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Woodwalker (CTL)

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Woodwalker is one of the sub-types of the Wizened seeming. They are changelings who, like their captors, live within and protect the wilds, sometimes jealously, sometimes violently. Theirs is the blessing of Wildcraft.


Where the Woodblood Elemental was made to be part of the forest, the Woodwalker was always an outside force within it. Woodwalkers were expected to tend to the gardens and grounds of their Keepers with humanlike reason, not primal instinct. Woodwalkers cultivated goblin fruits by the bushel, plucked wriggling faerie vermin from the stems and roots of impossible flowers and fertilized shifting flower beds with substances best left forgotten. Upon returning to the mortal world, the Woodwalker may take a brief bit of time to refamiliarize herself with the way that the plants of Earth work. A rosegarden might trigger a faint flash of dread, until the changeling notes all the differences between the mortal roses and the shuddering bushes that grasped at her arms in Faerie. Still, the memories of home that led the Woodwalker back often included the memories of what “real” flowers and trees were like. With these memories as their anchor, most Woodwalkers gladly return to their instinctual task of tending gardens, orchards or forests. Here, the work is far purer. The Woodwalker is usually somewhat goblinish in aspect, bent and gnarled like tree roots without actually having the same bark-like skin or ivy-like hair that a Woodblood possesses. Sometimes their joints seem to be in the wrong places, making their limbs seem even more like those of a tree. Some have discolored mouths and teeth, the mark of the goblin fruits that twisted them into their present forms. Others are pale like mushrooms, with soft and spongy flesh that is tougher than it first seems.


Many Woodwalkers were not crafted for the specific tasks, but were rather abducted, reworked, and then discarded into the gardens of their Keeper. There they learned a certain affinity for the plants that surrounded them in part because the gardens were a kind of respite. Others were deliberately modified to act as gardeners, owing to the special requirements of the twisted Faerie gardens. Some were fed exclusively on the strangest and wildest of goblin fruits, the poisons in those juices mingling like alchemy in the blood of the stolen changeling. A few never saw actual plants at all, instead tending pale fungoid forests in the caverns deep in the bowels of Arcadia.


The Woodwalkers are kin to the goblins, faeries and spirits that lived in the woods without actually being closely tied to the forest’s nature. The trickster Robin Goodfellow may have been one of them. The horse-faced tikbalang of the Philippines is another potential Woodwalker, one that leads travelers astray. Germanic folklore mentions moss-people who appear as old men and women clad in moss. Certain Native American tribes talked of the Canotili, tree-dwelling faeries with great strength hidden in their dwarfish stature.


Poisoned by rose petals, cannot refuse aid to someone that is lost, may not hurt a wild animal, repelled by church bells, cannot rest in a room without living plants, bane of hornet’s venom.


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