The Mel Victus
A silent vestige sits among the vine covered ruins in a forest that has overgrown who once lived here. No more towers rise among the skeletal remains of a seeming once vast city. Instead, carved into the face of a leveled statue of a man, peaceful in his dead slumber now are etched the words - Si vis pacem para bellum – If you want peace, prepare for war.
In an age come and past, or one which has not come at all, or which will come again, lies the truth behind the loss of a people who had everything and ended in dust. The history of Tacitus, the people of the most grande city to have beheld the ancient world known, is replete with desire and promise for a wondered world that would never come. In a time now before time, which seems impossible to fathom as no written record can go back nearly as far as when the ancient people of Tacitus lived.
Their entire society, their city, in deed their entire world as they knew it existed because of a rare growth of an odd flower. When the first settlers came to where the city of Tacitus was first established, there existed an odd growth of plant that seemed to sprout where it was least wanted. It was a hand sized plant with small green tubes shattering its base with small orange bulbs the seemed to pop from the tubes as they bloomed. At first the populace tried their best to rid this growth as they was no real smell to them and the orange bulbs littered the ground everywhere. Then a fateful day of discovery founded the strange flower to have odd and rather fast regenerative properties. This flower they dubbed Mel Victus or Honeyed Life or Nourished Honey.
By eating one of the orange bulbs, which has a rather tart flavor, would seem to heal injuries faster than in tales. Eating the bulb would heal wounds and injuries that could be rather severe if not tended. By studying the plant further it was found that by brewing the green tubes and soaking the bulbs in water would bring back even those on the verge of death. This discovery soon spread through the lands and it was highly sought after. There was one drawback however. The plant could not be moved from where it had originally set root. There was no way to harvest it without letting it grow naturally. Any attempt to force it to grow where it did not want failed. So the plant thrived where it would and soon sprouts of the plant littered the pathways of the city that dotted the streets with a random and half hazard way that almost seemed pleasing to look at. The only way to get it to grow outside of its normal growth pattern was to keep small pots under the tubes, hoping the orange bulbs would land and take root. By doing this, small singular tubes would grow but not be able to reproduce further. A pot could get two or three tubes to sprout but no more as the pot seemed to hamper their growth. This did not sit well with some of the neighbors to the Tacitus, claiming that this rumor was to keep the plant and its healing properties for themselves. They were not satisfied in the fact that they were allowed only a small portion of this wonderful bounty.
Harsh words were spoken. Friendships made were destroyed. And a war over a single plant was waged.
In the ancient histories no war was ever so brutal and ravaging, especially over such a simple item as this. Who would ever have thought a single flower could bring city states, and possibly nations, to war. During it all, the Tacitus fought bravely to the best of their ability but they were not warriors. In fact most were scholars who had abandoned their warlike ways to find the city of Tacitus in peace. But while they were out matched they had a single edge over their enemies. The same thought of growing the plants in small pots gave them this advantage. While they were unable to bear more sprouts themselves, they still held the ability to heal, and that they did. Their warriors would tie the small clay pots to their waist and fight with them in battle, eating the bulbs as they were injured. This allowed them to fight on longer and hold off the enemy forces to some degree. It would not last however as the plants could not bloom fast enough as their enemies swarmed over them as ants would a fallen bee. To set fear into the remaining hearts of the Tacitus, carved into the face of one of their statues erected at the entrance of their city were the words, Si vis pacem para bellum - If you want peace, prepare for war.
The entire people of Tacitus were wiped out along with their city. Their greedy allies now turned blood thirsty enemies uprooted all the Mel Victus they could find and brought them home, only to discover their fate as they died in the unknown soil. Soon after even their city died and turned to dust as the ages past by their bones and the forest of yesterday grew over the ruins and hid them from the ages.
Magical Properties - The biggest downside to this plant, other than not being able to be grown outside of where it naturally grows is that there are only a handful of the tubes remaining and the healing properties of the plant, be it the bulb or the tubes are limited to a short span of time.
- The properties of the Mel Victus flower are rather simple yet spectacular. The orange bulbs (looking like a cheese puff for those wanting a better idea of what it looks like) can be eaten and wounds and injuries are healed within moments.
- The green tubes can be boiled down and the bulbs soaked in the bitter broth which can heal nearly the dead. No lost limbs can be regrown, however broken bones will knit and heal at a rapid rate usually taking a week.
