Case for a new taxation on the growth of clysseme creeper plants

Table of Contents

Report by AmélieIS with Unsplash

This case has been written to the attention of the lords and ladies of the senate and it reviews the arguments in favour of establishing a new taxation on clysseme creepers through the empire, as proposed by Lord Rémi Scranenne.   Clysseme creepers are an aggressive type of creeper plants. In addition to the inherent danger presented by the plant, its most notable feature is that it is essential to blood magic rituals.

Brief from Lord Clorisse to the Lord of the Dark, Lord Véridice Lyrienne

As a northerner, Lord Scranenne has of course no first-hand experience on clysseme culture. Clear attempt to destabilise the Dark faction, but likely to fail since even southern Light lords grow clysseme.


Clysseme creeper by AmélieIS

Clysseme creepers are characterised by their long, thin, spiked vines linking back to a bulb buried just under the surface of the ground. The vines do not possess any leaf since the plant does not photosynthesize. The spikes contain venom that is injected into the plant's prey, and the skin of the vine is covered with pores that can absorb liquids.   Below the surface is a network of roots that extend only at a shallow depth and instead spread horizontally to create more bulbs and vines at a few meters from the first one. This is the only way through which the plants reproduce. However, all clysseme creepers ever existing are not all linked together since a root connection can be cut off, either by the plant itself or by external factors.   Through the roots, the plant is able to absorb a few nutriments, though not enough to sustain it on its own. The main role of the roots is to absorb magic from the Land, although that is also not enough to fully sustain it.

No mention of the new varieties that have been developed to sustain themselves to a higher degree on the soil. Report clearly didn't bother consulting with specialists and is also attempting to present the plants as unnatural and unsustainable.


Legends tell how clysseme creepers are one of the terrible plants born from the magic of rituals getting out of control and devastating an area. Rather than the small amount of Land's magic all creatures feed on, those plants were forced to absorb far too much of it. This made the creepers twisted, leaving them always hungry for more and more magic. Once the fallout of the bad ritual decreased, that left only one way for the plant to get it: blood.

Clear propaganda! Those legends were handpicked to be favourable to the aim of the Light of depicting all rituals as dangerous and always one step away from clear disaster! All southern Estates have legends regarding the voluntary and highly desired creation of the first creepers through a perfectly well conduct ritual, even if we all disagree on the mage who did it.


Clysseme creeper feeding by AmélieIS

The plants feed on all types of animals by catching them with their vine. The spikes then inject their venom, which results in paralysis and slow liquefaction of the innards of the animal. The pores on the plant's skin absorb the blood, bleeding them out to absorb that liquid through the pores present on their skin surface.

Clear lack of mention of how slow the vines are and how weak the venom is for humans. Creepers represent no risk to a trained worker and fields are warded to prevent anyone else from entering them.


Map of the Empire of the Covenant
The Empire of the Covenant is a millennia-old federal empire spread over a whole continent and gathering around 600 independent Estates. Those are ruled by powerful mages, lords and ladies who are the Heads of their Houses and who are linked to the ancestral magic of their Lands. Estates are divided by their affilitation with the Light or Dark political factions.   See Geography, Climate and Demography of the Empire and Political Organisation of the Empire.

Clysseme creepers originate from the Southern half of the empire, below the steppes of the Haut Plateau, where the climate is temperate. Despite multiple attempts, they have not been successfully exported to the North, even inside greenhouses. It is suspected that this is due to significant differences in the Land's magic caused by the long division between the two regions before they were joined into one empire.

And now an attempt to present all southerners as corrupt by nature!


