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Tree's NamesEdit

  • Jela's ancient self-aware Tree is named Jelaza Kazone, meaning "Jela's promise fulfilled" or something of that sense. Not coincidentally, Korval's clanhouse is also named Jelaza Kazone. The sprawling clanhouse encircles Tree with "The Ship of the Migration" (aka "Quick Passage") resting beneath, attached to the cellar, and the roots all twined around. (See Jelaza Kazone the house. See Jela.)
  • Jelaza Kazone is called "undertree" by the young, especially
    • Quin reflects: "He’d shot every other day when he was undertree and missed it dearly..."[1]
  • Diglon Rifle calls his days at Jelaza Kazone "Tree Home" -- contrast when he works at the port[2]
  • Rool Tiazan refers to Tree as a ssussdriad. [3] The Uncle also knew Tree to be of the ancient race of Ssussdriads.[4]
  • At times, Cantra referred to Tree as "Jela's damn vegetable" [5]
  • Family name: Laar. Tree has memories from ancestors -- memories that date back eons before its time. Tree is likely a descendant of Laar / The Laar. In Dragon Tide, the small dragon Stregalaar calls his own specific tree Laar. When survival requires it, Laar swims (or wading in deep water?) becoming "The Grove that Moves" (fitting title for Tree's ancestral line).[6]


Ssussdriad PlanetEdit

  • The name of Tree's homeworld is not stated, but when Jela's ship crashed, he called it "On the ground, Star 475A"[7]
  • The planet was listed in the historical records, dating back 2000 years.[7]
  • According to Dragon Tide, the planet included oceans, rivers, mountains, polar ice caps. Snow fell in the mountains in the winter. Seasonal flooding occurred, and rare earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves...[6]
  • It was home to huge self-aware trees. The trees grew taller than the canyon and cliff tops. [7]
  • Long before the Sheriekas attacked, dragons perched in the branches of the mighty trees and seemed to have a familial, telepathic, mutually beneficial relationship with them. [6][8]
  • Jela half believes the trees actually walked: "the long trip the trees had undertaken from the side of a mountain to the ocean." [8] This fits with Dragon Tide, where Laar moved (waded?).[6]
  • Jela counted more than 3,000 fallen trees on the moribund planet, until he came to the lone survivor. A young sapling, "It was hardly thicker than his arm"[9]
  • Inhabitants of the original homeworld have died, all save one: "He might, thought Uncle, gazing down at the pods on Dulsey’s palm, be the only one left who remembered the name of the great race of trees. Ssussdriad."[10]

Tree as WarriorEdit

  • Jela perceives the mighty trees as warriors who resisted the Sheriekas -- at great cost -- until the Great Enemy retreated to lurk around the edges of the system. "He should take a piece for cloning, plant them throughout the Arm" [9]
    • Possibly little tree helped defeat the ship that shot Jela down on Tree’s planet: Jela wonders why he was able to “draw off the attacking enemy with a reflexive head-on counter attack that should not have worked” ...and then he was able to “nurse his wounded craft into orbit and then spiral down to the surface” (Crystal Soldier, chapter 1)
  • Jela tells Cantra, "That tree is more soldier than I'll ever be. It held a planet against the sheriekas, all by himself, when it wasn't any thicker than my first finger here."[11]
  • Jela says, "This tree saved my life. It and its kin fought off the Sheriekas for -- who knows for how long? For dozens of centuries. There is no other reason I can think of that this system was left alone for so long. And why it's got so much attention now."[12]
  • Tree shows Cantra images of the trees holding off the Sheriekas by sheer will, until all the Elder Trees had fallen[11]
  • During the exodus from Old Solcintra, the Tree repels the advancing Sheriekas with a "vast and implacable greenness, a rage of life so potent that the terrible advance of perfection trembled, paused--" [13]
  • Tree has been known to throw branches and other debris at unwanted visitors. [14] [15]
  • Tree can kill (or nurture) other plants. It influenced enemy hydroponics, making the plants wilt. [4]
  • A mercy killing: “Theonna yos’Phelium,” the Uncle said, looking away again toward the status lights, “was mad.”....“The Tree killed her,” Daav said gently. “Her last notation in the logbook stated that she had asked this boon. She was weary, and her mind was beginning, truly, to fray.... she had been found in the garden, beneath the Tree, umarked and with a calm face. She appeared, at first, to be sleeping.” The Uncle closed his eyes.[16]
  • After an epic battle, a militant Tree feels proud and satisfied, if tired and disheveled. [17]

