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ID: 4217

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December 11, 2007, 11:33 pm

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Cheka Man

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vissewort

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  At that moment the drizzle eased, and Ledoik could see as plain as day a blight upon the fields near the edge of the forest. Like a rock dropped into a pond, a wave of lighter shades of green emanated from the blights centre. Growing from the forest, where it was darkest, the field got lighter and lighter the further away it was from the blight. It was clear enough. The commander barked words, organising the archers, the few catapults they had and the giant rockslings to this side of the battlements. He motioned them to aim towards the blight, the dark patch near the fields edge

Vissealvia Saprsi, Vissealvia Splenden Saprsi,Vissealvia Vinea vissewort
Also known as Guard Moss, Guard Grass, Vokte Tre, Vokte Jorde,  Monstro Agre.

Introduction
Vissewort is an early warning device with a difference.

Imagine a blade of grass that detects the hue of those around it. It will always try to become one shade lighter than the darkest it can detect. Eventually, it or others further away, become the saturated level that the species can accomplish, the lightest it can possibly be and this is known as the steady or common state.
   If one blade were to turn dark then all those around it would follow suit but of course, taking on the one shade lighter, response.
   Lets say for example our dominant colour is black (not that visse are commonly found as a black and white species, generally being green but for explanation let me continue), our steady or common state would be the opposite, that is, the lightest of the dominant, which in this case is, black. Our field of ‘visse blades’ would thus be white. We then crush a blade in the centre of the field and it turns its dominant colour, black. Those around, like a pond ripple, react and take on one shade lighter. We would be left with a dark splot in the white field that was black at its centre but slowly faded to shades of greys then eventually white again the further out it was from the crushed or black blade.
   This is vissewort Vissealvia Saprsi in it most basic form. A hardy plant that grows in various ways, with various hues. It is often planted and used as a silent guard or detector. Some very old plants of this species have been found. They grow in a prolific manner and can be found as large as several farm blocks.
   The Vissealvia Splenden Saprsi however is a far more colourful sub species.

Habitat
Numerous species of Visse exist and have been found in both warm and cold climates, They grow pretty much anywhere, open fields where they proliferate like a covering carpet grass, river banks as a more reed like species and even in caverns as a stubby moss. Cavern species often exhibit bioluminescence qualities.

Description
The common Visse plant is a grass like moss. Underground it consists of a number of interconnecting bulbs or rhizome nodes. Each node or bulb sprouts a number of single stems above ground, that terminate in a small bud. The stems and bud vary in colour but are generally a shade, of that particular species dominant hue.
Stems vary in height, from small moss like strands to the bull rush size reeds, seen along some river banks. It has been known to grow in great fields but has also been found in small clumps. The smaller clumped species are generally considered to have a wider and more vibrant colour diversity.

One or Many
It is undecided among the vissealists and alchemists of today as to whether a field of Visse   is a colony of individual plants that share resources or a single organism that has many, genetically identical offshoots. Similar traits can be recognised among the colonies of Pando trees (Aspen) or Sequioa. But certainly none other, so far studied, plant organisms show the communication like activities, that Visse display.

Communication
The basis of vine communication is believed to be electro-chemical. It can feel vibrations and sense minute chemical changes. It is thought that Vissealists use the electro-chemical changes in their bodies brought on by emotions, and a series of vibrations to control or send information into the vines.
The primary users of vissewort, Vissealists keep to themselves and are not forth coming with information on their trade. What information there is on the communicative properties of the vine can be found under Vissealists.

Bud
The Visse plant does not have a flower but does support a small bud at the very tip of its single stem. Many think the bud is the sexual organ of the plant. In spawning season minute droplets form on the very tip of the bud. The swaying breeze moves the stems in waves and these droplets are knocked from one stem to another or blown free and carried on the wind until they come in contact with another. The great alchemist Zifril is often seen wearing his visse coat. Its dark colour was made by walking thru a field of Visse at spawning time. The bud droplets adhering and soaking into the leather dieing it permanently.

