The Wanderer and the Wu Xing

木 Wood

Trouble with the Trees

As you walk among the trees in the wood, you notice that the creatures all have fled, and the only sound you hear is the rush of wind through the leaves. You walk closer to the heart of the forest and find a discarded note, left by some earlier visitor.


The truce here between the oaks and the maples is very fragile, but if we could understand what sort of strategy they are using, we might be able to make a more lasting peace. Here's what we know.

  1. Oaks have spreading branches and full-size trees cannot grow next to them.
  2. Elders, however, are shade-tolerant shrubs and the oaks' allies. They have found shelter under the oak leaves.
  3. Maples grow everywhere that the oaks have not prevented them from doing so.

I've enclosed my notes on a couple of strategic groves. I couldn't enter, but I was able to get a count of how many oaks and elders were in each line of trees. I've noted how many of each with acorns and elderflowers, with a leaf whenever a line contains only maples. Alex thinks that if we can get a sense of the open ground, we'll have the answer we need.

Yours sincerely,


P.S. This note may have picked up a lot of scents and flavors in the forest, but my notes and the rules are all you need.