World of Tersa
The Tree of Life The Tree of Life
The Druids of The Druids of Eliwyn Eliwyn
Eliwyn (EL-uh-win) (Precious, the One Tree, the Tree of Life, the Giver of Life) Eliwyn (EL-uh-win) (Precious, the One Tree, the Tree of Life, the Giver of Life)
The Coming of the Druids
When the mortal races were at last born from the fruits of Precious Eliwyn,
the gods born of the same tree determined it was time for them to depart
the mortal sphere. They set themselves in the heavens, building great and
shining cities. But on earth, the One Tree was still in bloom, heavy with
an unripe fruit. She eventually came to be watched over by Thellyne the
Huntress and Rontra, from whom Eliwyn sprang, in case any of Asmodeus’
brood might try to harm the Tree of Life.
It was not long, though, before mortals who loved the woods and beasts and
all of nature’s bounties formed an order of their own without guidance from
the gods. They turned their attention from the heavens and instead found
all they revered in the dirt and grass, hills and valleys of the world. They
did not heed the dictates of the gods, and were interested in nothing but the
fl owing power of life, from which they drew sustenance and strength.
Before long, the most powerful of these mortals, who came to call themselves
druids, sought out and found the sacred grove wherein Precious Eliwyn was
hid. Though the Giver of Life was shrouded from the eyes of mortals by the
power of Rontra and Thellyne, the druids had become so mighty in their ties
to the natural world that they saw through all veils and illusions and came
to stand at the foot of the mighty Eliwyn, ten thousand spans high.
Her branches reached through to the heavens, and her mighty roots shot
down to the very foundations of the earth, where once the lands of the dead
were found. All life came from her branches, and there was no obscuring
her power from the druids.
When Thellyne saw that these mortals assaulted the tree, she assayed them with
her hunter’s bow. In three breaths she had killed the three mightiest of their
number, so great was her skill, so mighty her bow, so deadly her aim.
The blood of the first of the druids spilled by Eliwyn’s roots; from it spouted forth
a field of red poppies, forever showing their sorrow for the great druid’s passing,
and the offshoots of Eliwyn’s roots that bathed in the blood came suddenly to life,
and walk the earth still. These are the treants, protectors of the wood.
The blood of the second druid spilled in the glade around Eliwyn; from it burst
forth a great bramble of red roses – red from his blood and thorny to protect the
Tree of Life. Out of the thicket burst the naga, a great protector spirit like a
snake born of bramble and thicket.
The third druid killed was the greatest among them, and from her blood, which
spilled at the edge of the glade, there grew the most perfect of all fl owers: red lotus
blossoms with white hearts. And from the pure white center of the lotuses sprang
the most perfect of creatures – white horses with golden horns, the unicorns.
When Thellyne saw the pure and good creatures that came from these dead
mortals, she realized she had committed a grave error. She approached those
who remained, none of whom had scattered though arrows fl ew in their
midst, and entered into lengthy discussions with the druids. When she had
learned who these folk were and understood that they wanted only to observe
and protect the Tree of Life, Thellyne agreed to share the grove with them. In
sorrow for the deaths she had caused, the goddess of the hunt agreed to let the
grove be known among mortals to the druids only, and so she does not even
reveal its location to her most blessed worshippers, nor does Rontra.
And so it is that the mightiest of druid groves is also the most serene and
sacred place on earth – the grove of Eliwyn, the One Tree, the Giver of
blooming things, the beauty and nobility of death in the winter.
Life. To this day the greatest of the druids call the grove home and only
they among mortals know its secrets.
Eliwyn is the Tree of Life. She is the “god” of nature, undiluted
innocence, purity, the abundant life of the world, and hope. She is
associated with treants (which are also associated with Rontra), but most
especially with unicorns, the guardians of nature and purest of beasts.
Eliwyn’s “worshipers” are druids and some rangers and are from those races
that revere nature – primarily humans, elves, half-elves, and halflings.
Eliwyn is neutral.
In Icons, Eliwyn is represented as a great flowering tree with golden leaves
and silver blossoms. From it hang five great, golden fruits – or, if the
representation is meant to be “current,” one fruit. However, the druids and
other “worshipers” of Eliwyn do not represent her in icons, as all trees are
born in her image, and all of life is a reminder of Eliwyn’s glory.
Eliwyn is not sentient, does not communicate, and does not have a spirit.
give off sprouts that will grow into new trees, to bear the remaining fruit
until it falls, and then, perhaps, to bear fruit again. Eliwyn’s purpose is the
same as the purpose of all trees, only on a grander scale, because she is the
first tree and from her the cycle of life was begun.
The chief servants of Eliwyn are her guardians: the treants, unicorns,
and naga. All three came into being to protect her. Since then, the
treants have come to protect the forests around the world, as the
unicorns have come to protect the animals. The most powerful of the
naga still lie coiled about Eliwyn, tended to by the druids there, but
many naga were long ago captured and corrupted by evil sorcerers.
The Church The Church
There are no holy orders to the “church” of Eliwyn. Her cathedrals are
the druid groves throughout the world, and her clerics are the druids
themselves. If she has holy warriors, they are rangers, and while there
may be regions with special orders of druids, there are none that are
universal. The worship of Eliwyn is not like the worship of other gods
– she does not provide power to the druids and they do not pray to
her. She is simply the most perfect and pure form of what they revere:
the balanced beauty of the natural order, the perfection of living and
blooming things, the beauty and nobility of death in the winter
Druids are exactly as described in the PH, and the mightiest among
them come to reside in the great grove of Eliwyn, where they serve
as her protectors. They tend to her and keep her safe from any who
might harm her.
There are druids in the world who actually pray to gods, though, and
they usually revere a sort of trinity: Rontra, from whom all nature
was born; Eliwyn, that is nature; and Thellyne, the first of the gods to
truly respect and tend to nature. However, these druids receive their
spells from the power of life and nature just like others, and are not
considered clergy of Rontra or Thellyne.
In some lands (if your GM likes), a new cult is rising, though.
Called the “Cult of the Fifth Fruit,” it has put aside worship of the
living gods and instead pays homage to the unripe fruit on Eliwyn’s
bough, which represents for them the great unknown and hope for
a better tomorrow. Such cultists are thought mad by many, revering
a non-existent god to the exclusion of gods that exist. Many such
cultists call themselves druids, though they do not (as far as anyone
has recorded) receive druidic powers. This misappropriation of the
name “druid” has infuriated some actual druids, while others view it
as part of the great cycle and remain indifferent on the subject.