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Traladaran Magical Itemsby Jennifer Guerra
This rather unusual item was created for the tenth-century Traladaran ranger Ilyana Kushova by her lover, the Callarii warrior Palantyr Tanduil. Ilyana had a long and successful career of protecting the western forests from human exploitation; she was regarded by the Callarii elves as a trusted friend and ally.
When Duke Stefan Karameikos assumed control of the Thyatian-held coastal lands and pushed inland with his troops, Ilyana took up the cause of the Traladaran Resistance - fighting to keep the invaders from despoiling the ancient forests she guarded. These actions placed Ilyana in much more danger than from the typical poacher or land-squatter, and Palantyr recognised this. An accomplished wizard, Palantyr created the Tree for his love, for her protection.
Ilyana's Tree appears in the form of a large silver seed, about the size of a walnut. Magical runes of protection and life are inscribed all over its surface. When the seed is buried in the ground (a simple hand-dug hole just deep enough to cover the seed is sufficient), a mighty tree springs from within, fully grown and as perfectly "natural" as any other tree in the forest. The tree appears as any species of deciduous tree in the area, whether it be oak, maple, aspen, etc.
Upon the tree's growth to its full size, the user may speak a command word in Elvish which opens a hole in the trunk large enough for a normal-sized human to fit through. This "door" closes automatically when the speaker of the word is within; only one person may be sheltered in this manner, and only the person who speaks the command word. Inside, the tree magically contains a small room with a dirt floor (large enough to sleep upon) and three days' supply of water and rations. The area outside is visible through small knotholes in the "walls."
The user of the tree-shelter may leave at any time, at will; she simply steps through the doorway visible in the "room." Once outside, the tree vanishes back into its seed at the command word, and may be dug up for future use. The seed may be used in this manner once per day.
Ilyana used the Tree to her advantage for many years, until her capture (and subsequent execution) by the Duke's troops in 997. The magical seed was relegated to a Mirros treasure room, and was slated to be turned over to the Magicians' Guild for investigation when it inexplicably vanished. In actuality, it was stolen by members of the Elvenguard and returned to Palantyr...who holds it to this day, waiting for the coming of another worthy defender of the Forest.
Trident of Insurrection
There are a thousand tales of Traladaran heroism in the face of the Thyatian invasions. Some are true, some are myth, but most fall somewhere in between...
A century ago, in a tiny coastal hamlet called Chmerkin, the people lived from day to day, toiling in the fields or fishing. Barely fifty families lived in this little community, none of them warriors or wizards; neither was the village under the protection of a powerful lord. The sole "leader" of Chmerkin - if he could be so called - was Father Ignaty, the impoverished priest who served the village.
And so it was when a Thyatian landing force sent an expedition up the coast to Chmerkin.
The ten soldiers, under the command of a corrupt captain named Solus, descended upon the village like a gang of thugs, burning precious crops and abusing the women. Chmerkin was "secured" in less than a half-hour.
The frightened villagers were marched to the common, where Captain Solus would record their names and possessions...and claim a good portion for himself. During this process, a young, newly-wed girl objected to the Captain's claim on her simple wedding band. Guards slapped the insolent girl; when her husband protested, he was slain on the spot. A small riot erupted, and the Captain began to cry out the order to kill every villager.
"Stop!" a desperate shout rang out. At the head of the melee stood Father Ignaty, a pitchfork pressed to the Captain's exposed throat. Wild-eyed, he gestured the soldiers away from the stunned civilians. They stepped back, awaiting a word from their imperilled commander.
"By the power of Halav, Petra, and Zirchev," the priest cried, "you will not hurt these innocents!" For a brief moment, a miracle seemed possible: Father Ignaty, filled with the fury of the Immortals, would drive the invaders from Chmerkin....
"Kill them all!" hissed Solus into the silence. The pitchfork thrust forward; the Captain slumped to the ground, dead. And then little Chmerkin became a killing field...
A week after the massacre at Chmerkin, a contingent of priests from Marilenev (or, as the invaders called it, Specularum) visited the site to perform funeral rites. As he surveyed the gruesome remains, one priest - walking alone - noticed Ignaty's headless body, one hand still on the bloody pitchfork. He bent to bless his fallen comrade, touching the hand as he whispered, "May the Immortals hear your final prayer, my friend."
At that instant, the priest later wrote in his diary, the pitchfork"raised up out of our departed Brother's hand, and, glowing with a deep and golden light, floated in the air before me. I saw before me then the scene of the slaughter at Chmerkin and heard Ignaty's last prayer, for the lives of the innocents in his charge. And then a woman's voice rang out above me, saying, 'I shall avenge my faithful.' The pitchfork then transformed into a mighty trident, brandished above me in promise of triumph, and vanished!"
Although none of the priest's companions were witness to the vision, they did report feeling a blast of cold air from nowhere (it was quite a warm day). And the pitchfork had inexplicably vanished.
Since that day, elders of the Church of Traladara have sought the pitchfork - or Trident - as a relic of the Faith. Supporters of the priest's tale call the item the Trident of Insurrection, and believe that it is blessed by Petra, the Defender, to help drive the Thyatians from Traladaran shores. Thyatians vigorously deny the legend of the Trident, saying that the priest created the myth to subvert Thyatian rule and incite rebellion. They maintain that "Ignaty's Pitchfork" holds no powers, and in fact is probably rusting in some poor farmer's barn.
But there are bards who tell tales of peasant heroes who overthrow their oppressors in far corners of the realm. It is said that in the moments of their greatest desperation, a glowing Trident appears before them, with the power to defeat the most powerful mortal enemies. When victory is won, the Trident vanishes in a burst of light...only to turn up again, when it is most needed.
Or so it is said...