Pasture of the One Tree
Site of an Ancient Ritual
In the Theban countryside, on the estate of Creon of Tribe Echion, the Pasture of the One Tree hosts an ancient tradition said to predate the 4th Age of Mankind.
"Red Pomegranate Seeds" by Jessica Lewis from Pexels
Physical DescriptionThe pasture is a level field of grass surrounded by a wooden fence and containing an altar-shaped hill. At the top of the hill, a large and ancient pomegranate tree spreads its branches. It is easily larger than any five trees in the nearby pomegranate grove.
RitualIn accordance with local superstition, the fruit of the One Tree has never been harvested or eaten. The dropped fruit was only ever allowed to feed the soil, though its seeds are never known to have propagated an additional tree. The wooden fence is only a superficial obstacle, easily scaled by children, but the tree was also guarded by an enormous white bull. A new bull was selected from the stock of the estate each spring and placed in the pasture. At the end of the harvest season, the bull was sacrificed to the gods. By tradition, this creature was called the Guardian Bull and was said to be the same animal that was resurrected hundreds of times to serve as the tree’s eternal guardian. In the spring of Year 947, there were no white bulls available among the estate stock. A black bull was placed instead, which was struck by a fatal bolt of lightning during a severe late-spring storm. No pomegranates grew on the ancient tree that year. In fact, after the harvest of Year 946, the One Tree never grew another pomegranate and the annual ritual came to an end.
HistoryThe origins of the ritual are unknown, but folk legends describe the Guardian Bull and One Tree already being present at the establishment of Cadmeian control over the area in the 3rd Century of the 4th Age. According to all available records, there has always been exactly one pomegranate tree on the hill.
StatusSince the end of the ritual, the field has been used to pasture horses, cows, and goats.
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