tree flesh Material in The River | World Anvil
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tree flesh

The first women did not walk, and the first trees sang. In the first time, trees and women were the same.
— opening of creation story
Women have a complicated relationship with trees, honoring them as their ancestors yet also needing wood to burn as fuel. To resolve this conflict, women are forbidden from cutting live trees, and wood can only be collected after it has died.

History & Usage

Everyday use

Most wood is used to fuel fires, but sticks of particular shapes and sizes are often kept as versatile tools. Strong enough pieces of bark may be reserved for use as oath plates.

Cultural Significance and Usage

In the women's mythology, trees are the first things to appear in the world. Their word for "tree" comes from a word meaning "grandmother", and they believe that certain seeds are responsible for pregnancy. For these reasons, trees are viewed as equivalent to people, and can only be harvested for wood when they have already fallen.   When a tree falls naturally, it is mourned as if it were a woman. The stump is broken down in the same way as a dead woman's house. The tree itself cannot be touched until its leaves have dried or fallen off. Only then, when its life-spirit is believed to be gone, can it be cut and carried to the village as firewood.


Trade & Market

Some women make an occupation out of searching the forest for usable wood. Any fallen branches with no leaves are considered acceptable to burn without the ritualistic mourning. Wood from a whole fallen tree is distributed among all the women of the village. Woman Woman receives the first portion, and the other women take their shares from the rest. What remains also goes to Woman Woman, because fuel for the village pit oven comes from her reserves.


Each woman has a section of her hut reserved for storing wood, large enough to hold a three-day supply.  When she runs short, she can trade for more from a wood gatherer or ask permission from Woman Woman to take some from the storage shed.  This is usually granted, but on condition of a favor of Woman Woman's choosing.

View from the future

By the time groups settled in the lower river basin, they no longer held trees in such reverence. Wood remains the fuel of choice in the Vastland, and there is a strong timber industry in the north end of the Long Coast. Early tideriders preferred more efficient fuels such as coal until solar ovens made shipboard fires obsolete.

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Aug 21, 2023 00:22 by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

You have an interesting and different world!

Follow my worlds: Arrhynsia and Compendium and check out my author website at to see my latest work!
Aug 21, 2023 22:11

Thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying it!

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.