The Dropwoods

Dear Aelise,

I hope this message gets to you successfully. If no, then it’s too bad.

When I wrote this letter, it was under the deep shade of the enormous Dropwood trees. I believe you know something about the Dropwoods? There are many legends and stories that surround the Dropwood particularly that of the Tree-man of the Dropwoods, which you might have heard, emerges from the gloom at night and makes enormous strides across the land to the houses of naughty children and scratches on their windows with his long wooden claws? If they continue to misbehave, then he snatches them away at night by engulfing them in the branches and brings them to the Dropwoods to live with him forever and ever with no hope of escape.

Well, that was the version my mother told me, but I am happy to announce that there appears to be no such creature in existence within the Dropwoods (I even changed the labels of sugar and salt in Jee’ra bag when he wasn’t looking, although that meant sweet boar’s meat for the both of us on one dinner, which was surprisingly pleasant), but the Tree-man did not come even after I laid a bunch of crosses made of branches around our camp.

What I did find was that the bottom of the Dropwood was extremely quiet, so much that you can almost hear your own heartbeat and the incredible serenity of the area. Jee’ra, says that there are pilgrims who travel here every year just to be amongst the silence and to pray to whatever gods they believe in.

We spotted a small shrine dedicated to the Raven, which I have sketched below, and a small alcove holding a tablet addressed to the Ancestors, which was quite surprising, since the Ancestors are worshipped by the Ard-Ru, whom we as a nation are not exactly friendly with. But Jee’ra is right, the rangers permit no one to touch the shrines, and this is because the Dropwoods have been here longer than the formation of Esotre, and these shrines form a part of the Dropwoods.

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Raven Shrine - Small

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