Treeman (Origo Mundi)

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Treeman
Derigianyan
1 b9285b61c4d7b69eda37c118c5f2fe13.jpg
Emperor of the Derigi
Reign 1055-
Coronation June 1065
Jaligena, Azoz Province
Predecessor Created
Co-Emperor Yumanalun (Disputed)
Telephama (-1069)
Lanemara (1069-)
First Citizen Prackyob
Emperor of the Mouri
Reign 1052-
Predecessor Yumanalun
Successor None
Co-Emperor Yumanalun
Telephama
Born c. 1030
Azoz Province,
Mouri Empire
Issue None
Royal house Derigi/Non-Dynastic

Treeman (Yannian: Derigianyan; c. 1030 - Present), was one of the final Emperors of the Mouri Empire, and the first Emperor of the Derigi Empire, which is named for him. He is one of the longest reigning monarchs in the history of Azoz, and one of the most influential leaders during the nations collapse in the early 12th century.

Despite this the exact origin and life of Treeman is shrouded in mystery, and heavily intertwined with local folklore and mythology, at a time when scholarly record keeping became scarce in Azoz. This has led some historians to posit that he may have been a completely legendary figure, or an amalgamation of multiple late Azozian leaders, however, most historians agree that Treeman was a real person in some capacity. The earliest records of Treeman paint him as a hollowed, mechanized vessel to be piloted by humans, thus rendering him more of a costume or machine than person. Yannian sources, particularly those routed in the Ligerian tradition of the Kingdom of Neum, describe Treeman as a harbinger of the late Azozian apocalypse, put into the world by divine intervention, and to this end the historical Treeman seems to have played an integral part in the city's devastation.

In 1055 Treeman was coronated as the first Derigi Emperor in the city of Jaligena, however, he was almost always accompanied by a co-emperor throughout his reign, such as Telephama of Edom, who also became his wife, and Telephama's neice, Lanemara. Sources that document his tree-like form posit that the emperor would have been unable to produce children, and unwittingly killed his wife in such an attempt, sparking a controversy across the empire. Regardless, it is known that no natural-born children of Treeman were ever produced. Because of his great influence in the empire, and speculation on whether or not he is truly human, Treeman is a primary example of the King in the Mountain motif, as large parts of his reign seem to have been spent in exile upon the Azozian mountain. As a result, some circles foretell that Treeman will return when he is most needed.

Origin[edit | edit source]

There is no clear consensus on the origin of Treeman, as sources vary wildly, especially between Yannians and Azozians.

Yannian[edit | edit source]

Book of Lahigi[edit | edit source]

The exact origin of Treeman is one of the most mysterious elements of his character, as there is no one consensus on where he first originated, or when he first entered the popular imagination of the region. The earliest known record to describe him is a Neumite apocrypha known as the Book of Lahigi, which is believed to have been compiled in the early to mid 1030s. The text is primarily a product of the devout Vathomanist Yannian tradition, in which the city of Azoz is the collection of all corruption of the world, a forge for subhuman, soulless creatures beneath the "Azoz Mound". Although not formally structured for most of its history, the canon of Vathomanism was that below Azoz was the Azogi, or a series of deep, open caverns, where volcanic-like sludge was produced and concentrated. An industrial operation was carried out to produce soulless or unnatural (on account of being man-made rather than divinely inspired) creatures to do the bidding of King Thot, or in most cases, to directly create the followers of the so-called Ulm religion.

Lahigi demonstrates a slight departure from traditional Vathomanism, taking multiple influences from its time period. For example the text especially emphasizes the devastation of forests to power the Azogi factory, which seems to be unique compared to any earlier document. It is believed that the author(s) may have been inspired by the relatively new Neumite tradition of displaying a tree in gathering places, or by the actual, seemingly sudden deforestation of the Azoz-Neum region, due to the enormous amount of resources gathered by both the Mouri and various Neumite leaders to fuel their frequent warfare. The text also takes many Mesallian stylings, such as appropriating the tradition from Mesallian Epics of having the piece's very first word being the stated theme of the work.

