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What are treants?
Treants are tree-like creatures awakened from their former dormancy, who dwell in ancient forests, freed from the permanence of their roots. Typically, they prefer to tarry away the days, months, and years in quiet contemplation away from the difficulties of humanoid civilization. They take pride in their secluded forests and the creatures that live within, some even allowing sprites to build villages within their branches. However, they will not hesitate to fiercely protect their wooded homes from any they deem a threat.
Trees destined to evolve into treants meditate through many long cycles of seasons. They can live for decades or even centuries before realizing their potential. Those lucky enough to awaken do so only under unique circumstances and in areas saturated with natural magic. Other treants and powerful druids can feel the stirring potential of these trees and will protect them in secret groves as they grow close to their moment of awakening. During this long process, face-like features grow into a tree's bark, their lower trunk divides into legs, and their longest branches begin to bend down to serve as their arms. When the time comes, the fully-formed treant pulls free from the earth and joins its kin in protecting its woodland home.
Though most accounts portray them as great animated oaks, treants can evolve from any species of tree. There are records of birch from Rimwood, golden willow and black locust from Midwood, grey elms from Starwood, and duskwood or bluewood from the Western Heartlands. Knowing this, some scholars postulate that any woody plant with the right conditions has the potential to become sentient.
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Where do treants live?
After awakening, treants will continue to grow just as they did before, but some will also begin to exhibit certain magical powers. Those created from the biggest and mightiest trees can grow to immense sizes and develop innate arcane control over other plants and animals. These powerful treants gain the ability to animate smaller plants, using them to trap or entangle their foes. They can also call upon the aid of wild creatures or use them to carry messages across vast distances.
Despite their new animated freedom, treants spend much of their time living as a typical tree. They continue their lives in the service of their forests, a part of the larger ecosystem, uprooting themselves only when necessary action is required. While planted in place, a treant remains aware of its surroundings. Their connection to the deep root systems of their forests allows them to perceive the effects of events taking place miles away, all by feeling the subtle changes in the nearby earth below.
Treants are not typically quick to anger or confrontation unless provoked. Foresters who carefully avoid the unnecessary culling of healthy living trees or hunters who graciously only take what they need from the forest's bounty are unlikely to enrage a treant. However, those careless with fire, creatures that knowingly poison the surrounding woodlands, or individuals that destroy great trees known to be close to awakening will undoubtedly face a treant's fury.
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