I am no ordinary thing, like my brethren who litter the earth: ascending to great heights, by stunting their fellows, or failing to grow at all. I am not as one of those helplessly carried along and placed as bystanders to an increasingly grey and industrial world, filled more with choking fumes than birdsong.
In the land where I was born, it was a dark time. There was no sun to turn my face to for many years but I learnt to be without it. When it came, cold and distant, I learnt to accept it as part of this changing, twisting landscape around me.
I was the father of all those who mark the lines along the earth where powers flow beneath her. I taught my seedlings the power of those lines and how to follow them, for I was built of that power and of no other. Undiluted, undiminished, it quenched my thirst before there was water to drink, it warmed me when there was no sun, it nourished me before there was any other food, and from it I became the beginning of my kind.
They came, once, and cut me down, down to the scar on my stump, although they did not hurt me. I grew again from there, but the rest of me- I feel it still- is out on the waves of a dark, dark ocean. The vessel for my master, the ship of the night; that part of me is called many things and stories are told of sails lined with rattling bones, of the creaking wood which sounds of human groans; albatrosses are its fondest friend. It is mostly nonsense of course, for that part of me which travels where I do not, was there long before such stories, and will remain when they, and their tellers, die out.
It had been a long time, I stood in the white, cold light in my place, feeding my way along the lines and listening to that other part of me, the part which felt the waves against its hull, and smelled the salt and blood in the water around.
My master approached. His hand touched my arm as he made his greeting. “My friend” he said, though no words needed speaking “I ask for one more part of you, not to be on the sea, but one for the land. For the world of mortals.”
My power, I told my Master, is not mine to give, and surely not meant for mortal hands.
“Power is never for mortal hands, and they possess only the strongest illusions of it. In the end, all perceptions are meaningless. Perhaps this gift will show to them this folly.”
I know little of mortal men or beast, save the cries and groans of their last, whether from meeting my Master or from the taste of them as they feed into the ties of power that so fed me, but I permitted the giving. From one branch, a single piece was severed, and there it was taken, drilled and refined and shined and turned into an instrument for the earthly world to touch, though in truth it would never belong to any who did.
I felt my passing, from the first, to the second, to the fourth, to the fortieth, Death found them, through greed and folly and egotism, all who hoped to hold any mastery over me would not survive more than scant seasons before I would travel again.
The Deathstick, they called me in their fancies, but, though hewn by the hand of Death himself, that part of me is an instrument. I am not the hand that causes death, merely the tool, the weapon, the opportunity. My function will cease only when there is no mortal left to hunger for my power, and thus to wield me.