|Common Name||Undead Tree|
|Common Use||Utility, Decoration|
|Habitat||Forests of Daen, Hadaria, and the Far West|
The Areu’llei-oná is a tree that appears gnarled, twisted and dead but is actually alive for unknown reasons. Despite their best attempts, not even the Yanar understand the tree’s ability to appear dead and many regard the tree as being cursed in some form. The fact that these trees most likely did not exist until the Wildering adds to this unease. Today, the tree is used for lumber or planted as decoration wherever a dead-looking tree is needed, such as during a harvest festival.
It is unknown when exactly the Areu’llei-oná came into the world, but many believe it to have been a result of the Wildering, the event where the lands of the Allorn Empire was aggressively reclaimed by the wilderness at the same time as the Cataclysm. The tree was first noticed in the early years of Altalar civilization putting itself back together, but at the time, they were assumed to be dead trees. Eventually, some Neflin began to notice that these “dead” trees seemed bigger than before, and ultimately realized that they were still growing. A number of Altalar feared that the apparent ability of dead trees to continue growing could be some sort of Exist or Void cursed plant, and widely speculated that the trees might continue growing forever. The Altalar State of Tanaar Ivaëlle called a group of Yanar to come and investigate the trees, who, after performing many tests, concluded that the Areu’llei-oná do not naturally die, but do stop growing once they reach anywhere from 50 to 70 feet tall. The Yanar were, however, unable to determine why the trees appeared dead and wrote it off as being some sort of sub-species of Royal Oak influenced by the Exist. The Areu’llei-oná later spread to some parts of Hadaria and the Far West, where other Races also assumed they were simply dead trees at first.
The Areu’llei-oná, despite not being necessarily harmful, have found themselves viewed in a negative light due to the obvious oxymoron that comes from seemingly dead trees that continue to grow. Not only that, there are those, particularly some Sihndar, that wish to wipe the Areu’llei-oná off the face of Aloria. However, no matter how hard anyone tries to remove the Areu’llei-oná from an area, they seem to be able to randomly appear in forests that previously had a large amount of them. This fact has made them very attractive to the Regalian Empire, as they are technically a renewable resource, and lumber is always in high demand.
The Areu’llei-oná resembles a dead Royal Oak with twisted and gnarled branches, although they are usually not as tall as Royal Oaks. Their max height is 70 feet. It produces no leaves, fruit or acorns of any kind. However, its wood, despite appearing black and dead on the outside, is still sturdy when one cuts into it.
Uses and Abilities
The Areu’llei-oná is primarily used as lumber, with some people joking that the tree appears dead because it knows that it will be cut down as soon as it is identified by interested lumbermen. Some Areu’llei-oná is used for decorative purposes at harvest-time festivals like Herbstnächte or other such celebrations that possess or require a “spooky” or plainly solemn edge.
- There is a story of a minor Altalar prince that hated the Areu’llei-oná so much that he ordered every single one to be burned. When the workers said that they could not possibly cut down all of the Areu’llei-oná without missing a few, the prince ordered that they be burned where they stood. This ultimately ended up destroying multiple forests before the flames could be brought under control. To his dismay, it did not even destroy all the Areu’llei-oná. It is unclear whether this is an event that actually occurred or a simple morality tale designed to teach children to not take shortcuts when dealing with their problems.
- One prominent Altalar shipbuilder proposed trying to develop some Magic to turn still living Areu’llei-oná into boats, theorizing that the ships would be able to repair themselves. He was laughed at since Areu’llei-oná regenerates no different than any other tree, they just appear dead. He spent the rest of his life insisting it was a joke.