Clysseme creeper hibernating by AmélieIS

The plant hibernates in winter by letting its vines die and fall off, only leaving its bulb and roots protected underground from the most extreme temperature. In spring, it has to wait for its first meal to start growing back. Small thin vines are held inside the bulb all winter to that effect, and when a foraging animal finds the bulb and bites it, these small vines spring right into its throat and kill it. With the newly absorbed blood, new proper vines can grow in as quickly as a day.   A few types of insects live in symbiosis with the creepers by eating the leftover corpses of their meal, thus preventing rot developing next to the creepers and endangering them. In case where the insects have died off or been chased away, rot has been known to extend because of the vine touching contaminated matter. Once the rot has reached a bulb, it is already too late for it and the plant can only save itself by severing the roots linking to that bulb. It is thought that the organisms causing the rots can extend to the plants if it still contains undigested animal blood by that point.

Now it's only a question of time until someone has the bright idea to attempt to contaminate all of our cultures...


Clysseme creeper field by AmélieIS

Clysseme creepers are grown in multiple Estates in the southern half of the empire in both Light and Dark Estates. Fields of creepers are rather small, on average a few hundred meters by a few hundreds, and they cannot be too close to each other. One field is populated by only one creeper forming a series of inter-linked bulbs.   If a bulb separates from the rest of the organism, it must immediately be taken off the field and put into a new virgin one as creepers will attack each other and the damages will most often result in all dying in the end.

Omission of the ability to induce artificial hibernation by keeping the bulb frozen. Makes it seem that creeper fields are in danger of taking over all the south.
A field is fed by sending medium size animals such as a cow into it every few days, thus requiring a lot of animals to maintain it. The more potent the magic of the food source is, the less often the creepers have to be fed. However, to create such a potent magic, the animals themselves need to be fed magic from the Land, further increasing the cost of maintaining a field. Humans of course make the best source, and while human sacrifices in a magical ritual or at magicless occasions are strictly forbidden throughout the empire by mandate of the senate, "accidents" still occur.   Even outside of such practices, the culture of such aggressive carnivorous plants is highly dangerous. Some lords and ladies argue that the danger is mild and trained workers are not at risk. Yet, every year accidents occur and people are killed. This will not change so long as we all continue to underestimate those plants.

Rumours spread by enemy Estates to turn tragedies into weapons!

Anonymous testimony of a worker in a clysseme creeper growing field

We're a small team of fifteen tending to a dozen creepers fields spread through the whole Estate. Creepers need a lot of care even besides feeding. We've to get rid of animal corpses to avoid rot setting in, and to tear away any other plants trying to get onto the field to steal a free meal. Because of this, we've to spend a lot of time walking among the creepers.   The only equipment given by the lord was reinforced boots and gloves to protect us from the vine, but what about the rest of our body? We've to wrap ourselves in all the cloth layers we can get at home, but even with that it's common to end the day with at least a scratch and to get badly sick from the venom and unable to move for a few days. This only makes the lord work the rest of the team harder to compensate.   The creepers themselves are not sentient, but they're perfidious creature able to lay traps. They're always trying to get us, and even if we are careful they always manage to get one of us sooner or later. Three friends died since I've started working there five years ago. I'd leave if I could.

Anonymous guy.png

Anonymous witness by AmélieIS

Of course anonymous! Anybody could have written that! I'd be highly surprised if Scranenne ever met a clysseme worker in his life! Yet, think it'd be a mistake to argue along those lines. Instead should highlight the worker clearly didn't follow procedures, was fired and now is spiteful out of revenge.

Societal role

Parchment with ritual instructions, by AmélieIS with images from Pixabay and Vecteezy

Clysseme creepers play an important role as an ingredient for elixirs used in Dark magical rituals. This is due to their ability to better incorporate the blood of a victim inside the ritual by first having a vine ingest it, then harvesting it to use in elixirs. Through such a mean, the ritual can directly home against the victim and wrench all of their blood from their body at once, thus keeping it fresh until the last possible seconds and making the ritual much more potent.   The plant has been involved in a controversy recently when the government found clysseme creepers on the scene of blood sacrifice crime it was investigating, and this is what has prompted this review.

Obvious omission of all the more positive magic done with creepers. Foremost ones being their use into our religious practice during solstice and equinox rituals, which of course the Light wants to ban, and their use in warding by having the vines absorb our own blood rather than a victim and thus linking the wards to ourselves.   Limited creeper availability will seriously restrain our ability to defend ourselves. All of the Light can naively think nobody will steal their Estate from them all they want, they also put us in danger from the Southern Kingdoms!

