By Jonathan Wojcik and Rev Storm
ENTRY 20: TREE PEOPLE
20 pages in seems like a good milestone to bring up this dang crazy tree! It's kind of one of the biggest deals in the whole setting actually; it's so massive, its golden luminousness is more visible than the sun. It's said to have created all life in the Lands Between, and it's seemingly the very source of the setting's terrible quasi-immortality. There's more to it, of course, but we'll explore that as we continue these reviews. For now, we're just going to check out some of the freaks most closely associated with it:
are warriors tasked with eternally protecting "minor" Erdtrees; still much larger than any normal tree, and it's not clear whether they're offspring of the original tree or extensions of its root network. We don't know how people become the guardians, exactly, but these hunched figures have entire small trees growing out of their backs, like a parasite! They also wear golden masks hiding their faces, if those faces are even still human anymore at all.
Some guardians are also "fully bloomed," covered in pinkish red flowers. Eerily, Guardians of all types sometimes wait with their human bodies buried completely under the soil!
More formidable than the Guardians are the Erdtree Avatars
, which may be direct extensions of the tree's ambiguous will. Though very roughly humanoid, an avatar appears to be a huge, thick tree that's been flipped upside down; its arms and legs are branches, complete with dead leaves, while its torso gapes into a massive, rotten looking wooden hollow with no face or head.
...And then there are the putrid
avatars, which are infested with the Scarlet Rot.
This is another key concept to the setting that we still haven't gotten to: something like a fungal disease that eats away at both plants and animals alike, but of course, the Erdtree ensures victims of the horrific infection just keep on plugging along, decomposing into moldy ghouls.