Wickroot Material in After Silence | World Anvil
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Wickroot

A Vital Resource for Spellcasting Instruments

"While I, with my unparalleled might, have no need for a wand to channel my spells, the properties of wickroot still fascinate me. It's more than mere wood; it's a living fragment of the Evergrowing, pulsating with life and magic. The way it synchronizes with our powers, like a muscle responding to an impulse, is captivating. If only I could delve into the mind of a dryad, unravel the mysteries of their connection to this every growing, ever decaying organism. To peer into such a consciousness, to understand the essence of being a part of something so vast, so eternal."
— From: "A Comprehensive Guide to Morvathia's Mysteries" by Salama the Dragonwitch
  On the border of Morvathia and Demenore lies the Wickroot Forest, a place of countless tales and myth. The forest draws its name from the wickroot trees, unique in their remarkable resilience to the unpredictable energies of witchcraft. Thus, the wood of the wickroot tree is highly prized for its versatility and potency in magical craftsmanship.   Primarily, it is sought after for the creation of wands and talismans, items essential to the practice of witchcraft. Beyond these, wickroot wood finds its way into an array of magical objects, including spellbooks bound in its bark, rings inlaid with its essence, and the hilt of ceremonial knives and daggers.   In Morvathia, wickroot is a commodity of great value, commanding high prices in markets and shops. Its trade and craftsmanship are carefully overseen by the Coven of Wand- & Toolcrafting, a specialized group within the larger Morvathian Coven. This coven not only regulates the harvesting and distribution of wickroot but also ensures that the art of crafting with this mystical wood is preserved and honored.

Physical Characteristics

  The most notable aspect of the wickroot trees is their root system, from which they derive their name. The roots of the Wickroot tree are a complex network of intertwining and twisting tendrils, with the distinct appearance of a burned candle wick. This dark, almost charred hue sets them apart from the typical root systems found in other forest flora.   Above the ground, the Wickroot tree exhibits a robust and sturdy trunk, often covered in a bark that is rough to the touch and dark in color, ranging from deep browns to an almost black shade. This bark is known to have a slightly shimmering quality when struck by light, hinting at the tree’s latent magical properties.   The foliage of the Wickroot tree is another characteristic feature. The leaves are typically broad and have a leathery texture, displaying a vibrant purple color that contrasts sharply with the dark tones of the trunk and roots. During certain times of the year, particularly under the gaze of the Unblinking Moon, the leaves are said to emit a faint luminescence, alluminating the entire forest during the night.   Wickroot trees are also known for their longevity and resilience. They can withstand extreme weather conditions and are remarkably resistant to diseases that commonly afflict other tree species. This hardiness contributes to their value in witchcraft, as the wood retains its properties for many years, making it an ideal material for crafting enduring magical items. In the old kingdom of Demenore before Curse of the Beast, wickroot was a coveted resource in the construction of ships, weaponry, and architectural structures.

Harvesting Wickroot: Conflict, Conservation, and Cooperation

  Harvesting Wickroot, despite its crucial role in witchcraft, is fraught with challenges and historical conflict. The town of Karnigarst in Dunweil, situated at the edge of the Wickroot Forest, has long specialized in the extraction of this valuable material. However, the demand for Wickroot significantly surpasses the supply, primarily due to the forest's fierce protectors.  
The Dangers of Harvesting
  The Wickroot Forest is home to the children of the Evergrowing—vicious beings known as Wickroot Dryads. These spiritual inhabitants are the living embodiment of the forest and have historically defended it against overharvesting. The conflict between the needs of the witches and the guardianship of the dryads reached a boiling point in the year 1489 A.S. During this period, Witchking Gastad Argentier drastically increased deforestation efforts, neglecting the careful and respectful harvesting methods traditionally used by the people of Karnigarst. This reckless approach led to the infamous Three-Year Dryad Conflict, a tragic series of events marked by relentless attacks from the vengeful Wickroot Dryads on Karnigarst. It was only through the mediation of House Carathorn's witches that a fragile peace was brokered, ending the bloodshed.  
Alliance with the Children of the Evergrowing
  Since this dark chapter, the people of Morvathia have treaded more cautiously in their dealings with the Wickroot Forest. Witches of House Carathorn have worked diligently over decades to forge a deeper understanding with the dryads, learning their perspectives to safely harvest Wickroot from the heart of their territory. In response, the dryads have intensified their efforts to eradicate threats to the Evergrowing, expanding its influence and claiming new territories in Morvathia as sacred grounds. This alliance, though beneficial for the procurement of Wickroot, remains a source of unease among many witches, who view the Evergrowing's unchecked growth and chaotic nature with apprehension.  
Trade Agreement with the Beastfolk of Demenore
  Additionally, Morvathia has forged an unexpected alliance with the Kingdom of Demenore itself. After years of suffering under Demenorian raids, Morvathia became the first realm to recognize and trade with the newly unified Demenore. This alliance is particularly significant, as a large portion of the Wickroot Forest lies within Demenorian territory. In exchange for Wickroot, the Demenorians, plagued by the Curse of the Beast, seek the witches' extensive knowledge of cures and remedies. This mutual need has facilitated a pragmatic partnership between the two realms, offering Morvathia increased access to wickroot resources while providing Demenore with a glimmer of hope in their quest to lift their curse.

