The Apple of Selilion’s origin is an old tale, passed down through the ages. None know how old the tree is, though some place it at some 100 generations of man.
Othaman was a great warrior of the Agis, a great and brave people, though hot blooded and mercurial. In battle, few could stand against him.
Upon returning from a successful campaign, he found that disease had scourged his village and that his love lay ashen and pale and was close to death. In desperation he sought the council of the village elder. The elder told him that the disease was beyond his power to cure, and that only the Helgii possessed magic strong enough to restore her.
The Helgii are a race of fickle spirits in human form whose humor is mostly dark. They have no love for mankind, and little for much else.
Searching the Dark Hills for a week, he finally found one of the elusive beings. Lacking a proper offering, he challenged it to a duel, putting services at stake.
Again Othaman’s martial prowess served him well and he beat the Helgii in the duel. As his prize he requested a cure for his love.
The Helgii lived up to his part of the bargain and gave Othaman an enchanted seedling. “An apple of this tree will cure your love of whatever that ails her”
Othaman planted the seed in the central courtyard of his keep in Selilion and within a fortnight it grew to fruit-bearing size.
Many had heard of Othaman’s quest and so it was that King Turan and his retinue were present to see what would the outcome be. The Helgii was also present, but spoke to no-one.
Othaman carried his love to the tree, so weakened was she of her affliction. With a single bite her eyes unclouded, her skin cleared, and firmness restored to her limbs. She stood up and took Othaman into her arms.
Seeing the miracle occur before him, King Turan strode forth to sample one of the wonderful fruit for himself, for as the years had past, his vision grew dim, and his joints hurt. To Othaman’s horror, the king bit into one of the apples and fell to the ground, stone dead.
“Assassin! Murderer!!” cried the Kings officials, and as one, the kings guard let fly a flock of arrows which fatally pierced Othaman and his love. As they dropped to the ground, Othaman cried out to the Helgii, “You lied! You betrayed me!”
“Mortal,”, the Genii said, even as Othaman lay dying of the many arrow wounds, “you asked of me to grant you a cure for all ails, and that you have! You never said how many times..” With that, he disappeared, a foul smile on his face.
The king’s guard then set upon the tree with axes, and brands of fire, but the enchanted trunk would not sunder, nor the boughs catch flame. The court’s sorcerer called down the powers of nature and not destroy the tree with all of his magic. The king’s alchemist tried all his poisons, but all was for naught. It’s power was beyond their grasp.
Eventually the keep became less and less used, as the temptation of the fruit was ever present. There were always those who attempted to sample its fruit, and sometimes there were some who found life, but most found death. A small group of soldiers was left with the tree to try and protect the people from it, but even this was eventually abandoned. The empty keep fell into disrepair, and its stones found their way into local houses and bridges, and the tree remained to claim its victims.
This tree appears as a wizened old apple tree, with the exception of its faintly silver leaves. If in season, it bears strikingly perfect, red fruit. All about the tree you can see what appear to be disturbingly humanoid bones.
One apple on this tree per season is granted the power of all healing. No matter what affliction the being partaking of the one apple has, any and all will be cured. Only one bite per apple carries this affect.
The other side of the coin is that all of the other apples are terribly toxic and those who bite of those are, nearly without exception, immediately slain. The death is painless, but final, and only the intercession of the gods may change this.
Neither power holds should the apple be picked from the tree before it is eaten. In this case, all apples are harmless and can be treated as any other apple.
Even juice squeezed from the apples as they hang lose their power the moment the drop comes away from the tree.
The tree itself is protected against hostile intent by magics as powerful as it’s abilities over life and death.
It may not be indestructible, but it very difficult to destroy.
The tree may be the last hope for a PC or important NPC who has acquired some dread malady for which all cures have failed.
However, a death cult has discovered this tree’s powers and revere it as a sign of their gods favour. They have yet to have seen the good effect of the tree and are busily rebuilding the long-lost keep into a new temple to their deity. They will not take kindly to PC intrusion, and even if the PCs make their way through, the chances of success are very slim.
A local religious sect has come under persecution by the authorities and the leader has decided it is time for his followers to join him in the afterlife. He leads a pilgrimage to this tree where he will order his followers to partake of the tree. The PCs are contacted by family members of some of the followers to stop this mad scheme.