THE EYASHA'S GRACE TREE ("HARMONY TREE")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

Beautiful, and mysterious, Eyasha's Grace truly is a sight to behold. It is named after the Santharian Goddess of Peace, due to the deep feelings of tranquility, that seem to float in the very air around the tree. Surrounded by the soothing, heavenly perfume of its beautiful white flowers, and heavily shaded by the vast width of the crown, it is a wonderful place for one to rest and gather one's thoughts, though few will get the opportunity to do so. The tree is rare, with only two having ever been found, both of which exist on the island of Aidan in the Scattersand Shoals.

Reaching a height of more than twenty-five peds, and up to ten peds wide at the base of the trunk, Eyasha's Grace is a vast tree. But it's not the size that strikes you, upon seeing it for the first time, as much as the formation of the branches. Rather than growing outwards, like most trees, they grow into a strange oval cage-like structure, as if they are forming around a giant invisible egg, creating a unique and magnificent tree.

Eyasha's Grace
View picture in full size Image description. The magnificent and unique cage-like growth of one of the rarest trees that exist in Caelereth. Picture drawn by Tikanni Corazon.

Appearance. From the base of the bronze-toned trunk to the last perfect white flower on the crown, Eyasha's Grace is an unusual, yet beautiful tree. It is no surprise, therefore,that in tales of myth it was said to be the chosen home of the faerie folk.

Upwards from the roots, the trunk is split into five sections, and these sections grow in a strange twisting manner. Approximately five peds up, the tree begins to construct the unique cage-like structure, though the gaps between the branches are too large to cage most creatures, some wide enough to easily allow a person to fit inside. The branches do not seem to grow in any particular pattern, yet it is breathtaking to look upon.

The branch structure exceeds the width of the trunk. On the largest of the two discovered, it is more than fourteen peds at the widest point, though it narrows again nearer the top of the tree. The inside of the structure is cool and dry, a welcome relief from the humidity of the outside air.

Though it is difficult lower down, the formation of the branches, inside, will allow a persistant climber to make their way all the way to the crown. This makes it possible to look out of the top of the tree, to survey much of the surrounding forestland. If one was to do so, they would find themselves in a paradise of dark green and white.

The leaves are around half a palmspan in length, and a smooth oval shape, and have a strange velvety texture. They grow densely, allowing very little light through to the base of the tree.

The beautiful, star-shaped white flowers grow amongst this mass of green, usually in clusters of around four or five blooms. They are each approximately a palmspan in diameter, consisting of five petals. The centre of each flower is an unusual blue-green, of a similar shade to Baveras' eye. The colour is brightest nearest the very centre of the flowers, and becomes fainter the higher up the petal, giving in fully to the pure white around three nailsbreadths up. There are also dozens of tiny golden stamins at the centre of each flower, each reaching around two nailsbreadth in length. It is these that send out the heavenly perfume, which fills the air around the tree.

The Flower of the Harmony Tree
View picture in full size Image description. The beautiful, star-shaped flower of the Harmony Tree. Picture drawn by Tikanni Corazon.

The densely leafed crown, shaped almost like an upside down plate, is deceptively thin; a series of long, hanging branches give the impression of greater height. Each branch grows narrower, towards the tips, getting slowly thinner and thinner, until they are barely a grain in width. These are thin and flexible, and grow twisting together, creating long, dangling tendrils, some of which reach nearly three peds in length. The tendrils, like the crown, are covered in the leaves with clusters of flowers growing at irregular intervals down the length.

The roots of the tree are thick and gnarled. They spread to around three peds from the base of the trunk, before disappearing from view below the earth. They, like the trunk and the branches, are covered in a bronze-hued bark, smooth to the touch, with faint golden graining visible on the trunk and the thicker of the root bases.

