From House of Hozz
Somewhat akin to Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse mythology, this tree grows at the center of TwinWorld. The Great Tree is intensely magical, and the source of many of the Fay's enchantments. It also sends roots deep into the Turmoil and captures valuable crystals and ores, which it both incorporates and exudes in its bark. Pools of water form near the trunk in special leaves, where water from the heart is captured and stored. Around its base, a vast and ancient forest grows. The uppermost leaves are scorched and dark from incursions of the Outer Fire. In this upper canopy, special shield leaves grow with a metalic crust which shades the lower branches from the heat and fury of the flames above. Above and among the branches are Sky Vine Forests, and some of the larger branches host forest glades of their own. Whole countries of Fay live in its branches, and the Zarth rely heavily on its roots.
Value to various parties
The Fayrie draw their magic from many sources, but primarily from the Great Tree. In this way it is inextricably interwoven with the fabric of Fay culture and civilization. The Great Tree also provides The Fayrie with food and resources. It bears on its branches fruits of many kinds, and its wood is valued for its lightness and strength. In its bark are nodules of precious gems and valuable ores, brought up through roots from the deeps below, allowing access to many valuable minerals that would otherwise be inaccessible to the Fay.
Although the Great Tree is most visible above ground, Zarth also revere it for the steadying effect the roots have on the soil and rock below the ground. Zarthaanc is a chaotic and dangerous place, and much of the Zarth effort goes into hewing stability out of Turmoil. It is told that the Zarth lived at first nestled in the roots of Great Tree, but as they grew more bold roamed ever further and further abroad.
Shape and Structure
The Great Tree is a specialized designed organic structure. While superficially looking like a single large tree, it is actually composed of multiple sets of trees, carefully planted and cultivated to work together as a single whole. The branches thruought are reinforced with metalic strands which help to support the huge weight of the branches and leaves, as well as withstand the buffeting of winds and solid-clouds.
It can be understood as composed of several zones:
Vertical Zones (top to bottom):
- Shield: The leaves in this area form a barrier to the ravages of the Outer Fire. They are partially mirrored, and permit much of the light to pass through to nourish the foliage beneath. The mirroring is variable, in order to adapt to changing light conditions and provide a nearly uniform environment below. The Shield Stems are a mixture of shield tree and SkyVine, which allows the shield layer to exist far higher than would normally be possible. The Shield Trees require significant quantities of minerals to maintain their protective coating, which is draw up from the roots miles below.
- SkyVines: The sky vines above the tree aid in supporting its massive weight. Their stalks reach far down into the canopy of the Great Tree, holding the branches aloft.
- Foliage: The "tree" proper, the foliage is a mixture of three different types of tree, grown together in symbiosis. The tree has three types of leaf, fruit, and bark in this region.
- Lakes: The lower foliage is actually a huge collection of trumpet-shaped leaves protruding from the stem which store water for the Great Tree. Water is pumped up to these from the roots, where it is then distributed to the rest of the foliage.
- Trunk: The trunk of the Great Tree is massive, twisted, and scarred. Around it, vast fields of moss, fern, and other low-light plants grow, transitioning into ancient forests near to the edges of the Great Tree's shade.
- Root Cluster: The roots of the Great Tree are far less well tended than its branches. The thickest parts of the roots serve as butresses for The Dragon's lair.
- Water Roots: The roots which draw up water for the Great Tree lie near to the surface, sometimes bulging from the ground, and sometimes running a few hundred feet submerged.
- Structural Roots: The anchoring roots of the Great Tree, these attach firmly to massive boulders, and steady soil. They can span enormous distances, and are sometimes being used as bridges by the Zarth.
- Mineral Roots: The mineral absorbing roots of the Great Tree run very deep, finding crevices and seams in the rock in their search for the required metals to reinforce the trunk. These roots bear anti-fungal properties, and are prized by the Zarth as a cure for stone rot. However, they consume valuable high quality ores, which makes the Zarth think twice about allowing their incursion.
Functional Zones (Inside to Outside):
- Core: The main trunk and major branches of the Great Tree. The Core is guarded by many specialized Fay whose lives are inextricably entwined with the tree itself. The core affords these guardians a number of passages and tunnels to allow quick movement and access to the interior structure for pruning and cultivation.
- Bifurcation: The branching roots and branches carry resources to and from the root tips and foliage. These regions are heavily populated by non-specialized fay, who enjoy the shelter of the Great Tree. The roots in this region have many massive bulbs where nutrients for the Great Tree are stored for times of difficulty or emergency.
- Arborsphere: The tips of the roots seperate into innumerable dendrites which absorb nutrients. The leaves absorb light from the Outer Fire, and bear a variety of fruit which nourishes the fay living in the branches.
- Environs: The effects of the Great Tree reach beyond its immediate area. The tree itself is an advection zone, which causes air to flow down the trunk and out from under the branches, as well as inward immediately above it. This flow is in harmony with that of gravitational torsion, when the Great Tree is in the center of TwinWorld, resulting in a near-constant exhalation, as well as the Great Tree being surrounded in clouds, often reaching to the ground in the form of fog.