- The draw backs of this healing ability is that it only works if the plant is fresh and still growing. Once cut the properties become inert after an hour so the process of brewing the tubes must be done quickly. Even eating the bulbs must be done quickly as they begin to dry and wither within only a few minutes.
- Brewing of the tubes while effective and powerful also has its limits. Once the broth is boiled it must be drank within thirty minutes of steeping or its properties become inert. After letting the broth cool and become still, it makes the drinker nauseous and light headed. No permanent damage has been know to happen after taking a cooled broth but no one attempted to try it after the first few failed attempts caused the drinker to become sick.
- The party is traveling through the wilderness and comes across a hermit who tries to fight them off yelling at them to leave his flowers alone. This strange and often bewildered man stumbled across a small growth of these flowers and wishes to keep them for himself.
- The party comes across a small village near the outskirts of where the Tacitus city was buried under the foliage. They once again discovered the plant and word spread and now they are being harassed by all manner of banditry from nearby towns and villages to their ruling lord wanting the plant for himself. They ask the party for help in defending their children against such a horrible fate.
- The descendants of the Tacitus enemies have returned. While the world has forgotten about the Tacitus and what happened here ages lost, they descendants of that fateful day have not. Passed down from shaman to shaman a horde of orcs(any sub species would do nice) began a war on a small village to get back what they claim is theirs by right. The party is asked to help fend off the assault and help find a way to keep the plant safe.
- While the forest that has surrounded it has kept it safe, other stronger plants have begun creeping into its soil and killing its roots. The party is asked by a local village to protect them from the wilds while they try to clear the area surrounding the plants, possibly unearthing more about the Tacitus but also allowing the history of their bloodshed to spread. While doing this the descendants of old come back to take claim on the plants hoping for complete victory this time.
- Coming across a band of orcs (or a socially inept creature of your choice) the party fights them thinking to over whelm them with skill but soon realize that those who were injured and thought out of the battle soon rise up and begin fighting as if fresh soldiers thrown into the fray. Continue fighting to tire out while the orcs always seem fresh? Or run away to gather oneself and determine what went wrong.
Fallen Empires, monuments of old, sleeping kings and artifacts from eras long past.
Do you dare write of what crawls out of tombs and shambles out of ruins? What befell the ancient structures that still haunt the world. Are they truly abandoned or just awaiting a hardy soul to test their depths? Is the magic that destroyed the mighty fortress gone or does it seek its next victim. Only time will tell... Enter the Fallen Empires!
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? Responses (9)-9
Update: I am rusty so forgive me. I thought of this the other day as I remembered days as a kid sucking the honey from honey suckle stems.
I like how the plant is so incredibly powerful yet so limited in practical use. The history is creative and believable. There is enough loaded history behind the plant that any rediscovery will bring up past conflicts. I could see spawning a number of story arcs off of this one plant.
4.5/5.0, but only because of the spelling/grammar errors.
I actually hate giving items such over powering abilities but I felt that by not doing so it wouldn't have the impact that it did on the Tacitus.
I noticed several spelling and grammar errors, and the prose could use some smoothing out.
Other than that, the plant on its own is OK, the background how a healing herb brought down a city is quite original as well.
I'm withholding the vote for now.
Nice. 4/5 for being fresh and orginal.
Update: Fixed the spelling errors and a few grammar issues.
Added a few more items to its properties and history.
Currently writing a history on the enemies that destroyed the Tacitus.
Still some left ^_^ - for example 'sever' is a verb (cutting something from something else), but you're looking for 'severe', the adjective pertaining to severity.
The area of your body where you wear your belt is the 'waist', the 'waste' is litter, refuse. I doubt they tied clay pots with the plants around their detritus or feces :)
Lovely idea with a decent enough execution. Nothing really jumps out at me as exceptional about this submission, but it is of quality. Healing plants are nothing new, but the mythical scope of the regenerative abilities makes this a nice downfall for an ancient empire, now fallen. Good work.
Not bad, but if this is the version that's AFTER spelling and grammar errors were corrected, I'd hate to have parsed through the original!
I'd give this a higher vote if not for that and a couple other problems. "They ask the party for help in defending their children against such a horrible fate." What horrible fate is that? Heck, if I was the headman of a small village in that situation, my answer would be something along the lines of "You know something, greedy ruling lord, come in and TAKE the damn plant. You can't really take it out of the village anyway, but you're welcome to try. Bring your wizards and alchemists along and have them check it out ... you don't have to take our word for squat."