The Lightmare Ash is a recently birthed tree, likely created in the same blast of unknown but powerful Magic that birthed the Isldar and froze much of The North Belt. The tree has many superstitions surrounding it, from its supposed ability to give nightmares to the beliefs of fringe scholars that they are natural sivs for Soul Essence. Regardless of the truth, the plant’s pale lumber and constant glowing particle aftereffect makes it sought after by craftsmen Aloria-over.
The Lightmare Ash is suspected to have a fairly recent history in Aloria, as it only emerged some 400 years ago around the birth of the Isldar. Whether it was originally native to Ellador and merely thrived in what events heavily impacted The North Belt, or was crafted by the same burst of Magic is not clear. However, Ailor records speak of terrifying trees, alien in appearance, which emerged and gave all around them nothing but bad dreams, and later Dwarven refugees encountered the same phenomena. Some scholars of the arcane arts who have been able to study Lightmare Ashes state that the species is somehow a natural collection point for Soul Essence in Aloria. It does not hoard or keep it for itself, but rather Soul Essence flows inside and then emits from the top in a long, wispy tendril. As a result, some have viewed them almost as a filtering device: a siv for Soul Essence to pass through on whatever journey this mysterious material takes across Aloria. However, modern examples of the tree lack the nightmare-causing effects reported in the past, leading some to conclude they were merely bad dreams from the self-made anxiety around the vegetation. However, others contest that the Ash perhaps once had this trait, and no longer does due to some change in the world within the past two or so centuries. Regardless, the trees are left alone and cut down in equal numbers, their strange properties selling for much on the open market. Oddly, the Isldar are not that fanatical about the material themselves, though some do use it in their artwork or their weapon or tool handles.
The Lightmare Ash has strange physical characteristics which set it apart from most other forms of plant life, even those afflicted by Planar Essence. They stand exceedingly tall, reaching between twenty-five and forty feet, with deep, narrow pale roots that reach out into the networks of other surrounding trees for as much support as possible. Their trunks are surprisingly narrow at only a foot or so wide, even at the base, and have few major trunks that break away from their shape as they gradually taper off to their endpoint high in the sky. What branches do exist are often thin and gnarled, growing in a spiral formation up toward the sky. The tree’s bark is rough and has a dull, uniform grey coloration. The Lightmare Ash grows sparse numbers of leaves during the spring, the loose clusters of pale green, separated, long, and serrated foliage are easily whipped about in the breeze. The tree’s other visual trait is the glowing particle effect which emerges from its bare limbs and form at all times, though many might think they are imagining it against the snows and high winds which commonly roar through areas the vegetation thrives.
Uses and Abilities
The Lightmare Ash has a few uses but is best known for its natural abilities. Any wood produced by the tree is known to emit the same glowing pale blue and white particulates as the natural tree. Some claim these are evidence of Soul Essence, but efforts to harvest the lumber of this trace produce no result. Due to this effect, and the wood’s pale coloration of a dominant tone of white with streaks of pale gray, it is commonly used in decorative pieces or in the wood handles or shafts of tools and weapons. This practice is most often seen among the Isldar, but Velheim Ailor and a growing foreign market remain interested in the strange trees.
- The recent warfare in Ellador has seen the number of Lightmare Ashes increase, much to the superstitious fears of local Velheim.
- An old Velheim legend attributed the bad dreams received from the Lightmare Ash to be the result of improperly buried dead resting beneath and within the roots of Lightmare Ashes.
- The most well-known use of Lightmare Ash was in the shaft of the spear called Knightfeller, wielded by a Velheim mercenary around 165 AC. He operated out of Nordskag (then relatively unpopulated) in raids on Ithania, before the surge of new arrivals after the Skagger Wars resulted in his eventual death and the spear’s disappearance.
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HydraLana on 07/29/2023.|
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