- "How could you ever understand us? You are not of the forest; you do not follow the Green Way. Yours is the scurrying of badgers, the flight of the starlings, but without meaning. You are never still, never at peace. Always taking without thought, never giving back. You anger me sorely. I wish your kind would find your proper place in the world, then all would be better."
- —Mossback, Treeman.[1a]
A Treeman (pl. Treemen) is a massive humanoid creature that resembles an upright walking tree. Treemen are considered a legend by most Old Worlders and the few that believe in their existence think them long dead. They are not gone, but those that remain dwell exclusively within the forest of Athel Loren. Indeed, there are those who believe the Treemen ARE Athel Loren. They seldom venture beyond the forest for any but the direst reasons, and Dryads frequently accompany them when they do so.[1b]
The Treemen are wise and will not engage in battles they cannot win unless they have no other choice. All the creatures of Athel Loren obey them without question, which grants them a great many beast allies, to say nothing of the Wood Elves. To stand against the wrath of a Treeman is to face the fury of nature unleashed. Survivors often dread going into the woods for years afterward.[1b]
The most powerful of Athel Loren's spirits are able to entwine their essence with that of a living tree, moulding it to their will. It is not a decision taken lightly, for when a spirit forms a bond with a living tree, they become irrevocably merged and cannot choose to leave — only death can sever the connection. From that moment on, the will of the spirit shapes and drives the tree, using knotted bark and gnarled branches to serve where an insubstantial spirit form cannot. Thus is a Treeman born.[2a]
Treemen are revered by Elf and forest-creature alike, and are often infested with lesser spirits living amongst their branches, roots, and hollows. For their part, the Treemen cherish all lesser creatures — they have a warmth of character wholly at odds with that of the Dryads. These incredibly old beings have seen entire races rise and fall like the ascent and descent of the sun, and understand the passing of time in a completely different way to mortal creatures. Even the long-lived Elves seem to pass into dust at an alarming rate to the Treemen, the oldest of whom can remember times before the footsteps of the Elves left a mark upon the world and can expect to remain when the Elves walk no more.[2a]
A Treeman can be counted amongst the mightiest of Athel Loren's denizens. His gnarled form is almost impervious to harm, and his strength a near match for the Dragons of the deep glades. Treemen do not fight with grace or finesse, but with huge sweeping blows that strike home with enough force to shatter stone. They can stomp their knurled feet into the ground, knocking foes to the ground, or even send writhing roots to drag foes deep underground where the tendrils can feast upon flesh and bone.[2a]