Recently, I reflected on how trees not only influence human creativity in terms of art and literature, but play an important part in defining the landscape of the fantasy worlds in my books.
Today it’s the turn of The Gathering of the Lost (The Wall Of Night, Book Two.)
The opening scene in The Gathering of the Lost was with me for many years before I wrote the book, chiefly because I saw the “fragile blossom” of the opening scene every spring in my home city of Christchurch:
“Spring came to the River in a flurry of blustering winds and driving rain that turned the local roads into quagmires and hurled the first fragile blossoms to the ground … it took the heralds the best part of a chill and dreary month to complete their journey. The rain continued, steady and unrelenting, and they slept in small wayside inns or camped in the leafless woods.”
~ from The Gathering Of the Lost, Chapter 1, The Road to Ij
Post earthquake, the dicey roads have been pretty realistic as well, but to be honest I wrote this sentence before any of that happened.
This second book in The Wall Of Night series takes place in the Southern Realms of the world of Haarth, which have more than their share of tree-ed landscapes. Another, toward the mid-part of the book, is the forest called Maraval:
“Mostly, Malian let the others talk as the miles fell behind them and Maraval forest rose up ahead like a green cloud … as the road took them deeper into the wood … the cavalcade fell silent, and the only sound was the clip of their horses’ hooves, the song of birds, and the deep susurration of the myriad leaves overhead. “
~ from The Gathering Of the Lost, Chapter 33, Maraval
Trees help define landscape again in the final part of the book when Malian comes to the village of Butterworth, in southern Aralorn:
“She rode into Butterworth as the poplar leaves became gold tinted. The village had an alehouse as well as a forge, with a crumbling stone tower on the edge of the nearby chestnut woods.”
~ from The Gathering Of the Lost, Chapter 53, The Solitary Tower
So there you have it: trees, landscape, worldbuilding — The Gathering of the Lost.