Torsion Vines Species in Creus | World Anvil
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Torsion Vines

All of the red and orange hues in this boudoir made Alistair somewhat uncomfortable, but the contract's address was unmistakable. The largest brothel in the Scarlet Block, the Silks, had need of a wizard with a deft hand, excellent with temperature manipulation. And as Alistair was the one magus that happened to be playing solitaire in the breakroom...   A tall woman stepped through the cloth-covered doorway, dressed somewhat incongruously in severe business attire greys, impeccably tailored. "You are the wizard the Association sent?" She inspected him closely, her arms folded; Alistair felt self-aware of the comparatively shabby state of his ordinary working robe and trousers.   He pulled out his insignia, the platinum lightning bolt grasped by a clenched fist, encircled in black, and held it aloft on its chain. He gave a slight bow. "Alistair Girault of Low Timbers, Mage of the Wizard's Association, at your service."   The woman raised a hand in an equally slight, dismissive gesture. "Katarin Barcleft. I am the proprietor of this establishment, though of course you may call me the madam, if you prefer. Silvia! Come in."   The girl that stepped into the room was comely, with long, red-tinted hair slightly curled and bright grey eyes. She was wearing something strange, though; a silk dress interwoven with rigid sections of twisted vine, that added a bizarre geometric appearance to her outfit. She gave the wizard an interested look, but otherwise stayed quiet.   Barcleft rapped on the vines with her knuckles, the wood knocking swallowed by the velvet cushioning lining the walls. "Torsion vine here, a commissioned couturier's dress, requested by one of our more discerning and well heeled clientele. Silvia here is our best dancer and entertainer, and the theme of the show we're putting on is that of the distant temptress. I assume you're intelligent enough to determine here what we need your services for." The proprietress looked at the wizard expectantly.   The wizard was already slightly red faced, and turned to Silvia with an apologetic expression. "Let me know if you feel warm or cold yourself. The torsion vine will start to chill, but I need to know if I'm accidentally cooling or warming you down, as well."   With a look of concentration, the wizard raised a hand in the air. The twisted vines on Silvia's dress slowly began to chill, soften, and unravel, and as they slackened they fell to the side, revealing Silvia' goosebumped flesh, the cold intruding on the normally well heated building. Alistair covered his eyes with his free arm, but his mind's eye continued to pull warmth from all of the torsion vines on her outfit, causing the dress to reveal the woman underneath in specific ways and means.   "Good, very good!" Barcleft had an approving tone, but Alistair kept his eyes firmly in his elbow. "How long will it take for the change to reverse?"   "At the temperature of this room? No more than five minutes." The wizard could already tell that the vines were starting to twist upon themselves again slowly, turning more rigid and reforming the dress into something resembling appropriate covering attire. "I can apply heat to make this process faster, but that may make Silvia uncomfortable, and I do not know if torsion vine is long lasting when its temperature changes are forced this quickly."   "I expect this to be a one off, so the durability of the dress is not a concern for me." The proprietress gave a laugh behind a hand. "Your response to the vision of a woman makes me want to call you 'boy', so I will apologize in advance for any offense given, master wizard. But you know where you are and what we are in the business of providing."   Alistair uncovered his eyes. Silvia's dress had already more or less reassembled. "I am unaccustomed to intimacy with strangers."   It was Silvia's turn to laugh. "None of us are strangers here at the Silks, Master Alistair." She stepped forward to him and grasped his arm, pressing herself against him, though the effect was muted behind the clacking of the rigid vines on her chest. "You'll be perfect for the show tomorrow. Katarin, perhaps we can write him into the performance directly instead of from behind the curtain?"   The older woman's eyes lit up. "Enticing! A wizard and his performer, dancing for an allured crowd, the dancer helpless before the wizard's magical might, the wizard helpless before the dancer's charm and wiles. I can have the scriptwork redone before nightfall." She gave Alistair a sidelong look. "To be well compensated, of course."   Mellitus would owe him for this one. "In for a penny, in for a Florin, I suppose." The wizard glanced at the velvet ceiling. This would be a long night.

Basic Information


Torsion vines are a tough plant composed of long climbing runners and radiating, five section leaf clusters. There seems to be no significant distinction between the root of the plant and the stem runners, as most parts of the plant are capable of water uptake. Vines can run up to roughly fifty or sixty feet long, with leaf clusters wherever the vine is in contact with direct sunlight.

Ecology and Habitats

Torsion vines are uniquely adapted to The Whitecaps. They are the only plant species of note in the area (as it was determined that the lichens that are common in the caves in the Whitecaps are not true plants). These vines run along cave walls near their exits, with leaf clusters presenting at the exits themselves, as the vines run upwards towards the sun. They are a relatively common sight in the Whitecaps, and their presence typically indicates a cave or other shelter; they do not grow in the open or exposed to the raw winds of the area, though are otherwise quite well adapted to the bitter cold.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Torsion vines have a unique property that has yet to be found in any other material, natural or otherwise. In their native cold, they are relatively pliable, like any other vine plant, but when warmed to normal daytime temperatures (those found across most of the Principality of Etoile), the vines straighten laterally, twist upon themselves medially, and become strong and rigid. A warmed vine has essentially the same characteristics as a milled piece of softwood of the same length and thickness.    While this has applications in sleight of hand and as a party trick, this property makes Torsion vines immensely useful in Power engineering. A section of Torsion can be used to selectively transmit power through a given distribution network linkage, provided that a source of cooling is available. This is applied to, for example, temperature controls - a common application of modern Power in the Etoile Capital City is a fan linkage to a quarried iceblock, blowing cold air through a building's central air shaft. A well placed section of Torsion vine will slacken once the temperature gets too cold, cutting off power to the fans and automatically halting cooling at a pre-set temperature depending on where the vine was placed in the ventilation system. Once the temperature heats up again, the vine will return to rigidity, clutching itself back into the distribution system and restarting the fans. Vines can last upwards of eight seasons prior to requiring replacement, but are easily damaged in the slackened state - a single cut in the vine while it's loose fatally compromises its rigidity when warmed, causing the vine to break into pieces.   While this is the first 'feedback' material of this kind that allows for on-the-fly modification of Power distribution, research is active in finding an opposite material; something that is rigid during normal temperatures but slackens with the application of direct heat, as heat is far easier to come by than cooling - Torsion applications in power are only readily available in the Capital City, the only settlement that regularly receives quarried ice from the southern icecap. The discovery and use of Magic in 715 has changed this circumstance; if a wizard is available, they can simply draw heat out of the vine to cool it and cause it to slacken, another innovation of Magic-aided Power technology.   Outside of this highly modern application, torsion vines have been used as simple temperature gauges, home decorations by some of the frontier villages near the Whitecaps (as the vines are highly rot resistant), and very small lengths used in clothing and novelties.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Torsion vines are only found consistently in the Whitecaps. Occasional specimens have been found in slightly more temperate islands farther north in the Eastern Saibh archipelago, farther away from the southern icecap, but they are readily outcompeted by the other plants that flourish in the islands.
Conservation Status
Torsion Vines are unrestricted, but are presumed to be common.
Average Weight
~15-20lb per 50 foot length
Average Length
~50 ft
Geographic Distribution

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Aug 4, 2023 19:46 by Deleyna Marr

I love the creativity of this plant AND the story. It pulled me right in.

Aug 14, 2023 00:44

Thanks for reading! A little spice makes prose more engaging, I've found - but just a little.