The Lyrienne apple trees





Lyrienne apple trees are sentient, poisonous, carnivorous plants growing in the Black Forest in the Alyssenne Estate. They eat gigantic sea creatures.   This article was written as a companion piece for The murderous Alyssenne flowers which is the article I wrote for the plant challenge.    

Origin

  This origin story is the same as to the one detailed in The murderous Alyssenne flowers article.   According to legend, during a particularly bad storm season, the Eastern coast of the Estate of Alyssenne was being ravaged by the attacks of gigantic sentient sea creatures able to manipulate magic. In order to send them back to the depth of the sea, the House of Alyssenne and their neighbours, the House of Lyrienne, performed an extremely powerful ritual. When the magics of the ritual and the creature clashed together, magical storms erupted and devastated the region.   Afterwards, the magic failed to dissipate properly and the land had to be left uninhabited. In the following five thousand years, life managed to return to create what is now called the Black Forest. All of those new lifeforms have developed specific mechanisms to survive in an environment so saturated with magical particles: they absorb them and package them tightly into microscopic cellular compartments where they cannot do any damage.   Unsurprisingly, such a highly concentrated magic inside their body has given rise to sentience as well as special abilities. This has made the region extremely difficult to travel. Even nowadays, only small ships can cross the forest by using its river, though not without danger. Since the river empties directly into the sea infested with the sea creatures, it is mostly not worth the risk.   The Lyrienne apple trees are one of those new species. They are sentient, poisonous, carnivorous plants.


Sea creatures devastated the Eastern coast, by Pixabay






Habitat

  The Lyrienne apple tree grows principally in the Alyssenne Estate, in the Black Forest. However, both the Houses of Alyssenne and Lyrienne also possess some of the trees in their own private gardens, and the trees have been known to grow randomly in some wild locations both Estates.   The trees like to grow on riverbanks or near water. They do not grow too close to each other so as to be able to fully develop their root network underground, but they still grow in small clusters of twenty to fifty tree lightly spaced.   Alyssenne flowers, a particularly aggressive species of carnivorous plants, like to settle around the tree trunks of the Lyrienne apple trees. Both species have excellent relationships and have been known to share the corpses of the sea creatures after a joint killing.


Forest

The Black Forest by AmélieIS with Artbreeder






Morphology

  From the outside, the Lyrienne apple tree looks very similar to other kinds of apple tree. The trunk is where the biggest part of their magic is stored: it is inside aggregates of magic-binding proteins. Those aggregates are found in low concentrations through the trunk, but they are present in very high concentrations at the base. This base is called the core of the tree, and it is its high concentration of magic that gives the trees their sentience. Therefore, so long as the base is preserved, the trees can grow back from any kind of injuries.   The apple trees possess two types of roots. Two thirds of their roots are deep underground. They keep the tree anchored in its position, gather water and nutrients and allow for communication with other trees. The rest of the roots are above the ground, either in the air or in water. Those roots are highly mobile and they are controlled by the core of the tree.
    The adult trees grow to a height of up to 9 m. Contrary to other apple trees, Lyrienne trees are not deciduous and do not lose their leaves seasonally. The leaves are alternately arranged. They have a simple ovate form with serrated margins. Their colour is a light green that can appear slightly fluorescent in the wet weather that allows them to collect ambient magic from the rain.

A leaf of the Lyrienne apple tree, by AmélieIs with an image from Unsplash

Table of Contents



Featured in

The short story Deathly Flowers.

Deathly Flowers


Taxonomy


Kingdom
Plantae (Plants)
Division
Magnoliophyta (With seeds and flowers)
Class
Sentes (Sentient)
Order
Venenales (Poisonous)
Family
Carnivoraceae (Carnivorus)
Genius
Nigrasilva (Black Forest)
Species
Lyriennemalus
Common name
Lyrienne apple tree


Creation


Estimated to have been -2800 years before the creation of the empire


Location


The Black Forest in the Estate of Alyssenne


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.



Related articles



The murderous Alyssenne flowers
Species | Mar 4, 2022

Sentient carnivorous plants murdering anyone that crosses their way.


