Always listening, Gently repeating
Your Mother, He'an rest her heart, used to love walking through the Murmoring Grove. Lots of small critters for her to observe, you know? She'd go out there for hours, talkin' out loud, organizing her thoughts. I'm certain somewhere in those woods, there's a Sonosap that heard her talking, and is quietly playing back her soft voice, evermore.Sonosap Willow trees are found growing within moderately dense, temperate forests, that populate the winding rivers of the mountainous southern continent of Enqua and some parts of of northern Kazcallen. These trees stand out from the rest -- gnarled, twisted, with draping leaves hanging down from their upper branches. Their bark is hardy, and comes in a variety of ashy purple or red colours. As a Sonosap Willow grows, large hollow sections of the tree begin to form near the base of the trunk, containing a crystallized sap with the ability to record audio.
A forest of WhispersThis crystalline sap is slow flowing -- it gradually fills the hollow sections of the tree, at which point it begins to exhibit some very unique characteristics. The molecular structure of the sap, and its placement within the natural echo chambers of the hollows, allow them to act as natural sound recorders; the hollow captures the sound and directs it into the sap, where it is slowed and almost frozen within the tree.
Oh, what I wouldn't give to hear her voice one more time.
Crystallized SoundFor the most part, any recorded sound within a Sonosap Willow is slowly erased by time -- as wind blows and rain falls, these sounds echo their way into the Sonosap. It doesn't overwrite the previous sound entirely, but rather layers more recordings over top, diluting and warping the recordings that already exist within. Almost all natural Sonosap Willow trees contain these muddled sounds -- listening carefully, you might hear the sounds of last year's thunderstorm, ancient animals scrapping nearby, or if you're very lucky, the sounds of human voices murmuring.
It's been, what... 4 years since your mother passed? Surely, if there were any recordings of her in that forest, they'd be gone by now, right? I mean, we have had quite the spell of calm weather these last few years... but still, I'm almost certain there's no chance a recording exists.
Refining NatureAlong with the advent of Simulrendology, engines, and basic electricity, a modern use for Sonosap was discovered. Very carefully taking raw, unrefined Sonosap and heating it up will evaporate the water from within, entirely crystallizing the substance and prohibiting any further recordings. However, when a small electrical current is passed through the resulting Sonocrystal, and audio previously recorded within is emitted at a very low volume. These sounds are then taken and amplified, allowing for their content to be heard again and again, whenever wanted.
Last Wishes and Heirloom TreesThe nature of recording any and all sounds heard by the tree has allowed the Sonosap Tree to become established in several cultures' mythologies and traditions. Some view the tree as a way of historical record keeping, while others view it as a mystic entity that may repeat wisdom from the ancients. Most who have any sort of cultural connection to Sonosap Trees view it with reverence, and find the idea of harvesting or harming the trees to be sacrilegious -- which puts them at odds with those who attempt to create and profit off of taking the Sonosap and refining it into Sonocrystal.
We'd intended to go for a final walk, intentionally find a tree, and talk about simple things. Then I'd have a known tree with her voice in it, that I could visit any time. But in those last days, the sickness took hold so fast, we just never got around to it...
Final WordsIn some cultures, when someone is close to death but still capable of walking, it is common to bring them to the site of a specifically chosen Sonosap Willow. Here, beneath the hanging vine-like leaves, the person will come -- sometimes alone, sometimes with loved ones. They will speak a final message to the base of a tree, in the hopes that once they are gone, the loved ones they left behind will find comfort in the sound of their voice reverberating from their chosen tree.
Family EchoesA similar cultural tradition exists, though less focused on a single individual's final words. In some cases, a family will choose a Sonosap Tree to communally talk to, layering voices upon each other to make a continuous song. While a family might be sad when the recorded voice in a Final Word tree is eventually lost due to natural sounds overwriting the voice, those who partake in the creation of Family Echo trees mind not the slow erasure. To them, the mixing in of wind, rain, and future voices combine to create a sound or song that represents what it is to be a family.
Dad! Dad! I found it! I found Mom's tree!
Click on the glowing Sonosap in the above tree to hear a sample recording!