WRATH, is what the gods sing of, when they speak of the great Tree Man. He had come from our own wrongful fascination with the unobtainable; to timber the gifts that the cosmos had planted upon the earth. So they gave us Tree Man, to fight for the rights of the world, and to create a world in which humanity lived in harmony with the rest of creation. It was in the darkest of nights that the world shook with his reckoning. The city of Azoz had burned to an ember, but a ghastly glow remained, permeating from deep within its tissues. Under that foul place lay the Azogi; vast volcanic caverns and tunnels, where the Azozioni shaped matter itself and the dark arts, and produced the unholy machinations of creations like evil gods. Produced from the filth and mud of the Azogi rose their evil servants, which walked the ground with their accursed step. And to power such godless machines, the Azozioni cut down the trees and diverted the rivers, and laid devastation to the entire world. (Lahigi 1:1–8)

Lahigi also proposes the first theory of Treeman's nature: that he was a sort of mechanized machine created from a hollowed tree trunk, piloted by multiple human operators. The idea of machinery being used in royalty appears to have become a common theme in the Mouri Empire during the 11th century, as the earliest sources of the Reckoner Empire also mention the Reckoner as operating vast machines for analytics and for transportation. Scientifically this period saw great advancements in machinery, as evidenced by such discoveries as the Kietheran Device, dating to the late 900s. It is speculated by historians that this sudden series of inventions, catalyzed additionally by the exchange of new ideas as Yannian and Azozians met at Neum, caused a great sense of anxiety over the unknown, and a feeling of futuristic advancements, for evil or for good.

More specifically, Lahigi treats the creation of Treeman as an undertaken by a three brothers, who stood on each other's shoulders within the trunk to operate him. Despite admitting that Treeman was in fact three different people, Lahigi and most other subsequent texts still refer to him as one person or being, with a unified conscious. Lahigi describes the brothers as being zealously motivated to form such a bond, while most other Yannian texts, if they concede that multiple people inhabited Treeman, make the argument that through divine intervention a single, holy spirit was assigned to him, making him far more than the some of its parts, and diminishing the rule of humans to simple organs.

Deep in the heart of the dark forests was three identical twins, who banded together, and they designed a creation that would stop the forest hunters for good. Their machine was a great tree, twenty feet tall, and two feet across, and hollowed out and well equipped within. There the three brothers stood on each other’s shoulders, and operated the tree trunk as a great piece of armor. His legs walked with a creaking contraction of gears and wood, and his arms were like strong oars controlled by the brothers. On his face lay the anguish from the destruction of the world. His eyes burned with a fierce fire, and his mouth was a screaming hole that devoured food with ease. He was Tree Man. Into that body was poured all his anger, rage, and eternal wrath, and the strength of a thousand beings. On his hands he equipped strong iron gloves with black stone knuckles, like an emperor, and on his wooden member lay the iron condom of vengeance. Thus, he came upon Azoz with fiery justice and power, his mouth joint swinging in joy. (Lahigi 1:10-22)

One of the biggest differences between Lahigi and later texts, is that Treeman was not portrayed as an emperor of instrument of divinity, but moreso as a mythological hero. This was part of an overall cultural shift, perhaps precipitated by the empire's diminishing degree of legitimacy and security, inspiring many to write tales of superhuman individuals. However, the heroes of the 11th century differ heavily from earlier traditions, such as the Nathonian Cycle or the epics of Ancient Mesallas. Some historians have coined the term "superhero" to describe this generation, a notion made stronger by the adaptation of many such characters into comic books in the 30th century.

Treeman was depicted as having several arch enemies or "super villain" adversaries. His first opponents were the woodcutters who preyed on his home, and fueled the Azogi, with the with the head of such beings being the "Woodigarch". There is no consensus on what the Woodigarch is, as no such title was ever used in antiquity, but there are many speculated answers, such as it being the Emperor of the Mouri, a personification of Azoz, the woodcutting industry as a whole, or any of the above symbols combined. Additionally, Lahigi is one of the few texts to give a high amount of detail about the character "Nutboy", who is portrayed as an accomplice to Treeman, and possibly a male lover. He is said to have been a former slave who was saved by Treeman, who serves the role in the text as a twisted version of the "Damsel in Distress" motif; the people of Azoz mistake Treeman for a beast who kidnapped Nutboy, and they chase him away, albeit perhaps wrongly corrupted or misled by the Woodigarch.

One of the most contested and studies parts of Lahigi is the role of Azoz the city. It is thought that the historical Treeman was likely a foreigner to the city, who only came to the city and took it by force, likely in the 1050s. This is compounded by other Yannian sources, such as those who describe him as divine punishment for the Azozians, which say he helped destroy the city later in life. However, Lahigi seems to indicate that he came to the city far before that, as much as two decades before, but was driven away by the Woodigarch's mob to the top of Azoz Mound. It is known that Treeman as emperor spent years in exile on the top of the mountain, so some historians speculate that this is some sort of corruption of the original story. Others posit that he may have had an initial exile, far earlier than his first recorded one as emperor.

