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Author Topic: Blazebushel Moss  (Read 8152 times)
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Felsid Greytunnel
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« on: 09 August 2016, 03:52:27 »

Blazebushel Moss
A lethal, combustible orange moss that grows beneath the Low Fores.

Moss & Fungi, Moss

It's vibrant, colourful and extremely hazardous. Blazebushel moss grows at a slow to modest pace in seculded and unused underground areas, and is native, and exclusive to, the Low Fores of Southern Sarvonia. It’s bright orange hue might make it an attractive decorative plant but only a fool would consider intentionally introducing Blazebushel into their home. This moss has one extremely volatile property: when disturbed, perhaps from an errant step or falling debris, it ignites in an explosive conflagration that consumes the entire blanket of growth, scorching everything around it. The Thrumgolzerim who first discovered the peculiar bushy clumps soon learned to fear the darkest corners of their ancient tunnels. A lesson learned the difficult way.

The moss is a very bright orange hue, paler closer to the base and darker at the tips of its fronds, with very dark and sparsely growing stalks of around four nailsbreadth emerging. The moss grows unremittingly over nearly any surface; nutrients from distant locations can be transported and diffused across the greater distribution of the plant, resulting in a smooth, unbroken coverage, so long as a sufficient source of food is available. The darker, taller stalks tend to grow with greater frequency closer to areas of nutrient abundance. The moss itself consumes a particular variety of relatively soft stone. Veins of this soft rock called armelite are prevalent across the Low Fores, and it is this soft grey mineral that the moss feeds on, eating away at it very slowly over a period of hundreds of years. Often, after a patch of moss is ignited (angered, as the Thrumgolz might say behind a grimace), one can see the fissured patterns left behind by the plant in the stone. Because of the moss’ method of distributing sustenance, it is able to extend over inhospitable surfaces in search of mineral deposits to feed upon. If the creeping blanket is able to find a new source its pace of growth explodes until every available inch of armelite is covered, before extending again in every direction. Because of armelite's mostly mundane geological appearance, it can be hard for the denizens of the Low Fores to successfully identify the veins. Luckily, the moss’ fragility means it cannot easily grow in areas of frequent activity; disturbed air currents and abnormal warmth will fragment and disintegrate the young fronds of any growing Blazebushel, and movement will cause it to ignite well before any substantial coverage can be accumulated, thus diminishing potential damage.

The most obvious characteristic of Blazebushel is its unique property of combustion. The leafy body of the moss is swelled with a flammable liquid that, when exposed to air, will ignite rapidly. This liquid is kept in small, very pale white sacs which hang beneath the orange fronds.Young patches of moss will simply smolder and contract, eventually crumbling to ash. However, as the moss matures the fuel inside it intensifies and concentrates. Thus, if spotted early, the moss might be dealt with by simply brushing it aside. If left unchecked the virulent orange plant can quickly consume entire chambers and rooms in search of armelite, at which point it becomes impossible to deal with – igniting it would simply be too risky. The deep-searching cavern seneschals of the Thrumgolz, tasked with maintaining the unused warrens of the old dwarves, reckon that whole miles of ancient caverns have been lost to this plaguing moss.

The moss will eventually begin to starve if it grows too far from its source of food, providing a natural check to its growth. Starved moss will simply wither and the flammable oils within will degrade.

Blazebushel grows exclusively in the various natural and dwarven-hewn caverns beneath the Low Fores mountain range. It is typically confined to the deeper, uninhabited portions of the mountains, given the prevalence of armelite at lower depths, and with a greater rate of incidence in the southern part of the mountain range. Blazebushel has been found locked away in certain tunnels beneath the Bone Valley, situated between the twin mountain ranges, although sparsely given the apparent dearth of armelite there. No one is quite sure where the moss originated; there are inconspicuous crevices in the roofs of certain caverns where the moss emerges, presumably a result of the moss eating away entire veins of soft mineral rock, leading Thrumgolz archivists and botanists to assume the moss originated deep beneath the earth, eating its way up to the surface caverns through errant veins of armelite until eventually it found the dwarven settlements.

Because the moss has limitations as to how far it can transport nutrients across itself to support its colonial extensions, it is common for blankets to diverge and follow separate mineral veins. Thrumgolz botanists have identified at least three major colonies of Blazebushel spread aver the Low Fores, and a number of smaller colonies in remoter locations.

As far as the Thrumgolzerim are concerned, there are no apparent uses for Blazebushel. They have tried, of course; a team of botanists in Een Puvtyr once thought to bottle the volatile oils that give the moss it's oomph. The dwarves, and a few gnomes too, gave up after the fourth pair of lost eyebrows. Their studies did provide us with valuable knowledge as to the anatomy of the plant, though. In the end the dwarves gave up and forgot about trying to utilise the vicious stuff. The gnomes persisted, for a time, before they too gave in.

