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The Price of Longevity I found a strange sapling that spoke to me, confused about its own ability to think and feel. It has vague memories of walking and a nearby cave. I agreed to help the sapling get some answers. I should search the cave for any signs of what happened to the sapling.
Strange Sapling: The wind whispers to me tales of distant places, of verdant glades dappled with sunlight. Where is this beauty, this wonder? Why can't I go there? What is this strange being standing before me?
Hero: Are you talking to me?
Strange Sapling: The creature speaks! My loneliness falls away like the autumn leaf. The wintry shiver of apprehension sets in: do I dare ask the many questions I have? Do I dare hear the answers? How? When? Why? Why am I cursed with the burden of thought?
Hero: Who are you?
Strange Sapling: I'm a tree. But I think. I feel. How? Other trees have no such faculties, do they? I even have memories. Movement. Walking. A cave ... but then nothing. There's something about the cave. It's near. Will you search inside for the answers I have lost?
Hero: Yes. I'll investigate the cave.
Tree Spirit: Dark. Cold. Dry. Worse than death this prison is. But my bindings cannot be broken like a dead branch. There is no escape, no release.
Hero: Are you related to the talking tree outside?
Tree Spirit: Yes. That tree is me. Or rather it is the life form in which I was the life force. But another came and by foul magics took my place. Merethrin the mage. He cursed us both.
Hero: How did you become cursed?
Tree Spirit: No details do I know, only that by arcane ritual did Merethrin pervert the natural order, binding me here and him there. I to lose my body and he to lose his mind.
Hero: Is there any way to reverse the curse?
Tree Spirit: This I never knew and Merethrin will not recall. He was a revered member of the Mages Guild in Shornhelm. Perhaps answers are there to this question. Or perhaps not.
Tree Spirit: You've returned. I did not expect this. Dare I hope, though? Do you know the means by which I might be released? Merethrin's notes said this elemental dust would reverse the spell. Then delay no longer. Any thirst I once felt for life has long since faded. All I seek now is the peace of death. Though I want to despise the mage for what he did, I feel more pity than hate. I hope this gives him release as well.
Merethrin: I remember now. I remember it all! Oh gods! What accursed thing did I do? The spell—it trapped me in the tree's form! It was a nightmare! Such was the price of my lust for longevity. But now ... now I am released?
Hero: Yes. You and the tree can both be at peace now.
Merethrin: Being trapped in the tree was a fate worse than any death I can imagine. Though I once did all I could to extend my life, I am now grateful to be granted the peace of death. If you were the one responsible for releasing me, then I thank you.
Hero: Complete Quest.
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