Tree as WizardEdit

  • The Tree is telepathic and clairvoyant. It communicates in images, and in dreams. At times, it sends warnings of danger. For example, Tree shows Jela pictures of large rodents, depicting the imminent arrival of enemy soldiers, the sherieka's Prototype Ms.[18]
  • "Er Thom says the Tree talks."[19]
  • Talks, or records and then replays words, as when Cantra asked it a question and it replied in her own voice, reflected off the walls of Spiral Dance:
    • Yes, her own voice whispered raggedly back at her from the walls."Jela's true and biologic child." [20]
  • In its pictures, the Tree sometimes represents clan members as dragons, including Jela (a black dragon),[21] Cantra (a golden dragon),[21] Tor An yos'Galan (a jewel-colored dragonet)[22] and Theo (a white dragon).[23]
  • Tree produces enticing, edible seed-pods, and occasionally demonstrates pharmacological abilities by biochemically tailoring individual pods.
    • A seedpod a day keeps madness at bay (for Theonna yos'Phelium, Delm, and Daav yos'Phelium's great-grandmother)[24]
    • In one example, a chemically enhanced seed-pod saves a life[25].
    • In another example, specialized seed-pods extend a life [26]
    • Due to seed-pods, Jela and Cantra conceive a child, despite infertility and sterility.[27]
    • Seed pods calm Yulie Shaper and help him sleep soundly[17]
  • Seed pods overwrite the DNA programmed into a remastering (cloning) unit [28]
  • Tree effects the microclimate, subtly increasing the temperature in the immediate area.[29]
  • It modifies plants at the genetic level, enabling them to better withstand cold. [29]
  • Tree teleports people through space to Jelaza Kazone, but very rarely[30]


Tree as HistorianEdit

  • Val Con: "I have several times over the last few nights sat with the Tree, learning stories of past delms, from . . . a primary source that is . . . not the Diaries. I have also tried to . . . employ its assistance in strategy..."[31]
  • Mad Delm Theonna also spoke with Tree a lot, maybe about clan history.


Tree as OverlordEdit

Val Con names The Tree an invading species on Surebleak: "The Tree -- and the Tree's progeny -- was wasting no time in commencing to meddle. And there was yet another crime to be placed at Korval's feet: that they were not one invader, but two."[32]

(Speculation) :: But maybe Tree also invaded Korval: The Tree might be much more symbiotic than anyone might know. Even the Healers know that Tree is invested in Korval offspring much more than most. Before producing children Korval members - especially the Delm Line - is required to ask the Tree for acceptance of the proposed partner. There has been at least one instance of the Tree refusing a proposed partner - properly because a much more fitting partner was in its sensing range. If the Tree gives seedpots before conception to both partners it is seen as a favor. But is it? The Tree might be experimenting with some of its dragons. What for? I propose that the Ssussdriad who partook for centuries from their dragon’s senses has fond in Jela and his offspring a new species to use. Since Tree was still very small - a baby - when meeting Jela it still had the ability to adapt itself to this new species and its possibilities. And Tree kept on adapting. Like using human brains around it to enhance Trees own capabilities - thinking, reasoning, imagination, and also those nice human talents that Rool Tiazen's offspring had and which produced so many Dramliz of Korval. Like Clairvoyance.

E. g. Tree’s dragon Theona. The Tree might be interfering with and manipulating Theona’s talent. Maybe mixing her clairvoyant talent with its own. Maybe some of her craziness was being unable to differentiate between input of her own talent and the Trees. Or tweaking her hormones until her sensing threshold was so low that her input had too much white noise in it. Or using her clairvoyance to bust its own range of farseeing and then letting her see what it saw. Or maybe using Theona to learn itself how to farsee and thus create a new facet of its own talents. Properly a mixture of all the above.

This means that sensing the Tinsory Light’s malignant presence and getting those cord’s wouldn’t have been easy. Tree may have sensed something not quite right on its own – but for getting further – more concrete information and developing a plan of action – extreme effort might have been required. It also means that Tree isn’t just a Soldier but a General using its Dragons as necessity dictates. Or Tree as Delm’s Delm. There are instances when Tree is called Korval’s overlord (Val Con). And Tree’s influence is not always beneficial. But Korval children take Trees gifts without questioning because Tree’s purpose and Korval’s purpose align. – This is something that wouldn’t change, no matter whether Korval will remain a Clan or become something else.

