called an Annoyance.[1b]
  • Radiants: Unusual glowing spites that usually manifest as little more than a blurred shape of pure light, though they appear in all manner of colours. They are often seen circling the most ancient of trees, and will shy away from Elves or other mortal creatures. Sometimes they will take more solid form, and appear like small Elven figures. They act as sponges for magical energy, sapping the power of enemy mages. A group is called a Cluster.[1b]
  • Shrikes: Malicious spites that often reveal themselves as diminutive red-capped creatures borne upon the backs of black birds, though they also appear as owls with a fey light in their large eyes. Some take the form of vicious, razor winged pixies or small knights riding upon the backs of large insects. They move like quicksilver, darting through the forest to strike at their enemies, targeting vital arteries and eyes. Some say they are able to reach within the bodies of their foes to attack vital organs and the mind, causing great pain and sometimes death. A group is called a Pageant.[1b]
  • Terrors: Another type of malicious spite, Terrors dwell in the dark places of Athel Loren. They delight in terrifying unsuspecting intruders, and take great mirth in the horrified and frightened expressions of their prey, and even greater hilarity if the target dies of shock. They often hide secreted on a host, and when that host comes near an enemy, they loom out, screaming and wailing, taking on their most fearsome aspect. A group is called a Blight.[1b]

Notable Spites

  • The Despairs: are three-sister spites who are much feared in Athel Loren. They almost always appear to an individual to announce that their demise is imminent. They can take the forms of empty-eyed crones with twigs for hair, red-eyed ravens, or an old crone, a beautiful woman, and a small child. A group is called a Lamentation.[1b]

Gallery

  • Depiction of a Spite in Wood Elves 6th Edition.

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Wood Elves (6th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 60
    • 1b: pg. 61
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG -- The WFRP Companion
    • 2a: pg. 118
    • 2b: pg. 125