Black Tree

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"At the center of the realm of the dead, under a sky where no stars had ever shone, he found a tree that had never lived."

The source of the growing madness at the Polar Ice Mine and the origin of the myth of King Tantkanatilk and The Black Throne. The lumpy, asymmetrical form resembled a long-dead black tree, but it was never established if the thing was actually alive or intelligent.

The tree seemed to bring out the darkest aspects of a persons mind- superstitions, fears, doubts, greed, paranoia. This is why the specific effects varied by individual. The longer people were exposed, and the closer they were to the tree, the worse the effects became.

The tree's effects were especially devastating to Vulch, creating a nihilistic, existential crisis as they came to doubt their faith and the foundation of their community. The local Vulch Erased themselves out of self-loathing due to the long term effects of the tree's influence.