A Cutting of the Tree of Light
In the year 6035, Za’Ul left his stronghold and ventured to claim the souls of the tree elves. He took on the mantle of Godrik and used powerful transmutation magic to alter his appearance.
In The Garden, elves are beings born of magic. Elves do not propagate in the way that humans do. No, that would be far too inelegant for beings of such regal bearing.
There is a tree at the center of the Eternal Forrest known to those that tend it as The Tree of Light. It predates recorded history and all tree elves are hewn from its branches. Elves are given form and soul by the magic that flows from the planet itself, absorbed and concentrated in the tree.
As long as an elf spends enough time basking in the light of the tree, they may live eternally. If an elf does not spend sufficient time near the tree, they begin to fade; eventually the magic that gives them form dissipates.
There are other elves that live in the Garden, similarly named after the magical source of their life. Each different clan bears features that mark the source of their life. Most tree elves have a skin color ranging from bark coloration to verdant, but some rare children of the tree sport a skin tone of cherry blossom pink or autumnal hues. Some are hard as thick oak, others are supple and flow like a willow.
In the first days of the tree elves, there was plentiful light to go around. All elves lived endlessly. However, war and other pressures drove the elves to populate beyond the tree’s capability to sustain indefinitely.
When Za’Ul the lich, (Godrik the elf) arrived in the Eternal Forrest, two primary castes existed. The Eternals and the Twilit. Eternals lived within the inner walls of the elven city, while Twilit lived in the areas surrounding. The proximity to the tree within the Wall was sufficient to sustain immortality, while the Twilit would live anywhere between three to six centuries.
Godrik spent centuries living amongst the elves, stoking unrest among the Twilit. Eventually, he found a willing conspirator in a Keeper of the Tree named Erza. As a Keeper to the Tree, Erza spent enough time within its glow to maintain immortality. However, Ezra was Twilit, living in the Rim. The fade of his beloved brother Alfonse drove Erza into despair.
Godrik spent years rehabilitating Erza and whispering ideas that the current inequality and order between Eternals and Twilit must be torn down.
In a bloody revolution, Za’Ul (masked as Godrik) and Ezra stole the light and power of The Tree from the other Eternals and slayed them to the last. Ezra, the last Keeper was elected to the new leadership position of High Distributor and still holds the position a millennium later. Now Ezra is the only Eternal, the only immortal tree elf, a lich in his own right.
Godrik acts as a diplomat for the tree elves, and has miraculously confirmed an alliance with the immortal King of Yarta, Za’Ul. (Arguing politics with oneself is actually quite easy). Erza has not seen Godrik for centuries now and is growing quite anxious. Erza feels as though he cannot abdicate his leadership position until he understands Godrik’s half of their enchantment on the Tree of Light. It seems as though the lives of Tree Elves grow shorter and shorter with each passing century.
This is because Za’Ul uses a cutting of the Tree that he secreted away to harvest the souls of fading elves. He feeds them to feed the Vault of Souls.