All of these elements come together to form a rare and visually stunning edition to the world of flora.
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Territory. Eyasha's Grace has only ever been found on one island in the Scattersand Shoals, Aidan, and only two have been found there. Both are situated near the centre of the ical forestland, making them a little difficult to get to. Both of the trees are set in their own natural clearing owing to some ability their roots seem to have to prevent other trees growing too near. These clearings are quite large, extending a full three peds further than the outer-most visible root. It is not known for sure why this is, but it is thought by those who have researched the tree, that it may be due to the extent to which the roots are growing beneath the earth.
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Usages. Due to its rarity, Eyasha's Grace has been left pretty much alone. Samples of the flowers and the leaves, and small shavings of the bark have been taken away for examination. The flowers have become a luxury ingredient in the finest perfumes, affordable only by the most wealthy. These are gathered only when required, and only by the discoverer of the tree, Genani Tallclimber Ra'anouf. The trees are set deep in the forest, and are very difficult to locate, unless one knows their way around the island. It is not thought that any warden is required to protect it, though Genani herself checks on them regularly.

The sap has been found to have healing properties, quickening the process of repair on a minor wound. But it has a strong hallucinogenic side-effect, so it is not widely regarded to be amongst the best of treatments.

Since Genani's discovery of the Harmony Tree, fellow scholars have urged her to find out how the tree reproduces, since wealthier citizens of Santharia would doubtlessly pay a lot of money to have such a treasure growing in their own gardens. There has been one specific request to learn how to reproduce them by the mindsmoothers. They wish to have a Harmony Tree planted close to the Eyashene temple near Ximax. The tree would be a living symbol of their faith, and its aura of peace would be a calming environment to both rest and worship. But, though it has been tried many times, the key to the tree's reproduction is unknown.
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Reproduction. For a time, the reproduction of Eyasha's Grace remained a mystery. With only two confirmed Harmony Trees known to exist it is thought to be an event seen very rarely, perhaps as long as fifty years inbetween. Being in the right place at the right time to observe such a rare occasion makes the discovery of the true details of their reproduction to be one bound by luck.

However, Genani and her husband Tenrans Jorek, after many months of careful observation, witnessed what is thought to be part of the process. The following are taken from entries in Tenrans journal:

Genani backed away from the tree just as an eruption of glittering golden dust rose out of the hollow cage-like formation of the branches. We watched in awe as the dust floated up into the air. The light winds began to carry the dust away from the tree, and out into the surrounding forest. When it reached us, thousands of the tiny little grains landed upon our good selves, covering our hair, skin, and clothing in tiny golden sparkles. Genani ran a hand through my hair, drawing some of the dust into her palm. Then she let out a short burst of laughter and exclaimed, "I do believe they are spores!".

We continued to watch as the majority of the spores rose high into the tree tops. Within minutes, the air was clear again, and the only trace of the occurence was our virtually golden garb. But Genani was not finished. She ascended a nearby tree, disappearing from view within mere blinks. She returned a short while later, reporting that she had found where some of the seeds had settled in the very top of the tree, and that she planned to watch them over the following weeks to see if anything would happen...

*****

They are growing! The seeds have taken root and are growing! It seems that part of the reproductive process of the tree, is to latch onto other trees, as a host. The seeds seem to grow best when they are embedded in moss. Many of those that have not, are already beginning to shrivel and die, but those that have, are thriving, having grown nearly a palmspan in length already. Each seedling is made up of four to six seperate stems, and on the hardiest of these they are beginning to sprout leaves, miniature replicas of those on the mother tree. As of yet, there are none of the blossoms, but these are still young plants, and we hope this might change...

Further observation revealed that the seedlings continue to grow to around two peds in length, the seperate stems twisting together and hanging down, creating the same effect as the dangling tendrils on the crown of the mother tree. These vine-like structures are fully grown within a month of sporing. There is only ever one vine growing on a branch, and never more than five on the same tree, though usually there are only one or two. On reaching around a ped in length, the vine begins to flower. Like the leaves, these blossoms are exact miniatures of the ones on the mother tree, around six nailsbreadths in diameter. Both the blossoms and the leaves remain so, never becoming any larger.

