A Walkthrough the Card - PoP Thanedd Coup: Scoia'tael
This episode will be about the Scoia’tael cards of the new expansion. Their forces played a significant rule in the Thanedd Coup. Being aware of the tensions between the two opposing groups, the Nilfgaard-supporting elven sorceress Francesca Findabair smuggled a squad of Scoia’tael warriors into the caves of Thanedd Island by boat and played them as her trump card once the fighting began.
Before we get to the actual cards, we need to do a small lore interlude which will broaden the view on the new additions of this expansion. That is why you should know about Aelirenn, also known as the White Rose of Shaerrawedd. About 200 years before the events of The Witcher when humans became the dominant species of the Continent, the elf Elirena – as she is known by humans and dwarves – lead a rebellion of young elves against the humans. This was in direct opposition to the elven elders’ wishes, who simply wanted to outlive the problem.
A whole generation of young elves met their bloody demise on the battlefield in a last gust of fire instead of fading into darkness like the embers of a dying fire. Robbed of their youngest generation, the elves could no longer reproduce which did not only hasten, but ultimately sealed the downfall of their entire race.
As for her legacy, we shall quote an entry on her from the reward book:
Although more than two hundred years have passed since Aelirenn’s rebellion, her memory yet lives on. At the palace of Shaerrawedd, situated in the wilds of Kaedwen, Scoia’tael warriors continue to tend to Aelirenn’s beloved garden – her treasured white roses in particular. On occasion, human travelers have inadvertently stumbled upon the hallowed grounds. Enchanted by the beauty of this ivy-strewn relic of the past, some took a rose for posterity – woefully unaware of the flower’s cherished significance…
If you take a look at the Scoia’tael faction’s standard board, this is likely heavily inspired by this very place and for this reason I would like the roses to be there white instead of red.
Simlas Finn aep Dabairr
Can you imagine Francesca as an impulsive hothead? The very same person that made a fateful deal with the Nilfgaardians to establish an elven kingdom while also denying any help to her very own people by openly denouncing the Scoia’tael squads?
I certainly could not, but in her youth, Francesca opposed her father Simlas by joining Aelirenn’s rebellion. While she was lucky enough to come back alive, she lost all her companions and friends – and her father. Enraged about his daughter’s behaviour, he disowned her and never talked to her until his death. Poor Francesca must have been shattered… But this drastic outcome of her drastic actions lead to a significant change in character and Francesca finally became the calculated emotionless tactician she is now and her father wished her to be earlier – even though Simlas would be turning in his grave if he ever learned about his daughter’s deal.
Simlas’ artwork probably shows Francesca’s departure right before joining Aelirenn’s rebellion where her father disowned her. While the daughter’s expression looks like a mix of defiance and disappointment, the father is seemingly unfazed. However, it seems like his true emotions are subconsciously manifesting in form of his magic at his left arm: a dark aura with flashing lightning which are in contrast to the raised left hand which probably just dismissively beckoned his daughter to leave against his better judgment.
The card’s flavour text I am a Sage. Naturally I know more than you do. does not only fit this situation, but is also supporting the faction’s introductory sentence mentioned at the start. This arrogance seems to be shared among the flavour texts of all Sages: Elven Scribe’s (formerly Elven Sage) Knowledge, my dear, is a privilege, and privileges are only shared among equals. and Ida Emean aep Sivney’s I am a Sage. My power lies in possessing knowledge. Not sharing it. have the same underlying tone. That is some pretty snobbish attitude they have there. But what do I know? I am not a Sage. What I do know is that you should not ask a woman about her age and yet one of Simlas’ voice lines indicates that Francesca is at least 400 years old when the Thanedd Coup happened. I wonder how Easha was like when she was just four centuries old, but I doubt I will get any comment on this.
We already did posts on pop culture references earlier, and this card would fit right into it. Why? Because it references not only one, but two well-known franchises: one would be The Lord of the Rings, or rather the film adaption of The Hobbit where Thranduil rides a very similar looking mount.
Writing of the mount, it looks like a European fallow deer, just much bigger. Deer of that size did in fact exist in Europe about ten thousand years ago, even though the genus of Megaloceros looked more like an elk. I think it’s cute regardless. As for the name, if my limited Elder Speech knowledge does not deceive me, it should literally translate to ‘Spirit Animal’. It certainly does have the looks of one for sure.
This look and the flavour text Expecto pa— No, wait. That’s not right. are an obvious reference of the Harry Potter books. The entire spell would have been ‘Expecto patronum’ and summons a projection of hope, happiness and similar good thoughts to ward off its evil pendant the Dementor. Harry’s and his father’s are shaped like a stag, I wonder what mine would look like? And yet I doubt Easha would be stopped by something like this.
Simlas who’s riding it has a glowing orb of the same colour like the summoned stag in his hand which leads us directly to our next card.
Orb of Insight
We could actually use such an orb to get some insight on the orbs themselves, as there is not much known about their lore. It is not even clear whether it is an actual item or a spell to conjure up an orb, even though the latter argument would be supported by the card’s Spell category. According the the flavour text It shows only one of many possible futures. and only a glimpse at that. You can see several different futures in the cards premium version.
This is the third out of four cards Simlas makes his appearance, the blue shimmer of the orb giving his whole body an eerie glow. He seems to only look with one eye into the orb and more at the space next to it, rather than actually gazing into the orb itself. Maybe the orb actually pulls the user’s mind right into the action which would explain Simlas’ somewhat dreamy yet focused expression. The orb in his hand shows a battle scene in vague silhouettes, probably between elves and humans if you follow the weapon cliché. The background is rather hard to identify, maybe burning trees? Clouds of ashes? Maybe it is not even an actual part of the vision, and just a blurry distortion.
Judging by all the jewellery she wears, the Seer seems to be of high status. The huge sapphires alone
are extremely rare, and the other parts of her attire are superbly crafted as well as they mimic branches and flowers – quite typical for Elven jewellery as we already covered in our series about this topic. The structure holding the orb and the altar with white lilies below it look like they were organic, even though the material looks more like metal or stone, likely the former as it looks similar to the shoulder ornaments of the seeress. It seems almost as if she shaped them from the roots surrounding the ancient-looking pillars in the background.
The orb is apparently an orb of insight as well, considering her profession and the flavour text I predict a bad future for your race, dh’oine. Interestingly enough, her voice lines contradict the prophecy in the flavour text, as she foretells a grim future for the elves in those.