donimator writes "Nine mysterious ash trees have existed across the Flanaess for as long as any mortal can remember. These trees have maintained their majesty throughout time and have repelled all attempts to remove them. Olea Onili, a professor at the University of Rel Mord has put forth a theory about them that involves the druids and planar travel. Following is a compilation of his discoveries on this topic up to the day before his unexpected disappearance.
Everlasting Ashes of Greyhawk
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
(- notes found in the diary of Olea Onili, professor of Theology, University of Rel Mord during the investigation into his disappearance on Moonday, the 3rd of Planting, CY 578)
This document is the private property of the Renowned Faculty of the University of Rel Mord. It is intended for use only by such members. Powerful protections have been placed on this paper, so please ensure it is safely stored due to the potential damage it may inflict on non-members. If you are a non-member…you probably haven’t survived long enough to read this far.
A Record of Recent Discoveries Regarding the Everlasting Ashes
As written by Olea Onili this 2nd day of Planting, CY578
Long have us sages pondered the mysteries of the Everlasting Ashes, the nine brilliant white ash trees scattered across the central Flanaess. The ash is known as the ‘father of trees’ or the Guardian Tree. It is highly regarded for its strong wood, resilience to water and to sickness. However, the origin and characteristics of these nine trees has garnered special interest among my colleagues at the University of Rel Mord. The Venerable Felius Kranstead, the noted botanist has devoted many years researching their unusual properties, with the graces of the druidic orders. Tanner Adwerand, noble wizard of Rel Mord, has studied their mystical properties. And I myself, Olea Onili, associate professor of Theology have investigated the strong draw the druids have to these locations.
The properties of these trees have astounded sages and the common man throughout the ages. They are beautiful specimens, the most magnificent to be found on Oerik. These great white ash trees reach heights rivaling that of even the mighty ipp. None of the nine has ever succumbed to disease or infestation. But most astoundingly, when one of these trees was cut down, as has happened on three occasions in recorded history, the following spring, the tree regrew to its original height. In one instance the tree was cut again and once more, the next year, it sprouted to full height from the very same spot. A final effort was made to remove the tree, excavating to eliminate its roots. The roots were never able to be removed, the excavation was impossible to maintain as the ground continually closed around the hole.
The wood produced from the cut trees was of the finest grain and still lasts today although even the stone of the structures it was used in has crumbled. It is said those who dwelled in the homes made from these trees never felt sickness as long as they lived within its confines. However, within a year of leaving the homes all traces of the inhabitants was lost.
The areas around the trees soon came under the protection of the druids, as they swiftly negotiated (in the manner that druids do) with the local rulers to turn these areas over to their control. The trees have not been harvested since and have flourished and remain unchanged since the beginnings of our recorded history.
However, it was the recent publication of the works of the Savant-Sage and his map of the Flanaess that made a connection clear. It was found that the locations of the trees lie on intersecting lines between the Bardic Colleges (see map). It is well documented that druidic powers increase around these trees and they are often a site for their mysterious gatherings. Access is limited, but the Old Faith bards also frequent these sites, where it is said their music takes on tremendous mystical powers.
This is a truly fascinating discovery and provides reason as to why the Bardic Colleges are spread, as they are, throughout the Flanaess. Certainly the trees pre-date the Colleges, so one can possibly deduce their locations were chosen to harness the powerful energy of these trees.
The terrestrial and spiritual attributes of these trees are unique and an interesting course of study. However, the most astounding proposal about their origin was put forth by the reclusive planar sage, Tor Quendel. Master Quendel is legendary at the university and takes on only a few pupils at a time to assist him in his work, those pupils often spending their lives devoted to his teachings. Master Quendel is known to confer with the mystifying ranks of druids that operate outside of the regulated circles, known as Hierophants, among other names.
He has suggested these trees are none other than the bud tips of Yggdrasil – the World Ash that has broken through in locations here in the Flanaess. If this is the case, these trees could possibly be a gateway to other dimensions that would allow mortal men to travel to the realms of the gods. The good Master is reluctant to publish this information, however, as it lies outside of his current projects. I feel privileged to share this information as Master Quendel never had much time for me before.
Only after discreet conversations with my noted colleagues have I compiled all of this information together. Tomorrow, the 3rd of Planting, I will meet with a druidic leader in the Circle of Western Aerdy. She has promised to enlighten me with the knowledge I seek to gain. A full account of our meeting will follow…
(-note to Shera Rootmender, Archdruid of the Circle of Western Aerdy from Traydon Oakstaff, Hierophant and Overseer of the Duntide Everlasting Ash delivered on the 6th day of Growfest)
Olea Onili the professor in Rel Mord has been asking questions about the Ash Trees. Friend Quendel, also of Rel Mord, has passed information that this Onili may try to make public the information he has gathered.
Meet him, silence him and bring him back as a squirrel or something, he likes to chatter.
Everlasting Ashes of Greyhawk Map Insert
Special thanks to Linda Kekumu for permission to modify portions of her Campaign Cartographer map."
Credit to Paul J. Stormberg for identifying the locations of the Bardic Colleges in his article 'By Sword and song:Notes on the Old Faith Bards of the Flanaess' from Oerth Journal #15