  • interesting rationale. needs citations


Life SpanEdit

  • We do not know the typical life span of a Ssussdriad, but Jelaza Kazone is at least 1,000 years old, possibly 1300. [33]

"Anne sighed, slowly, and shook her head. "It's the Tree? Jela's original? ...That makes it, what? Nine hundred years old?"

"Somewhat...older, perhaps." he said. [33]

  • Older than the captain's contract with Liad: "Daav, that contract is a thousand years old!"... "Near enough," he allowed.[19]
  • Tree is not old yet: "As best we know, it is in the prime of its life, pilot, and not likely to fall for many, many years." [34]
  • See the Timeline for dates relating to Tree and the Ssussdriad planet.

DescriptionsEdit

  • "A pleasingly tree-like trunk and nice, broad four-fingered leaves"[35]
  • Trunk is silvery and fuzzy: "Er Thom lay his palm flat against the silvery trunk."[33] Jela's sapling had fuzzy bark. [36]
  • a fist-sized pod in quarters [36] with a "firm green shell" when ripe[37]
  • Jela's sapling was half as tall as Jela, its trunk as thick as his arm.[36]
  • Jela's sapling had a comparatively huge and heavy bulbous growth on the taproot. It was head-sized, and shaped like an onion.[12] A brain, probably: Tree's ancestor survived a cataclysm that resulted in "broken, brainless trees"[6]
  • Tree's fuzzy bark warms to the touch for welcome visitors [38], [39], but turns ice cold to show hostility or displeasure.[34]
  • From Dragon Tide, we know a Ssussdriad can reshape its branches and trunk at will, at least to some extent: "the nest branch was changing in some way... Was it taller? Did it leave him a firmer perch at the new top?"[6]


Glows in the DarkEdit

Tree has the ability to glow to various effects, at whim:

  • "Syl Vor hadn't known that the Tree glowed in the dark...in green light as soft as mist."[38]
    • but no glow in Ghost Ship: "the greater blackness that was the Tree's monumental bulk"[29]
  • Tree glows when Chi and Fer Gun sleep under it. This may be an expression of happiness, anticipation of Daav yos'Phelium, or mere contentment. Or was it adding light to be helpful, polite?[40]
  • Neogenesis:: Tree Court glows at Tree's whim: "The whole area was bathed in a thick pearly light, as if it were filled with luminous mist. That was odd, but not unprecedented. The Tree adapted its environment to suit its best needs or, as he sometimes suspected, its whim. Inside the misty, pearly light, the Tree was…dancing." (Just a trick of the light, as Tree manipulates the environment)


Size of TreeEdit

Height

"The tree, a quarter mile high...and still growing" [41]

  • In Crystal Soldier, Jela spotted "the structures" from space on his recon runs over the dying planet.[7]* He mused, "Their crowns must have reached above the canyon rim, and together they may have shaded the valley."
  • Excerpt, Crystal Soldier (suggests the trees were 500-1000 feet high):

"The trees he'd been following for the last -- however long it had been -- now were downright skinny, as if they'd been striving for height at the expense of girth, but that was only six or eight times his own paltry height, rather than a hundred times or two."[9]

"Daav's house nestled at the far end of the valley, glimpsed briefly as they crested the hill, with a tree soaring out of the center....Korval's tree was -- somewhat taller than she had expected, its arms reaching high and wide across the pale sky.[42] Aelliana swallowed, staring at the Tree, the clouds of evening tangled in its tall branches.[43]

  • Theo thinks Tree is "impossibly tall"[44]
  • Mr. dea'Gauss can see Korval's Tree from the back window of his Solcintra office. [45]
  • crown visible from Surebleak port:

"Korval still lived under Tree, which was well enough, and from spot and spot around the city she was pleased to see the crown or more of that great Tree, and...she bowed to it from time to time, as she had in Solcintra." [46]

  • Circumference: "The base diameter of the downed trunk was easily six or seven times his own height"[47] (Girth reminiscent of "drive-through trees" / giant sequoia)
  • Theo compares spreading branches to Cordrescue

When she first saw it, on Liad, she compared its size to the arm of a space station: "By the second turn, she realized that she was on course for the tree that was improbably growing out of the center of the house. It had seemed as big as one of Codrescu's arms when she'd seen it from the taxi. Looking up now into a sky lacy with branch and leaf, she thought it might be bigger."[48]

Anne Davis discusses Tree’s size, origins, age:

They climbed a sudden hill, and a valley stretched before them. At the near end, Anne saw a cluster of trees....On the far side of the valley were more trees and -- soaring high into the green-tinged cloudless sky, a...Tree. What on —?

