As one walks through the Savian Tree Flower Garden, it is inevitable that their gaze will be drawn to the large stump in the middle of the gardens. Old and wormy, it stands out as a symbol of decay in an area filled with so much life. Many visitors will leave just pondering, never bothering to grasp at the answer before them. A curious few, however, will ask the nearest groundskeeper what the story of the stump is. The groundskeeper will chuckle, and ask if they are sure they want to know. If they respond in the affirmative, he will grin.
"Lets us start at the beginning…"
Before the Tree Flower Garden was a possession of the Savians, it belonged to an Elrichian Nobleman named Robert J. Atkins. He was an odd man, who collected botanical wonders from all corners of the continent. In his collection, there were trees and vines and flowers that would fill the onlooker with a sense of amazement, as they were the wittiness to a great age that had seen time pass by infinitely. The prize of his collection was a large tree, which he had name the Grandfather. Atkins claimed that the tree had been recovered from the northern land of Dolren. He also claimed it was the oldest tree in existence, a tree which had witnessed all of mankind's exploits on the continent.
At first he had displayed Grandfather in his private gardens, inviting visitors to come and touch the oldest life form in Elrich. As time went on, however, he became worried about the trees health. Many people had touched it, hoping some of its immortal properties would rub off on them. Others would tear bark from the trunk, for use in potions and witchcraft and other nebulous dark things. Soon, the trunk began to look bare and wormy, a sick sight for what had once been a virile source of life.
So the noble Atkins ordered it re-interred in his fortress, where no citizen would be able to pick and pry at it. But even here, it was not safe. The men defending the fort would pluck the leaves for good luck, courage and strength in battle. They brewed it in teas, kept it on their persons, and added them to their weapons. But as they did, the tree became thinner and gaunt, and it soon looked as crooked and raggedy as an old man on his deathbed. Atkins' worry became fear.
So the great Grandfather was moved one more time, to the chambers of Atkins' own manor. Here is a place he believed it would be safe from any harm that could be brought upon it, away from any man besides his servants and himself. But Atkins' paranoia soon bested his sense of safety. He began to refuse his servants entry into the Grandfathers botany chamber, because he believed that they too would vandalize the ancient oak. In the night, he believed he heard them scratching the wood of the trunk, and he relocated himself to its chamber, only allowing servants to bring food through the doorframe.
Nobody is sure what became of him after this. Some say that he lived the rest of his life with his tree, refusing access to anyone but the spirits and his own soul. Others say that his home was overrun in the Elrichian war against the Suvans. A number of people even tell the tale that the Grandfather began to peel the Atkins apart, in the same way that it had been treated for so many years. In any case, Atkins was not seen from for some time. When the servants returned to the home after fleeing from the war, they found only a stump, a hat, and a blank paper with a quill at its side. One of the servants, a Savian, took it with him as repayment, and had it interred in the gardens, as its last place to rest. And so the Grandfather has resided here ever since, providing a grand story for any bold enough to ask.