There he planted the trees and freed the slaves. He discovered one such slave to be the most handsome boy of all, and Tree Man began to fall in love with him, so he called him Nutboy, his sidekick. But that was not the end of his tale. In the halls of Azoz the rich had become corrupt and greedy, desiring the woodcutters to destroy nature for their gain, while impoverishing the poor, who needed wood to rebuild their homes. The rich raised an angry mob to hunt Tree Man through the streets, and to “free” Nutboy. Tree Man and Nutboy fled to the very top of Azoz Mound, where the heavens reigned over that inhospitable place below. At that peak he stopped and contemplated for many years, living as a brave treeminder in the cold mountain peak. But a spirit came to him, saying that his work was not yet done. He would need to return to the world, one last time, and destroy the corrupt Woodigarch of Azoz once and for all. (Lahigi 3:23-32)

Importantly, Nutboy is said to have already been killed by the Woodigarch while Treeman was in exile and disillusioned with his quest. This would become an important theme of the later Treeman story; that he faltered on his path and as a result suffered heavy personal loss. Lahigi focuses on the element of wrath; how the wrongs perpetrated by the world against him, such as the taking of his love, precipitated the wrath that he dealt against the Azozians, independent of any divine inspiration. Lahigi ends with Treeman electing to return to civilization and do away with the Woodigarch, culminating in the Battle of Jaligena. The text abruptly ends with Treeman seemingly defeated, after the introduction of "Squidling", a monstrous villain who sought to serve as champion against Treeman.

He awoke from this vision, realizing that it had given him just enough time to prepare himself. As he raced home he discovered that the Woodigarch had already sent assassins to find him, and they had killed his beautiful Nutboy. Overcome with anger, Tree Man killed the assassin, and returned to Azoz to destroy Woodigarch and his reign. He soon found that much had changed since he left. The lands had become increasingly desolate, and the city was a destroyed ruin in the heart of that barren plain. The Woodigarch had prepared himself as well, and he had armed himself with one of the strongest champions, and the biggest enemy of the trees. That being was known as Squidling. He was a giant man, with an octopus-like face. His tentacles flowed down around his body, with sharp and precise accuracy, and chains hung from his body like whips. At the Battle of Jaligena the two heroes met and battled until the sun had set, and Tree Man found himself weak and injured. It would seem that the great hero would finally come to an end for good. (Lahigi 4:51-65)

The Battle of Jaligena is one of the few events believed to have been definitively historical, having been mentioned by almost all Treeman documents. Whether or not the battle was more of a face off against a small number of champions, or whether it was a full scale battle between Neumites and Azozians, is not entirely clear, especially as multiple such battles would soon occur during the Late Mouri Civil War.

Yetezulnum's Account[edit | edit source]

Yetezulnum was a Neumite writer who lived during the end of the 11th century, and wrote extensively about final events of the Kingdom of Neum. In particular he is seen as a secular source that corroborates the happenings of various Ligerian scriptures. Yetezulnum remains in the camp that Treeman was a divine being sent to the world, tasked with bringing about, or catalyzing, the final days of Azoz. In Book XVII of Yetezulnum's Antiquities of the Neumites there are several passing references to Treeman. First he states that during the reign of Yumanalun, a battle took place at Jaligena, and afterword a defeated Treeman returned to exile. Yetezulnum states that although it is obvious to him now that Treeman was the prophesied being to lead to the destruction of Azoz, at the time he went unnoticed by church leaders. As a result the divine sent the Reckoner as another catalyst, and as a harsh punishment.

This would not be a new idea as religious scholars writing in the 1040s-1050s do not make mention of Treeman, but all unanimously agree that the Reckoner must be the divine catalyst prophesied previously. Only after Treeman's reign began does the notion that the Reckoner was a supplementary punishment became predominant. However, Yetezulnum was also writing at a time when Treeman was already a long reigning monarch, so it is speculated that he may have placed references to him in order to praise his emperor.

Book XIX talks more extensively of Treeman, describing him as being the Ligerian claimant responsible for besieging the city of Azoz around the year 1055. During this time the Late Mouri Civil War was ongoing, eventually being settled by Yumanalun, the grandson of Pauodegus via his daughter Berena’al Rasletemuc and Teumecudi, and Telephama, grandson of Pauodegus via his granddaughter Shuadna’al Tezculum, who was also Anka of Edom. The civil war is described as being the deciding force as to the future of Azoz, with Yumanalun portrayed as a Ligerian Neumite ruling from Jagilena, and Telephama being portrayed as an Edomite ruling from Medan. Yetezulnum quotes the contemporary scripture that praises Yumanalun, but states that he was called "Lastman", and would be the last Mouri Emperor.