Blankets of Blazebushel are in fact the extension of a single initial growth of the moss. It is possible for sections of the plant to become separated from rest of itself with its own vein of armelite, essentially producing a new organism. In this sense, Blazebushel doesn't actually reproduce like a typical moss would (and botanists are indeed skeptical that it actually is moss, or a real plant for that matter). Thus, it is entirely possible that there exists the original blanket of Blazebushel, somewhere beneath the Low Fores.

The nature of Blazebushel moss makes studying it in any great detail an arduous task, and so very little is known about it. The records of the Thrumgolzerim contain only sparse mentions of the plant, although they do shed at least some light on it. However, where the dwarves fall short, others have found darker things, scraps here and there that paint an ominous picture. First, let us look at the private library of Dalthroz Ambergrin; Dalthroz is the aged patriarch of the Ambergrin family, a wealthy Thrumgolz family who live in the old city of Een Puvtyr. The Ambergrin's were once grand patriarchs of the Thrumgolzerim Clan; scholars, collectors and dedicated to production of fine jewelry. Now, they're more of a relic, but the great library of Dalthroz, a collection started generations ago, is a true treasure for the history of the Thrumgolz lineage.

The very first mentions of Blazebushel are found in a scroll containing the minutes of a meeting between the Denirim of OngTyr and Een Puvtyr, a number of earth-guides and botanists, and what appears to be a delegate from Ximax, presumably an interested mage; the records are vague. The minutes date to 1689 b.S. An earth-guide and a cadre of his friends, all miners, had been exploring some of the empty tunnels near the southern portion of the mountain - the ancient settlements had been evacuated some time previously, although no one at the meeting could remember why. The young dwarves had chanced upon a room, its door shut. The earth-guide claimed he could sense something peculiar, or unusual, and wanted to see what it was. They all pried the door open, revealing the horrific orange moss; it had consumed the entire room, ceiling floor and walls. It had grown over the furniture, decorating them. The moss had also grown over the door, which had fallen clean off its hinges when they had removed it, explaining why the moss had yet to combust. Of course, the first footfall resulted in a catastrophic explosion. Only one dwarf survived - the one who had related the tale to the council - because he had held the door before him, sheltering him from the gust, although he didn't escape unscathed.

There are a scattering of mentions across books on botany, prospectors ledgers who'd had to abandon mine shafts because of it, a few scholarly books on magical plants from Ximax. Sometime around 200 a.S. (the source isn't properly dated, although corroborating mentions give us a rough date) a team of dwarves, gnomes and Ximaxian mages arrived in Een Puvtyr with the intent of studying the Blazebushel moss. The journal they produced was short and defeatist, despite the wealth of information they had uncovered on the mechanisms of the plant - what they really wanted was a way to bottle the stuff to sell, obviously.

In the back of Dalthroz's library, in a section he calls "Old Gozthur's bit", referring to eccentric and unhinged patriarch of the Ambergrin family who had lived sometime around 560 a.S., was a black drell-leather bound book called "Unthragrim's Folly". A slim, tight book, neatly penned, there was no indicated author. The book was a short story about a dwarf named Unthragrim, the head jailer of a prison. The head jailer wasn't particularly nice, and he liked to taunt his charges, soaking their bread in water, spitting in their gruel, banging on their cell doors at random intervals to keep them up. His favourite past-time, however, was to sit outside the cell of his favourite inmate, a young unnamed dwarf, and just whisper. Hours and hours of gently whispering cruel, twisted and hateful things. The story ends with Unthragrim going down to the bottom of the prison one day, to find his favourite inmate gone and the cell covered in a thick orange moss. The jailer cautiously enters the cell, only to see a skeletal face staring at him from the shadowed corner. The details of the story are consistent with the various word-of-mouth stories of the evil beneath OngTyr, the presumed Lich that haunts the caverns older than time itself, hidden beneath the city.

« Last Edit: 11 September 2016, 22:59:21 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged
Felsid Greytunnel
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« Reply #1 on: 09 August 2016, 03:55:11 »

I have yet to spellcheck this one, but I feel like I was far too inconsistent with my spelling.

There are absolutely no uses for this plant. Nor are there any particular myths - yet. Perhaps an origin story involving one of the Low Fores more sinister legends? 
Felsid Greytunnel
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« Reply #2 on: 05 September 2016, 05:24:52 »

This one's ready finishing I reckon (y)
Artimidor Federkiel

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« Reply #3 on: 11 September 2016, 23:15:27 »

Another excellent entry, Felsid, which I prepared right away :) Love the concept and especially the Myth/Lore part on this one too, which is funny and creative, and a wonderful addition to the whole area too! Excellent! Only thing I had to change is Low Fores to Lower Fores, but other than that great job!  grin

Aura +1!

"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
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