5
min

A Tree of Time

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In a land far away but not so far from yours there was a small kingdom. It was not the most prosperous, nor the most powerful or wealthiest. But for many years people from across came people to see the wonder that stood at the heart of the kingdom. Many have referred to it by different names but the one that has remained has been: The Tree of Time. It was said this tree towered above the castles in the neighboring kingdoms and its leaves and branches spiraling beautifully through the city. It could be seen from miles away to villagers coming to marvel at this great wonder. It was said the tree gained its name by telling those who sought its aid those things that have occurred, what is and what is to come. In doing so, it would give one great wisdom as sharp as the deadliest blade. Others simply said the tree received name not for any mystical power it had, rather for being there longer than anyone could recall. Some said it was because of this ancient tree that the kingdom was built here. However, over time through the cataclysms of war, pestilence, and plague, the tree no longer resembled that which it once was. It lost its leaves, and its branches dried up where all that was left in its place was a mere seedling. Many years had passed, and people had forgotten what the tree even looked like anymore. Some came to it in the hopes it would sprout from its seedling state before realizing nothing would change and lost hope. It is here where our tale begins...
There was once a man who needed money to keep his local shop open where he sold pottery. In the past, people would come to buy from his shop while the tree stood over the city. However, with it gone, he could barely afford to keep his shop opened and continue to pay taxes to the king. He decided one day to go to the high hill where the seedling now stood and ask for its wisdom on how to get the money. He brought with him some of the best of artworks he hand-crafted as a gift to the tree. Surely, he thought it would make the seedling sprout. But it did not. He soon lost hope and took his gifts with him and went his own way.
A second man, who was a wealthy merchant in the city came to seek the seedling’s wisdom in order to see how he could expand his influence over the other neighboring cities to further increase his wealth. The man came dressed in his best attire with precious jewels in each finger and around his neck. He told his servants to bring the best treasure he had stored in chests. It took two servants to lift each chest from their wagon and place them before the tree. Surely, he thought if he placed the purest gold, wisdom would be his, and perhaps the seedling would sprout even more gold if he were lucky. He would wait till the morrow to see if the seedling had begun to grow. So, he left his servants out to keep watch while he returned home. When he returned the next day, he asked his servants if the tree had grown, but when he replied it did not, he became angry and trampled the seedling beneath his feet and took his wealth and went home.
A third man, the king of the city came to seek the seedling for its wisdom because he sought the conquest of his rival kingdoms. He would bring what the previous two had not; his very own crown. He presumed that if he brought the seedling his own crown which was a symbol of his power and authority it would surely make this wonder that once was sprout again in its regal form. He knew he would have to wait for several days and each day he would bring the seedling various forms of gifts. From his personal holdings to his great longsword he rode into battle he stabbed into the ground behind the seedling with his crown beside it. A week had passed, then a month before long the king grew restless and cursed the tree and said the tales were false, it was nothing more than a simple old tree. He did what he would do to his rivals, by chopping them down beneath him. So, he took his longsword and swung at the seedling cutting it down. He got on his steed and rode back to his palace in anger.
Finally, a man who had once been a great landowner in the countryside had lost his home and family to the wars between two rival kings who burned the land around the other to deny the enemy of food. Among them had been this farmer, who made his living from laboring the land around him. It was all he knew how to do. He never considered it work, rather a great enjoyment to care for the things around him. He heard of the tales of the Tree of Time and sought to see it bring back what little hope he had left. So, he set out on his horse and rode for the city.
One night however his horse had been stolen by bandits while he slept on the road to the city. Yet he was still determined to reach the city lest he die of starvation especially with most of his food taken with the horse. Eventually the man found a stream and drank from it to sate his thirst when he heard ruffling within the bushes across the stream. He saw a great direwolf, larger than the average size of its kind. Standing nearly a foot above him growling in a menacing manner and its large teeth ready to devour the man. The man quickly grabbed his staff and ran into the woods for cover as the beast ran for him. He could hear the sound the direwolf made as it got closer to his target. He knew he couldn’t outrun the animal for much longer. But he saw a rocky cliff nearby and turned to see the beast a few feet from him as he ran to the cliff as he turned to see and dived to away from the cliff as the direwolf lunged to the cliff. He could feel his heart pounding as he looked over the cliff at where the direwolf had laid on its side whimpering in pain. The man saw a trail where he could walk down as he approached the animal slowly as the animal growled at him before its pain overpowered it had its paw bent inward. The man waited a moment before slowly reached with his hand shaking and touched the animal before touching its paw lightly. He ripped a piece of his cloth and made a band around the wolf’s paw as the wolf watched him before slowly closing its eyes and following its lead. The next day, the man woke up to find the wolf was nowhere to be found before hearing crackling in the woods as the wolf emerged with a dead rabbit in its mouth which it laid in front of the man. He had forgotten how resilient direwolves are to injuries as the wolf walked with no show of limp. The wolf approached the man and nuzzled to him as they shared the meat before he decided to return on his trip to the city with a new companion.
The direwolf was large enough to ride so they rode together to the city and found where the seedling barely stood after some time. The man approached the seedling as he took out the last thing that remained of his home; his own seeds. With the wolf’s help he dug into the ground and planted the seeds where the seedling was when suddenly the seedling began to grow into a large tree, yet no one seemed to notice at the sight. The tree spread across the city and lit up in various colors before him. He saw the lights race across time and space. After his long journey the man himself had forgotten what he wanted to ask for from the tree. Yet he realized it was not the wisdom he sought, instead he found renewed hope that led him to this road. The Tree of Time grants wishes in times of need to those in search with an open mind, and a pure heart. In this then, does the tree reveal itself and its mysteries.

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