The Abyss and the sea creatures
Generic article | Feb 3, 2022

Estate of Alyssenne
Organization | Feb 3, 2022

Estate of Lyrienne
Organization | Feb 3, 2022

Lyrienne apples and seeds, by AmélieIs with images from Unsplash

  The tree carries both flowers and apples at the same time and on the same branches throughout the year. The apples have a diameter of 5-6 cm and they have a distinctive golden colour with dark blue highlight visible just under the skin. The exocarp is dark blue, while the seeds are bright red. The flesh has extremely strong magical properties. An unknown proportion of the apples are extremely poisonous to all known life forms, while the rest of them have amazing healing properties and can cure nearly all illness. The epicuticular wax that covers the skin of the apples protects it from UV and moisture loss, but it also prevents any magical inspection of the fruits.
 
        The flowers are similar in looks to those of the normal apple trees found in the region. They have five white petals with light pink highlights, and a dozen golden orange pistils in its centre. Long shots grew from the branches and several flowers grow on each of those shoots with an inflorescence of 4-6 flowers per shoot. The flowers are between 3-4 cm. The central flower of the inflorescence is 0.5 cm bigger on average. It is also more pink and more magically potent. The apple it will develop into will be also bigger than the one formed from the other flowers of the inflorescence.

The flower of the Lyrienne apple tree, by AmélieIs, with an image from Unsplash

 

The flowers of the Lyrienne apple tree by Unsplash

              Some attempts have been made to predict whether a specific apple will be filled with the poison or the cure, depending on the colours or patterns of the flowers, of their size, their position in the inflorescence or the properties of the other flowers of the inflorescence, however so far all have been for naught and have only resulted in the death of the researchers.
 
I'm sure I've found it! I'm certain now, this one is a miracle apple. I've done all the calculations, it cannot be anything else! - No! Don't you dare touch it. That apple is mine!
— A researcher that did not survive long





Senses and carnivory

   
The roots of the trees are able to detect vibration in the soil and water, as well as chemical and magical particles. This allows them to be aware of their surroundings and to detect their preys or the coming and going of other species such as the Alyssenne flowers. The protein-magic aggregates in the trunk of the trees also grant them extraordinary senses, notably the ability to perceive threatening intentions against them. Contrary to Alyssenne flowers, they do not seem to be able to understand human languages or to see the world around them - although it is difficult to say if this come from a limitation of their senses or if they just do not care for such trivial happenings.   The trees feed through several means. It uses its deep roots to gather water and nutrients, as well as some of the magic that is naturally found in the soil of the Black Forest. It also uses its leaves both to photosynthesise and to gather ambient magic. However, in the Black Forest that is filled with raw magic, such means are insufficient to fully feed the tree and support its sentience. There for the apple trees have developed a secondary carnivorous feeding mechanism.   The upper roots of the trees are mobile and controlled by the tree. The roots are porous, and just as the deep roots can absorb water, the upper roots can absorb magic directly from their prey. As the roots are very fast and agile, the trees use them either to impale prey so as to be in direct contact with its blood and the magic-carrying proteins there, or by strangling them to squeeze the magic out of them.  

Sea creatures, by AmélieIS with Flickr and Pixabay

Small snack, by AmélieIs with Flickr






Reproduction

 
           

Fallen apples, by AmélieIS with images from Unsplash

Like their cousins the normal apple trees, the Lyrienne trees cannot self pollinate. They are pollinated by the insects of the forest. Contrary to the Lyrienne trees' apples, even though its pollen is highly concentrated in magic - so as to attract pollinators - it is not dangerous.   Once a flower has been pollinated, it transforms into an apple in 3 months. The apples slowly mature over 5 years, before they are ready to fall from the branches. Unmatured apples or fallen apples are often eaten y forest animals, usually with deadly consequences for them, but also for the seeds who are killed if exposed to ambient air before they are ready. Since most apple trees grow along the river that crosses the Black Forest, many of the matured apples fall into the water and are transported further away. The surviving seeds will then hopefully establish a new colony of trees.   One apple contains 7-10 seeds, but out of all the seeds produced year-round by the tree, very few are viable. On average, one tree will give rise to another tree once or twice every 10 years. This is because the seeds can only mature in a short time window under very specific magical concentration.





