Mostly the old ways are gone. Each generation forgets a little more of the old tongue, a little more of the traditions. And the few things we keep become simple habits, the meaning long since faded.
So it is with the vhenadahl, the tree of the people. Every alienage has one, I'm told. Or they used to. When I was a little girl, my mother told me the tree was a symbol of Arlathan, but not even she knew more. Keeping the vhenadahl is just a habit, now. Many cities have let theirs wither and die, then chopped them up for firewood. No great loss.
This massive vhenadahl, often an oak, rests in the center of most alienages, and serves as a symbol of Arlathan - the first elven homeland - with its strong roots deep in the earth and branches reaching ever for the sky. These trees are often decorated vibrantly, their trunks bedecked and candles or small offerings left around them, though the trees' upkeep has recently become more of a habit than a respected tradition. Indeed, some alienages have cut their vhenadahl down out of need or indifference, and no longer know or care what it represents.
“Whatever we were before, we are now the Inquisition.” — The Inquisitor This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Click here to reveal them.
The plot follows BioWare's own canon, meaning that Alistair is king of Ferelden in the comic's story.
In the case of the Edgehall vhenadahl, it was cut down and burned in front of the alienage residents on the order of ArlGell Lendon after the elves there protested his treatment of them, and was finally replaced with a sapling offered by a Dalish clan. The sapling was confiscated by Arl Gell, however, and the Dalish threatened to invade Edgehall if it wasn't returned. A city elf attempted to steal it back, but in the end it was retrieved to the Alienage by Ser Aaron, who happen to be in Edgehall at the time. The new vhenadahl is protected by law, as decreed by King Alistair himself.
A "peace tree" is mentioned in connection with Skyhold. As a living tree it was once a symbol of truce between two forgotten factions. Before the first stones of Skyhold's foundations were laid, the tree was cut down, slabbed, and polished to serve as a massive war table.