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Charyou Tree is a story written by Robin Furth and illustrated by Richard Isanove and published in two parts at the end of Chapter Six and Chapter Seven of The Gunslinger Born comic.

Summary[]

Part I: The History of Charyou Tree[]

The story covers the early years after Arthur Eld was crowned king of All-World when the poisons of the Old Ones still tainted air, soil, and water. During this time, most females were infertile and those few offspring born to man or animal were often deformed or stillborn. While Arthur and his followers still held to Gan and the Guardians of The Beam, many towns, especially those in Mid-World's toxic borderlands felt themselves forsaken by Gan and turned to different gods.

One such town was Brockest, which called a meeting to decide who among the many gods including Besa, Buffalo Star, Oriza, S'Mana, and Old Mother, they should pray to for assistance. Towns from across the borderland sent a representative to collectively decide, but as the town's elected leader began to discuss how to proceed, Maerlyn entered the Town Hall and claimed to represent their non-human neighbors, the people of the Prim, and came bearing advice. According to Maerlyn, the traditional gods of Mid-World were weak and the only gods that could help them were the angry gods of the Old Ones, the can-char, the gods of death. A human sacrifice would need to be given, life for life, to make both the regain their lost fertility of flesh and field.

The people refused, at first and tried that autumn to offer a new born calf to Lady Oriza, a bull to S'Mana, baskets of sharproot to the goddess Chloe, and poured barrels of graf into the fields to please the spirits of the Force, all to little effect. For four years, crops failed and people and livestock died until the people came to believe that Maerlyn was right.

Two nights before the Reaptide Festival, they found a Ghostwood tree and set it up in Brockest. From three children born eighteen years ago, they choose a boy who was was not physically deformed, but who could not be taught anything, for their sacrifice. Tying him to the stake, they set the Charyou Tree alight. The fire burned for twelve hours and during the night the villagers dreamt that red spiders followed the scent of burning flesh and there fought over the bones.

That spring for the first time since the Great Poisoning, green shoots appeared in the fields and bu the end of summer two new babies had been born. The sacrifice had apparently worked and word quickly spread throughout the kingdom which quickly adopted Charyou Tree festivals and sacrifices.

Although crops still failed and deformed animals were still born, faith in Charyou Tree deepened and the people often made a single sacrifice during good years, but made many sacrifices during bad ones, chanting "Death to you, life for the the crops."

Part II: Come Reap[]

While the Reaptide festivals spread quickly, Arthur Eld opposed it as unnecessary killing. However even after the king outlawed the ritual, it continued to grow in secret, and townsfolk would stand with axes and picks against the soldiers of Eld when they came to stop the ceremonies.

In order to minimize the damage, the king instituted a lottery in each region of All-World in which all citizens drew stones to find an individual over the age of twelve that would be sacrificed in Gilead. Only the king was exempt, and no longer were the ill and infirm targeted for sacrifice while throughout the country stuffy guys would be burned in effigy.

While a large carnival was held each year at the end of Reaptide, the king would withdraw in mourning, as he felt the ritual was something to be endured, not celebrated, and feared the results to come.


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