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Gnarlgar

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NeutralGnarlgar
No image available
Race Treant
Affiliation(s) Primals, Gnarled
Location Unknown
Status Deceased

Gnarlgar was a treant who dwelled in Talador around 2,000 years before the opening of the Dark Portal. It was one of Talador's most powerful primals, and it commanded immense power over nature magic as well as the Spirit of Life that flowed through the wilds. Seeing the Apexis arakkoa as a threat to the wilds, Gnarlgar united the primals, oversaw the creation of the new Sporemound Taala and created the Gnarled to wage war upon the Apexis, but its efforts ultimately failed thanks to the joint efforts of the Anhari and Skalaxi arakkoa orders.[1]

Biography

Much like Rukhmar and her kin, the highly intelligent living tree called Gnarlgar emerged in the aftermath of the Sporemound Botaan's destruction. In addition to its mastery over nature magic, it had vast knowledge of the ancient past, as it learned from the genesaur of the Sporemounds and the Evergrowth that had once bound the forests as one. For millennia, Gnarlgar roamed the world, using its magics to strengthen its fellow primals in their war against the breakers while also honing its own abilities to influence the minds of its kin. Before long, it had learned how to manipulate other primals and guide their actions. It found particular potential in the botani and became their caretaker, teaching them the truth of the Sporemounds and unique ways to harness nature magic.[1]

Gnarlgar eventually became aware of the arakkoan Apexis civilization, which it saw as an immense affront to nature and an even greater threat than the breakers. Gnarlgar departed Talador in search of a weapon to use against the Apexis, and discovered a massive fossilized root - one of the last remaining intact pieces of Botaan's body. The treant returned to Talador and rallied the botani, telling them that they would use the root to craft a new Sporemound, greater than any that had come before it, to cast the Apexis from their lofty spire. Gnarlgar planted the root deep within Talador and began a great ritual to nourish it. Thousands of botani willingly sacrificed themselves, and Gnarlgar infused their spirits into the root. Gradually, leaves and branches sprouted from the earth and grew into a mound of thorny brambles and leathery fronds. Gnarlgar named the burgeoning Sporemound Taala. Meanwhile, the primals prepared for war, awakening new genesaur from their birthing pools while Gnarlgar channeled the Spirit of Life into the forest to gift thousands of trees with intelligence, naming them the Gnarled. Tens of thousands of primals gathered in Talador to await Taala's awakening.[1]

The Apexis initially ignored the stirrings in Talador, believing them to be part of the war between the breakers and primals, but began to worry when the few scouts that returned described armies of living trees, botani and genesaur, as well as a monstrous creature that was already larger than a genesaur. The leaders of the Anhari and Skalaxi orders quickly mobilized the Apexis into an invasion force and struck at the heart of Talador, ignoring the other primals and focusing solely on destroying Taala. Brutal fighting erupted between the arakkoa and the primals, but despite the magic powers at their command, the Apexis could not break the primals. Gnarlgar entered a trance that allowed it to touch the minds of the primals and coordinate their movements, driving the arakkoa back into the skies. Nearly half of the Apexis forces had fallen, but the Anhar order proposed a solution. Its priests had devised an ingenious weapon, the Breath of Rukhmar, that could channel the energies of the sun to devastating effect. As the Anhari began work on the device, Gnarlgar quickened Taala's maturation, ordering more botani to sacrifice themselves so that the Sporemound could be awakened before the arakkoa could regroup.[1]

Finally, Taala stirred, rising up from the ground as the forests trembled at its first step. Gnarlgar entered a trance once again to reach out its mind to Taala and the other primals to order them to march upon the Apexis. The Apexis realized they could not complete their weapon in time, but a small number of Skalaxi sorcerers volunteered to assassinate the primals' leader. They shrouded themselves in shadow and stalked through the forests until they found Gnarlgar, but the treant sensed their presence and quickly disposed of them, though not before the sorcerers had managed to cast a withering curse upon the treant. Gnarlgar's roots and boughs rotted and withered until it collapsed beside its assassins. Gnarlgar's death sent the primals into disarray, and for a time they halted at the edge of Arak before resuming their march, but the delay had been enough for the arakkkoa to complete their work. Just as Taala reached the spire, the Anhari ignited the weapon, sending a white-hot beam exploding from the mechanism to lance through Taala's chest, blowing it apart and incinerating thousands of primals in an instant. The few that survived retreated to Talador but were engulfed in flames by the Anhari, while the forests that had crept into Arak were seared away. Once the attack was halted, blackened earth and smoldering roots stretched as far as the eye could see. The Evergrowth had been annihilated forever and would never return again.[1]

References