The Tatterdemalions-of-the-Flailing-Leper is a fanciful but somewhat fitting name for this vegetation, a bizarre plant which is extremely rare to find as a "Flailing-Leper", or the mother-plant state, while the pod-like leaves of the plant, the "Tatterdemalions", which tend to fall off, allowing the winds to twirl them for many miles, are more commonly encountered by adventurers.
The Flailing Leper
It is difficult to describe a Flailing Leper in full bloom, without nauseating the reader. A bulbous bush the size of a horse, with countless spines, drooping, sap-filled pods, flies buzzing inside their contours, with crooked stalks and branches extending like broken fingers in all directions, and bizarre rag-like leaves and growths that resemble so many dirty strips of cloth flapping in the wind. The colors of the Flailing Leper mother-plant are a rainbow of obscenities. Rust, ocher, dried blood, fat-tallow, sepia, olivine, mauve, and various flesh-tones, a true kaleidescope of eye-pain. This plant can best be described from afar, as a giant ragamuffin made up of swirling bits of stained, filthy cloth strips, and from near, as a grotesque abomination of nature. The Flailing Leper even makes a horrendous, gurgling noise, further distancing itself from species of common flora. One would expect a foul smell to ooze from the bowels of such a "monster", to go along with the gurgling, but alas, the mother-plant smells feintly of drying leather. A single redeeming trait perhaps?
Once a season, the mother-plant Flailing Leper, will release its elongated rag-like leaves into the air, as it is the weird leaves of this plant, which carry the seedlings, in their many folds and twists. These leaves will usually clump together forming dust-devils of "rags", occassionally taking on mildly humanoid appearences. The tatterdemalions have no leathery smell like the mother-plant, and are harmless in every way. Sometimes wood elves can be seen wearing the Tatterdemalion swirls as camouflage cloaks, but superstitious humans just usually torch the "flying rags" whenever they come swirling into villages.
This plant is highly misunderstood, as mentioned, and constantly mistaken for other creatures. Some say the Flailing-Leper motherplant resembles a roper, or an otyugh or even a shambling mound, and the Tatterdemalions of the plant, lend credence to legends of ragamuffins, scarecrows, cloth-golems, and yes, even "flying leaf-demons."
Bards strangely, are known to be rather fond of including references to this bizarre plant in their ballads, both those humorous and tragic, challenging themselves to find rhymes to pair with the flora's name in various innovative and clever ways. It is said in some circles, that if a bard does not have at least one composition featuring or at least mentioning the Tatterdemalions-of-the-Flailing-Leper, he is not worth his salt.
Sinsiter qualities are ascribed the flora as well. Some even say that the plant actually causes leprosy, but that is categorically untrue. Countless adventurers have come back to town, riding atop wagon-loads of the pulled, chopped, and uprooted flora, yet sages can make neither heads nor tails of the giant "vege-beasts", nor make any sense of the possible uses or applications for them. Botanists and alchemists are likewise stumped and confounded.
Most animals avoid the plant, its fleshy pulp is not even edible. Birds refuse to drink the collected dew and rain-water from the plant's contours. The flora seems to fit no master plan nor food-chain hierarchy. The Tatterdemalions-of-the-Flailing-Leper seems to be merely a revolting, putrid, unredeemable mistake of nature, nothing more and nothing less.
Unless of course, one understands the plant, which so few do, in which case some good can be squeezed from its pulpy, flesh-like form. But only the red-sashed monks of the Herringbone Brotherhood, those secretive explorers of the world's mysteries, may know the true properties and nature of this disgusting, and even worse, seemingly useless, monstrosity.
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? Responses (12)
whimsical flora + red herring + longest named plant on Strolens + my shortest submission ever. :p
A plant that gives colour to the world that it is on, and not one to grow in your garden.
Nice, i think that is some of the purplest prose I've seen on the citadel! I like the tumble-weed aspect, with clumps of the leaves rolling around, and no one knowing what to do with the plant. Good show!
I like odd plants very much! And I like this one a great deal as well. Love the prose and wordsmithing!
"Torch the Leprosy Plants!" cried the maddened peasants as they marched through the forest, plumes of black, oily smoke rising behind them.
The most rosy of red herring plant life.
Repellent to the eyes, sinister in appearance and far from welcome to the average villager and yet the bards are obssessed with it. Is there any explanation for this? I'm just curious. Thanks.
Well, I figure it is a temporary zeitgeist fad. One bard made a King laugh by including the plant in his composition, rhyming it bawdily, and now the challenge has been taken up by other entertainers. A tongue-in-cheek, wink-wink thing really. The plant's name has twelve syllables. Bards consider it a challenege.
The fact that the Flailing Leper is also well known as a giant useless thing that just takes up space, and insults the senses with its very presence, the bards have also taken to equating the plant, with useless political figures and other individuals, which they mock in their tales.
Soon, I'm sure, the plant will be forgotten by the masses once more however.
That love the plants and animals that really establish the setting of a game without offering rewards or challenges. And this is definitely one.
I'd love to see it expanded with some more details of the ecological niche that it fills. There are many plants, for example, that mimic decaying bodies, which then attract flies to carry pollen between plants. Maybe, in a similar way, this plant, which is disgusting to humans, is favoured by trolls. Perhaps it's a troll aphrodisiac! I could see that leading to some humorous plot hooks...
Some of your sentences I found distractingly long. 'It is difficult to describe a Flailing Leper in full bloom, without nauseating the reader. A bulbous bush the size of a horse, with countless spines, drooping, sap-filled pods, flies buzzing inside their contours, with crooked stalks and branches extending like broken fingers in all directions, and bizarre rag-like leaves and growths that resemble so many dirty strips of cloth flapping in the wind' for example.
Yeah, i kind of purposely left out all the stuff you mention, because i was chatting with someone who wanted a 'perfectly useless' creature (just because) :p, plus i wanted to add something to both the Whimsical Flora codex (short, sweet and harmless) And the Red Herrings one. Just playing around really. And yes, that second sentence is distractingly (and disgustingly) long. That was kinda of on purpose too. But sure, troll-aphrodisiac and mimicking decayed bodies could lead to some hijinks! One can take this thing and expand it i suppose to give it some use or purpose or at least to present a plothook, as you mention. I would normally include that kind of stuff in a creature submission, but just wanted something goofy with this one. :) Thanks for the visit.
Ooo! I hadn't seen the Red Herring codex before! I may have to come up with something for it...
I love the notion of the Herringbone brotherhood, btw. It'd be fun to flesh it out into an order devoted to the god of distraction (probably the trickster god in their pantheon). They'd be sworn to misleading the most driven, purposeful men around. Perhaps the players could be contracted by the order as part of some ridiculously elaborate plot to waylay a lancelot character purely for the amusement of their god.
Liked this kill-two-birds-with-1-stone sub that belongs to both the Whimsical Flora and Red Herring Codices. Actually, I ran into this years ago and somehow didn't vote on it, mistake corrected now.