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Trees

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If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all. -- High Chief Ronald Reagan

The Austfolk, unlike numerous peoples of past ages, know and revere trees for many reasons. They rely on trees for their shade and it's coolness, their multitude of fruits, as well as for provision of nightly firewood, without which (failing sorcery...) they would go without cooked food.

Tree types by geographical location:

Comprehensive lists:

Trees of Life

The first impression of the stillness of a tree is misleading. They are in fact bustling with activity - centers around which many lives revolve. Bees build nests in hollow boles, while pollinating entire forests. Goats climb trees to eat the juicy leaves while leopards lurk in the murky shadow of the boughs to fall upon unwary wanderers after dark. In more remote and perilous woods, large and poisonous vipers perform the same trick.

Trees of Death

Trees can be tricksters. Many a tiring ranger has been tripped by the roots of a gnarly old tree along his path, and the paranoid might believe his enemies bewitched the tree in order to hinder his progress. The thorny branches of many tree species at the Ever-end of the World are said to be enchanted by resident Wood-elves for the same purpose. Within and beyond the Misty Swamps of the Lost there is a tree that is believed to eat people whole: it ensnares them with its reaching branches, opens up a large crack in its bark and engulfs them. Many tales are told of the faint sound of the victim singing a goodbye song to their relatives and friends. Those steeped in lore know that once so ensnared, the Woodpecker is their only saviour, for it possesses magic powers of warding against evil Tree Spirits. For a fee, the enterprising bird it will cut open the offending tree with its sharp beak.

The Spirit of Trees

The druidic sangomas say that every big tree has a spirit?. Some more ancient trees are said to house many spirits, and not all of these are benevolent. Some cultures argue that not only do trees house spirits but that a tree is an embodiment of ancient spirits, even the kindred of the the Great Powers?, Those We Do Not See?. These tree-spirit have voices which the careful listener can hear and maybe (if he is so skilled) understand their messages. In the Barbarian Borderlands where trees are few, the voice of the tree spirits has to be carefully preserved by the drum? maker, who carves his noble instruments from fallen forest-fathers. The boat-maker too endeavors to contain the tree-spirit in the wood he works, which works to safeguard it's boatman against drowning in the rushing rivers and lakes. Songs are sung of the collective spirit of the forest, who some revered as a god.

There are ancient fire-tales about a Pygling elder who married a tree called Alvar. The tree bore his children, a healthy boy and a girl who were Olbytla themselves but seemed to be attuned to the spirits of the wood and so became herbalists of wide fame.

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