As part of the lead-up to this year's Halloween project, here's some background lore:
The Cycle of Birth and Judgment
The Tree of Souls is one of the few artifacts that was not forged by the legendary Demon Smith. It’s suggested through the scattered mythology that its essence was formed from the wayward souls of those that had fallen to tragedy. Sometime around the second recorded age, travelers made note of a mysterious tree that grew from a tomb of solid rock somewhere on the Eastern Continent of the realm. The traveler records described a gnarled tree with dark crystalline branches and bone-like roots. Decorating both the body and branches of the tree were various colored jewel-like “eyes”. Would-be treasure hunters were unable to dislodge these jewels and those that tried supposedly met with terrible fates. This mysterious tree persisted through ages and was noted in several accounts as an unusual spectacle.
Later, during the second recorded age of the realm, many wars began to throw the lands into chaos. The rise of the demon armies and the reign of those that would eventually be sealed away in the Abyss threatened peace. During this period of strife, the Tree of Souls was said to bear a single fruit. This fruit would take the form of the Vessel Mask. While the early accounts and documentation of this object are inconsistent, sketches and other recovered pieces of writing describe a featureless flesh-like mask that hung from the branches of Tree.
Nobody knows the name or past of the first person that took the Vessel Mask from the tree. Perhaps desperation or a call to action drew this person to the Tree’s altar. Upon taking the mask and putting it on, the person was consumed by the power of the Tree of Souls and reborn as the Faceless Summoner, Ardelrius. After taking a single branch of the gnarled tree as a staff, this new being set forth into the chaotic war-torn realm in search of strong souls. The staff itself possessed the ability to channel consumed souls and use them as powerful weapons. Throughout the various times of chaos and turmoil, it’s said that Ardelrius rose again and again to drive back the destructive forces that threatened peace. Some witness accounts described the enigmatic being as a silent yet just warrior that fought the hordes of darkness while demanding no thanks and simply vanishing into the night once its work was done. Other accounts began to call the Faceless Summoner the Seed of Judgement, named after its merciless nature when striking down its foes.
It’s said that once peace was restored and the dark chaotic forces quelled, the Seed would return to the tree and seal itself away until its power was once again needed. No record of the original person remains and it's said their spirit was infused back into the tree as one of the noble souls that sacrificed their existence to wield its power.Many generations after the last recorded glimpses of the Seed, it seems a new vessel now walks the lands to gather souls for the next great conflict.
<>Stay tuned for more updates as Halloween gets closer!