According to legend, the roots of the Tree of Inlustris run as deep as the earth is old. An ancient mass that sits atop of a rocky hill, its gnarled trunk is ridged with bloated arteries that circulate a thick silver liquid known as the blood of the bark. At over two thousand feet tall, its lofty canopy is home to an umbrella of leaves unlike those of any other flora in existence: tiny pinpricks of light cast in a myriad of hues. It is interesting to note that for miles around, the land is of a lifeless monochromatic grey. Some say that this is because the roots of the Tree of Inlustris absorb nutrients from the colours of the earth.
Close inspection of the tree reveals that its leaves are in fact miniature stars. The twigs from which they grow support each star’s local solar system and its branches form the structures that galaxies are built upon. Viewed from afar, the majesty of its entire universe is truly something to behold.
The Tree of Inlustris is such a fascinating specimen, that long ago a breakaway group of astronomers all but abandoned the study of the outer universe that we inhabit, and instead focused their attentions on the great tree. They are referred to as star surgeons, and their days are spent high up in its branches, observing the flecks of gold, silver and turquoise that leap and dance as they orbit the billions of leaves. They lovingly tend and nurture each galaxy as it forms, gently encouraging its growth in certain directions, so as not to obstruct the development of other nearby galaxies.
The complex equations of the star surgeons, drawn from practical observations of the tree, and countless diagrams, sketched using the sliver blood of the bark, have led them to conclude that the Tree of Inlustris is in fact and exact replica of our own universe. They have even managed to locate our solar system in the upper western branches.
At first mainstream astronomers dismissed the idea as a ludicrous, highly improbable coincidence, but following the discovery of wormholes in space that correspond exactly with the locations of the arteries in the Tree of Inlustris, the evidence is now taken seriously.
The theories concerning the existence of the Tree of Inlustris can generally be divided into two schools of thought. There are those that consider the great tree to be an intergalactic map of the universe around us, cultivated by an ancient alien civilisation, possessing an intelligence far beyond our own. The second commonly held speculation is that our galaxy is part of another great tree in which the cosmic process is being repeated ad infinitum.
Whether the Tree of Inlustris is a complex botanical map of own universe, or our galaxy is just part of an infinite number of nested universes is a subject of ongoing debate, however, in regards to the tree that sits upon the rocky hill, all agree that it is particularly beautiful in the spring, when one can observe the blossom of new nebulas being born.