Void Polypore

No Gala, I am not going to give you a hug until you do something to get rid of those. I don't want them on me.
— Sable Aradia to Lord Galakrond about the Void Polypore
  The Void Polypore is a fungus that feeds off of the Void residue emitted from the lower two layers of the Void: The Pit and the Twisted Starscape. Often called "Speckled Fungus" or "Starlight Stools" or, far less reverently, "Voidshrooms," the Void Polypore gets its appearance from the places it dwells. Lord Galakrond is the only known cultivator of this fungus.

Basic Information

Anatomy

The starlight stools are like most polypore mushrooms: supporting a stalk; a cap; an hymenium that lives on the underside of the cap in the form of spikes or "teeth"; and gils located on the hymenium.   As the stool grows, the "teeth" of the mushroom will begin to sink until it reaches five millimeters. Each of the caps for the mushrooms has about thirty to fourty spikes.

Genetics and Reproduction

As the polypore grows, it will develop the hymenium. This hymenium carries the spores it needs to reproduce. As it eats and absorbs the void residue through the hymenium it will drop these carried spores towards a given source of gravity; or, in its natural environment, which has no gravity, it releases those spores into the surrounding area. While the polypore is in The Void, it will almost innately never enact a physical form, until it touches and melds with a physical object. Common objects the Void Polypore grows on are the Demonic Spawning Rocks.

Growth Rate & Stages

The Void Polypore goes through three stages in its life: Spore, Tear, and Adult  

Spore Stage

When the speckled fungus is at its spore stage, the mushroom takes the form of a cloud of black with tiny white spots intermingled with the gas. When the spores find a physical object, they will burrow themselves into the object using the tiny but tough microscopic drills each of the spores have. Once the spore has embedded itself into the chosen object, it will rapidly drain the void residue that surrounds the object.   Voidtouched are an excellent source of this residue. Voidtouched like Lord Galakrond have Void Polypores growing on his skin and fur, fueling not only the literomancy he uses, but giving life to the polypore.  

Tear Stage

When the starlight stools reach the tear stage, the mushroom starts to grow on the object. The polypore is a midnight black, helping it camouflage in with the Void's lower layers. The Void Polypore gets the tear stage name because of the shape it takes when budding.   The polypore's cap is shaped like a tear at this stage. Additionally, the edges of the cape and the stripe or "stalk" are bioluminescent, glowing a faint color range of blues, reds, greens, greys, and even on rare occasion whites.   This is when the mushroom is at its most vulnerable point because it has not developed its hymenium teeth yet.  

Adult Stage

  When the Void Polypore reaches its adult stage it has fully bloomed with its cap. The teeth have been fully grown and it is ready for cultivation and/or additional spreading.   In this point of the polypore's life it will develop a small glowing symbol on the cap in the shape of an eye. This eye's coloring resembles whatever the bioluminescent coloring is on the cap.  
I will build you a little carry case but as long as they are growing on your BODY, Gala; I will not touch you. You and your mushrooms can go back to the nip and get happy, please and thank you!
— Sunny Bunny to Lord Galakrond about the Void Polypore

Ecology and Habitats

The Void Polypore, like most mushrooms, cannot survive in the hot rays of direct sunlight for long. In fact, it will wilt and die sooner if exposed to 30 or more seconds of direct sunlight. But, if the cultivator can cover the mushroom before those 30 seconds then they will continue to grow.   Additionally, the mushrooms like to live on living or organic tissue in the Void. It finds inorganic material and decomposed tissue to be not suitable. While it can still grow on decomposed tissue, it will not live as long as other polypores and will be relatively smaller in size as the other mushrooms.

Dietary Needs and Habits

The speckled stools consume residue stemming from the Void. Creatures and objects that have come in contact with the Void; Voidtouched, or creatures and objects made from the Void or permeated with void residue are the only suitable nourishment.   The Void Polypore takes this residue and turns it to fuel for the creature infected with the fungus, and the mushroom itself.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

One of the most common uses for this mushroom is for medicinal purposes. If the mushroom is eaten raw, then it will provide the consumer with an enlightened and mellow feeling, sometimes inspiring creativity for Literomancers.   It is also used in cooking. Raw or cooked, it adds a citrus and spicy tang to the food seasoned with it.   The mushroom can also be used in tea, giving the same mellow effect as it did when eaten raw. This effect can also be extended to extracts and similar products.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

The Void Polypore can be found mostly in The Netherlayers, but may occasionally found in other layers of the Void, or growing wherever there is enough Void residue to sustain it, such as on the bodies of the Voidtouched.
Black mushrooms, seemingly melting
Void Polypore dissolving in sunlight by Bent Neilsen
Scientific Name
Umbran Polytrica
Lifespan
10-20 years if grown outside of the Void; Unknown when grown inside the Void.
Conservation Status
The main caretaker of this fungus is Lord Galakrond, as it is usually growing on his body. He feels a deep need to take care of these mushrooms since they come from the layers in the Void that he specializes in, reserachs, and protects.   Gala will specifically wear darker and less revealing clothes — such as hats, sweatpants, sweatshirt, cloaks, and coats.
Average Height
2-7 inches if grown outside of the Void; 2-7 feet if grown inside the Void
Average Weight
3-8 oz if grown outside of the Void; 1-2 lbs if grown inside the Void
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Most of the Void Polypore is black with speckles across its entire fungus, resembling the starry void that the parasitic plant grows in.   The bioluminescence as explained above varies from blues, red, greens, whites, and greys. But the luminescence is not the one color throughout. The glowing particles on the mushroom can and will shift through different colors in its spectrum.   The "eye" on the cap of the fungus is one solid color and doesn't change or fade like the rest of its bioluminescent coloration.
Geographic Distribution
Discovered by
Spectral images of mushrooms in darkness
Void Polypore in its natural environment by Cadop
Black mushrooms with scaly crowns growing in dead leaves
Void Polypore in the Realms by Ivabalk
An animated badger covered in mushrooms
Galakrond by Melody Relody
 

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Cover image: Lord Galakrond cultivating Void Polyspores by Melody Relody

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