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BoVine

What kind of vine can you milk? A BoVine!

Excerpt from Torrie's Journey into the Unknown

We could hear the slow drip echoing ahead and knew we were close. He were trying to be as quiet as possible, don't want to wake them. Looking up at the ceiling we could see the Vines hanging down ominously. Cursing myself for being so greedy, but milk is a hot commodity and Lady Sorill is paying enough to live comfortably for half a year.
  Thork waved us over and we saw it, a pool of white liquid. He carefully placed the small barrel in the pool, a few moments later the first drip came down. Once set, I waived everyone back to the entrance of the cave to wait for it to fill up. Then I heard it, Thyllis crashing to ground, knocking over the barrel. The sound echoing loudly.
  I ran, I could do nothing else. I heard Thyllis scream, but I knew it was too late for her. I saw two Tendrils drop in front of me. I quickly hit the ground and rolled under them, narrowly avoiding them. I could hear Thork right behind me doing the same. I lunged through the cave opening and quickly looked behind me for Thork. I watched as a vine grabbed him by the throat while in midair. I will never forget the look on his face as he was lifted into the darkness above.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

These thick vines grow outside the city. They range from 4-10 inches thick and are usually dull green to grey in color. They grow in remote caverns usually in a cluster of one to two dozen, although this is more of an estimate. They tend to prefer high ceilings, sometimes over 100 ft high. They can grow to almost 200 ft long. Large bulbs rest at the top of the vine are called buds. The vines tend to grow out from the bud. Buds can have 2-5 vines each.

Genetics and Reproduction

Very little is known regarding the reproduction of the BoVines. No attempt at cultivating them has been successful. It is theorized that there is a secondary flowering plant living among them, but this has not been confirmed.

Growth Rate & Stages

Most attempts on tracking growth are very difficult given the dangerous conditions. The vines do tend to shed away every few years. It is estimated that the vines can grow almost 50 ft in their first two months, but slow down after hitting 100 ft in their first year. The cause of the death of the vines is largely unknown.

Ecology and Habitats

BoVines tend to find very tall caverns that are fairly dry. They also tend to grow among other similarly looking vines called Stem Vines locally. The BoVines hide among the Stem Vines making them difficult to spot. It has been theorized that the BoVines actually grow the Stem Vines intentionally, which has been dismissed by most scholars.

Dietary Needs and Habits

BoVines eat meat. This is well known and well documented. They are stationary hunters using a sweet milky substance to draw creatures into their caverns. This milk drips from a special sac that grows among some of the vines. Once a creature starts drinking the milk, the vines will drop down and grab the pray, lifting them up into their buds.

Additional Information

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

The vines seem to be able to sense vibration or noise.

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

The BoVines and Stem Vines appear to live together, both using each other. The Stem Vines are protected from common predators while the BoVines are given camoflage making it difficult to tell them apart.

BoVine cover

Benefits of the Vines


The milk the BoVines use as a lure is an expensive commodity to many of the noble houses. It has a sweet taste and is served at important dinners and celebrations. These families will pay hunters to go out and collect the milk, which can be a very lucrative deal for the hunters. It is also a very dangerous one and many now rest in the sacs of the BoVine.
The Stem Vines also have a use in medicine. They can be used to make a weak pain killer. While not usually worth a trip by itself, many hunters will grab a few if they can before they leave.

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Comments

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12 Jul, 2019 19:52

Right off the bat, I love the pun. Great way to start! haha.   At first glance at the article, I definitely expected something peaceful, some plants with fruit that contains milk. Definitely wasnt expecting dangerous vines that lure people in with sweet milk, and kill them!   I also really appreciate that the whole plant can be used. Is there an easy way for hunters to kill the plants, to make use of every part? Would they WANT to do that? Or is it more lucrative for them to harvest the milk, and leave the plants alive to produce more?   One other question I have, regarding the opening quote. I noticed a different grammar style within the quote -- is it supposed to have poor grammer/word choices, as if Torrie spoke like that? I wasn't sure if "He were trying to be as quiet as possible" was a mistake, or intentional. If intentional, I might suggest going a bit farther with it, maybe mispelling some words in it as well.   This article is super unique, and I really like it!

12 Jul, 2019 20:03

Yeah, I try to imagine quotes in a different viewpoint. Especially journal entries. Rarely are they actually written completely proper. If I'm quoting books, I try to imagine it is a scholar that wants to write it correctly. I try to avoid actual misspelling in the journals, but simplistic word choices and bad grammar are acceptable.   It is much easier to just collect the milk. Trying a direct attack on it is dangerous and most of the hunters just want to get rich. There hasn't been a particular interest in the body of a BoVine except maybe for some research. Generally no reason to risk killing it. They can cut some of the Stem Vines and those will usually grow back, so they don't have to worry about those that much.

13 Jul, 2019 14:47

How dangerous are these to an average hunter? Could they crush a human or do they rely on smaller prey to survive, like bats and other cave dwelling creatures? What is the significance of the milk, as to make nobility want to consume it? Is it religious, or is it like owning ivory, aka for its own sake?

13 Jul, 2019 15:21

They can kill people and have on many occasions. Gathering the milk is more about stealth as they are difficult to fight. The milk is a status symbol for nobility. Serving it during social gatherings makes a big impression on other nobles. So yeah, it would be similar to Ivory in that it has no other intrinsic value. Milk as a whole is very rare (minus mothers milk) as almost no mammals have survived. This makes this a huge rarity and can be gathered without killing the plant. The BoVines themselves are probably a bit rare, maybe I'll be more clear about that. So killing them would remove a major source of income. Once a hunter finds one, they can come back and retrieve more later...if they are willing to risk it.

13 Jul, 2019 15:21

They can kill people and have on many occasions. Gathering the milk is more about stealth as they are difficult to fight. The milk is a status symbol for nobility. Serving it during social gatherings makes a big impression on other nobles. So yeah, it would be similar to Ivory in that it has no other intrinsic value. Milk as a whole is very rare (minus mothers milk) as almost no mammals have survived. This makes this a huge rarity and can be gathered without killing the plant. The BoVines themselves are probably a bit rare, maybe I'll be more clear about that. So killing them would remove a major source of income. Once a hunter finds one, they can come back and retrieve more later...if they are willing to risk it.

13 Jul, 2019 16:43

I really love how you went the John Carpenter route versus the comedic route most people might take. You mentioned that almost no mammals live on your world, are there any birds or other animals they can feast on? If not, how do they survive so long if they need to eat meat to survive?

13 Jul, 2019 21:29

They have large insects and fish as their primary food sources. The world is completely underground. Roaches have a large amount of protein and are their primary protein source.