The Grove of Erik
The Grove of Erik

The Grove of Erik

The Grove of Erik

Corner of Tinsmith’s Way and Junkman’s Lane, Clerks’ Ward

In the Clerks’ Ward of Sigil lies a rather unusual site. The “unusual” appellation comes from the fact that it’s actually a small forest. At the corner of Tinsmith’s Way and Junkman’s Lane, measuring about one block square and with a low stone fence around it, is a grove of trees that has been laboriously brought into the city from the Outlands (along with a proper amount of soil) and planted here.

In the centre of this grove is a stone circle, of the kind that druids use as a place of worship. At the centre of the stone circle is a large oak tree, and to one side a stone altar to Erik, a parochial power of forests, hunting, and druids. Both the circle and the altar have a very squared-off, geometric regularity to them, a result of their having been made by Guvner dwarves. These stones and the fence surrounding it are the only constructed things in the grove, the rest of the area is completely natural. When in the grove, you can barely tell that you are in a large city (unless you look up).

This grove is tended by a group of druids led by a priestess of Erik by the name of Hilda Olgasdottir (prime human priest of Erik [she/her] / NG). Hilda is a lean woman in her late middle age, but without a streak of grey in her hair and the vigour of someone twenty years younger. She is usually recognisable by the green cloak and hood she habitually wears and the aura of calm dignity that she exudes. While she herself is a priestess of Erik, and the grove is a “temple” of sorts for that power, all druids are welcome to meditate here.

A few years ago, Hilda arrived in Sigil from the realm of Nature’s Rest quietly with a pouch of jink and several questions. The questions dealt with the laws about purchasing and owning land in Sigil and where certain portals could be found. The jink loosened up enough tongues to answer them. After getting the answers, she purchased the square block of land in the Clerks’ Ward, and started shipping some soil and digging tools. The latter was to get a deep enough hole in the “land” so that the trees she planted would be able to take firm root. Her workers were other members of her circle, and after getting the soil ready, all of them helped in turning it from dirt to forest. They were aided by nearby portals to Elemental Water and Air.

This druidic grove is open to members of the public, provided they follow the simple rules of no violence and behave yourself. Hilda has always claimed that the Grove is a place of calm peace and reflection, where one can get away from the kriegstanz of Sigil. Naturally, this position has made more people nervous about the Grove’s existence than it has attracted them to visit. Sigilians wonder what Hilda’s (and through her, Erik’s) real agenda is. These speculations are fuelled by the fact that several rogues who have snuck in to loot Hilda’s supposed treasure have all been found unconscious the next day outside the fence, with no memory of how they got that way.

The Dark: There is only two real darks about the Grove that I’ve uncovered. The first is that there is no real dark about it. Erik, as a power of forests and nature, has always found the idea of Sigil (a city without any real nature of its own) vaguely disturbing. Eventually, with much planning, he sent Hilda into Sigil to create the Grove so there would be at least one unconstructed, wild spot somewhere in its environs for people to enjoy. If standard druids worship there, that is fine. If they convert to a specific worship to Erik, that would be a bonus, but he is not going to press it. The guardian circle of druids and priestess are forbidden to proselytise, they must simply keep the Grove of Erik healthy and there.

The second dark lies in the protection of the grove. While the druids are capable of defending from most threats, they have one bit of help. The oak tree in the centre of the stone ring is an “awakened” oak. This means it is capable of movement, thought, and if needed, attacks. [Treat as a treant that is bound to the grove]. This oak usually only moves to defend against those who would defile the sanctuary. Its favourite tactic so far is to wait until the would-be thief (or whatever) is looking in another direction, whump them unconscious, and then place them on the other side of the fence. It then returns to the centre of the Grove and resumes waiting.

Note: For those unfamiliar with the Birthright setting, a priest of Erik is essentially a druid with the move silently, hide in shadows, and animal empathy of a ranger 3 levels higher and tracking of a 1st level ranger

Source: Eric C. Daniel

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