Stem
The stem is where all the visible action happens within a Visse plant.
The upper stems of the Visse plant are vascular, tubulous like celery. The stem consists of a bundle of minor and major tubes, xylem and phloem supported and interconnected by a pith. These vascular tubes transport water and plant food. The pith is a storage area for the water and starch the plant needs to grow and provides, along with the bundle, structural support. At this point the plant differs from most others in that it has a further series of tubes that surround the bundle. These tubes, chromalem are close to the outer cortex of the stem and can be visibly seen thru the opaque skin, epedermis. The inner pith is mostly a dark dye of the dominant colour, it is surrounded by the thicker vascular bundle and is not therefore visible. It is thought that this is in fact the reproductive system of the plant. This inner or gametes pith contain male sperm in one plant and female eggs in another.

Bulb
The stems travel the length of the vertical section of the plant ending at the bottom (underground) in a bulb. Bulbs are interconnected with other plants bulbs, via fleshy root stems (rhizomes) forming a living network. Inside the bulb, these ganglia, are clusters of semi intelligent cells. They can process basic ‘commands’ as it were. Clusters of cells form around sacs chromasacs of coloured dye. The sacs form at the bottom of the chromalem tubes. It is not known exactly how these commands are transported from one bulb to another or indeed how the commands are processed but the end result is that the sacs are compressed or relaxed and thus pump dye up and down the stems. The amount or volume of dye in the stem, thus determines the shade.
The bulb also receives information from the photosensitive spots on its stems and can locally use this to stimulate the chromasacs.

Epidermis
The Visse stems skin, is also unique to the plant world. It contains many iridophores that are controlled via the proteins flowing in the phloem. Iridophores are a reflective type cell that can be used to completely reflect surrounding light, giving off metallic, golds, silvers,  greens and blues for example. Their refelctivness can vary dramatically, from complete, thus hiding the chromalem colours, to transparent, allowing the chromalem colour to show clearly through. The skin also retains photosensitive spots or fargeplasts that can detect the brightness of surrounding stems.

Trigger
When the stem is crushed, the water, starch and dye within the gametes pith mix and overcome the various chromalem and iridophore colouring, producing a very dark mush. Without any other external stimulus the surrounding plants default to the Chameleon Response.

Chameleon Response
Basic
Fargeplasts spots, along the outer skin, activate on the darkest pigment or shade of visse that surround it. A signal (system unknown) is released that excites the chromasacs into action. It attempts to find a shade just slightly lighter than the one detected.
Splenden
Numerous hues, shades, florescence and reflectivity are found in these exotic species. It also claims the most ‘intelligence’. That is, the Visse’s ability to interpret and send signals along its rhizome network, such that chromasacs and iridophores of a specific remote plant can be excited. Great fields that extend as far as the eye can see can change colour and shade in little under 200 counts. That is of course if such vast plants were cultivated.
   Expert visse keepers known as vissealists, can create magnificent patterns of a very intricate and colourful nature. These fields come at a price tho for the species is delicate and requires a mastery of visse knowledge and learning to tend and nurture the expansive plant properly. A single cut through a rhizome for example can segregate that plant from others, breaking the ‘line of communication’.

Other uses
While its beyond the scope of this article to go into the depths of the visse as a commodity we will mention some aspects that may be important.
Medical
Not much study has been done on the chemical or herbal aspects of the plant. Stories of its use as a poison and as a herbal medicine are equally heard. One must remain careful as alchemists suspect it depends on the species, the part of the plant and how its prepared.
Dye
Its use as a dye to colour anything from clothing material, to wood and even metals is known. Once again tho it requires careful culling of the bulbs and intricate extraction methods to remove the dye and create a suitable solution.