She sat forward in the seat..."It can't be a tree?!"

"And yet, it is a tree," Er Thom said. "Jelaza Kazone."

'Jelaza Kazone,' the professorial corner of her mind supplied helpfully, meant 'Jela's peace' or 'Jela's fulfillment.' She stared at the impossible tallness of it, and licked lips suddenly gone dry. "Who was Jela," she murmured?

"Cantra yos'Phelium's partner, all honor to him, who died before the Exodus. . ."

Anne sighed, slowly, and shook her head. "It's the Tree? Jela's original? . . . That makes it, what? Nine hundred years old?"

"Somewhat...older, perhaps." he said. [33]

EmotionsEdit

  • Tree demonstrates various emotions, including joy when Clan Korval was officially founded[49]
  • Hostility, in Scout's Progress: "The wind, which had been playing among the moonvines, roared into the branches above their heads...Samiv tel'Izak cried out, wordless and high, and raised both arms to shield her head."[34]
  • Tree felt "acute awareness, excitement, amazement" about space travel.[29]
  • On Surebleak, Jelaza Kazone seems eager to "help" the plants and weather. "The Tree had been bored on Liad, no question, and was finding the move to Surebleak, and the subsequent calls on its assistance, exhilarating." [23] (Tree may prefer Surebleak's weather to Liad's temperate climate, since its home planet had seasonal floods, seasonal snow in the mountains, etc.) (An additional possibility: World's End - the abandoned quarry in which Jelaza Kazone is set - still contains trace amounts of timonium, known to power Old Tech devices. Liad did not have timonium in its soil; there's no text evidence either way for timonium on the original Ssussdriad planet.)
  • Feels amused, sleepy, militant, proud, satisfied[17]


Tree House /ClimbingEdit

  • In Local Custom, Er Thom is "seated on the platform he and his brother had built as children, the world below reduced to proper insignificance."[50] Daav climbs Tree: "A steady ten-minute climb brought him to a wooden platform firmly wedged between three great branches." [51]


From Chi yos'Phelium to Petrella yos'Galan:

Er Thom fell from the Tree this morning.

I hasten to add that all is well, though of course he took damage. A matter of broken ribs and dislocated shoulder—that's the worst of it. Nothing beyond the auto-doc's capabilities.

I cannot for certain say how far he fell, for all Daav can tell me is that the pair of them had "never been so high." Er Thom was craning for a better sight of the Port when an end-branch broke under his weight.

He was caught, twig-lashed and unconscious, by the big by-branch about seven meters up—you know the one, sister. The luck is in the business twice: The child doesn't remember falling.

Daav saw the whole, and kept a cool head—far cooler than I should have kept at eight Standards, and so I swear! 'Twas he climbed down, fetched me out of a meeting with dea'Gauss, and showed me where Er Thom lay.

Nor would he be parted from his cha'leket, but kept vigil at 'doc-side and bed. I at last persuaded him to lie down whilst I kept watch, and he fell instantly asleep—to wake a quarter-hour later shrieking for Er Thom to come back, "Come back! The branch is breaking!"

I await the Healer as I write this . . .

—Excerpted from a private letter to Petrella yos'Galan from Chi yos'Phelium[52]

GenderEdit

Tree has two known methods of reproduction:

  • Seedpods (might carry a varying gene pool)
  • Cloning via a fallen branch sprouting shoots.
  • Jelaza Kazone is probably gender-neutral or might contain both genders, male and female, a hermaphrodite. Female is also a possibilty.
  • When someone dreams or experiences Tree memories, it remains unclear if the gender attribute is provided by the Tree or the person experiencing the memory:
    • "Strange energies informed her leaves." [29] (is this referring to Miri, or Tree?)
    • "She felt her sap falling, and knew her death was near...yet she bent her energies to her last task, and produced a pod."[9](Is this Cantra, or Tree, feeling this memory?)

