Father Tree, also known as Old Father Tree, was an immensely powerful being located in the geographic center of the Plain of Fear. He had a similar appearance to a deciduous-type tree, standing twenty feet tall with a “trunk” ten feet thick.
Worshipped as a god by the human tribes of the Plain, Father Tree commanded all the species of strange creatures that populated the region: the windwhales, flying mantas, talking menhirs, walking trees, reverse centaurs, and several groups of very small yet intelligent creatures. The Lady speculates that the bizarre, dangerous, and reality-distorting change storms which sweep the Plain occasionally (unpredictably transforming anything in their way) are the dreams of the Tree.
The Tree is easily one of the most powerful entities in the world, and arguably the mightiest of all. No human (including the Dominator, Kina, and the unnamed prisoner kept captive within the Tree’s own roots) exhibited comparable strength. The only entity who could conceivably rival Father Tree is the golem Shivetya, but even his strength seems inferior.
Origin and the prisoner beneathEdit
In the very distant past of the events of the chronicles, a great warlord with power akin to the Dominator was overcome by forces of light, and buried alive deep in the ground. Old Father Tree (a sapling at the time) was summoned from an entirely different world to keep this ancient lord interred. The Lady had heard legends of this event in her youth centuries ago; she says the summoning was so mighty that thousands died and entire counties were devastated, which is why the Plain is a largely desolate place. Beyond that, the name of this evil lord and the history surrounding him was long lost, but the immortal prisoner remained very much alive and only Father Tree’s roots would keep him at bay.
After untold ages, this unnamed prisoner nearly escaped during the events of the third chronicle. When Darling approached the Tree for the first time, the invisible bubble of anti-magic energy known as the “null” which surrounded her caused the Tree’s strength to weaken. The prisoner’s arm burst through the ground amid chaos, but as soon as she was moved far enough away, the Tree regained enough strength to totally subdue his captive once more. The prisoner's arm still remained exposed for a time aboveground, however, and nearly broke Croaker's ankle when he accidentally walked close enough. The arm was described as greenish in color and leathery, with nails like claws; later, Croaker observed that Father Tree was slowly growing thick roots around the arm, to once again envelop the prisoner completely.
The bizarre creatures which populate the Plain of Fear were all brought over from the Tree’s home world during his summoning. These include windwhales, flying mantas, talking menhirs, walking trees, reverse centaurs, and several species of relatively tiny creatures.
Ally of Darling and the RebelsEdit
Father Tree decides to ally with Darling, for whom he has enormous respect, despite the fact that the two cannot be in proximity to one another. His support is the backbone of the Rebel forces.
In a singularly spectacular demonstration of his power, Father Tree:
- summoned a violent change storm to reveal the true forms of Toadkiller Dog and Tracker,
- swatted the nearly unstoppable Toadkiller Dog three times with his branches, then blasted him with a massive lightning bolt,
- made Tracker a loyal subject with the powers of his voice and magic,
- used lightning bolts to strike Scorn and Blister out of the sky by destroying their carpets and to intercept their explosive spears,
- then, several minutes later, subdued the vastly powerful, Dominator-like prisoner who nearly escaped his subterranean prison.
Most of this was done while the Tree was at least partially within the anti-magical null of Darling; that is, he defeated all these enemies despite suffering a significant handicap.
In response to Croaker's entreaties for help, and out of concern for the future safety of his Plain creatures, the Tree concludes that the Dominator is too strong for the Lady and Darling. Father tree then commands his creatures to help both women and their combined forces to finally kill the Dominator at the Battle of the Barrowland. After that battle, the Dominator’s body was incinerated and his disembodied power was trapped inside the Silver Spike. Father Tree sires the Sapling, an offspring resembling a silver-bark poplar, to guard the Spike. The Sapling is replanted in the Barrowland and the Spike is driven into its trunk. When the inexperienced Sapling ultimately fails to guard the Spike, Father Tree disposes of the Spike himself after it is returned by Darling and her associates.
Though communicating with Father Tree is notoriously difficult, a faint tinkling can sometimes be heard from his leaves and he often shakes his branches in immediate reply to current events and discussions. This relatively inscrutable form of communication gives the Tree the semblance of being a grumpy being who does not deign to communicate directly with humans. He is slightly better at communicating with humans via the enigmatic and taciturn menhirs.