A mighty tree stood in the middle of a forest, to a distant observer a cliff by itself. It stood thrice the height of the next tallest tree, its trunk wider than ten thousand year old oaks.
It’s mighty red crown of leaves- a second sun, basking all not under it in the warm glow of its own light. The biggest leaves as big as an ox, the smallest barely enough to cover a fly. Among them small fruits, white berries, glowing with life mana, seductively shining, salviatatingly ripe - to those under the dark of its crown (for it was so lush and great in size, that those under its center were completely covered in darkness, in spite of the mysterious glow of the leaves) stars in the night sky.
Yet the ground did not groan when it moved, other trees gave way when its roots pulled it forward, only air still not bent to its will, seemingly crackling in displeasure when it spoke
“Dooo you waaaant to heaaar a stooory?”
His voice an orchestra of breaking bark and swishing twigs, inhuman and yet warm, meaning not conveyed through any language, but will itself. For he knew the language of the earth, and all that came from it could understand it, if he wished so.
A hundred snakeheads bobbed up and down energetically, facing the mystical treant.
“You are sooo small. I waaas aaalsoo small oncee, and theeen I was small a seeecond timmee. Yeeees. Wheeeen youuu live as looong as meeee, thoooose thiiings haaaappen. I reeeemembeeer the second tiiime beeeeing a seeed. Floooatiiing in the wiiiind, caaaarieeed by the seeeeaa. And theeen eeeateen and pooped byyy a biiiird frieeend. Yeees, even thaat can be a wonderfu paaart of liiife”
Hundred snake heads turned left and right, following the expressive branches gesticulating while the treant told its story.
Before the treant was a he, or a treant, it was but a normal (if bigger) tree, growing in a great forest, far far away from here! So great it was, so many animals, so many plants.. There are many of them here as well, but they are not the same. He still dreamed of them during his seasonal naps. A jungle as big as this one! Yes, even a tree as great as this one was once, but a sapling, one of many growing in a holt. And forests were different then! Bustling with whispers, brimming with intelligence! They were more of them, and they were more colorful!Blue and red and green and purple, and uluil (a color not seen by those who are not born of the plants). But above all, vibrant with life! (Or at least that’s what he remembers, for his memory is not what it used to be)
Oh, even in those days when he couldn’t even be said to have been conscious, he could “see”! Something much rarer now, maybe one in ten trees can do that, not to speak of the saplings. Where was I? Oh, yes, he wished to see it all. Limited by the physical form, he tried to spread his branches to more places to see more of their squabbles, their dances, their fights. And there were so many fights… there still are! That hasn’t changed. Every time he saw one the creatures he watched through its birth and adolescence stumble, he was sad, every time one died, he cried. How pitiful! But how gallant! How noble! (And during those times he foolishly believed himself separate from the eternal struggle of life).
And with all his effort to spread everywhere, to see all, experience the stories, he soon became the biggest tree around, covering the whole hill, trying to control his growth and carefully avoiding his siblings, moving the ground they stood on with his roots.
He felt he shouldn’t have favorites (instincts of a shepherd of the forest awakening) but how could he?!
Can one really feel nothing special about a squirrel whose family lived in its branches for generations? Or a burrowing spider that won countless duels against other insects, over decades improving its craft of traps, amazing with its ingenuity with every new design? Compare them to tourists, hunters, birds that just come down from above, the end of the line marked by a scarred squeak, or snakes just bulldozing through the elaborate traps, success of common brute force over the rare intellect.
“Can’t be helped” said his fellow trees when he finally managed to communicate with them via roots. “There is nothing you can do” they answered when he asked for help. To them, other creatures were but potential pests, damaging their bark and gnawing on their roots, stopping their growth.
But was there truly nothing that could be done? He pondered. This thought grew inside him, slowly, over decades - and his body responded.. His crown grew bigger and denser, hiding all that lived under him, his branches spanned wider than ever, ample space for many nests. The unfruled form now dominated the small he lived on before, it’s mass covered in his roots, home to countless critters. The only ones not under his protection were birds, for protection of others he claimed, but in reality because he was jealous. Jealou that no matter how he tried he could not grow tall enough to also see the high sky and those that lived there, peek beyond the clouds and maybe beyond! So he shut his wood eyes, and pretended they did not exist, except for occasional cries of anguish when they caught one of his inhabitants.
And before he noticed it, he became. “Open your eyes, Ulukeil” the leaves whispered. “Your roots are freed”, grumbled ground. “We welcome you” brambled the tree that appeared in front of him.
Pooped Votes: 24 75.0%
Carried Votes: 8 25.0%