When we found the specimen, it was already rather large to begin with. It was clear the tree was much larger than any of the others nearby and the fruit it bore was somehow sour or even spicy at times, compared to the fruit of the smaller trees in the grove which was positively sweet. Both sets of fruit seemed to be edible, familiar in nature to other fruit bearing trees. It wasn't until the next day when we continued our investigations of the grove that we noticed just what was going on.
The central tree, the larger one, had grown measurably in size in a matter of hours, entirely abnormal even for the trees discovered in the forest to the east. This specimen in particular was clearly something of its own beast entirely and investigating would take much more time than we had planned for the outing. I placed a knife against the bark of the tree and pried a large piece loose, enough to get to the fresher layer inside. There was of course a sort of sap, if one could call it that, but the coloration was off, a purple in nature rather than a dull brown or honey-gold as one would expect. Not only was the tree noticeably larger and the sap strangely discolored, the other trees in the grove seemed to be almost shrinking. Not wilting, they were strong, but shrinking.
In the limited time we had at the grove, the main, large specimen only seemed to grow while the others grew smaller. Of course the two must be linked, possibly with the middle tree acting as some sort of weed, constricting and absorbing the nutrients of the smaller trees around it. Whatever the cause, we were unable to ascertain the details of the process. By the time we had returned weeks later, the grove itself was gone entirely with no signs that the smaller trees had ever sprouted up in the first place. Alone stood the massive specimen in question, now easily pushing the height of ten men alone and only growing beyond that.
End record. - Will Cartwright, Windborne Royal Researcher
The Elderfall Tree existed since the first Epiphian settlers landed in the Wind region. As a sapling, the tree was no different from the others around it, with similar leaves and branches that bore fruit not unlike apples or oranges. The first explorers discovered the tree in a small grove inside the as-of-yet unnamed Elderfall River, remarking on its size in comparison to the other trees.
Only a few weeks after their first visit to the grove, the Elderfall Tree had grown to an incredible height and size, while the smaller saplings around it had only seemed to shrink and disappear into the dirt itself. Though they did not seem to be noticeably unhealthy, the disappearance of the saplings suggested that there was a parasitic nature to the Elderfall Tree, absorbing the nutrients of the trees themselves to grow larger than would seem possible.
Shortly after the first year of settling the region, research on the tree stopped as it was no longer growing in a meaningful way. The limbs grew bare, the fruit no longer grew, and the overall quality of the research samples taken were declining. The tree seemed to be a simple natural mystery not unlike the Glass Storms of the region, yet another that would go unsolved for centuries.
The Elder's Fall
In 4th Century LF, the year 352, the first armed conflict between the Beastfolk races of Eld'Zolon and the Windborne people began in the sparse shade of the Elderfall Tree, a conflict which gave the tree its most well known name. Though historical reports of the conflict within the Kingdom of Wind are contradictory and not well documented, it is widely believed that the Beastfolk, using the tree's unnatural capabilities in some fashion, poisoned the river and caused the deaths of many innocent Windborne people. As the Kingdom of Wind gathered its army to march on the Beastfolk city of Eld'Zolon, a small Beastfolk force met the Windborne army, lead by an older Drow known as Elprass. In all historical record, it is clear that Elprass, the leader, pulled a knife from his robe and attacked the general of the Windborne army. In minutes, the Beastfolk laid dead. No Windborne had been harmed in the attack.
From this encounter, the Kingdom of Wind discovered that Elprass was more than a failed negotiator, but rather an elder within the greater hierarchy of the Beastfolk civilization. With an elder dead, the Beastfolk had no other choice but to fight back. This moment began what would be later known to the Kingdom of Wind as the Beastfolk War. With the death of a well established elder and his entourage, as well as the beginning of a long running war, the Elderfall Tree became part of the front-line of the battle before the Beastfolk surrendered years later and were nearly eradicated. With such a prominent moments in the tree's history, the new name, Elderfall, became official, almost as a point of pride to the Kingdom of Wind.
Post Beastfolk War to Present
After earning its name as a part of the backdrop of the war, the Elderfall Tree remained quite inert. Though its size increased on occasion, no notable amount was ever recorded. The tree had lost all ability to bear fruit or grow leaves, leaving many botanists in the area to puzzle at the mystery that was the Elderfall. Though its parasitic nature had neither been proven or disproven (as no other saplings had ever grown or been absorbed by the tree itself since the first recordings centuries earlier), it was clear that it sustained itself in some manner. As years passed and interest in the tree waned, it became nothing more than a conversation piece as a huge, seemingly dead tree which could be seen from nearly any point in the Kingdom of Wind.
As the centuries progressed however, some said they could see the occasional leaf or even small fruits, but that they were gone as soon as they looked away.