Where Yetezulnum differs heavily from most other sources is in the nature of who led the Siege of Azoz. Whereas most Yannian sources state that Yumanalun never entered Azoz, or died before the siege concluded, Yetezulnum states that Yumanalun was alive when the city fell. It is heavily written that no Ligerians could ever enter the city of Azoz, due to the belief regarding its unholiness, and as a result there are no records of any of the Ligerian emperors stepping foot in the city. It is likely that most Yannian scholars wanted to rectify the contradiction that Yumanalun entered Azoz, so they stated that he died prior to the siege ending, however, there is one brief account stating that he did enter the city, and that's why he immediately died.

Instead Yetezulnum claims that Yumanalun took the city and was responsible for a massive defensive undertaking. He states that the population of the entire city was effectively killed, and every last building except the city walls cannibalized to build an impenetrable fortress. Treeman would have been already within the city walls, as it was previously established that he was still on the top of the Azoz Mound by this time. Yetezulnum states that Treeman came down from the mountain and took out his wrath on the few that remained or chose to oppose him. Treeman is said to have met with Yumanalun, where Yumanalun agreed to have Treeman crowned the first Derigi emperor, as a co-monarch alongside him. Yetezulnum states that it was here that a covenant was signed regarding Treeman, stating that he would always be co-emperor, with it believed that he was unable to father children. Most other sources state that Treeman was later formally crowned in Jaligena in late 1055 as well.

Other[edit | edit source]

Treeman is prominently featured in the writings of one of the most important late Ligerian prophets Aysmecedus (f. 1070s). He would serve as chief priest during the late Neumite period, helping to canonize the Ligerian scripture at the time. In particular he wrote that God had sought it fit to send about justice against Neum, which was the violent conquest that disrupted the region. This vengeance was because of the city’s abandonment of its covenant promise with God, and the nation’s general sin during the time of the Mouri Empire. Namely, the empire had allowed to coexist idols and foreign gods, and these foreign forms of worship had propagated alongside the rightful temple in the city.

Aysmecedus claims that Azozian customs had seeped into every aspect of Neumite life, and with that was brought many customs that would be considered sinful by the prophets. Despite the claimed piety of the people, the prophets saw through their façade of faithfulness, to bring attention to the other societal aspects that they had wrongly picked up from foreign nations. Such a thing would not have been uncommon, as the region was known for its high diversity, even before the Yannian arrival. The city had been a major center of the Ulmian religion from Azoz, but was also home to the Syresian state cult, owing to its days as a Syresian colony, the Mesallian religion, owing to its time under Mesallian rule, the native Tuathan religion, due to its proximity to that ancient state, and countless others, due to its important position as a major port in the Mouri Empire.

Azozian Accounts[edit | edit source]

Nucilon's Satire[edit | edit source]

As Yannian literature became more common in the Great Library of Azoz, one large reaction to it would be the advent of satire, or the making of epic stories and novels to parody or mock the styles of epic romances from earlier Azoz or Yannian works. The most famous satirist of this time period was Nucilon, whose stories commonly featured a protagonist of the same name. His most important work at this time was The Tree Man, a satire likely written during the early years of Treeman's reign, or just before the civil war's conclusion, in the city of Medan where Telephama was viewed as the legitimate monarch. Although there are no surviving copies of the entire play, a summary of the play was recorded by Zosecles about a century after it's writing:

Nucilon's caricature of himself is shown as a simple man and honest to a fault, only hoping to find his own place in the world. His romantic partner of many years leaves him him at the beginning of the story, running off in the dead of night with an athlete named Chabel. Nucilon himself only finds out of this by a note she left on the back of a sports ticket stub.

Utterly distraught and disillusioned, Nucilon went to Jaligena to the only one place he can trust. However, on the way to the brothel he made a wrong turn and ended up in an alchemist's lab instead. The alchemist provided Nucilon with three glasses, saying he is sure one of them is a love potion, but he doesn't remember which one. Nucilon first asked the alchemist if he is sure no one has been hurt by these potions before, to which he replied "of course not, you are the first person to try them". Nucilon took the first potion, and it transformed him into a fish, which swam its way through the city and into the sea. Meanwhile, a group of fishermen were out sea hunting for the Squidling, knowing that the tentacles of the monster would be incredibly strong and valuable.

