The Great Blood War
The Elder Tree
In the center of the city is a giant, ancient tree. Its humongous arms stretch up towards the sky, sprouting out several smaller branches with huge bushes of lush, green leaves. Surrounding the tree from a few feet back is a large elf-made fence to keep children from attempting to climb or carve it. However, there is one spot where the fence turns to go inwards towards the tree instead of continuing to encircle it.
Along this pathway are several beautiful flower plants of all different shades and colors, all bright and healthy and well cared for. As you gaze down the pathway it appears to head straight into the mouth of the tree. Yes…this tree has a mouth, and a face for that matter.
The gigantic tree seems to have been hollowed out like several of the others trees in this city. Though instead of a wooden doorway, the tree opens into a huge, mouth shaped cavern. The face of the tree was expertly and intricately carved, with two large crystals placed within the eye sockets. Though these crystals seem no ordinary gem, as they truly do give off the feeling of eyes…and the eyes seem to follow each and every one of you as if constantly watching.
By the mouth of the tree is a lovely young elf in frilly, hippie-esque garb with little flowers in her hair. As you approach she smiles brightly and tosses some flowers in your direction, “Mother tree bless you!”
In a calm but wispy and airy voice, the elven maiden blesses your journey into the Mother Tree, "May you find what it is you seek and may the Mother Tree give you strength and wisdom. As you enter, remember to always, always take the third door on the left. You may feel compelled to enter other doors, but whatever you do, take only the door third on the left.
If you do not… you may never again leave the Mother Tree. For before you meet the Elders, you will face many challenges, but do not fear… do always what is right and continue to the third door on your left."
As you cross the first floor of the tree, heading towards the third door on the left, the others doors appear to be open. As you look within them you can see those that you love, begging you for your assistance. People who have died, those you have left behind for your journey, family, friends, all reaching out to you and begging you to join them, asking why you had abandoned them in their time of need.
It takes a great deal of will, determination, and memory of the elven maiden’s words to resist wandering within the rooms.
In the hallway of the second floor appears to be everyone you feared, everyone who ever looked down upon you. All throwing insults and even tiny rocks towards you. Calling you too fat, too short, too tall, too ugly, too poor. The doors are wide open, a safe retreat from the painful words and scorn of those within the hallways…their comforting appeal is hard to resist as the berating continues….but you must get to the third door on the left.
Within the doors of the third floor are all your deepest dreams come true. For the elven druid, all your friends and family are so proud of all you’ve learned and beg you to come home and join them. For the half-orc, his long lost father stands in the doorway, so proud of his son that he has been searching for since he heard of his birth. For the scout, a group of Robin Hood-esque men reach out their arms and invite you to join their merry crew to right wrongs and woo pretty women. And for the halfling warrior, a large group of fearsome hin warriors stand ready to invite you into their deadly crew.
You face a huge dilemma. You were told only to enter the third door upon the left…but this room has no doors on the left, only three on the right. Fear and puzzlement fills the air, what if you pick the wrong door? What if you’ve already picked the wrong door? Are you sure you always took the third on the left? Are you trapped in here? Will you ever get out?
Did you pick the right door? It might not seem like it at first, as you walk into a room filled with people ready to fight you, though oddly enough, the people seem far different for each of you. Young children with rocks and sticks begin beating upon the half-orc, curing him and calling him ugly names. An old friend lunges at the elf, angry that he had left him back home and refused him once more on the first floor. Two krenshar jump out from the shadows, charges towards the halfling, ready to finish the job they’d started long ago. And a fierce brigand jumps out from behind the scout, ready to slit his throat and steal all of his belongings.
As you somehow manage to retreat from the horrors of floor five, you find yourself in an empty hallway once more, with several doors on either side. As you pass by the doors, once again it seems as if all your dreams may come true if you just entered…but not dreams like before. These dreams are filled with beautiful women beckoning you to join them, and piles of gold just begging to be taken. With all the gold you could ever want, and all the beautiful women you could ever handle…who needs knowledge and the Elders? Pff.
Goods gods….how many floors does this tree have? As many may have become exhausted from the previous trials and the seemingly endless climb…you are suddenly faced with yourself. YOU jump out of the shadows, calling yourself an impostor , a doppleganger as you seem intent on killing yourself.
FInally, after all this…you enter a large, round chamber where all the Elders sit, ready to meet with you. Four sit up upon a balcony while one with long flowy hair and dress sits in the center of the room with a huge crystal floating above her head.