Marpietes Species in Creus | World Anvil
BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Marpietes (Mar-pi-eh-teh)

Thanie glanced up when Magistrate Haideri entered the cafe and failed to repress a smile. While undercover, it would have been suspicious for her to meet a Magistrate in all black, so Haideri was wearing some bizarre conception of 'normal' clothing - a linen shirt dubbed in a riot of different dyes and patterns, with heavy cotton breeches more suited for a mechanic than a man of leisure.   Haideri noticed her expression as he sat down. "Something wrong with what I'm wearing?"   "Of course not. Nothing wrong at all." Thanie allowed a quick giggle before she shook her head. "I figured out the conspiracy, and it's real stupid. The UTC are planning on using Marpiete leaves as the new cabin roofing material for the next year's design of Power-Wagon. They're trying to buy them from the frontier societies on the islands, and are hiring Mercenaries to go look for them on beaches."   The Magistrate raised an eyebrow. "Seems pretty innocuous. What's the conspiracy?"   "The Anvileers and the Copperheads are both attempting to sabotage the project by hiring Midlers. They both think that the UTC reduced their steel foundry orders in order to favor the other, as opposed to not using steel for the cabin-tops. And there's revanchists in the UTC themselves that think that using plant leaves for Power-Wagons is somehow anti-Progress and are trying to undermine it." Thanie rolled her eyes. "All this subterfuge and nonsense because of an experiment with plant leaves."   "Not just any plant. Marpiete leaves are quite rare, though this new manufactory need will up their demand significantly." Haideri had his hands steepled, looking quite serious in a ridiculous get-up. "Something doesn't quite add up. Do you know who made the decision to shift the production line to using Marpiete components? It has to be some sort of marketing scheme, since Marpiete speculation has been all over the journals recently."   "No." Thanie nodded. "Guess that's what I'll be telling you next week."

Basic Information


Marpietes are large, bowl shaped pseudo-plants that spend their entire lives thousands of feet in the air. They are termed pseudoplants due to the fact that a categorical requirement of a 'plant' is being embedded in some sort of substrate, whether that is dirt or water - arguments continue to the current day as to whether Marpietes can be considered 'true plants'. Nevertheless, they share much of the structure of plants, their leaves tightly packed together into a bowl shape, with a trailing stem-net underneath that could be considered roots. Although it has not been directly observed, it's widely speculated that the bowl contains the water that the plant needs to live, as a replacement for the water normally obtained through soil.

Genetics and Reproduction

Dead Marpietes have been recovered as ocean flotsam; it is known that they reproduce by budding. Budded Marpietes are released in the tens of thousands into the sky, with the vast majority falling to the ocean and sinking, but a few are able to catch an aerial stream and spread their leaves in time, forming the airfoil shape required to maintain their altitude. Presumably, there is some sort of pollen-analogue in the sky layer that they inhabit.

Growth Rate & Stages

Based on collected specimens recovered from the sea, Marpietes grow from their bud stage rather quickly, but reach a maximum size. Presumably this is some sort of mechanism that ensures that they quickly assemble the best 'shape' to maintain constant airborne flight, as smaller plants may be tipped in air currents or tumble from the sky haphazardly (while large plants simply become too heavy).

Ecology and Habitats

Marpietes are the only plant-like species known to live its life in the air, alongside birds. While they are not visible from most land masses, tiny specks can be seen from the farthest outlying islands of the Eastern Saibh archipelago, and with a sufficiently powerful spyglass, their general shape and appearance can be discerned. They seem to float in the aerial currents (similar to ocean sea currents) that traverse the world above the oceans, with the winds presumably being sufficiently strong to counteract their weight.    While it is widely assumed they gather liquid water in their 'bowls' through some sort of condensation method, it remains completely unknown how they 'grow' in midair, without resources from a substrate. Ordinary plants that sprout outside dirt die quickly, so the Marpietes must have some way to gather what they need from the air itself.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Marpietes presumably require sunlight and water, like most other plants. A speculative paper raised the possibility that the liquid water in their 'bowl' is a trap and that the birds that likely land in them to drink the water are 'eaten' by the plant somehow, but this is only wild conjecture - until an engineer of the Principality of Etoile can construct some sort of mechanism to observe a Marpietes in the clouds, conjecture based off of recovered specimens is the only real option.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Marpietes have been known to the frontier societies of Eastern Saibh since prehistory, but only as large, circular plants that wash up on the beaches of the islands on occasion. Their leaves are commonly used as roofing material in the frontier, being lightweight, strong and resilient, and waterproof.    The discovery of their origins in the sky circa 710 aroused great excitement at The Academy of Etoile, as it presented another method (other than the much-tested and maligned Ornithopter Project) of pursuing what some call the holy grail of Power technology - flying humans into the skies themselves. Researchers and academicians that travel to the frontier are asked to keep a lookout for 'fresh' Marpietes specimens recently fallen to earth, with speculation that a fresher pseudoplant might present valuable insights into how to achieve some version of powered flight.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Marpietes are found in the aerial currents offshore of major land areas. While most have been sighted to the east, past the frontier island chains, several sightings in the north Feryll Sea and the extreme south Bui Sea near the icecaps have been recorded.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

It is unknown whether Marpietes have any method of perception or responding to external stimuli.
Conservation Status
It is largely unknown how many Marpietes exist, as ship-based surveys and counts seem unreliable at best for population estimation.
Average Height
5-6 inches for the bowl, 2-3 feet for the stem-net
Average Weight
Recovered specimens are waterlogged and weigh upwards of sixty pounds, but they are presumably lighter when airborne.
Average Length
The 'bowl' is roughly five or six feet in diameter.

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild


Please Login in order to comment!