Story example 
His mouth dry, Ledoik stood at the battlements peering into the moonless gloom and fields surrounding the castle. A misty rain collected upon his head , ran down his cheek formed into a droplet to be captured by his ravenous and desperate tongue. Out there, somewhere,  the Pressagroths waited to attack. But where? So many places, so many weaknesses in these old castle walls and so few men to patrol and defend. Ledoik was anxious, indeed he should be, the Pressagroths were no enemy to be taken lightly. Any minute now the hoard would rampage towards these walls, how far was it? A hundred strides from the forest edge to the walls? Only a lush field of green lay between the bricks he now stood on and the thick vegetation of forest.  Ledoik let his gaze wander towards his commander. Even tho the weight of battle and certain death must bear upon his shoulders the man seemed at ease and did not focus on the forest edge but the fields themselves. The commander noticed Ledoik’s gaze and yet did not rebuke him for drifting from his post but smiled and said ‘fear not young Ledoik, the visse will show us from where and when the Pressagroths attack’ .
   At that moment the drizzle eased, and Ledoik could see as plain as day a blight upon the fields, near the edge of the forest. Like a rock dropped into a pond, a wave of lighter shades of green emanated from the blights centre. Growing from the forest, where it was darkest, the field got lighter and lighter the further away it was from the blight. It was clear enough. The commander barked words, organising the archers, the few catapults they had and the giant rockslings to this side of the battlements. He motioned them to aim towards the blight, the dark patch near the fields edge. Then Ledoik’s face drained, he saw them. A dark mass was moving from the forest. It was hard to be sure but there was something upon the blight. And the waves of lighter shades of green pulsated along the fields like ripples in a pond. The lighter shades, the ones closest to the walls were now getting increasingly darker. That blight was clearly indicating from whence the hoard was coming.
The commander yelled an order and the projectiles whistled their way towards the blight.



Additional Ideas (2)

Vissealvia Splenden Saprsi

The Splenden variety is an amazing relative of the common visse plant. Not as hardy, and requires special nurturing and high maintenance. But its ability for the various shoots to 'communicate' with each other can produce extravagant results. Mesmerising displays of colour and intricate pattern weaving on such a grand scale has been accomplished by a few grand visse yeomen or 'Vissealists' at say, a kings coronation celebration.
0xp

2007-12-11 11:05 PM » Link: [4217#33001|text]
Yinnal vine
of the Vissealvia Vinea species vissewort.

The Yinnal vine is known only to occur in the Yinnal Canopy. Its possible that it relies specifically on the Yinnal Tree and can not grow elsewhere.

The vine helps provide the strength required by the branches to support the enormous leaves. In return the tree provides the water and nutrients, the vine needs to grow and the structure on which it clings too. In its early life, the vine tendrils are flexible and have specialized shoots that adhere strongly to rock or the bark of its supporting tree. The tendrils are also capable of producing a very caustic secretion. This may help them to adhere to various materials.


Fruit
While the vine has no flower or seeds to speak of, it perpetuates itself from rhizome nodes and its thought to be one single plant. At these nodes clumps of grape like berries are found. The berry's pale brown skin is like the outer layer of a banana or ginger. Its leathery, fibrous, fairly strong and is not considered edible. The watermelon red insides however are fleshy like a grape and as mentioned, contain no seeds. The fruit when juiced provides a very refreshing and sustaining drink. If left in the open air it will self ferment producing a slightly intoxicating fizzy drink within 12 hours. Not only is the fruit, a major part of the Ynemn diet but it also provides them with various products.
The mash of grated fruit skin and vine tendrils, when mixed with small amounts of aged and fermented juice, creates a very strong glue. Once dried, the glue withstands rain and weather, it will adhere to most biological compounds such as rock, animal and vegetation skin, wood including tree bark. It can be made soluble once again by addition of copious amounts of fermented juice.
By altering the amounts of glue, skin and other material, the result is used for many purposes such as water skins, food containers and pouches.
When mixed with Yinnal tree sap, it transforms the sap into a very hard resin. Materials, including the vines skin once again, are formed to make sections of hard, shell like, armoured clothing and artefacts.

