Tree of Cognizance
“We have been trudging through this swamp for days now.” Gremm was more than upset about the lack of ale. Looking towards the others he realized that all of them must have been feeling the same way, although not about ale. The human warrior Rianok had removed his plate armor on the first day marching into this forsaken marsh. The armor was disassembled and in pieces, held in a large sack slung over the warriors shoulder.
“We still have a few days according to the map.” The Halfling Asha was always ready to pipe something in to further dull the dwarf’s spirit. Gremm had always hated the Halfling, but he had his uses, as did the half-elf Rhea. Rhea, Rianok’s younger half sister, shared the same human father. She had been there with her arcane powers more than a few times, to save the day.
“What is that?” The Halfling pointed over to a small hill, atop the hill sat a beautiful wide branched tree, it’s trunk rising from a carpet of green grass, something unseen in the marsh. “It must be a tree left from the days of the elves that once graced this area, before the swamp.”
Staring at the melon sized fruit, Gremm owing more than just his grumpy nature stopped and gripped his beard. “I wonder if the fruit ferments well.”
Rianok filled with an urge to finally eat something other then the moldy wet bread and salted pork. “That fruit looks edible to me.” The group knew that the warrior had no knowledge of the ways of nature, but he was right; something that looked that good couldn’t be poisonous.
As the group came close to the tree, it became a blur and deceived the senses. Rianok was down before he could even get a few steps back, a branch coming out and connecting with a sick wet crunch to the side of the warrior’s head.
Then the tree was gone.
Asha the halfling always in the back of the group never had a chance, a huge branch landing on his shoulder, the sheer brutality of the attack left his arm hanging by a few inches of skin and muscle, dislocated and destroyed. He fell to shock immediately, collapsing to the ground.
Rhea came to her senses quick enough, unleashing a barrage of spells, impacting and ripping the tree’s bark away in places, sap oozing slightly from the wounds. She got it’s attention. In an instant she was lost, her senses losing all direction, the marsh was the same but her friends were gone and where the tree should have been her brother stood, shambling toward her.
Gremm let his axe fly toward the tree, and with a splinter of wood it knocked the tree back a step. To Rhea, Gremm a long time friend just tried to kill her brother, an axe digging into his side. She knew something was not right with the scene and struggled with her magic to counteract the effects. Her brother’s fist came at her, slamming her in the chest. Gremm was too late, one of the tree’s massive branches slammed into Rhea’s chest. Gremm knew she would not survive that blow, it was too much, he wondered why she just stood there.
Gremm drew his larger axe and stood his ground, ready to accept his fate. Then his head was swimming, lights dancing all around, then he too was unable to react to the tree’s attack quick enough. Although, he took a full two blows to his head and shoulders before collapsing, he struggled to get to his feet when the tree simply walked over him, entangling him in its roots. Gremm remained conscious to watch his friends, dragged into the root system, then all went black.
In its natural form this huge tree is nearly void of leaves; parts of its roots can be seen in the muddy soil. Strange melon-like fruits hang from its branches, pulling them down like great weights. Its bark is black and twisted.
Usually the tree disguises itself with powerful illusions though, when encountered it usually looks much different. Always appearing to be glistening with multi-colored and beautiful leaves that dance and play in the light, it fools the onlookers to approach it’s fruit, fruit that hangs on the tree like the bells of a jester’s hat. It is both inviting and a sight that defies its true nature.
POWERS AND ABILITIES
The tree has very powerful illusions that hide its true form and allow it to assault the senses of its prey. It also has powerful senses and even magical divination abilities that allow it to see and sense everything near it up to a mile away.
The tree’s strength is one of its primary abilities, able to kill most creatures in a single blow. It is slow, but very, very powerful.
The tree can also teleport short distances once every few hours. This allows it to defy the senses even more, sometimes creating an illusion of it remaining behind as it teleports behind its victims.
With all its powers and abilities, those recognizing its true nature can easily defeat it if they have a way to counteract its powerful illusions.
The tree is also able to sense tremors on the ground, sense life from 100 feet away, and sense subtle shifts in the air giving it the ability to sense anything moving within 100 feet.
The fruit of the tree can actually grant senses to the user. These senses are developed at random and remain for 2-6 hours.
Each fruit only grants one sense to the imbiber; scent, the ability to sense life, tremor sense, the ability to see through illusions, and the ability to see in complete dark.