With an elaborate contraption of hooks, pulleys, plungers and cheese graters, their ship at last managed to capture the Squidling, and haul him onto the deck. Nucilon happened to be swimming by at this moment, and immediately felt sympathy for the poor creature. So gathering all his strength, he flung himself into the air, missing the sailors completely and landing with a thud on the deck. However, due to the nature of fish, an entire school of similar creatures followed suit and flung themselves onto the ship, attracting a swarm of seagulls to come down and attack the sailors. Nucilon himself was snatched up by a bird, and while in mid sentence begging profusely for his life, the potion wore off and he turned back into a man, landing back on the ship deck with another thud. He picked up a nearby sword and stood back-to-back with the Squidling, fighting quickly for control of the ship.

Once safely back on shore, the Squidling thanked Nucilon for his aid, and promised to help him in return one day. Nucilon returned to the city, encountering a group of woodcutters who were all hiding in holes in the ground. Seeing his confusion in a double-take, the woodcutters explained they are afraid to come out of the ground for fear of the trees seeking vengeance on them. Nucilon laughed at this, until he saw the Tree Man approaching, at which point he dove into the hole with them. He next encountered a woman covered entirely in Klantonian armor and brandishing a halberd. Nucilon verbally pondered if this was his time, this was the moment for him to finally fall in love as in the romances of ancient past, but his thoughts were interrupted by the woman who asked why he was loudly narrating to himself.

She explained her name was Lucretia, and her husband had been kidnapped by the Tree Man to be enslaved as his Nutboy, but she worked night and day to train herself to at last defeat the monster and rescue her husband, despite the dozens of warriors who fought him already unsuccessfully. To punctuate her point, Lucretia raised her halberd, and with a noble cry she charged straight against the Tree Man. After a pause of five seconds, Lucretia was hurled back right where she stood earlier, groaning "OK, that was a lucky shot".

After this, Nucilon took the second potion, and it caused him to begin seeing into the spiritual world. He met his long-dead father, who sat down with him to drink from the sacred beer made from root plants that only ghosts know about. After that, his father offered to give a tour of the underworld, seeing the layers of cells kept underground for the Last Judgment. Nucilon accepted, but they made a wrong turn and he ended up in the Azogi instead. The world of the Azogi existed exactly underground from the city of Azoz, where all their buildings are made upside down from their over world counterparts. The Azozoni people talked in reverse sentences, and worked many forms of strange sciences and engineering to their advantage.

In one example, the Azozoni was measuring how far a flee can jump. However, not having any standard measurement of their own, the Azozoni would manufacture flee-sized shoes and use that to measure the distance in flee-feet. Nucilon was amazed how such a society was never noticed before in history, and they explained that they have visited and traded with the city of Azoz many times in their history, but due to their short size no one had ever noticed their presence. They further explained that they were the ones to create the Tree Man, to which they have the only key that can open its arbor armor, but they will never give it up. However, as soon as he offered to share them the secret of root bear, they gladly accepted the deal.

The queen of Azogi named Balrogia saw that Nucilon was a handsome man, and tried to coerce him to stay. Nucilon, however, was too simple to recognize these advances, and thanked her for her flattery nonetheless. Before he could leave, Balrogia attempted to drug his drink, but he accidentally switched drinks with her and left her in a deep sleep. Nucilon returned to the surface world with the key to the Tree Man, and gathered together his friends Lucretia and Squidling to fight the Tree Man. Squidling fought back and forth all day long against the Tree Man at the Battle of Jagelin, until Nucilon tossed him the key able to unlock the armor. Once the armor was opened, Lucretia came up behind the Tree Man and threw inside a bee's nest, which Nucilon then gingerly locked again. The battle was won for our three heroes once more.

Siege of Azoz Account[edit | edit source]

Azozian sources mention the grueling Siege of Azoz as having lasted many years, spearheaded by the general Ashkenaz. The writer Telmud of Medan (f. 1060s) is credited with heavily mystifying the events of the siege, mostly as a form of propaganda to attract soldiers to the cause of Telephama. He states that heroes from across a thousand years of Yannian and Azozian history appeared to lead the various armies of the civil war. He states that Treeman and Nutboy were two such heroes spotted during the siege, alongside historical figures such as Cassander. Telmud and other Azozian accounts mention "Yunamalun the Last" as a crucial part of the siege, but also mention a relative of his named Aboron, who claimed the throne after Yunamalun's death.

Some speculate that Aboron is most likely a pseudonym for Treeman, however, one later Azozian writer, Pontiam, states that Aboron surrendered to Telephama at some point in the 1060s. Azozian sources of this period primarily focus on the reign of Telephama instead, and also the work of First Citizen Prackyob. It is stated that Prackyob was especially dedicated to the rebuilding of the city of Azoz. Both Yannian and Azozian sources mention that Treeman was then coronated as a co-emperor with Telephama, however Pontiam treats this as more symbolic or fanciful, also stating that Prackyob was a patron of the satire of Nucilon.

