Encyclopedia Alagaësia: Menoa Tree

Follow Me, by Marek Okon, Menoa tree

Follow Me, by Marek Okon, © 2008, courtesy Deviant Art.

Before Du Fyrn Skulblaka and before the Fair Folk were effectively immortal, the Menoa tree was created when the master plant singer Linnëa melded herself with the oldest tree in Du Weldenvarden. It was an unusual reaction to an age old problem: she had fallen in love with a much younger man, but over time he lost interest. Linnëa eventually discovered her lover cheating with a younger woman and stabbed him to death in a fit of rage. Knowing that she hadn’t done the right thing, and that she could never return to her normal life, Linnëa rushed to the Menoa tree, where she sang for three days and nights until her body/consciousness were one with the plant.

She became the guardian of Du Weldenvarden, watching over the forest for thousands of years. Following the creation of the Dragon Riders, the elves held the Agaetí Blöhdren at the Menoa tree’s base every one hundred years. Festival preparations included placing teardrop lanterns on each of her branches, singing nearby plants into bloom, and hanging colored flags, lanterns, and ribbons in the clearing and surrounding area. During the celebration, onlookers could detect the massive tree emanating benevolent energy, her branches rustling in rhythm with the music.

Individuals with the ability to detect consciousness were awed by the size of the Menoa tree’s:

“…he encountered an immense entity, a sentient being of such a colossal nature, he could not grasp the limits of its psyche. Even Oromis’s vast intellect, which Eragon had been in contact with in Farthen Dûr, was dwarfed in comparison to this presence. The very air seemed to thrum with the energy and strength that emanated from . . . the tree?

The source was unmistakable.

Deliberate and inexorable, the tree’s thoughts moved at a measured pace as slow as the creep of ice over granite. It took no notice of Eragon nor, he was sure, of any single individual. It was entirely concerned with the affairs of things that grow and flourish in the bright sunlight, with the dogbane and the lily, the evening primrose and the silky foxglove and the yellow mustard tall beside the crabapple with its purple blossoms.” (Narrative, Eldest Deluxe, page 306)

The Menoa tree was ultimately vital to the success of the war against Galbatorix. Eragon was given a cryptic clue by the Vault of Souls Eldunarí (via Solembum) to look at the base of the Menoa tree for a weapon. Hidden among her roots, and unbeknownst to her, was the last piece of accessable brightsteel—perhaps the last in all of Alagaësia—necessary to make a proper Dragon Rider sword.

BrisingrWhen Eragon and Saphira initially approached the tree for help during the events of Brisingr, they spent hours searching for an actual crafted weapon. They found nothing and attempts to converse with her were unsuccessful. The dragon and Rider returned again on another day, now realizing perhaps it was brightsteel that they were looking for. Still no luck. Attempts to engage the Menoa tree in conversation were useless and gifts of energy went unacknowledged. For hours this went on until Saphira lost her temper—she engulfed the tree’s trunk in flames. That did the trick. Saphira and Eragon now had the Menoa tree’s full attention, their legs held in place by her roots. Elves came rushing to her defense, then silently waited nearby when they saw the situation was under control. Once Eragon and Saphira had placated her enough not to face imminent death, Eragon agreed to give her whatever she wanted in exchange for the lump of brightsteel. The ore now at Eragon’s feet, the Menoa tree sent the Rider and dragon on their way without asking for anything, much to his surprise.

Later, Oromis explained that he and Glaedr had to calm as many as half the elves in Ellesméra, who were urging the elder Rider and his partner to help the Menoa tree. Additionally, Oromis intervened so that Gilderian the Wise wouldn’t punish the young boy and his dragon. Between the threat of the Menoa tree herself and the many elves of Ellesméra—not to mention Gilderian the Wise—Eragon and Saphira were quite fortunate to escape with their lives, much less with the brightsteel. With it they forged the sword Brisingr.

After Galbatorix’s defeat, Eragon went to visit the Menoa tree one more time before he and Saphira left Alagaësia forever. He came to fulfill his promise, but she simply said, “Go.” So he did, completely unaware of the price he had already paid for the Menoa tree’s help.

Description:

“A lone pine tree stood in the middle of the clearing. No taller than the rest of its brethren, it was thicker than a hundred regular trees combined; in comparison, they looked as puny as windblown saplings. A blanket of roots radiated from the tree’s massive trunk, covering the ground with bark-sheathed veins that made it seem as if the entire forest flowed out from the tree, as if it were the heart of Du Weldenvarden itself. The tree presided over the woods like a benevolent matriarch, protecting its inhabitants under the shelter of her branches.” (Narrative, Eldest Deluxe, pages 304-305)

“Thicker than a hundred of the giant pines that encircled it, the Menoa tree rose toward the sky like a mighty pillar, its arching canopy thousands of feet across. The gnarled net of its roots radiated outward from the massive, moss-bound trunk, covering more than ten acres of forest floor before the roots delved deeper into the soft soil and vanished beneath those of lesser trees. Close to the Menoa tree, the air was moist and cool, and a faint but constant mist drifted down from the mesh of needles above, watering the broad ferns clustered about the base of its trunk. Red squirrels raced along the branches of the ancient tree, and the bright calls and chirrups of hundreds of birds burst forth from the bramble-like depths of its foliage. And throughout the clearing, the sense of a watchful presence pervaded, for the tree contained within it the remnants of the elf once known as Linnëa, whose consciousness now guided the growth of the tree and that of the forest beyond.” (Narrative, Brisingr Deluxe, page 644)


 
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