A letter from a wizard to another, or
alternatively: The uses of cursed dryad
Though we have not talked since I sold you that sphinx that actually turned out to be a castrated manticore, and it tried to eat you a couple of times, I felt the need to take contact with you once more in the hopes that you could find it in your heart to forgive me.
Hopefully the information this letter provides will be useful to you and you`ll avoid the mistakes I have done.
It all begun last year around the summer solstice when a band of adventurers came from the north carrying what they claimed was cursed dryad wood. Now, we have discussed this before, but for the sake of refreshing your memory as your specialty are cogs and not flora:
The dryad, aka the living tree human, or the tree spirit, belongs to the group of Homo Sylvus, or more specifically to the under group of Sylvus Dryadis. When it reproduces it sends out pollen which then is combined with any plants it encounter. If it is some sort of tree, you will have another Sylvus Dryadis grow up within the forest, but if happens to land in a flower, you will end up with a pixie, Sylvus Fatae, (Though there is the occasional, but rare one that lands within a carnivoreous flower and you end up with Sylvus Muscipula).
In any case, my research have found that though there are ways to make a dryad cursed, there are one way in particular that seems to affect them: The appearance of Sylvus Nidiformis. It can be best described as a mushroom pixie, and it happens whenever dryad pollen merges with a parasitic mushroom.
The end result is a flying parasite that will attach itself to trees, preferably dryads and then proceed to suck out the life-force from the dryad. As the dryad is in no way capable of detecting the danger, it does not notice it at first and instead tries to replace its waning life force. As the parasite continues to grow on the dryads’ body, the mental processes will deteriorate until the dryad is nothing but a carnivorous tree that attempts to eat anything that comes close enough. In addition the roots will tangle themselves to the roots of any nearby tree and drain them of their life force as well. The result is rather horrifying, and thus the idea of “curse” appears.
These dryads are however easy to spot by wandering adventurers as they are no longer able to bloom, they attack without warning (normal dryads are usually a bit more pacifistic in their approach and they get a appearance that looks absolutely horrifying. This is not actually proven, but the reports coming from adventurers seem to suggest that this is true, those who survived this are.) Not to mention the areas of gray forest that surrounds the dryad.
The local Sylvans usually do not wish for foreigners to chop down their trees, but they make an exception whenever this happens. Whether it is superstition or experience, they do not want to come near an area where the parasite has settled. Thus they usually call for adventurers and promise gold and treasure.
Anyway, as I started saying, at last year’s summer solstice adventurers appeared with a big load of this “cursed” wood and as dryad wood has a good deal of magic in it, I tried to make a bargain and bought some of it. I was not the only one however, and soon the adventurers had sold all they needed, counted their money and disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
Soon after, the reports of this wood began popping up, and truth to be told, I was not completely unscathed myself either. I got myself a couple of books made from this material that I could write in. Now, I have encountered books that SHOULD not be read, but this is the first time I have encountered a book that does not WANT to be read. Opening the covers of one takes two strong men and holding it down to be written in requires a pair of metal blocks to hold the sides of it down.
Unfortunately as I was writing my notes, one of the metal blocks slid off and the book slammed shut around my hand, causing it to fracture in two places in addition to breaking two of my fingers. It had even pierced my skin several places as the book had apparently had decided to grow teeth out of spite.
Nevertheless, I decided to put the book issue to rest for then and instead opted to take a nice breakfast at my new table, which unfortunately was made out of the same material as the book. I had just poured myself a cup of fine tea when the table suddenly kicked me in the shins, threw all the content on its back onto the floor before it ran out the main door not unlike the image of a horse galloping.
Though the worst event was yet to come as I had forgotten I had ordered a chest to be made of this stuff as well. It played nice until I put my robe in, whereas it tried to slam its lid onto my fingers, before it chased my around my room, slamming it’s lid open and shut like a maw attempting to eat me.
Fortunately one of my servants came in and saw what was going on, and with quite the quick move, he grabbed an axe and cleaved the chest in two. Unfortunately my robe couldn’t be saved as the chest had tried to digest it somehow, making it all slimed and wet, whereas my servants axe made some irreparable rifts.
With the chest all hacked up, we tried to find another use for it, this time as firewood. Unfortunately the fumes coming from the wood is highly poisonous, but not deadly. Though I was in no condition to take notes at the time, it seemed to cause muscle cramps, and vomiting which lasted for several hours. A rather interesting side effect however is the ability to glow in the dark. I did not appreciate it at the time due to me having severe muscle cramps in my body, being unable to move anywhere for at least two hours.
As my breakfast table had ran away, and my man-eating chest had been burnt to ash (at this point I was not sure what to do with the ash, so I just put it in a lead covered box which was then melted down to prevent any openings.), I was still stuck with a pair of living books which attempted to chew out the remains of my library. Though the teeth easily managed to carve their way through the other books in a way that would make the most vicious cannibal proud, they had more trouble with the bookshelf which is made of iron oak.
We managed at last to capture them (though they put up quite the fight, much to the dismay of my servants who now got sore fingers.) and bind them with iron chains. As we can’t burn them, I decided to throw them out in my yard, whereas one part of the chain is fixed to the book and the other fix to a rather heavy rock. It is only a temporarily solution until I find a better one, though at the moment they seem serve a purpose at least: to scare away any beggars who come at my door.
I was not the only one with trouble concerning the cursed dryad wood as reports soon came in from the city. A few were concerning a galloping kitchen table that ambushed wanderers at the roads, but I was not sure what to do about that considering that it could even outrun the fastest horse in the county.
Another report came from old Stevenson who had a wardrobe made of the wood. He was quite surprised when it not only ate his clothes, but also decided to eat him as well. He had luck though as his daughter was nearby, and you know how tough she can be (she was the one who castrated the manticore I sold you.) Let’s say there wasn’t enough of that wardrobe after she was finished with it to build a dice. Besides being wet and confused, Stevenson recovered quite quickly afterwards.
A pattern seemed to suggest that the bigger the collection of dryad wood, the more trouble it made. For instance a couple of dice made out of the material had a rather stubborn trait to always get results not favorable to the owner, whereas forks had a tendency to stab their owners. Well, attempt to at least, wooden forks aren’t the most dangerous of weapons.
A scarecrow made out of the wood would seem particularly effective against the crows as it killed most of them on sight. Unfortunately it also harbored hatred against local farmers as well and attempted to strangle poor Ms Wilson son. Luckily it was not particularly well made and collapsed upon the effort.
The worst is however Captain Jack Blue who was to sail a ship made out of this wood. He was not deterred at all by the insane creaking and howling of the ship when he and his crew walked onboard one night. All that was left of him and his crew was a pile of bones and his hat we found in the morning. The ship had somehow eaten them, stripped them bare of their flesh and somehow discarded whatever it didn’t like on the nearby docks. I have no idea how it managed to do that, and I hope I will never find out.
In any way Augustin, if you ever happen to run across a bunch of adventurers who want to sell you a load of cursed dryad wood, please don’t. It is way more trouble than it is worth.
Also, you might want to stay clear of any black ships without crew that howls when you come near.
Your friend (hopefully),