It is clear that Prackyob definitively planted a great tree in the center of Azoz, as a symbol of unity and rebuilding, situated between the steps of the Great Library and the Garden of Pleasures. Pontiam takes a controversial view of Treeman; implying that he was never a real person or emperor, with the closest thing to Treeman having been Aboron, who was simply a man. He describes the legend of Treeman as referring to the literal tree planted in Azoz. This is disagreed with by both Yannian and Azozian scholars. Notably, even the opponent of the non-Telephamans, Telmud, came around to the legend of Treeman, writing that he was a real emperor definitively. Most Azozian sources state that the tree in Azoz was a symbol of Treeman's reign, while Telmud, and other more romantic writers, say that the tree is Treeman himself, who waits in slumber for the day that he will awake. The Derigi Empire was declared at this time, either referring to the name of the monarch, Treeman, and/or to the central tree in Azoz.

Reign[edit | edit source]

After the coronation of Treeman and Telephama around 1063, it is stated that the pair married to solidify their alliance. The early years of Treeman's reign are clouded in mystery, with most sources focusing on the rebuilding of Azoz carried out by First Citizen Prackyob in his name. Most sources agree that Treeman immediately returned to an exile on the top of the mountain, assuming he ever left in the first place. In particular the same Yannian sources that state that Yumanalun was alive at this time, say he was killed in battle, forcing Treeman to flee to avoid a similar fate. According to sources written at the time, the city had effectively ceased to exist:

As the city of Azoz was destroyed once more by the zealous invaders, the defenders fought one last time to save their city, but we overrun by the rebellious invaders. They slaughtered those inside, further contributing to the dead city. They discovered that every inch of the city had been converted to a place for war, as nearly every civilian had been completely removed from the city. Every building in the city was vacant and derelict, with nature and trash having overtaken most city streets, and many former streets turned into farmland within the city walls. Major buildings, from the Great Library to the old palace, had been cannibalized for building material, and those buildings were now pieces of rubble in hastily repaired walls, leaving behind nothing but fields and ruins. Other buildings had been turned into cisterns and pools, or storerooms for weapons of war. As the soldiers walk through the remains of old city streets, they find nothing of note to loot or capture. Aside from the few homes that the soldiers remained in, there are no other standing buildings.

When Treeman returned to the city it was because of the rebuilding efforts; it is said that the new settlers of the city became immediately greedy, desiring to destroy the entire forest to rebuild lavish homes, and building up Azoz once more as a sinful abode for mankind. Yannian sources state that he accepted the ravaging of the region's trees and resources, acknowledging that the people of the region needed homes once more, but at the same time Treeman is depicted as striking back against those who took advantage of the vulnerable, and sought to profit the most on the rebuilding efforts. One of the few edicts known to have been attributed to Treeman during this time was issued around the year 1070, stating that private property in the city would be abolished. Forests and fields were all made common land to all, and any aristocrats left in the city were killed or exiled.

One of the most controversial events in the Derigi Empire at this time was the sudden death of Telephama. It is known that she died while alone in the presence of Treeman, but the exact circumstances vary heavily. According to most Yannian scholars at the time, the two were attempting to consummate their marriage, and Telephama due to unintended complications as a result:

After an enormous wedding in Jaligena, the two retired to their private bedroom, and the court expected that they would consummate their marriage. Treeman screwed on a wooden member to his bark. His branch was long but smooth, well shaped to be like a man’s. Below the branch hung two wooden balls, also well shaped and smoothed over for comfort. The Anka took off her wedding dress, exposing her slender body. She hugged her treeman, running her arms around his thick trunk. His wooden branch was poking her, so she got on her knees. The virgin queen took that rod in her mouth, moistening his hard timber. Then the queen laid down on her back, and Treeman towered over her. His strong body stood above her, his branch glistening in the moonlight. As he mounted his queen, the virgin screamed out in terror, but also pleasure. They began to make love, as Treeman’s bark cracked and ached. But Treeman would lose control of himself, and in his pleasure he accidentally pressed too hard. His giant body completely crushed the poor woman, killing her. Treeman screamed in terror, roaring toward the night sky. He grabbed his frail bride and hoisted her toward the heavens, crying and screaming at what he had done. He jumped from his balcony and decided to flee in shame, leaving his beautiful bride in her bed.

