Realms by Night: Part Three
The Magistree, or the Hanging Tree of Ravencourt
Every ghost has a sad tale to tell, but figuring out how to communicate without getting attacked by them is always the hard part. What were the circumstances around their death, and what will it take to release their tortured spirit? Join designer Steven Schend as he reveals ghosts from Waterdeep, the City of Splendors.
by Steven E. Schend
Typical Location: Sea Ward - Ravencourt, the alleyway/court within the block bounded by Phastal Street and Sanborim Street just west of Heroes' Garden.
This lonely shadowtop tree looms alone behind a number of one- and two-story taverns and tenements, and as the tree's ghost manifests so rarely, it is often forgotten until it strikes again. Ravencourt gains its name from both the stone ravens at the gables on the four central buildings within the court and the many normal ravens that frequent this court. Though the name is long forgotten, a former noble's villa once graced this area and its patriarch was one of the first loyal magisters (judges) slain during the Misrule of the Lords Magister. He was hanged from his own tree - thus naming it forever the Magistree - and then buried without ceremony beneath its roots.
Ever since the burial of the magister and the looting and destruction of his family home among the warring guild factions, the tree's bark became as dark as a magister's robes. When the tale is remembered, folk say that anyone guilty of a crime yet uncaught by the authorities in Waterdeep should fear the Hanging Tree of Ravencourt. If they walk beneath its branches or even its shadow, the Magistree will lash out with branch and shadow and hang the malefactor by the neck until dead. Even as a vengeful spirit after death, the Magistree only hangs those guilty of crimes that are punishable by death in the City of Splendors.
Many would-be grave robbers and treasure hunters have died upon the stout limbs of the Magistree as they upturn the ground beneath the old, gnarled tree looking for the bones of the long-dead magister. Rumors have spread over the years of a magical treasure from Ahghairon's vaults that allegedly animates the tree, and many seek the First Lord's secrets yet today. All attempts in the past to set the spirit within the tree to rest have failed, and the tales talk of twigs and leaves falling from the tree to form messages in rough Common.
DM's Notes: Should the PCs ever need a way of ascertaining the guilt or innocence of a person, bringing them to Ravencourt and telling the tale of the Hanging Tree could unnerve the guilty into confession or steel the innocent into proving such by stepping beneath the tree.
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