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A story of the Brecilian Forest

There are places in the Brecilian Forest where the Veil is so thin the difference between awake and dreaming is next to nothing. In one such place, a wood-shaper was born under such unfortunate stars that his mother named him Abelas, which means "sorrow." And he lived up to his name. He could keep no apprentices, and lost his stock of bows in mishap after mishap, until finally he had nothing. The rest of the clan began to fear that his ill luck would harm them, too, and whispered among themselves of casting him out.

Abelas heard them and resolved to change his luck, and so went into the forest alone to seek a suitable tree from which to make bows.

At last he spied a young rowan growing beside a stream. He drew his axe, and the tree cried out in fear, begging to be spared. But Abelas said, "If I do not take your life, mine will surely end." With two strokes he felled the tree. From the tree, he made the finest three bows he had ever crafted. Pleased, Abelas returned to camp and gave his bows to the hunters at once.

By nightfall, however, the camp was in an uproar. The hunters had returned with braces of hares which, when cut open, revealed only worms and sawdust. The elder said it was a sign that the hunters had robbed some spirit of its host, for it is well known that spirits do not go about the waking world on their own, but inhabit another creature's body. The elder worked a charm to banish the spirit back to the Fade, and the clan went to sleep hungry.

The next day, the hunters brought back a doe, and again the beast bled sawdust. Now the clan began to fear the spirit would starve them, and wondered what they had done to deserve it. Abelas came forward then and told of the rowan tree. The Elder considered for a long time before declaring that they must replace what Abelas had taken from the spirit. So he sent the hunters to dig up a rowan sapling, and bring it, living, to the camp.

There the elder ordered the sapling planted, and appealed to the spirit for forgiveness.

There was a terrible sound then, as if the whole forest were crying out in protest. Darkness fell upon the camp, though it was just past midday. And when the darkness passed, a rowan grove, every tree bearing the frozen face of a terrified elf, stood where the camp had been. From then on, it was forbidden in every clan to cut living trees in the Brecilian Forest. The spirits know nothing of forgiveness.

—"The Rowan Grove: A Dalish Tale," from Ferelden: Folklore and History, by Sister Petrine, Chantry scholar

Related texts

Codex entry: Wild Sylvan Codex entry: Wild Sylvan - expands on demons and spirits possessing trees.
Codex entry: Aodh Codex entry: Aodh - transcribes a tale of a another tree spirit in the Brecilian Forest.


Bug icon Bug! On the PC, this codex entry, along with Codex entry: Arlathan: Part Two and Codex entry: The Dalish Elves were supposed to be available for non-Dalish origins after listening to Sarel's story about the Dalish. Unfortunately, Sarel's plot script is not attached properly to him, resulting in none of the three entries from unlocking after his tale except Codex entry: The Dales (which is set directly in the conversation script, rather than the broken plot script). Furthermore, the bug prevents non-Dalish origin characters from accessing the three aforementioned codex entries anywhere in the game.
  • There however is an easy fix with the Toolset. Simply hook up Sarel's plot script, by setting the script property in ntb100pt_sarel.plo to ntb100pt_sarel; this will allow for the codex entries to trigger as Bioware intended.
  • Another method is by using the console command: runscript zz_getsetplotflag set cod_hst_brecilian 0 1.