An enigma in every form of the word, the great ice trees of the Iol are only definable by myth interpretation. As such, some facts will be foggy and unclear for as long as elf nor man are omniscient. The Phéran'Exhonanhé (Styrásh for "frozen-trees") are a very special species of tree in that they are ancient beyond measure. Before they were frozen, they were anciently tall evergreen trees akin to the coastland redwood. Though not quite as tall as their cousins they reach an average of eighty peds tall, and may be five or more peds in diameter. However, one can only speculate as to their age, because, for as far back as the written history of the Evathonrhim extends the trees have been there, and not far in to their history the trees were frozen in their current state. So the trees have at least been there since 12000 b.S., as the elves have been in the area for at least that long. The Forest of Contamar and its Exhonán'lón is indeed a majestic sight.
Picture description. View on the crystal-like magnificence of the Forest of Contamar. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.
Appearance. What were
once massive red barked, evergreen trees are now even more massive towers of ice
devoid of all color except the cold blues and whites of ice. From tree trunk to
tree top all appear to be intricately sculpted ice. Every nook, every cranny,
every branch with all of its needles stand as they have for centuries. In
daylight they look the part of massive reflective and sparkling crystal, and at
night they appear to be extensions of stars from the sky. In a few spots on the
trees one can see the original red color of the bark shining through. These
spots are most likely caused by the
tar'andus as they rub up against the trees to remove the velvet of their
newly grown antlers in the time of autumn. The trunk of the tree is coloured in
a very dark purple-blue colour where not rubbed through by the antlers of the
tar'andus. The thick numerous
branches, which begin to sprout out of the trunk at about fifty
peds high, loose all color
except the cold blue of ice as they taper out to their tips. Countless needles
hang from the branches in an absence of all color except white, and appear more
the part of tiny ice cycles, than that of plant life.
If one looks closely at the higher reaches of the trees he or she can find the dwellings of the native Evathonrhim elves, and flocks of nue'mon flying around, but very seldom would one see the elves themselves. The giant roots, and their one-time properties of growth allow for very little undergrowth in the midst of these trees. Crystal grass can, however, be found in clumps around these trees, and it is said that this crystal grass marks the graves of the ancient ancestors of the Evathonrhim currently living in the area.
Territory. These frozen trees can be found at the Northern tip of the Iol Peninsula in the form of a forest known as the Forest of Contamar, and it is assumed by some that the coastland redwood found throughout the world is a descendant of this ancient tree. If indeed, these are the ancient ancestors of the coastland redwood, then, these trees are without doubt as old as any standing remnants in Caelereth, as the coastland redwood itself is very ancient.
Usages. As frozen giants, these trees offer little to a visitor of the land, but to the native Evathonrhim they are the foundations of homes. In the higher reaches of Contamar Forest the elves form their homes of ice using much the same technique of combined water magic and sculpting as the Cyhallrhim elves of Cyhalloi use to make their fabled Ice Towers. These homes, like the ice of their tree foundations can not be melted using such forces as natural fire, and therefore, can be much more comfortable homes than one would imagine. (If I have not gotten the point across clearly enough; the ice of these trees, and the elf homes built in their upper reaches can not be melted by natural fire, and therefore; a fire can by built within these structures to make for a warm and cozy home.) The trees offer little else, even to the natives.
Reproduction. No longer capable of reproducing, the breed stands stagnant, but it has been rumored throughout history that these trees once grew as a result of a healthy "mother" tree's sprouting new roots which in turn turned up out the ground in the form of other trees. This is just speculation of course, and the trees could just as easily have reproduced using the same old seed and fertilization process as so many other trees do.
Myth/Lore. There is an old tale told by the elders of the Evathonrhim, which describes the coming of the great freeze, and the ever after frozen trees of the Forest of Contamar. It is said that there was a young elf possessed of a special gift with the magics of water. His talent grew with years and soon none could match his mastery over the element's magic. In an attempt to freeze the waters of the Ice Sea, and thus expand the territory of the elves he angered the Gods with his arrogance. The Gods reversed his spell, and rather than freezing the sea his spell froze the great forest that was once the life source of his tribe. Out of shame for his failure he took his own life, and over the course of time his name was forgotten. But, the forest of ice stands evermore to remind his brethren not to tamper with the earth given them, and to be thankful for what they already have.
Note: The tree itself is in many ways mythological, and no truly fact based accounts of its pre-ice existence can be found. Many ideas, such as the tree's affiliation with the coastal redwood are only speculation. Until someone finds a way to melt the ice from these trees, they will stand as a testament to the inability of even the most thoughtful being to understand all of the workings of nature.