The Origin Of Fangorn
The party slowly eased open the hidden door in the wall and gasped! Before their amazed eyes they observed the most unexpected little secret garden, It wasn't large but the beauty and variety of plants on display was awe inspiring – even the nature loving elf was a little taken aback. Beautiful trees, the most pretty little flowers, a little brook and waterfall all arranged exquisitely. They stepped into the garden and felt their spirits buoyed – the air temperature seemed higher than it should be – as though a permanent little taste of summer remained here despite the onrushing winter outside. Insects gently buzzed around the flowers in a playful dance with humming birds, jousting for the precious nectar.
A small somewhat more battered tree near the centre of the garden caught their eye, looking a little out of place in the glorious scenery around them. It was covered in lichens and a lot of overgrowth but from a certain angle it exhibited certain anthropomorphic characteristics. Perhaps it had once been a crudely carved scare crow but weathering had worn away the features ?? Glowing yellow eyes were visible from deep within a small hollow in the tree but closer investigation and a warning hoot revealed their owner as a small owl who'd made his home there.
There was a small rockery in the water feature than ran just behind but something about the rocks seemed off. A cry of concern went up in the party when someone noticed that amongst the rocks were skulls. Some of the party drew their weapons. A closer inspection revealed that the skulls appeared all to be non-human… goblins, kobolds, some larger orc skulls and the odd one or two even larger again. Most had some very obvious fractures! They relaxed a little, if the individual responsible took such care about whom they smashed they were perhaps okay, as long as they weren't taken for intruders anyway !
Suddenly a voice boomed around the clearing. "Do you really consider the rockery to be this garden's most attractive feature? Surely the trees are more worthy of your attention, or perhaps some of the flowers? The little golden sunstars – the Eleanor's, are my personal favourite I must admit. And my masters – they reminded him of his home long ago he said.
The voice appeared to come from the tree like scare crow in the centre. It turned to face the party and blinked slowly. "Well, do you have nothing to say? I'd like to think you have all been struck dumb by my beautiful garden but I somehow doubt that, especially your good self master dwarf ?" It moved slowly and as it did so, very tenderly detaching itself from the many plants that had appeared to have grown on or around it.
Once clear of the overgrowth and moving, the party could see that they were staring at what appeared to be a wooden man, about 7' tall with a beard of leaves and deep set eyes that sparkled a bright vivid emerald. The owl's still glared yellow from a position now revealed to be the strange figures right breast – so it was a little confusing as to where to look. It looked like a young tree in most respects with two main branches forming long arms ending in many fingered hands and a trunk that divided into two powerful legs.
"You do like gardens don't you?" it said with a certain edge to its voice to the still dumbstruck party. "There is the occasional intruder you see, who manages to find the secret door – as you have – but invariably, despite often being green skinned, they are not at all green fingered. Still, as you can see, a use may be found for even the most miserable of creatures, and the plants have never complained about the extra nourishment." The group could not help but notice at this point that the wooden prop that they took for a simple tree support was revealed to be an exceedingly large maul, resting head to the ground with the figure leaning on the upright shaft.
"Now none of you are green skinned, so perhaps you will be green fingered ? Is that how it works? I am sort of both you see so I'm not sure how the rule goes – if there even is a rule. I forget so much." He looks patiently at the startled adventures, his many fingers drumming on the shaft of his maul…
The party did manage to get over their surprise and introduced themselves, warily explaining that whilst they had no desire for a confrontation they in fact had just been forced to slay his master, an evil wizard who had terrified the locals for many years and who refused the opportunity to repent and amend his evil ways. Fangorn introduced himself very sadly at the news, bewildered by the revelation of the evil schemes his master had been pursuing when not enamoured of the garden. They guided him out of the enchanted garden and showed him the dungeons and (the remains of) the many evil servants he had employed "Hmm, I did wonder where all those greenskins kept coming from. My master never did show any great concern at the ever growing rockery !".
The Arcanist of the party, Valthrun, then revealed the Heart Stone to Fangorn, explaining that while it appeared to have no intrinsic evil within it, nevertheless it appeared to have been the power source behind many of the evil enchantments that had befallen the locals far and wide and they would need to remove it from the tower to break the sorcery. Fangorn was concerned that this would bring an end to his beautiful garden, but could see the wisdom in Valthrun's words and agreed to aid the party in their endeavours to undo the evil wrought by his duplicitous master.
They travelled together for a while and then Fangorn left to go wandering, to learn more about the wide world that had been suddenly revealed to him and to make amends, when he could, for those crimes committed by his former master.
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