Other sources, especially Azozian writers, downplay this story and state that the legend of Telephama dying during sexual intercourse was created by political enemies. A small minority of Azozians seemed to have speculated that Telephama may have been murdered. After the untimely death of the Anka of Edom, supposedly killed accidentally at the hands of her husband, relations between Azoz and Edom were further strained. A distant cousin of the Anka named Grecanun arrived in the city of Azoz. He set about in secret to investigate what he believed was a political assassination by the Azozians, creating devices and armor to help him hunt down “Treeman” and bring him to justice, as well as any Azozian collaborators that he discovered.

Grecanun is often portrayed as one of the great "villains" to Treeman, as he became increasingly interested in sabotaging the emperor. Later in life, Treeman would come to be regarded positively by the Azozian population, immortalizing Grecanun's legacy as a crazed and dangerous villain seeking to hunt the gentle giant Treeman. In Edomite sources he is much more positively portrayed, as when the Anka of Edom split from the Derigi Empire during its final days, Grecanun promoted the notion of the Azozian conspiracy to murder the Edomite royal family to much acclaim.

According to Yannian sources, Grecanun managed to infiltrate the royal court in Jaligena, becoming an important adviser and secret spy. A series of prominent assassinations took place of the other leading Azozian officials of the court, which are attributed to Grecanun. Having concluded that Treeman was ultimately responsible, Grecanun set out to discover Treeman's lair on the top of the Azoz Mound. It is said that the two did great battle in the streets of Azoz, accidentally demolishing all the progress that had been made to rebuild the city. Even the Great Library of Azoz was said to have burned down for another countless time, and the new Basilica under construction in the city collapsed. Treeman was eventually victorious, forcing Grecanun to flee.

Whether or not a battle actually occurred between the two is unknown but unlikely. Most historians regard the wanton destruction of the city again as more of a hopeful and entertaining Yannian fantasy than a reality, or perhaps as an explanation for continued strife occurring during the arduous rebuilding. The late Neumite writer Jecunphetuli, who was an adamant anti-Azozian and Vathomanist, depicts Treeman as carrying out an infamous act of sexual violence after this event:

To celebrate, Treeman ordered that one of the statues of Thalut be imported into the city. Treeman donned his enormous iron condom, perched upon his wooden member, and he thrusted with great power into the statue. The stone was penetrated instantly, cracking Thalut to pieces after several minutes. People gathered and cheered, as at least this form of entertainment was better than the government’s constant policy of ritual suicide, by invading and getting defeated by all the nation’s neighbors.

It is known that at this time Treeman ordered the construction of an entertainment complex in the city, and Jecunphetuli states that this occurred immediately after the Thalut statue incident, and was built as a great pit over the ruins of Azoz itself. The pit is stated to have been a circle that was 200 meters across, and about 50 meters deep, with an additional gradient around the inner circle. The walls of the pit would be lined with stone, harvested from the decrepit buildings of the Azoz Ruins. Then walls would man the top of the earth wall, twenty feet in the air, and these walls would extend into the ground, with rooms and buildings underground all around the pit. This stadium would be used throughout the late Derigi Empire, before being eventually destroyed and filled in. Although seemingly fanciful, similar entertainment pits would be excavated elsewhere in Azoz Province, suggesting this may have been a new building style created during Treeman's reign.

Themes[edit | edit source]

Religion[edit | edit source]

Exiled Hero[edit | edit source]

The theme of the exiled hero plays a large part in the Treeman mythos. For much of Treeman's life he is depicted as living in exile, usually on the top of Azoz Mound. At various points before becoming emperor, it is said he fled to the top of the mountain to flee persecution, usually after being misunderstood and assumed to be a monster, or also to flee during times of war or backlash. As emperor it is thought that Treeman rarely was seen in public, instead remaining largely in exile on the top of the mountain. The top of the mountain is viewed in many different ways; Yannian religious scholars who view Azoz as the concentration of all corruption, view the top of the mountain as the literal and figurative height of such corruption. Thus, when Treeman falters on his mission to destroy Azoz, he hides at the top of the mountain.

The idea that Treeman is exiled or sleeping, but will one day return when he is most needed, is another important element of his story. Many believe that he is still waiting at the top of the mountain as he did before, and will one day return to the city of Azoz, whether to save it or to destroy it. Others posit that the great tree planted in the center of Azoz is actually Treeman himself, waiting to one day awake. Others view the tree as a symbolic reminder of Treeman, but nonetheless believe in the legend of his return.

Sexual Violence[edit | edit source]

One controversial theme of the Treeman character is that of sexual violence. This was likely inspired by the cultural norms of the day, in which Ulmians, known as Nathons, were commonly sold into sexual slavery by the Yannian world, and as such Treeman is often depicted as carrying out similar acts against Ulmians. These passages became increasingly rare during Treeman's reign, perhaps indicating that the historical Treeman was actually uniquely non-sexual. This is compounded by his lack of offspring and few consorts, leading to a counter argument by some Treeman scholars that he actually represents a shift away from "Nathonism".

