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The colorwoods are a collective name for trees of extraordinarily beautiful wood. Colors range from gold to red to varying shades of brown of remarkable intensity. Rarer are the blonds so very pale they are sometimes called silver, and blackwood. There are few enough of these latter two to be found in the south that they are considered vanished. They do grown in the north, especially on Drael, far from human habitation. Debate exists on whether they are indigenous (they resemble a combination of oak and elm) or the result of earth seed brought over that adapted over time. There is far more troubling debate over whether or not these trees are sentient, causing, of course, debate on what sentience really means outside of human perception.

In Old Sartor, the Sieratanrael did not help by mirroring back such questions, but the sense everyone got was that the colorwoods, which grow in a few places on the world, were aware enough of other life forms to communicate in some sense. Certainly with the indigenous beings, possibly with some humans. At any rate, they were deemed by the Wood Guild off-limits for harvest unless they fell. Unfortunately, this happened after most of the southern silverwoods had been harvested to death--either that, or they relocated in the disconcerting way beings of this world have.

The Wood Guild is connected to the Mage Council. Their determinations have world-wide impact. The impetus behind the formation of the Wood Guild goes back to the earliest days, when humans were nearly eradicated from the world. Not only were they killing one another, effectively consuming one another, poisoning everything they touched, but they were busily destroying the world by denuding it of trees in order to build. So the Wood Guild is as old as the Mage Guild, and it has enormous powers; it determines how much wood anyone gets. Nations can ignore their determinations and destroy woods anyway, figuring the Wood Guild doesn't go to war, but other sanctions can become quite unpleasant, and no ruler who blithely ignored their determinations seemed to last long. Even the Sonscarnas of Chwahirsland did not ignore their laws--though Chwahirsland almost denuded itself of wood over time and the leaching effect of layers of dark magic wards.

The most immediate sanction is the distribution of Firesticks. The simplest need way back was warmth. This is a cold world compared to earth, and humans needed warmth. The Fire Sticks were the solution. The stipulation was that no one is denied a Fire Stick on grounds of lack of money . . . but over time, nations could be denied them as a result of destructive misdeed on large scale.

No one can make Fire Sticks that last as long, or are as good as, the ones distributed by the Mage Council. There have been attempts over the centuries.

Wood harvesting. There is some kind of understanding between the Wood Guild (who are all mages of a very high degree) and the woodland life, so that harvesting trees is a mutual decision. Nations are granted wood, which then is negotiated for by various building guilds, including shipwrights. What is agreed on is that "wood fall" or twigs, branches, broken trees found lying are gathered by wood cutters, and sold. Wood cutters who get creative about falling trees do eventually get found out, which argues for someone watching--whether various woodland beings who seldom interact with humans, or the trees themselves.

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Categories: Crown Duel

Page last modified on January 17, 2011, at 01:33 PM