A silence grew in Ghyran… no twitter of birds, no squeaking of mice, no wind… just silence, unless a faint dripping could be heard…
Since the creation of the Nine Realms, silence has reigned in the Silent Cliffs, there is no hint as to why this ominous island was so silent, but it always has been.
No sound can be made there, and so the screams are silent. Ages roll by and the island stays the same, water erodes rocks within hours, the trees wither and grow anew in mere days, days are short, and the night is long.
Deep in the island is a forest, in this forest is a swamp, in that swamp there is a pool, and from that pool a faint nose can be heard, a sound like… dripping…
In the center of this pool stands a tree, a tree that bears no leaves, but it does have something other trees do not have, faces. These faces writhe, pushing up in a vain attempt to escape the skin-like bark of the tree, their screams are silent.
The tree reaches out with a long vine, it snakes out of the pool to the skull, the skull of a ram… the vine detaches from the tree, and then snakes inside the skull, there it contorts itself so it carries the skull with four hideous vine-legs, it crawls to the islands edge, there it finds a boat, in the boat is a man, and from his eyes leak a black ichor, the skull crawls into the boat, onto the man, and then the vine crawls through his mouth, the skull is laid on his face, and the change begins, years upon years roll by, and slowly the tree creates itself in the man, the skull has now melded with his face, half his body is made of wood, and a horrible mass of vines snakes about his feet.
a new victim is on the island, and the tree is ready, it raises it’s avatar from the pool, and it is borne aloft on a mass of thorny vines.
The night has come, the time is now, now is the hunt. He runs in silence, no noise comes from his rapid footfalls or his panicked screams, vines snake around his feet, he falls, and then the tree is upon him, it’s horrible hand reaches his face, and the traveller, is slowly absorbed by the tree.
Now the tree’s avatar has a cloth wrapped about it’s sightless eyes, and the travelers face pushes up from it’s skin in anguish and despair.
All is not dark in the Silent Cliffs, the realm of the Aelves still dimly shines. Atop a towering mountain, surrounded by steep cliffs, is a city, in the center of the city is an overgrown tower, in the tower is a king, a once-proud ruler of a beautiful realm, but it has fallen to decay, swamps surround the city, and the servants of the Great Tree constantly search for ways to overrun this beacon of light, but the Aelves themselves are not much better than the forest creatures they battle, they delight in inspiring fear in their foes, and they do not take to well to strangers…
The Aelven king is a strange figure, he is more like to that of the Great Tree’s avatar than anything else, for his body is partly made of wood, but the does not trouble him, for he is still the king…
The king’s face is shrouded by a chainmail mask that hangs about his mouth and nose, only his pitch-black eyes are visible, like empty windows in a stone tower. Atop his head is a bronze helm, the helm bears to antlers like that of a deer, and at the top of the helm is a long bronze spike. In one hand he holds a rusted shortsword, in the other he carries a large hook upon a chain.
Empty eyes staring forward, the Aelven king looks out into the gloom, his chainmail mask shrouding his smirk, it was going according to his unspoken plan, the Tree was coming.
A figure looms up from the gloom, a mass of thorny vines writhing about it’s feet, the Aelven king speaks with his mind, “well met.” And the tree answers only with the dripping of black ichor from it’s empty eye sockets.
The Aelven king tilted his head, questioningly, then the tree responds, not breaking the silence, “well met Vorotros, your people have been troublesome of late, we still desire the mountain.” “but that is our domain, do you not know that? But I have come with a proposal, the island is ours, but this is but a small space, our realm of silence could be so much greater” said the Aelven king with a wave of his hand, as if showing the Tree all it could conquer, all they could conquer.
“Very well” said the Tree, “We shall arise, we shall bring our blessed silence to the whole of the Nine Realms!”