Feywood, also known as spritewood, ghostwood, or fairy birch, is a subspecies of birch that grows in the thaumically active regions of Halqueme, particularly on the Other Side and in western Tregorie. It’s notable for appearing to fade in and out of existence at irregular intervals. In Bereg, it’s known as miričanka (lit. “the fading tree”) and feywood tar is a major component in construction of the Bereghin sky ships.
Description & Habitat
At first glance, feywood is highly reminiscent of regular birch trees, especially of the silver birch. Its bark is white and papery, with horizontal lenticels characteristic of all birch species. The leaves are triangular, with broad bases, pointed tips and serrated margins.
Unlike regular birch, feywood is rooted firmly in the fifth dimension. To a human eye, feywood trees appear to fade in and out of existence at random intervals. Because of this, feywood groves can prove extremely disorienting.
Once cut, feywood dimensions stabilize, but weight and thaumic charge may continue to fluctuate.
Feywood grows only in thaumically active areas. While there are some mentions of trees with similar properties in the ancient times, feywood became much more common after the Great Sundering. It is thought that it has mutated out of regular birch trees after exposure to the magic fallout. On the continent of Halqueme, feywood mostly occurs on the Other Side.
Feywood trees have long been seen as dangerous due to their disorienting quality. Humans have historically considered them cursed and avoided them. The extensive feywood forests in the western Tregorie, sometimes called the Bereghin Verge, provide a natural (if somewhat fuzzy) barrier between Bereg and the Other Side.
However, in the early 1600s Asunder, Yarina, a sorceress from Tregorie, discovered that objects treated with feywood tar become airborne when subjected to a certain type of thaumic impulse. This discovery led to the construction of the first-ever Bereghin sky ship in Year Asunder 1629.
Sky ships are one of the fastest modes of transportation on Halqueme, equal only to the wyrms and the unicorns. However, unlike the wyrms and the unicorns, which are living creatures that must rest, sky ships can travel without stopping, and also carry significantly larger loads.
As a result, sky ships—and by extension, feywood—are considered a strategically important resource. The Bereghin crown has the monopoly on feywood harvesting (the current Prince of Tregorie is the Gosondar’s cousin and heir). The construction of all sky ships is done by the Company of the Crown Shipwrights, a heavily regulated corporation. All export of feywood—both raw and feywood products—is strictly prohibited.