Cedar (also called "Deer Tree") is a scaly leaved evergreen tree that slowly
grows up to 11-14 peds. It
has conical and dense branches and a thin brown-red bark. Arvins Cedar's prefer
cool wet lowland areas by streams and swamps where it grows in dense stands. The
wood, which is slow to decay, is used to build boats, poles and roof shingles.
The aromatic leaf resin is used as an additive to perfumes and medicines. Lore
tells us that Arvins created the Cedar
once in order to protect the deer from their
predators and thus to ensure the balance of nature.
Appearance. Growing to 11-14 peds the Arvin Cedar has waxy scaly leaves which are flat and soft. The leaf structure consists of a single stem out of which fan numerous flat shoots. The leaves are dense and overlap. The trees often grow in dense stands, beneath which nothing grows. Where trees are not dense a variety of shrubs and bushes thrive. The cone like flowers yield green oblong cone shaped fruit. The tree has a dense branch structure and is conical pear-like shaped. The branches arch upward from the trunk. The brown-red bark is thin and stringy. Beneath the bark the tree skin is red. The trunk is strongly tapered and often gnarly. Older trees may have an average base trunk circumferance of 1.5 to 2 fores. The wood is medium brown with a redish hue. While prefering wet saturated soils the cedar will grow in more challenging soil conditions though growth will tend to be slow. For example, it is common for Arvin's Cedars to seemingling grow out of rocks and cliff sides near streams and lakes. In these instances their roots wind deep into the crevices of a rocks seeking what little soil exits. Arvins Cedars can tolerate some shade but cannot live under dense canopies with no sunlight. The tree is very slow growing and may take 50 cycles to reach 11 peds on good sites and only 4 peds on poor sites. Arvins Cedars live to great ages with specimens over 1.000 years living in the Shaded Forest.
Territory. The Arvins Cedar grows in cooler climates and prefers wet lowlands or marshy areas. Arvins Cedars are common along stream and lake banks. The Cedar is common in throughout most of Northern Sarvonia particularly along the banks of the Luquador River and its tributaries. Dense stands are found throughout the Shaded Forest. In southern Sarvonia Arvins Cedars are found in the Bolder and Thaelon forests and wetlands in those areas.
Usages. The wood is highly resistant to rot and insects and is used in products in contact with water such as fence posts, roof shingles, boats and docks. The rather soft wood is a favourite of Injerín wood carvers. Leaf resin is used as a medicinal additive to tea to treat colds and fever and as an aromatic additive for laundry and detergent soaps, candles and perfumes. Though aromatic, the resin is too bitter to be consumed on its own. The boughs are used to make wreaths and other decorations for the front door. The gnarly branches and roots are furthermore favoured by artisans. Dense stands can be used for shelter as they are quite impervious to wind and rain. The boughs can be used for bedding. Deer and other prey animals browse Arvins Cedars heavily, especially in areas with snowy winters, as it's one of the few soft and green browse foods available. Deer also make use of dense stands by walking through the windy pathways to find safe bedding and escape predators. The tree density is hard for predators to penetrate and the fragrant stands mask animal scents.
Myth/Lore. There exists a myth why the Cedar exists and why it is associated with Arvins, God of the Hunt:
Why Arvins made the Cedar. Shortly after the creation of Caelereth, Arvins, God of the Hunt, used to wander the lands in the form of both prey and predator. He did this to ensure there was sufficient balance between the species and their habitat. In the form of a simple deer he was often chased by wolves and found it difficult to escape them. Though there were many dense forests he could run through he found that wolves could easily run through them as well. Arvin’s thought that the balance was tipped in favour of the wolf. One day, while walking on the banks of a river he watched as a fox hunted a tarep, and he saw how the rabbit could dive into its burrow to escape the fox. This gave Arvins an idea and seeing a stand of willows near a bank he cast a spell to turn them into a dense stand of cedars. As a deer he could, with much effort, force his way deep into the stand where he thought there would be protection. A few days later, he was chased by some wolves and headed into the cedar stand to escape them. Deep within the stand Arvins could hear the wolves outside trying to find a path inside and eventually they did. Arvins concluded that he’d need an escape path or two should a predator try to enter from one side and so he created them. From that point he often used the cedar stands to hide and look for a place to rest overnight. However, while sleeping he noticed that predators would occasionally find him through scent so he added a light fragrance to cedars to help mask the deer smell. Finally, Arvins found a good escape spot for the deer and felt he had restored balance.
Elven hunters, while hunting deer, often discovered protective clearings deep within dense cedar stands. The hunters found these room-like clearings useful camping spots as the dense foliage, which covered them all around and on top, minimized wind and rain and the bows made comfortable bedding. Also, what was very useful, smoke form fires tended to be filtered and diluted as it passed through the bows so standing outside one could not always tell if someone was inside. Finally, those who seek permanent solitude in the woods often created homes deep within cedar stands protected by a labyrinth of winding paths.
Information provided by Vuk'lor