06. Under The Boughs Of The Great Tree
The great tree which towers over Aloalo had already grown into its full majesty when Kalika was born. In its shelter gathered those who worked to unravel the mysteries of the world through numbers and equations, and over time their modest encampment transformed into a full-fledged community. Night and day they would pore over their arithmetic, that they might shed light upon the jewel held by the statue of the Speaker, which seemed to imbue Aloalo itself with unflagging vitality. In the course of their research, they carved numerous arcane geometries into the tree's bark, one of which would extract the aether from slain animals and redirect its flow to the surrounding flora. Just four sacrifices would be enough to make the branches of the tree grow, thus opening─or closing─paths through the area.
If these early arcanists were so fascinated with the Speaker's jewel, why did they not live within the shrine which housed it? This I asked Kalika, who answered that the shrine was enshrouded by an impenetrable mist─likely the result of magicks woven by its forgotten builders. And so the proto-arcanists settled at the great tree while they labored to create a tool which would win them safe passage, only to remain there even after their work was complete. I presume the comforts and benefits of a familiar place won out in the end.