1998-03-24: The Crimson Grove Of Minoc

Lake Superior Edition

The Crimson Grove Of Minoc

Author: Jasper McCarrin Published: March 24, 1998

Minoc - A tale came to my attention I hath no choice but to share. It involves red trees just to the north of Minoc. Now these trees weren’t always red. Oh, no. At first they were normal trees. But many days ago one of them suddenly turned a golden hue. No explanation. No warning. No loud pop. Just “bing" a golden tree. And a quiet almost unnoticed "bing” at that.

After a few days that golden tree turned black as pitch. Around it, some other trees turned the golden hue. A couple days more and these newly golden trees also ended up black, while a wider ring of trees turned golden. Something was afoot.

On the next leg of this tale, an alchemist enters the scene. He hath been described as enterprising, shy and talentless. Interesting combination. This alchemist is Serlinuus. He quickly realized that this was no natural occurrence, but instead an enchantment of some sort. Serlinuus consulted the ancient tomes of alchemy that only an alchemist can read while avoiding the endless sleep of the bored. These tomes spoke of an ancient technique that could slow the spread of the enchantment. He used etched hourglasses filled with a crystallized compound made from red, yellow and orange potions. The hourglasses where etched with the words, “Vas An Nox,” which are the magical words of power used to invoke archcure. This worked to slow the spread of the enchantment.

After more days of research, Serlinuus discovered in an ancient tome a means to possibly stop such a cantrip altogether. The tome spoke of a concoction that, when applied to the trees, could cure them of their bewitched state. The tome also suggested that the enchantment was caused by some sort of experimentation with magical spells, though nothing more specific was said.

Serlinuus tried to apply such a paste to the trees, but was unsuccessful. By this time all of the afflicted trees had turned black, and Serlinuus feared that the enchantment might spread again. He also realized that he needed some help. So he sent some volunteers to find Trahhan, a ranger of sorts who knows much about the ways of the land. Trahhan was known to Serlinuus, and the alchemist was sure that he could help.

To find him, Serlinuus mentioned asking Maurita, the baker at Baked Delights in Trinsic, if she knew where Trahhan might be. Maurita sent those seeking Trahhan to the far south tip of the continent where Trahhan was studying fairy rings. After explaining the situation to him, the warriors and mages who sought him asked Trahhan to help Serlinuus restore the trees. Trahhan hesitated, not feeling comfortable with the information they had imparted, until Serlinuus’ name was mentioned. Trahhan then decided to see for himself what was happening in the far north.

Arriving in the forest of black trees, Trahhan consulted quietly with Serlinuus and scanned the notes Serlinuus had made in his journal. After a moments thought, Trahhan announced to all watching that he thought he knew what needed to be done. With Serlinuus’ aid, Trahhan made a new batch of the paste and began to apply it to the trees. Each tree to which he applied the paste was immediately stained a deep red. Trahhan felt that the red color may be permanent, but he was not sure since this was the first time such a thing had been done in recent memory. With all of the afflicted trees given the cure, a scarlet forest emerged. And lo!, the cure worked. The enchantment was broken.

But Trahhan, maddened by the vandalism to defensless trees, rallied those around him and asked that they remain watchful for any future disfigurement of nature in any part of the realm. He felt sure that someone out there was responsible for what happened to the trees. He feared more acts of vandalism to come.

Thus did the Crimson Woods of Minoc come to be. Come and see for thyself, but thou mayst find thyself musing as did I that such a place, cured or not, is unnatural in the realm we know. I think I need some wine...