Necessity and Luxury in the Realm of Witches

  The applications of wickroot in the realm of witchcraft and beyond are as diverse as they are vital. Foremost, it is esteemed for its unparalleled compatibility with witchcraft, making it the preferred material for crafting wands, the quintessential tool of spellcasteing. While other materials used for wands often begin to break and splinter when used by a witch, wands from wickroot wood offer a level of control and power amplification unmatched by other materials. Talismans and amulets crafted from Wickroot are similarly coveted, often used to enhance magical protection, amplify spells, or serve as conduits for complex rituals.   Beyond these more obvious uses, Wickroot finds its way into the pages and covers of spellbooks. The wood's inherent magical properties help preserve the arcane knowledge within, protecting against the degradation of time and the corrosive effects of potent spells. Artisans and magic-users alike prize wickroot for the crafting of rings, imbued with specific enchantments, and ceremonial knives and daggers, which are essential in certain ritualistic practices.   The versatility of wickroot extends even to architecture, technology and sacred spaces. Elements of wickroot are often integrated into the construction of altars, circles of power, and other structures within places of magical significance. These constructions harness the energy-stabilizing properties of wickroot, creating sanctuaries of balanced magical forces conducive to powerful spellcasting and ritual work. Certain arcane creations of House Siegmund, like the Broom Galleons, also use wickroot for its unique properties.   In a more mundane, yet no less important capacity, Wickroot is used in the creation of various everyday objects within Morvathia. Its durability and unique aesthetic make it a popular choice of the Morvathian noble elite for furniture, ornamental carvings, and even building materials in certain high-status structures.

The Tale of the Misfit

  In both Morvathian and Demenorian folklore, the Wickroot Forest has always been a source of mystique and wonder, but one story in particular captures the imagination like no other—the tale of a peculiar Wickroot tree known as the Misfit.   During the year 1505 A.S, a portion of the Wickroot wood fell victim to the Curse of the Beast, a blight that brought about strange mutations in the otherwise stable and predictable trees. These mutations rendered many of the affected Wickroots unsuitable for traditional magical applications. However, amidst this aberration, the Misfit emerged as an outlier. Unlike its mutated kin, the Misfit displayed an extraordinary characteristic: it generated chaotic and unpredictable energies that defied the established norms of magic.   The Misfit's most intriguing trait was its supposed ability to communicate. Whispered tales suggested that this tree could interact with those around it in an unknown language, a form of expression that no one could decipher. While other mutated Wickroots were typically destroyed to prevent the spread of their aberrant properties, the Misfit's unique nature captivated a group of rogue witches. Drawn by its mysterious qualities, they secretly began to study and experiment with the Misfit, uncovering its remarkable potential in disrupting and countering various magical forces.   As word of the Misfit's existence and peculiar abilities reached the Morvathian Coven, interest in this anomaly grew. The Coven, recognizing the potential power and threat posed by the Misfit, sought to claim it for their own purposes. However, before they could act, the rogue witches, anticipating the Coven's intentions, took decisive action. They took away the Misfit, vanishing into the dense heart of the Wickroot Forest.   To this day, the whereabouts of the Misfit remain a mystery, shrouded in secrecy and speculation. However, some speak of a strange cult of mangled, misshapen witches deep within the Wickroot Forest, who call and sing to a great ashen white tree in the night. These witches have merged with the forest, mind and flesh transformed, to become part of the Misfit itself. It is said, that they even reject the blessing of the Evergrowing, and instead mould other trees, dryads and animals in their own wicked image. Ever since these stories have been told, it has been known that men, women and children disappear when they wander too deep into the Wickroot.

Comments

Author's Notes

 

Thank you very much for giving me my first award on the lore of After Silence!


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Jan 4, 2024 03:51 by Kwyn Marie

I like the feel of this article. It's moody, mysterious, and the text adds to the mystique.

Jan 6, 2024 14:58

I'm very happy to hear, that the lore comes across as intended. Thank you!

At the end of everything, hold onto anything.
Jan 27, 2024 20:34 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Beautiful article. I love the amount of depth you have gone into about the history and lore, as well as the appearance of the trees and the properties of the material itself. <3

Jan 27, 2024 21:51

Thank you very much! I hope I can provide artwork about it all at some point, but I am happy to hear it's already an interesting read without visuals.

At the end of everything, hold onto anything.