I had heard the stories. As an adventurer, I wanted to believe them but remained wary. Well, consider me a believer now. Immediately, upon seeing this magnificent tree up close I could sense its powerful connections. It truly is a wondrous sight, a tree that rivals the size of some of this world's grandest buildings. It is hard to say what kind of tree it is, I am no expert of natural things, but to me, I almost felt as it was shifting before my eyes, elements of all different trees blending together.
It is believed that The Ancestral Tree has its roots in The Tale of Lathander & The Raven Queen
. The tree was the parting gift from Lathander to the Goddess of Death. It is rumoured there were other gifts, but these have yet to be discovered. However, whilst there is no real way to confirm the story, the apparent magical qualities the tree possess seem to suggest there is a grain of truth at the very least.
Throughout history are references tied to The Ancestral Tree and the people who have sought commune with it. They repeatedly state that those people, no matter their race, have received the answers they were looking for from their ancestors. The spiritual life force of those who have passed into the Raven Queen's domain can seemingly be found within The Ancestral Tree. This combination of a tree (a symbol of life and therefore Lathander) and communication with the dead is what gives a level of credence to the Lathander & Raven Queen story.
This deep connection to two major deities, along with the importance of caring for this important link to the past, formed a druidic circle that keeps watch over the tree called The Circle of the Ancestors.
The Cataclysm Wars
In 8BCE, Lich King Vaedrin and his army of undead managed to corrupt the tree with Vaedrin's Blight
. Due to the Circles deep connection with The Ancestral Tree, this corruption spread through them too. However, unlike direct transmission of The Blight, the Circle were not physically altered, this was a warping of their souls. It affected the Ancestral Elder (the Circle's highest position), the Goliath Archdruid Thanoth Nightcarver Gathakanathi, worst of all. Thanoth became the ninth member of The Council of Nine as a result of the assault on this sacred landmark.
It took six years to gather enough knowledge, and forces, to reverse the tree's affliction. Since its initial corruption, it was guarded by a legion of Vaedrin's forces, along with the turned Circle members. Eventually the forces of light triumphed and performed the restoration ritual to free the tree from its Blighted state. The Ancestral Tree is the only known entity to have never fully succumbed to Vaedrin's Blight when infected for more than a day, let alone years. This seemingly miraculous feat of resistance has given the generations since further belief that Lathander is part in The Ancestral Tree's origin. The removal of Blight from the tree gave a window of opportunity to restore the souls of the Circle of the Ancestors too. Only Thanoth, who was removed from the battlefield before the restoration, was not brought back to the light.
Post Cataclysm Wars
Since the Wars ended the belief in what the tree stands for has only strengthened. The tree has shown no lasting effects of its six year corruption and has continually provided the citizens of Aldenia with the answer they seek, as it had done before. The Circle of the Ancestors number have substantially grown in the years since.
As well as being a sacred place where people go seek guidance from loved ones no longer in the ream of the living, The Ancestral Tree is a focal point for the celebrations on the Sacred Day of Bloomtime. This is day dedicated to the turning of seasons, away from the cold harsh winter, into the colourful spring. Followers of deities associate with life and spring hold festivities during this day. With Lathander being one such deity, and the tree's connection, Bloomtime sees vast hoards of travelling folk flock to the Tree for a day of joys.
Currently, the Ancestral Elder is another Goliath, Archdruid Vonath Threadmaker Nulakigo