For six days the scout had been tracking the creature through the forest. The attacks on the villagers had to stop, and they had tasked him to bring the beast to bay. It was canny, it's track would fade in and out, sometimes with such abruptness he felt like he might be being lead on. It made the hair on the back of his neck bristle, that odd sense that warned him of ambushes and cut-purses in alleys. Yet each time it was nothing, not even a deer or wayward squirrel watching him.
The Loru Valsharris are reclusive and secretive, even by the standards of the Tree-Folk and Tree-Kin. The description of each Loru Valsharris is unique as no two are the same. The few constants are that flowering plants are generally well represented in the Queen's mass and contrary to most of the Arboreal races, they are not primarily composed of wood. Most assume a quasi-humanoid form, generally a torso, two arms, and a head. Horns or antlers are also very common.
The Scout was a fool, though the Village Wisdom, herbalist and hex-warder. The attacks were more the antics of hooligans from another town than the Lady of the Lay, but he would find his path. If would end in his enlightenment, or his death, she could not say. It had been nearly a decade since she had wandered across the path of the Loru Valsharris, the Lady of the Lay, and gazed upon her form, ivy layered with such attention to detail that the leaves seemed indistinct from one another, and were nothing more than a green skin. Waterlillies were in her hair and her eyes were the moon reflected in still waters, and the rememberance brought the woman a chill. For warmth she wrapped her shawl closer over her bony shoulders and added another bundle of sticks to her meager fire
It is commonly known that dryads are the spirits of trees, though a few believe them to be solely the spirits of oak trees. Those who have encountered the incredibly durable and adaptable dryads of weeping willows, or the cold and inscrutable spirits of the Ash tree know better. The Tree-Kings, also known as ents, treants, and walking wood are the so called sheperds of the forest. Yet in this profusion of lumbering lumber, there is a strong habit of the smaller plants going unnoticed or even trod upon. This is the domain of the Loru Valsharris, the realms of the bushes, the reeds, the ferns, flowers, and vines of the earth.
It takes a single tree to spawn a dryad, and even a small copse of trees can foster a tree-king. It takes roughly a square mile of land to foster a Loru Valsharris, and the more land each can claim, the stronger the Loru can become. This generally means that a floral region will have a very small number of Loru as compared to other Tree-kin as the competition for essence resources is fierce and as a rule the Loru are very territorial.
Looking at the common ground cover plant life is a good indication as to what a Loru of a given region will look like. One whose domain is waterlogged and filled with reeds and thistles is going to be tall and slender, spiky in aspect and crowned with cat-tail like dreadlocks and bursts of thistledown in her hair. Where-as a Loru of a fern and ivy filled forest is going to be sinuous and supple with floating soft green hair.
Hrooom-Hruuuumm, the Tree-King cleared his woody throat, dislodging a very unhappy family of squirrels from the woddy hollow. It's amber eyes surveyed the clearing, where dozens of pale skinned birches had once stood there was naught but a few charred and blackened stumps remaining, a gentle sniff brough it the scent of rain and the tang of old lightning. The Tree-King sighed deep in it's chest. It would be long in the coming before the new seeds would be strong enough to stand on their own. As it was the clearing was overrun with goldenrod and queen's lace flowers...it seemed that The Lady of the Lay had claimed the clearing during his slumber...
The Role of the Loru Valsharris
As the Tree-Kings are sheperds, the Loru are gardeners. Their creeping, yearly renewing resources can choke a forest, or overrun fields, or leave them be, or in very rare cases be granted their blessing. Sometimes it seems that there is an underlying pattern in how plants grow in a region, and this is a strong indication of the presence of a Loru, such as the same sort of plants lining paths and roadways, and more dangerous plants being found in places where humans and other races need no be poking their noses.
The Leiss Valsharris
A very close relation to the Loru, a Leiss is a Loru who has abandoned the wild plantlife of nature to accept cultivated and farmed land as her domain and elemental fief. Most Leiss tend to be weaker than Loru, but their existance is more stable and assured. As long as their are people, the fields will be sown and the crops will be raised and harvested. These Leiss tend to also be more docile and and magnitudes more reclusive than their wild sisters.
Into the Forest we Will Go - The PCs while moving through a deep part of the forest feel like they are being followed. After several tense minutes, the skulker is revealed to be a female with antlers a foot or two taller than the tallest member of the party, het body composed of ferns and ivy strands. The Loru intruduces itself as the Loru of the forest and in regal fashion demands to know why the PCs are trespassing. Combat should be short as the Loru will run away, but the PCs should not be inclined to attack this creature as it is not evil in any aspect.
The Empty Cradle - The Loru are long associated with fertility, and this is not without reason. A Loru can bless a pregnant woman to ensure a strong child, or can work for a month and a day to brew a nectar within her body that will allow a barren woman, impotent man or some other sexually disabled person to sire/have a single child. To do this, the Loru will ask the PCs to accomplish a task for her before the draught is completed.
The Field Fallow - A once abundant region of farmland has sinse started failing crop after crop. The soil is not depleted, but nothing grows well. The PCs are called in to investigate as sorcery is suspected and the locals are eyeing the near-by mage in his tower and are getting the torches and pitchforks ready. The truth is that the locals have abandoned the old tradition of making small offerings to the fields and at a small shrine near the center of one of the larger back fields. As a result of this, the resident Liess Valsharris has 'run away' and withdrawn her support of the demense. Both have been greatly weakened by this and if the crops fail again, both the forsaken Liess and the villagers will face famine and death.
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? Responses (8)-8
I like this a lot. Many fantasy games miss out on the nature spirits that the folk of previous ages imagined all around them. These creatures could ebb and change as the land around them was altered by fire, weather, and cultivation.
Leiss Valsharris: I visualize such creatures as not being exclusively female nor particularly 'domesticated'; images of 'barleycorn kings' come to mind, demanding tribute lest they withhold their blessing; the 'Lady of Maize' shyly accepting blood sacrifices spilled before the fields...
Ahhh, beautiful, the Lady of the Lay. I like this spirit, and the plot-hooks that come with it. (Especially the Empty Cradle is touching.) It nicely shows how the distant worlds of Fae and Man come into touch.
If there is a place despoiled by evil, a curse or transgressions against natural order, so that nothing would grow there, a Loru may be the right ally, and may just know how to rectify the situation (and indirectly, remove or weaken the cause itself).
Yet another great submission from you-and an early Happy New Year 2007.
I like it a lot. A great addition to the common dryad.
I see one of them settling in the gardens of a great palace, or even a palace ruin, making for hauntingly beautiful surroundings.
Great, its rare to see something so origional.
I found this while searching for specific forest dwellers, and I'm glad, though this is not excactly what I was looking for it came very close. Splendid work Scras!
I have a great love for forest and sylvan creatures and this is a great one.