Sorrowstones and Shardstorms

Red and the Tree of Life

18

Naturally, the tale must continue then to the Green Age, when the Gods came to power. Somehow, the Spark of Intelligence* came into the world, and everything changed, evolved. Gods came to be, filled with passions, desires, goals, and plans, while what was once known as the Primordials, now are the Primal Spirits.

The Gods made the mortal races, and shaped what would become Athas from the primordial waters. Under their guidance, life of all sorts bloomed and exploded across the world, and in so doing, grew their power. For the essence of Life and Magic are one and the same, and the Prime Material is the source of all magic, and thus of life. Gods learned to harness this power in ways the Primal Spirits could not, and eclipsed them utterly.

And from this age, came the Trees of Life. Their exact origin is still unclear, for while their nature is that of the Primal Spirits, their creation was surely influenced by the hand of the divine. Perhaps the earliest of the Gods, those that chose simply to personify nature, who sought to be gods to the Primal Spirits and not to some mortal creation, had a hand in these. No matter, for the Green Age is all but lost – the Trees of Life are the only thing that remain of that time, divine and primal in one living thing, and the only known bulwark against the destructive power of defilement.

And so, our band of mortal beings were on the trail of such a tree. And found one we did. Through unnatural storm we pushed, after reuniting with Maximus, Dassalius, and a ’kreen called Oriio, the representative of the Druid Daylius. This ’kreen was essential to our efforts, as it was in tune with the Primal Spirits, who would surely guard this last relic of a lost era.

Within the eye of the storm we were set on by two of these lionadillos, though these were trained attack ’dillos bearing the mark of the Lion King (no, not from the musical, from Urik) Hamanu. We are surely heading deeper into his rage. This was a savage battle, and their fury was too much for me. I owe Ramsee my life – a debt that I have not owed anyone before. It makes me uncomfortable.

Oriio proved his primal connection true, and gained us entry into the secret well of the lost tree. Therein, wraiths sworn to protect the tree from the Sorcerer-King of Nibenay stood to block us, though we parley’d well, and they stood aside without violence. Further in, we happened on a group of ’kreen who had somehow found and forced entry along a different path. Again negotiation saw us unite rather than fight.

But the final guardian, deranged and defiled, would not be talked free. And a battle ensued. It was a large scale war. Once again, I found myself ‘hulking out’ in the presence of so much life and magic, confirming at least some of my suspicions. Ramsee was all but ready to declare me a defiler, for surely what else could a demon be, but even he had to admit none of my magic drew even the slightest hint of life energy away – not even the greatest of known preservers can perform magic without borrowing at least some energy. Yet my own blood overflows with power from some other source. Add to that an abundance of ambient life magic, and I can no longer fully control this blood power. And the result is this demon form. I must learn to control and conquer it.

We defeated the enemies, and just before the last fell, Ramsee plucked the seed from the Tree. There was just the one, for the Tree itself was old and sick, sustained in truth only by the new life it had spawned. With the seed now seperated, the Tree grew dark, the last of its power would fade over time, and it’s wood come to rest.

And Red set it on fire.

He was promptly murdered by our ally thri-kreen posse. I was personally never too attached to Red – as a pyromaniac, he had tried to destroy the ‘deliciously flamable’ parchments that held Yarnoth’s research after we spent great efforts to recover them. I suspect the fire at the orphanage was his doing too, though I know not for sure as I arrived to it already ablaze. Maximus quenched the tree, and in so doing, pacified the thri-kreen enough to be satisfied with their justice on the mad drey.

After that – discussions turned to what to do next. There is talk of using the wood of the tree to make weapons or talismans against the defilers. I wonder if the ’kreen will go for that – they must know the tree is dead, and while I accept that simply burning it for pleasure is going a bit too far – would they see using the remains for constructive purpose to be sacrilige? ’Kreen are a practical people though, and rumour has it that the Heartwood Spear that slew Kalak was made from the wood of a tree of life.

We also found informations and writings, although so far my analysis has not turned up too much new, I am hoping a more detailed examination along with some of my magical tricks will add more light to our quests. There are a few other nic-nacs, including a tiara like object. The girl in me is curious as to if it would look good on me. No – I am a being of practicality, and a mortal cursed to be a demon – what ornament could brighten that image.

The team rests and consolidates, having gained a fragment of the power of life itself. We prepare, for we all suspect Hamanu’s agents will soon involve themselves.

*The Spark of Intelligence. I know not what this truly is, only that when I turn my magics to know of it, I am filled with such dread terror as I can only begin to describe. Indeed, my hand shakes just to write this passage. It is something incomprehensible, and utterly alien that should never have existed in this cosmos. Its presence has twisted and changed everything, and I owe my own sentience to it. I have disavowed all research effort into the matter, for that way lies madness incarnate.

Comments

Mutton

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.