"The light of the Spirit Tree lives in all of us. He is the reason we're alive, he's the reason we grew."—Sein, upon the first encounter of an Ancestral Tree
The Spirit Tree (also referred to as The Ancient Being in the achievement you obtain upon encountering him) is the guardian of Nibel, biological father to Ori and notably the narrator of Ori and the Blind Forest. A mystical being tasked with maintaining the balance of the Elements of Light, the events following the Great Storm would eventually cause the Spirit Tree to lose his power and control over Nibel's forests.
The Spirit Tree, as his name implies, takes the form of a gigantic tree that sits at the center of Nibel. His branches are lined with glowing blue leaves that eventually form the Spirit Guardians as his 'children'. In the center of his sprawling size sits the font of his power, Sein.
The Spirit Tree possesses a sentience and a will, a care to protect and nurture the Spirit Guardians he brings forth as well as the entirety of NIbel.
Ori and the Blind Forest
- Warning! Spoilers ahead.
Before the events of the game, a gigantic event known as the Great Storm swept through Nibel. During the ensuing winds, the Spirit Tree lost Ori from his branches, but was able to oversee the events that surrounded the young spirit when it was found and adopted by Naru.
Some time later, the Spirit Tree attempted to call out to Ori during the Light Ceremony in order to bring him back, but was unable to reach his child. His light stretched across Nibel in search for Ori, but its sheer strength accidentally killed three hatchlings raised by a black owl named Kuro. In a rage from her loss, Kuro attacked the Spirit Tree and the Spirit Guardians that were gathered there. She stole Sein, the source of the tree's light, and dumped it into the depths of the forest. Without Sein to focus his power, the Spirit Tree was unable to provide balance to the forest's Elements and Nibel withered and decayed. Subsequently, Ori's adoptive home became blinded and lost all of its luster.
After Naru's death, Ori set out from his home in search of the Tree's light, but was unable to find it. Losing all of their strength, Ori died only a small distance away from the Spirit Tree's roots. Sensing his child had passed on, the Spirit Tree used the last of his power to revive the young spirit in hopes they would be able to save Nibel from Kuro's misguided will. Ori later meets the Tree after finding Sein, where they learn the reason for the forest being blinded.
Throughout the rest of the game, the Spirit Tree acts as a narrator for the events that Ori goes through. He explains the nature of Gumo's actions, why Kuro did what she did, as the general nature of places Ori travels to.
The Spirit Tree appears again at the very end of Ori's journey when Kuro sacrifices and redeems herself in order to restore Sein's power. With the Elements having been rekindled, the Spirit Tree puts out the raging fire slowly consuming Nibel from Mount Horu and restores the forest to normal. At the end, the Spirit Tree creates new Spirit Guardians with his powers restored whilst Ori watches from his roots.
As Nibel's guardian, the Spirit Tree possesses many different powers. He is able to create the Spirit Guardians in his mission of protecting Nibel and use his light to call them back to him when necessary. His main powers involve the maintenance and protection of the forest by keeping the Elements of Light in balance with his own light. Without those powers, the forest turns blind.
Aside from that, the Spirit Tree's consciousness shows that he can pass his will onto those that he deems worthy, such as what he does with Ori at the beginning of the game. He also has vast knowledge of different areas of Nibel, most likely because of his role and connection to the entire land.
- Like Sein, the Spirit Tree does not speak in actual English when he talks. He instead chants in an unknown language, often rhyming (or loosely rhyming) as he does so.
- There is often a misconception about Ori's gender among fans thanks to a certain line that the Spirit Tree says. At Ori's first encounter with the Spirit Tree, he explains that: "We told Ori the tale of her misguided will". When the Tree says "her", he is not referring to Ori, but to Kuro. Moon Studios eventually clarified in a Q&A that Ori is ungendered.