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The Pride of Trees

From Verinfall Archives

"While it is not well known now, trees are among the proudest of the plants. And why not, the would say? They tower above their kin, and as is their station, constantly seek new lands to bring under their dominion. Those that can still understand the rustling words of the leaf-tongue and have the patience can hear the tale firsthand if they wish, but I have no such gifts so I can only tell it to you as it was to me…

Though their forces march slowly, their groves are legions and will come to stand vigil over any untended field or meadow in time. Only the most parched lands, or man-blighted fields are not worthy of their dominion to hear them say. And so it was that with the coming of the mountains after the moon-song, they saw these as yet another realm upon which to march. The call was sent forth through the wood, how dare these gray-balds tower above the Verdant Crown?

At first the trees advanced upon the mountain slopes easily, each battle measured in decades, each campaign in centuries. Every generation, relentlessly planting its leafy banner upon the slopes. For their part, the mountains seemed impassive and unmoved. Indeed, it seemed they would simply disappear beneath the sylvan tide that amassed around them. But as foothills fell to them, and the trees began their final ascent in earnest, something peculiar happened.

Winter had always been a time of rest for the trees; camps were made, stores provisioned and Spring plans laid. The brief lull mattered not to the long-lived ones. But on these slopes, the mountains seemed to call down winters unseen in the lowlands; fierce blizzards, long darkness and trunk-splitting cold.

The trees are a strong folk, though, and these they would bear stoically. But as the great snows weighed upon them, they were forced to bend. Even the conifers, which raise their banners of green all year round without fail, were forced to bow under the heavily load of the mountain’s winters. This was too great for many a proud tree and they broke rather than bend to the mountains.

Back and forth this war waged and many an ancient veteran tree can still be found on the high places, withered and stunted by the wounds, clinging stubbornly to its outpost. But in the end, the trees could not bear the shame of bowing to the gray-lords. They withdrew from the high places and left the mountains to be crowned by clouds instead.

You can see the last line of trees around the mountains of the south; an armistice which has holds to this day."