Society

 
The Lyrienne apple trees do not grow in close proximity to each other, although they form loose family group that are all connected deep underground. Indeed, their deep roots are in contact with each other, allowing them to exchange neurotransmitters to communicate, as well as nutrients and magic so as to take care of the weaker members of their group.   They also tolerate the presence of the Alyssenne flowers around their trunks despite seeing them as overexcited children, always jumping around to look at anything shiny, full of energy and ready to take offence at everything. Compared to them, the apple trees are slow to stir and take notice of their surroundings as well as slow to anger.   Despite these lofty views, the Lyrienne trees are known to grow protective of their specific family group of Alyssenne flowers. Once their anger is roused, the trees are impressive and terrifying. They can use their magic to increase the swiftness of their roots to almost match that of the Alyssenne flowers, but their hits are a lot stronger thanks to their bigger size.
     

A Lyrienne apple tree with a family of Alyssenne flowers, by AmélieIs with images from Unsplash






Uses

 
                   

Would you risk it all? by AmélieIS with an image from Unsplash

The apples of the trees are famous through the empire and whether someone would be bold - or foolish - enough to attempt to eat one is a popular subject of conversation. They have even been reported to be able to regenerate lost limbs and cure old age. Their only known limitation is their inability to heal diseases caused by genetic mutations.     Eating an apple is an indescribable experience—either because this causes nearly instantaneous paralysis shortly followed by death, or because mere words cannot begin to convey the extraordinary sensation. It is not natural from individuals to be able to absorb foreign magic and make it theirs, yet this is exactly what happens when someone eats a Lyrienne apple. Its extremely high magical content gets added to the eater's own reserve and boost the natural healing abilities of their body well beyond what is normally possible for them.   The Lyriennes and Alyssennes each have a few trees in their manors, however they do not eat regularly their apples. Despite their general benevolence towards both families, the trees can only be rarely coaxed into directly giving them one of their miracle apples - generally if one member of the families is injured. However, while the Lyriennes and Alyssennes themselves are not stupid enough to eat an apple randomly, they sometimes accept to give access to them to those willing to pay high enough for the privilege. It generally does not end well.
 
- Can you help me? I am not going to survive this spider bite without a miracle!
- Of course... for a price.
— Lord Lyrienne to a desperate supplicant





Cultural impact

 




The Lyrienne apple trees have given their emblem to the House of Lyrienne.   In popular culture, the Lyrienne apples themselves are also used as a symbol of a dangerous and foolish gambit. It can also refer to someone receiving a poisonous gift despite a shiny outside shell.
 
- Have you heard what Ralesse is doing? He's just entered Heiress Zériesse' Courtship Rituals.
- That imbecile is eating a Lyrienne apple! He is going to be eaten alive, his status is never going to recover from this.
— Gossiping nobles






Cover image: A Lyrienne apple tree with a family of Alyssenne flowers, by AmélieIs with images from <a href="https://unsplash.com">Unsplash</a>

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
17 Apr, 2021 22:09

I am not sure if it being harder to communicate with them, makes them more or less dangerous than the flowers... Either way: Figure out bribes if you want to have a chance to survive! O_O

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
17 Apr, 2021 22:17

Bribes and compliments are always the best way to go in my world :D

To see what I am up to:WE pledge and article list.
18 Apr, 2021 08:24

"I'm sure I've found it! I'm certain now, this one is a miracle apple. I've done all the calculations, it cannot be anything else! - No! Don't you dare touch it. That apple is mine!"   Ahahahaha!   Great article - you had me at 'sentient carnivorous tree' :D   How do these trees interact with the artificial insects, I wonder? Do the insects try to eat them all? Or the apples?   I'm real curious what the real effect of eating one of those apples are too... But not curious enough to eat one. Has anyone ever made cider from them? :D   Great stuff as always!


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
18 Apr, 2021 10:40

The problem with the cider is that it would need multiple apples and you would have to be really sure that what you use would be the good ones :p Basically eating an apple is like eating very concentrated magic that can get absorbed into your own magic (something people cannot normally do) and so that helps boost the body's natural healing ability and makes people a little bit high at the same time.   The insects were not sent to the Black Forest since that would have wasted a lot of energy from the people who initiated the attack. However, I don't think the insects would win. Their body is more unstable since they are artificial creation, while the trees are very old and all of their cells have a high concentration of magic. Even if the insects manage to eat a bit of the trees, the sentience would still be there in the magic that is extracted from it and it would rip the insects from the inside :D

To see what I am up to:WE pledge and article list.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
18 Apr, 2021 10:53

I've added the description of what eating an apple is like to the uses section :D

To see what I am up to:WE pledge and article list.
Powered by World Anvil