"Don't ever get caught in wood elf lands, kid. I can break you out of a dwarven dungeon, I can sneak you out of the slave pits in Biolosses, hells, I've sprung a mage from The Long Fall once. But you get yourself inside a prison tree, aint no one but an elf warden gettin' you out." - Jasper Cameron, Leader of The Bronze Ravens
Prison trees appear much the same as any other species of strangler fig with a few exceptions. First and foremost, the outer "bark" of such trees appears as almost a fuzzy off-brown moss. These are in fact extremely dense roots like structures designed to envelope, restrain, and nourish the prisoner. The second major difference is the prisoners themselves. Properly maintained, a prison tree only envelopes a person from the neck down, with a "shelf" grown to protect the prisoner from inclement weather, leaving the person free to look around and converse with passers by or other prisoners.
Genetics and Reproduction
Prison tree seeds are carefully harvested and stored by the wardens that maintain the grove. As a tree nears the end of its life (or shows signs of awakening) a seed will be planted to grow a replacement. For old trees the seed is placed in its canopy and allowed grow and envelope the original tree and any prisoners it contained. If a Prison Tree shows signs of awakening, which they do at almost 10 times the rate of other trees, a different process is needed. As the host tree cannot be used, a shrub or small tree is brought in and bonded with a clipping from the original tree. The seedling is then placed on the clipping and the host sappling is planted at the base of the original tree. Upon awakening the original tree is given the choice to continue to do its duty, or to transfer its prisoners to the seedling tree and go out and explore the world.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Prison Trees receive all the required nutrients, both for themselves and their prisoners, from their root system, which often reaches into underground compost cellars that wardens maintain to provide access to things like meat and fruits required to maintain the relatively good health of the prisoners. On certain holidays, wine barrels are even brought into the cellar to allow the prisoners to participate in celebrations.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Prison Trees outer bark and root systems are extremely sensitive to touch. Anyone without the blessing of the grove's Wardens that disturbs the grove will quickly find themselves restrained. Once the roots have enveloped a person, they begin the quick (for a tree) and thankfully painless process of integrating said person into the tree. The tree will slowly take over all bodily functions except breathing as the roots spread throughout the body along the circulatory and nervous systems. This also allows the tree to start to magically absorb a prisoners memories, which they do with as much glee and enthusiasm as a non-awakened tree is capable of showing. The only time a Prison Tree is known to cause pain to its prisoners is if they attempt to use magic. The description of the pain differs from person to person, but to date no prisoner has ever successfully cast a spell while restrained by a Prison Tree.
"Why should we fear our prisoners escape. It takes a Warden circle three months of rituals to release a prisoner from a tree, and several months of rehabilitation are required after. The tree is their heart and their stomach. Their blood is sap and their bones may as well be wood for all the good their muscles will do in moving them. No, the only escape is in death, and death only comes to the grove on our terms" - Warden Ardreth
Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms
Biologically speaking, prisoners maintained by a Prison Tree act as parasites, as they receive all required nutrition from the tree at the trees expense, and provide nothing of value to the tree itself.
Ficus carcerem magus