One infamous passage, which would later be anachronistically applied to Treeman or erroneously attributed to him by later scholars, is the death of Roshtam at the conclusion of the Seven-Star Revolt. The rebellion was one of several that occurred against the Ligerian rulers of the Mouri Empire, with accounts of fierce brutality sometimes be produced as an angry reaction by Ligerian writers. Although copies contain various different stories about the death of Rostham, the most popular account is:

The rebellion is completely crushed, with the Azozian cities burned to the ground. Roshtam and the last of the rebel scum are captured and dragged out of the wreckage. Roshtam has his name hereby stripped from him, and he henceforth will be known only as Nathon. He loses the right to clothing or hygiene, and is dragged through the streets by chariots until his body is badly broken and bruised. Every tooth in the man’s mouth is pulled out, and every hair on his body is removed. The High Lucretia dons a glove of hard iron, with black rocks embedded into the knuckles. She beats the Nathon’s disgusting genitalia until that member becomes a bleeding, mangled hulk of flesh. Then his tongue is cut off too, and his jaw is broken. Each arm and leg is cut off, but healed well, so that he is but a stump of man. Finally the Nathon is brought before the great throne of the Emperor. The little boy is a plaything in front of that strong man. The Emperor takes that stump and has his way with it, wielding him like a tool in his strong hands. The plaything is sodomized many times until the Emperor is satisfied, all while his bulging eyes watch, unable to speak a single word. When he is finally done the Emperor dons the iron condom, which is a fitted piece of armor suited for his hulking member, and encrusted with icons and jewels. The Emperor wears that as he sodomizes the plaything again, slowly cutting open the thing’s insides. He takes it out and scraps his member all over his body as well, causing a thousand cuts all over the remains of his body. Finally, in one last thrust to climax, the Emperor impales the Nathon through the heart, and the Nathon breathes his last breath. The plaything is then hanged in the city square, with vultures ripping off the rest of his flesh, and his blood and organs falling into a fire below.

Although likely not historical, the death of Roshtam would have occurred during the reign of Pauodegus, not Treeman. However, this type of writing would undoubtedly influence the later Treeman legend, as the same language is used to describe Treeman; he is depicted as having to fasten an "iron condom" or other similar member to his trunk in order to attempt intercourse, and is famous for unwittingly killing his wife Telephama in an incident not unlike the conclusion of Roshtam.

The first time this is attributed to Treeman comes in the first known record of Treeman, the Book of Lahigi. In the text Treeman is said to have donned a similar sexual organ during his attack against the woodcutters. Although it is not stated that Treeman sexually assaults the woodcutters, similar language is used, such as the phrase, "they found that his wooden bark was too strong to be penetrated". This would have likely been interpreted in a sexual manner, to indicate that Treeman was seen as powerful and masterful, while the woodcutters, who the author wished to portray negatively, were compared to Nathons.

On his hands he equipped strong iron gloves with black stone knuckles, like an emperor, and on his wooden member lay the iron condom of vengeance. Thus, he came upon Azoz with fiery justice and power, his mouth joint swinging in joy. He came upon the wood cutters and beat them into submission with his big wooden appendages. He roared and echoed across the forest. When they tried in vain to slash at him with their swords, they found that his wooden bark was too strong to be penetrated. Finally he threw the last man down to his knees before him, as his leaves rustles in the wind. Tree Man would give him the Wood of Reckoning, destroying the wood cutter for good.

After Treeman's marriage to Telephama he is likewise depicted in a sexual manner, however, the accounts of his marriage to Telephama imply their actions were consensual. It is said that Telephama was slain accidentally during the act, causing great pain to Treeman as a result. This story is often cited as an example of Treeman as a misunderstood hero, with some using this story to posit that he was unable to express himself, except through violence.

The Neumite writer Jecunphetuli, who was an adamant anti-Azozian and Vathomanist, depicts Treeman as carrying out one of his most clear acts of sexual violence. This takes place after Treeman is already considered emperor, and after Treeman's battle with Grecanun of Edom:

To celebrate, Treeman ordered that one of the statues of Thalut be imported into the city. Treeman donned his enormous iron condom, perched upon his wooden member, and he thrusted with great power into the statue. The stone was penetrated instantly, cracking Thalut to pieces after several minutes. People gathered and cheered, as at least this form of entertainment was better than the government’s constant policy of ritual suicide, by invading and getting defeated by all the nation’s neighbors.