The elven Tree Fort
Elven tree forts and watchtowers are built in a very unusual way, that has more to do with gardening and growing than building.
Through nice words, magic, music or a mix of these, the elven folk manages to create structures out of the vegetation itself, in a process that can take multiple lifetimes of a mortal or overnight, depending on the haste they find themselves in. Through means only understood by elves themselves, they convince the plants to be their allies and grow in a particular form and configuration, and that results in self-maintaining “buildings” that differ only slightly from its surroundings.
The fort here depicted represents the elven equivalent of an Iron age hill fort, having moats and walls made of dirt and reinforced with thick thorny hedges and a mass of roots for structural strength.
Each level of the fort consists of intertwined branches that form a level floor, cushioned by a thick layer of leaves the tree itself supplies and replenishes. At the centre a well is dug, and it serves practical, religious/magical and strategic purposes. It is a source of fresh water, it connects with underground running water and therefore has magical energies flowing through it, and also serves as a secret escape route, through a lateral tunnel dug on its walls and through which an elf could crawl to safety as a last resort.
These forts and their smaller watchtower counterparts are spread evenly through the elves’ territories, and always within sight (elven sight) of each other, in a way they overlook the whole land. The forts can communicate among themselves with the help of loyal birds that are usually lifelong companions to the elves they serve.
The elven warrior depicted is wearing an autumnal set of Orichalcum armour and carries a Rapier-type of sword and an Orichalcum buckler. Those are only side arms and his main weapon would either be a bow or a spear.
This is a really cool concept, I like it!
I imagine this is a kind of ancient "blueprint" for the hilltop tree-city that a lot of Tolkien's Elves have - in LOTR we're told that Lothlorien's capital sits on a hilltop and is surrounded by a hedge the size of a green wall, but that's pretty much all of it. I especially like the Tree Gate, they way those trunks and branches are molded to form a living architecture, it's all really "Elvish" and gets the vibe just right.
(If we can already espalier pear-trees like this in real life, why wouldn't immortal gardeners do the same with big forest trees at a way bigger scale...)
right, it's a really cool idea. Reminds me of the tree-gate in Wolfe's "New Sun", where a space-faring alien has these living walls and gates of oak trees around his palace/spaceship. It fits the whole idea of Tolkien's Elves as extremely advanced people, just in ways outside of human knowledge and ability...
Another thing I like about your tree-fort pic: those rising green tiers to the hilltop, which really gives it a Glastonbury Tor look from above :)
You know the Mapuche (Indigenous people of Chile) had a similar strategy: They created small forts in hilltops inside forests. They called this fortifications, kara (fortress), a barrowed word from quechuan, pukara (that also meas fortress).
They flattened a hilltop, built a palisade and then a moat arround it, and use the vegetation as a means of camuflage. They could watch the spaniards and launch ambushes without being spotted.
This kinds of strategies where called Lefxarukimvm, literally Lefxaru's wisdom (Lefxaru or Lautaro for the spaniards was a one of the most acomplished warchiefs - called Toki, wich means axe - in the Arauco War between the Mapuche tribes and the Spanish Empire) , a term to designate all warfare related knowlege amongst the Mapuche.
Thank you! I didn't know about any of this and could not find anything online unfortunately. It is a disgrace that archeology and palaeontology are not really developed in our countries because south America still has incredible secrets to unravel.
So they basically let their hill forts be overgrown by bushes and trees?
Yes basically. So you could imagine they would be a nightmare to assault.
Their are some research about this subject, but beacuse of their nature, the kara are hard to find or even spot.
A werken - the Chieftain's herald, literally "messenger" - told me about the term Lexarukimvn (also spelled Leftrarukimün) during fieldwork I did 5 years ago. Other anthropologyst told me they've heard similar stories but I could found anything on the literature about it.