Arguments in favor of taxation

Report by AmélieIS with Unsplash

Thus, my lords and ladies, I, Lord Scranenne, speaking with the support of the Light faction, require the establishment of a new taxation on the growth of clysseme creepers in the empire. Among other benefits, the money thusly generated will be used to create a record on the growth and trade of those plants so as to assist in investigating human sacrifice crimes. In addition, a team of inspectors will be created to send them to all Estates growing the plants. This will allow us to investigate the working conditions in creeper fields and to impose further sanctions on those not following proper regulations.   As we have seen, these plants are dangerous and have no beneficial application. Lords and ladies argue for their right to continue to grow it as they have done for millennia, and we certainly have to concede to that. However, let us ensure that it is done in conditions that are safe for everyone. Their continued easy availability to criminals is a blight on all moralities that ought to be corrected urgently. I trust that the senate will examine this question with all the seriousness that it is due and that everyone will vote in accord with their conscience.

Despite how ridiculous this proposal is, we better not think it inconsequential. It is likely to break up party lines and have northerners vote against southerners rather than the usual Light against Dark.   However, a few Light southerners may voluntarily cut their own arm and vote in favour of a ban in an attempt to demonstrate their moral fortitude. Therefore, my lord, I advise that feelers be sent to the southern Light Houses to coordinate an answer.

  The vote for the taxation of clysseme creepers take place in book 1:  

Cover image: Clysseme creeper by AmélieIS


Author's Notes

Pin icon by onyxprj_art on Vecteezy.   Did Lord Scranenne convince you? Would you vote for or against this law?

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7 Dec, 2021 23:14

Dangerous plants are definitely a thing in this setting, which is a pleasant positive. Now, taking into account the previous articles I wonder how likely it is for a magical storm to pass through a creeper field? And even more, would the spikes themselves enable the plant to take in some of that magic?   If they tend to prefer a temperate climate, I wonder what is their relationship with the prickly sparks, who were observed near/in the mountains.   Another good one, with a side story to add background. I would probably vote against it. Sounds like another power struggle and I would prefer to see the plants with my own eyes. :D

Playing around with words and worlds.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
8 Dec, 2021 08:16

Thanks for the comment :D   The clysseme are something from book 1 so they come from a different area of the empire. Magical storms are limited to specific area and are at the other end of the empire (in the north east on the map), so there would be no meeting for them. If someone tried to grow clysseme creepers near the storm, the plants would die because they do not have the right adaptation to resist such a great amount of magic.   The vote is at the beginning of book 1 so I'm not spoiling what's going to happen, but you're right that's it's just a power struggle and that people don't really think about wider consequences...

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
8 Dec, 2021 15:48

Really interesting structure to the article - I love that the right side is commenting on the left side. The plant itself is really well thought through - I definitely wouldn't want to get near to one.   Great job <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
8 Dec, 2021 17:21

Thanks Emy :D   I had fun coming up with that format :D I was trying to provide some understanding of both sides of the arguments between the Light and Dark without outright stating what is right or wrong or explaining things. In the novels I'd like to change MCs in each book and have some stand on both sides of the conflicts and still have readers being able to perceive them as right when reading their perspective.   Thinking about all of that was good for helping me makes all characters be multidimensional in my first novel, something I really struggled with in the first draft.

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Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
10 Dec, 2021 09:44

Amazing work Amelie! That was once again, damn thorough - it's an honor to have you in my chapter.

Join me, become a Sky Pirate in the world of Lyra!