Items like these have only ever been found or written about. No "outsiders" have ever been allowed access to the plants or processes by which such things are produced.
0xp

2007-12-11 11:25 PM » Link: [4217#33004|text]
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Comments ( 13 )
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Voted Scrasamax
August 18, 2007, 13:32
0xp
A very nice and thoroughly explained piece. The detail is good, as is the use of italics and composition. The only concern i have is that none of the freetexts really relate to the submission since vissewort's use as a poison or a medicinal herb are given one sentence. If this section was epxanded I could see having the tags, otherwise it is a really nifty color changing plant that can be used for dye and performance art. You might also want to check on die versus dye in the submission since the latter is correct. Anywho, thumbs up, nice work.
epsilon
August 18, 2007, 16:15
0xp
thanks Scras, dye fixed :). it was getting late.
There are also a number of other things I have expanded upon in my notes. But Im constantly wary of overly long texts and so have not added them. I find its a hard call to make, to expand the text with my thoughts or simply leave seeds so others may expand to their own likening. Not wanting to nail the description down so tight that it cant be molded further. Im also not sure just how patient people are and how much they would read in one sitting.

I for example did not go into the subtle areas of colour or in fact polarization effects that would render the effect invisible by all but the well trained, those with "visse sight". Whether these guys should have a stub sub to themselves etc.

As usual, for me, the more I thought about it the bigger the item became and I ended up wrestling with myself as to what should be included here and what should be culled:(
epsilon
August 18, 2007, 16:44
0xp
for example, two things I have just thought about.

Lets say we collect and crush the buds. According to the description, droplets may be found within that could be conceived as a decent aphrodisiac.

Lets say we are able to trigger the spawning process but in this case the droplets are a poison to human kind. A marching enemy would trudge across the field, get half way and having breathed or absorbed the droplets via the skin they roll over dead.

There is enough info in the text to extrapolate these conditions. But if I detailed one I would contradict the other or at least it would require lots of description to allow the two to coexist. So best I leave the seeds there but allow the user to fill in the blanks....

Hey im not sure to be honest.
Scrasamax
August 19, 2007, 3:29
0xp
Really there are only two drawbacks to writing posts that run long, they get fewer votes and take longer to garner them. Drawing upon words that Moonhunter has said to me time and time again, you can always branch this out into multiple submissions. You have this as the core visse sub and the others link back it. One could be visse as a poison (awesome visual BTW) the other could be Medicinal Visse, a generic NPC listing for what constitutes a Vissealist and so on. Thumbs up and good work.
Voted Cheka Man
August 18, 2007, 13:38
0xp
A useful plant.
epsilon
August 18, 2007, 15:56
0xp
Updated: fixed dye
Voted manfred
August 19, 2007, 14:16
0xp
The basic effect is already interesting, and you have added plenty of details to it. The explanation and analysis of the plant are fine, strangely enough I think even less might be okay - but that is no real problem, it sounds more scientifically then.

That is one solid plant you've got there, epsilon. It is weird in the sense of 'something this weird could really exist'. Good work.
epsilon
August 19, 2007, 17:29
0xp
Yeah, Im a bit like that. I tend to stretch and mix/combine realities rather than completely jump outside of it :)
A little plausibility can really suck in the reader.

I dwell in the shadows between reality and fantasy.
Voted valadaar
August 19, 2007, 15:01
0xp
I like it - it just the sort of plant that would be at home on my The Unseen Fortress. With your permission, I'll add it to the encounter tables.
epsilon
August 19, 2007, 17:19
0xp
Certainly go right ahead Valadaar. Im chuffed you think it worthy:)
valadaar
August 19, 2007, 18:14
0xp
Very much so. Its referenced in a couple of places now.
Voted CaptainPenguin
August 20, 2007, 13:11
0xp
Very good. Always looking for interesting plants and animals.
epsilon
December 11, 2007, 23:11
0xp
Updated: converted it into a scroll has I have others to add

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A young girl with a dirty face and tattered dress stands near the town market offering to sell the PCs freshly cut flowers. They are only a single copper a piece, and smell nice. Perhaps the PCs will be generous with their wealth, or they will not. Great for paranoid parties.

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