Stepping into Nightmare

The Nightmare Court is not a subject I have written much about so far, despite the fact that, really, they fascinate me a lot. Of course, all things sylvari do, but the Court in particular is something I was interested in seeing more about.

But they were also a topic that we never really learned a huge amount about. However, with the Court being heavily a part of the early sylvari storyline, we’ve seen a fair bit of them now.

One thing that struck me about the sylvari is that they remind me of Jedi. Honor, helping others, and standing against evil is the core of what their society is based on. I also got the impression that the Nightmare is similar to the Dark Side of the Force – once you fall, that’s it. During a story quest I was doing, I even had Caithe say as much to me. Once that corruption takes hold, you’re done for, and there’s no going back. Caithe herself is described as walking the edge of Nightmare, due to her love for Faolain – she above all knows how dangerous it is, how futile it is to try and rescue someone who’s turned to Nightmare, and yet she cannot keep herself from trying to save her love and bring Faolain back to her.

Caithe herself I found to be especially dark for a sylvari – and also heartbreaking, in some ways. She’s not afraid to take actions that others would balk at – there was one point in the personal story where we had more or less captured a member of the Nightmare Court to get information. Caithe wanted to kill her after getting the info, and my character said, no, we should let her go. Caithe agreed…and then proceeded to kill the Courtier anyway. I was actually quite surprised at that. There’s also the fact that she’s very hesitant to talk about Faolain at any point I’ve seen so far, and there’s a certain book you can find in Caithe’s home that just made me go “…awwwwww…”. And yet, despite this, I can’t see any way that Caithe would ever completely give in to Nightmare. She’s tasted it and prowls the edges, but it’s the one thing she wouldn’t do to get Faolain back.

So. The Nightmare Court. Their main goal is to free sylvari from the teachings of Ventari’s Tablet, not believing that human and centaur philosophies are right for a completely new and different race. They also want to embrace and understand the nightmares found within the Dream, instead of simply ignoring them or trying to get rid of them. They wish to eventually corrupt the Pale Tree herself with these nightmares, freeing the sylvari from what they think are the shackles of Ventari’s teachings.

Of course, they do this by committing acts of evil in order to try and bring these nightmares to life wherever they go. I would compare them to the Dark Jedi of Star Wars, if not for one important difference – Dark Jedi tend to be destructive and horrid for their own selfish gains. Nightmare Court sylvari genuinely believe that what they are doing will eventually change and improve the sylvari race and their society.

In a Nightmare Court disguise

I’m sure most people won’t agree with the Court’s view, but they see the atrocities they perform as a means to an end. Among the members of the Court, there’s quite a large variety amongst how they act and behave. Among the Courtiers I met in the game, there was Sariel, a former student of Faolain’s who reveled in violence, Gavin, who did not care much either way and simply saw it a way to complete what he needed to do and still had a strong sense of honor, and the Knight of Embers, who was cold and deadly. They each have their own methods, their own views of things, while sharing the same ultimate goal.

If there is one thing that the Court tends to be, it is obsessed. They are constantly plotting and finding ways to try and spread Nightmare. They are constantly (forcefully) recruiting new members. If they think that something will help them with their goal, they will do it, no matter what it is. They are truly relentless, resorting to mind control to help turn sylvari to the Nightmare when needed. While it says on wiki that Courtiers have every last bit of virtue they had destroyed, I don’t 100% agree on this point – as I noted out above, there are Nightmare sylvari that still have strong sense of honor which is, after all, a virtuous trait. Of course, we don’t know how common sylvari like Gavin are within the Court – are many of the higher ranks that way, or is he an anomaly? Only time will tell.

One thing is for certain – the Nightmare Court will never be able to be completely defeated. It is based on an idea, and killing the members of the Court will not stop that. The Nightmare is born within the Dream, and it’s not unreasonable to think that it’ll be possible, even now, for sylvari to be born to Nightmare.

This is one thing I’m impatient to learn more about as we play through the game, and I’m especially excited to play through the Twilight Arbor dungeon, which is entirely about the Nightmare Court. There’s so much that can be explored here, and I definitely want to see what happens when Caithe and Faolain meet in game.


10 thoughts on “Stepping into Nightmare


    I was talking to the NPC outside of the Arbor Bay dungeon who tells you what you are going to do there and it said that Caithe had to confront Faolin. I am excited to see how that plays out but am also nervous because Caithe would be a wreck if she had to kill Faolin.

  2. Pingback: This week in Guild Wars 2 | GuildMag - Guild Wars 2 Fansite: Magazine, Podcast, Editorials and more

  3. One thing that I like about the Court is that, from a narrative standpoint, they’re allowed to do evil for the sake of evil. This is usually a mistake in writing villains, as it makes them shallow and uninteresting of course. But this struck me during the Green Knight storyline: I was expecting the story to reveal the Court’s ulterior motives, but when they make it clear they’re just trying to hurt people, it was powerful. Once again the sylvari turn things on their head.

  4. I think people who are expecting Sylvari to be happy flower elves are going to be somewhat surprised by how dark their story lines get.

  5. Nice entry as usual Verene. 🙂 I too am fascinated by the Nightmare Court, especially Caithe & Faolain’s relationship. May I ask which story options you chose to play through the particular story you witnessed? It sounds quite different to the 1 I played through on my Thief.

    • I did the White Stag, and “Where life goes, so shall you”. Got some very interesting glimpses into the Nightmare Court in there.

      And thanks!

      Also, if what I’ve read about the Twilight Arbor dungeon is true, this game is going to make me cry. Again.

  6. The only thing that makes me sad about GW2 is, as a roleplayer, I really want to play a Nightmare Court Sylvari, but the storyline dictates no matter what that they are enemy and you want nothing to do with them. I’d love a little bit of grey, or a chance to make a choice.

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