There is one other way in which the blossoms differ. When the vine blossoms wilt and die, they leave behind a single hard round ball on the end of the stem, which, on examination, have been discovered to be seeds. Each of these seeds are around three grains in diameter, smooth to the touch, and of the same blue-green as the centre of the flower. It is thought that these seeds may have the potential to become new mother trees, though from the scarcity of the Harmony Tree it is believed that many are unsuccessful.

Attempts have been made to grow from the seeds, but these have never been very successful. Though the beginnings of a plant have begun to grow, they never last very long, usually dying within a couple of weeks. These include those planted in soil taken from the earth around a mother tree. The theories about its full reproduction remain unconfirmed.
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Myth/Lore. Though the name of the tree isn't mentioned specifically, the unmistakable description of it appears in many tales and stories.

As said briefly in the description section, there are links between the Harmony Tree, and the world of faerie. Despite its rarity, a tree very similar in description is mentioned in many a bedtime story, always as being the chosen home of the faerie folk themselves, and, as such, being full of magic itself.

As its name would suggest, there are also links to Eyasha herself, some tales suggesting that the tree is a representation of the goddess in the physical world. Not hard to believe, considering the powerful harmonising effect that the tree has on any who enter its vicinity, and the beautiful white flowers, white being the colour of peace and therefore associated with Eyasha. The wind's part in the reproduction of the plant is also associated with the goddess, as she is one of the three gods of the element.

There are a few myths of the great healing and reviving properties surrounding "Eyasha's Grace". Though the sap has been proven to speed up the healing process on minor wounds, it is said that, if prepared in the right way, and by the right person (thought to mean a person of magic, such as an Earth Mage) it tranforms into the most powerful of healing potions, repairing even the most severe and life threatening wounds.

In addition, the hallucenogenic properties, if used in a special ritual, are believed to cause visions of the future, though records of this ritual, if any ever existed, have disappeared, and memories of them have been lost to time.

Though the tree was only recently discovered by humans, it is thought that the windsingers have known about Eyasha's Grace for a long time and, given their solitary natures and lack of communication with others, have kept the knowledge to themselves. There are vague tales of windsingers seeking out the trees, in order to gain a greater sense of inner peace and harmony with the world, and giving a deeper sense of understanding between nature and themselves.

We have one final tale to tell about the Harmony Tree. Although the tale is a myth, some of its elements have been proven to be true. It is a tale that has been told to generations of children as one of those many bedtime stories previously mentioned.

The Tree of Peace. A little girl was walking in the woods one day. She stooped to gather some wildflowers. As she did so, she noticed a small object glinting in the grass. Curious, she plucked it out of the grass, and held it in her palm, looking at it enchanted. It looked like a small, perfectly round pebble. It was a pale blue-green in colour and its smooth surface was completely unblemished, gleaming like polished marble. The girl sat down amongst the roots of an oak tree, and wondered what it could be.

"What are you?" she said aloud, and to her astonishment, her questioned was answered.

"A seed."The voice seemed to be in the very air around her, but it answered as if it came from the object itself. It was faint, almost like the whisper of the wind, but the girl heard the answer clearly enough. She looked around, searching for the owner of the voice, but she could see no one. She turned back to the seed, frowning in puzzlement. She decided to ask another question, to see if it would happen a second time.

"What are you the seed of?" And again she was answered.

"A tree, a very special tree." The girl continued to question.

"Why are you talking to me?"

"Why are you hearing me?" came the reply.

"I... I don't know. I just can." She was surprised when the whispering voice chuckled gently, but teasingly. The sound made her smile.

"I have need of you, child," it said at last.

"What do you need me to do?"

"Plant me."

"Where? Here?"

"No, not here. But not far away. Carry me, and I will tell you where to go."

The girl got to her feet, and led by the voice, she made her way through the woods towards the chosen destination. After a time, she found herself stood in the centre of a large clearing, and it was here that the voice told her to stop.

