Healing the Tar Pit Wastes

It began with a simple correspondence.

Over a decade past, Sprout Thornleaf had come to the Sowers of the Last Seed where they then remained, separated by choice from their cousin in the Tar Pits. This letter was the first they had received from him in some time, and it contained news. Some very interesting news.

In the message, Jayant wrote that two strangers wandered the barren land, but that was not itself of note: Sprout knew strangers visited the Tar Pits often. No, what piqued their curiosity was that these wanderers chose to make camp. And while they had caused no trouble just yet, Jayant bade Sprout keep an eye open, for not many of sound mind would linger overlong in the Wastes.

So it was only natural Sprout brought the news to the attention of all the Serenwilde, and the commune rose in answer, traversing the neighbouring wastes to discuss the matter with Jayant in person. Their numbers included Huskii, Tyrus, Eirossel, Keyne, Xiran, and Jolanthe.

As they talked, one of the strangers happened upon the gathering, tuning his lyre. He was quickly accosted and learned they were a group of Serenwilders looking, specifically, for him. With his distraction, the bard was difficult to interrogate, revealing little of substance save that his name was Lossam Calendis, and he was a spiritsinger. Yet he was there with a purpose. “I would rise to the legacy of Ellindel Treeheart and Glinshari Strongleaf,” he announced to the gathering. “We can heal this land. I will do my part.”

And then he left, leaving behind a collective at once hopeful, bewildered, and wary.

Not a month later, the Serenwilde felt a stirring through their bond to the land, an explosive force bursting to expand and grow, accompanied by whispers: “Awaken.” The commune once more arose to investigate, joining Sprout outside the Ambervault just as a pyre of moonfire burst over the eastern treeline within the Tar Pits. And so, to the Tar Pits they returned.

Within, they found a blizzard awaiting them, and after a brief conversation with Jayant, soon discovered a new pit had opened in the land along the western borders. There they also found the second stranger: Cidinnanc Wildbriar, who fretted over the tar pit, exclaiming that Lossam was somewhere beyond, stuck where they had raised their energy and caused the burst of moonfire.

Meanwhile, shamans among the Seren calmed the blizzard, and as they learned of Cidinnanc’s plight, the shelterfolk began to notice strange motes of silver moonlight scattered throughout the wasteland, illuminating it with their light. Perhaps the two were connected, and the moonlight could somehow seal the pit? Because of their apparent source, the orbs of light contained healing properties – the trick was drawing them back to the pit. In the end, this was no difficult matter once they learned they were attracted to the inner flames all Seren bear.

And so they summoned flame and gathered moonlight: Nialla, Tyrus, Calfuray, Llani, Jolanthe, Qistrel, Sondayga, Keyne, and Aodharth all assisted in collecting the motes and placing them within the nascent tar pit, with Llani’s final contribution sealing it forever.

Once healed, a path venturing nearer to the Serenwilde Forest opened to the west, and Lossam was found alive and well once more. Strangely, moonlight saturated the land here as well, the coalescence thicker so close to the source of the ritual. Although the moon waned in the night sky above and grew slimmer still by the moment, its presence was promising, and the two strangers thought to try the healing rite once more – though this time with help. Together, they prepared the ritual – Nialla with the ritual crown, Aodharth with the blessings of water and earth, and the blessings of air and fire, and Calfuray with the blessing of the athame.

Together, they gathered high above the wasteland, and by the bonfire built there, beneath the moon as it shone with barely a sliver of cold winter light left, a full coven of Seren danced: Tyrus, Quillianna, Sondayga, Keyne, Calfuray, Eirossel, Jolanthe, Llani, Velcora, Huskii, Nialla, and, of course, Sprout Thornleaf alongside both Lossam and Cidinnanc.

They danced, and though there were many missteps as such a large group learned to move as one, their movements grew fluid and purposeful, drawing the spirits of the land near and raising energy both within and without. The ritual reached its zenith of power when the impossible and unbelievable happened. Before their very eyes, the land began to change. Grasses grew, flowers blossomed, and strange new life appeared amidst the wild green foliage. Lossam, excited, returned to his grove to begin his work studying the new life, while Cidinnanc chose to remain beside the fire, tending it in awe of the land. Sprout – and the other Seren – could scarcely believe what unfurled before them.

Yet despite their great achievement, only the hilltop and nearby ruins could draw upon the ritual’s power. The healing was successful but incomplete, and time will tell how long-lasting the impacts of the rites will be. Yet as Cidinnanc and Lossam remain with the land, even should the blessings fade as the Slayer of Forests exerts its hunger anew, there is still hope so long as there are people to carry its torch.

Perhaps, with the blessings of Seralem, even impossible dreams might come true.