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
10 Dec, 2021 16:03

Thanks a lot Dimitris :D

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
7 Jan, 2022 15:54

So immersive :3 I would... probably go through the trouble of borrowing two or three books on the plant. Some people deal with indecision by feeding it more intell ^^" It's a bit frustrating actually because the article looks full and complete and doesn't need anything more really, but the way it's written still leaves my curiosity unsatiated :o (I know. Emojis.) Congratulations for yet another reaally good read :3

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
8 Jan, 2022 00:40

Thanks :D I am definitely in the category "need to know everything before making a decision" XD Here i deliberately withheld from giving a clear answer since 1) it's a minor element in book 1, 2) the different MCs I am planning for this series would probably all come up with a different answer on that topic... Really, I had fun taking a random plant and turning it into a completely inflated political controversy almost completely out of nowhere XD

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
11 Jan, 2022 00:43

Using a species page to comment side-by-side on a controversy like this is fascinating. I want to say first of all that I believe I would never have thought to do this. A great deal of worldbuilding info is conveyed implicitly by presenting information in this manner and it highlights how even the details of presentation contribute to the end product. There is sterling creativity on display here and I hope I can learn something from it.   That said, I have gone over this with something of a red pen, and I would like to present my findings. I have elided over some potential errors as I thought they were characteristic of brief rebuttals rather than providing a semblance of error. Organized by section:   Biology: "Photosynthesise" is appropriately spelled with a z: "photosynthesize". For reasons of plural agreement, "skin of the vines is" should be "skin of the vine is".   Evolution (Rebuttal): Where it says "depicting all rituals are dangerous" that should be "depicting all rituals as dangerous". Next, "voluntarily" should be "voluntary". Then, "through a perfectly well conduct rituals" should be either "through perfectly well conducted rituals" or "through a perfectly well conducted ritual" depending on whether the creepers were created once or many times. Finally, "even with we all disagree" presents multiple options for repair, as it could most obviously be remedied with "even though we all disagree", yet the use of with could be rescued as "even with all of us disagreeing".   Nourishment: "and bleeding them out" should be "and bleed them out".   Habitat: "exported in the North" should be "exported to the North"   Ecology: "small vines sprang right" should be "small vines spring right", though it grieves me to contest a sprang, as that's such a fun word. "It is though that" includes a clear typo for "thought".   Culture: "into them" should be "into it" to agree with the rest of the sentence. Next, "trained worker are" should be "trained workers are".   Culture (Rebuttal): "Make it seems" should be "Makes it seem".   Finally, although it is not a typographical error, I will conclude by asking why the dark estates refer to "a ban" and "fellers" in their last rebuttal. The proposal for taxation is not a proposal for banning, and as for "fellers"... It just does not seem a lordly word.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
11 Jan, 2022 01:03

Thanks a lot for your comment :D I had a lot of fun testing different ways to present articles during World Ember. With this article I was trying to keep some ambiguity about the plant since it's a minor plot point in the novel.   And thanks for pointing out all those typos! Even with doing checks and reread, a lot always manage to slip in :( Regarding your final comment, I'm afraid this was a typo too XD I wanted to say "feelers" not "fellers". (And yes, the rebuttals are brief notes, so the sentences are sometimes truncated). Thanks again for taking the time to write all of that!

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
17 Jan, 2022 14:06

There she is again with the murderous plants!
poor bunny :(

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
17 Jan, 2022 21:01

Murderous plants are my true love :D

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
18 Jan, 2022 10:54

Wow Amélie! I generally like the use of plants to worldbuild and you did so phenomenally! The way you described their physicality and included their use in magic was really fun to read and inspired me to think about plants in a magically ruined area in my own world. I think the way you wrote the entire article as a politically important report (with comments!) is so creative as well, would never think of doing something like that myself. Well done!

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
21 Jan, 2022 16:24

Thanks a lot :D I had fun experimenting with different storytelling methods with my articles for worldember and I really like how this article has turned out. The comments also allowed me to keep some mysteries about this plotline and which side the reader "should" support XD   Plants are really fascinating; we had tons of super fascinating ones in the plant challenge last year! And I always like to include them in things like rituals like I've done here or in cloth fibre like I did in my weaving magic article. That gives me a good excuse to include them in my stories :D

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
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