Tree's ChildrenEdit

  • Ssussdriads -- born of Jelaza Kazone -- have been given to family, friends, and allies. The captain's lifeboat carries a "keep-safe" of six stasis-bound seedlings from Jelaza Kazone. [53]
  • A Ssussdriad grows on the grounds of Clan Erob on planet Lytaxin. (Erob are allies, descended from Rool Tiazan.) From Plan B: "It was a largish tree, Miri thought, with a pleasingly tree-like trunk and nice broad four-fingered leaves a shade greener and a shade less blue than the grass. Nuts or seed pods hung in clusters here and there, and the whole thing smelled good."[54]
    • In Plan B, Val Con and Miri greet Erob's tree. It gives them seed pods and a leaf for Miri. [55] Later in the book, Erob's Ssussdriad exuberantly welcomes Shan to Lytaxin. [56] Still later, Tree's offspring gives a seedpod to Miri, for Daav.[57]
  • Yulie Shaper, Korval's neighbor, received a tender shoot to plant in his far field: "It'll do like your big one's doing, pulling in some warm, sucking in some water, keeping out some of the cold and breeze. I'd be pleased to have it with me, and it'll give yours some company." [39]
  • Two saplings will grow beside Trealla Fantrol, to be built on an island on Surebleak. "They're almost twins, and I think they'd like the sea air." [39] (original Ssussdriad world had oceans)
  • The oldest of Tree's children is nonetheless still a treelet. More than a millenium ago, Cantra placed the sapling on Spiral Dancer with the autopilot set to reach specific coordinates [58]
    • Bechimo and crew hear Spiral Dancer call SOS in Teapot Space / Wyrd Space. Win Ton investigates the old craft: "The pilot’s chair was empty [...] A fiber box had been grey-taped to the co-pilot’s chair [...] In the box… was a tree, its leaves green with health, and moving slightly in what may have been the breeze from a ventilator duct. On the whole, it seemed happy to see him."[59]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Roving Gambler, in A Liaden Universe Constellation, volume III
  2. Rifle's First Wife, in A Liaden Universe Constellation volume III
  3. Crystal Soldier, ch 32
  4. 4.0 4.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 25
  5. Crystal Soldier, ch 16
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Dragon Tide
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Crystal Soldier, ch 1
  8. 8.0 8.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 5
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Crystal Soldier, ch 2
  10. Ghost Ship, ch 11
  11. 11.0 11.1 Crystal Dragon ch 2
  12. 12.0 12.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 4
  13. Crystal Dragon, chapter 35
  14. Scout's Progress
  15. Dragon in Exile, ch 33
  16. Alliance of Equals, ch 19
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Neogenesis
  18. Crystal Dragon, ch 20
  19. 19.0 19.1 Scout's Progress, chapter 2
  20. Crystal Dragon, chapter 22
  21. 21.0 21.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 15
  22. Crystal Dragon, ch 34
  23. 23.0 23.1 Ghost Ship, ch 36
  24. Alliance of Equals, ch 19
  25. Crystal Dragon, ch 16
  26. Crystal Dragon, ch 18
  27. Crystal Dragon, ch 22
  28. Alliance of Equals, ch 19
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 Ghost Ship, ch 8
  30. I Dare
  31. Dragon Ship, chapter 14
  32. Neogenesis, Surebleak part II / chapter 3 in Audible format
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 Local Custom, ch 17
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Scout's Progress, ch26
  35. Plan B, ch 4
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Crystal Soldier, ch 3
  37. The Gathering Edge, ch 13
  38. 38.0 38.1 Necessity's Child, ch 13
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Dragon in Exile, epilogue
  40. Due Diligence
  41. Carpe Diem, Dutiful Passage / ch 53 Audible
  42. Mouse & Dragon, ch 9
  43. Mouse & Dragon, ch 13
  44. Ghost Ship, ch 27
  45. Mouse & Dragon, ch 16
  46. Skyblaze
  47. Crystal Soldier, ch 2
  48. Saltation
  49. Crystal Dragon, ch 31
  50. Local Custom, ch 25
  51. Scout's Progress, ch 5
  52. Preface to Local Custom chapter 35
  53. Plan B, Erob's Boundary, Quarry Warzone
  54. Plan B, Lytaxin, Approaching Erob
  55. Plan B, Lytaxin, Approaching Erob
  56. Plan B, Lytaxin Warzone, Altitude 12 Kilometers
  57. I Dare, Day 51, Standard Year 1393, Departing Lytaxin
  58. Crystal Dragon, ch 33
  59. Dragon Ship, ch 41