"Prepare a pile of earth." The girl did as she was asked, churning up the soil until it looked almost like dark brown sand.

"Now, place me in the centre of the pile of earth, and push me down inside it. Not too deep, just until I can no longer be seen." Again, the girl did as she was bidden.

Once the seed was nestled snuggly in its earth bed, it said one final thing.

"Thankyou."

"You're welcome," the girl replied, "I have to go now, but I will come back to see you sometimes, if that is okay." She listened, but there was silence. She took that to mean that she could return if she wished.

The girl returned every day after that, and found the tree to be growing at an astonishing rate. On the first day after the planting, she found that five tiny golden shoots protruded from the earth. Every day they became bigger and bigger. By the fifth day, they were nearly a ped tall, and by the ninth day, the tree was taller than the girl herself, and had begun to grow branches. The five shoots, as they had grown, formed a single trunk, twisting like five snakes all coiled together. By the sixteenth day it had sprouted leaves, and by the twenty-first day, beautiful white flowers appeared. The little girl sat beneath the rapidly growing tree, breathing in the lovely scent, finding that it soothed her, almost to the point of sleep at times.

One day, she was on her way to see the tree, when she crossed the path of a bear. Upon seeing her, it roared, and charged. The girl ran and the bear followed, gaining on her with every step. The girl made it to the clearing, and ran to the tree, which had grown so tall that she thought that if she could climb it, she would be safe. But the bear was too quick for her. She had barely begun her ascent when it knocked her to the ground, and raised one clawed paw to strike its death blow.

Suddenly, the clearing became a mass of brilliant light. The bear stepped back, blinded by the brightness. Then the voice of the tree spoke out, no longer a whisper, but a powerful, booming sound.

"Halt!
Cease thy bloodthirsty intention,
For whether it be nature's plan,
I shall suffer no blood to be spilt
Upon my earth, by beast nor man."

The calming scent of the flowers became stronger. As the girl looked on, the bear yawned widely, lay down upon the ground and fell asleep. The light disappeared, returning to its source, the tree. Though still stunned, the girl thanked the tree, and made her way back home before the bear had a chance to awaken.

Over the years, the girl grew up into a woman, becoming a mother, then a grandmother. Throughout her life she continued to visit the tree. She told the story about the bear to her children, and to her grandchildren when they arrived. And the story always ended with her telling them that, true to the tree's word, she never witnessed any act of violence, nor saw any blood spilt upon the earth around the tree, by neither man nor beast.

The tale refers to the air of peace that surrounds the tree, and extends to all living things in the vicinty. It was observed on one occassion, by Genani and Tenrans, how powerful an effect this truly is, and the following was recorded by Tenrans:

The hobbit deer ran at full speed, the shinui cat mere blinks behind. It was then that the chase reached the Harmony Tree. To both Genani's and my surprise, the deer drew to a sudden halt, as if it had decided to give itself up to its inevitable end, choosing instead to nibble delicately at a clump of grass. We watched, expecting the cat to strike at any moment and wring the life from the tiny creature. But the moment never came. The shinui entered the clearing and, ignoring the deer completely, lay down beneath the heavily shaded boughs of the tree, and proceeded to go to sleep. We continued to watch, and after a time, the hobbit deer left the clearing, returning the way from which it had come. Not long afterwards, the shinui left too, padding slowly in the opposite direction. I remembed the old rhyme that my mother had told me as a child, and realised, true to the words of the poem, the tree had allowed no blood to be spilt upon its ground...

Since this occured, there have been numerous accounts of similar happenings, involving both animals and people. There has never been a known physical confrontation between people near the tree, and the soothing influence of Eyasha's Grace invariably causes arguments and bickering to cease. And it has been agreed by all who have been fortunate enough to have entered into the presence of the Harmony Tree, that it is unimaginable that anything violent could ever occur there. Return to the top

 Date of last edit 7th Sleeping Dreameress 1670 a.S.

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