Fungus Trial Tradition / Ritual in Melyria | World Anvil

Fungus Trial

The content of this article might be very upsetting for those who feel squeamish; discretion is adviced.
One of the darkest methods of joining a Circle of druids might be the Fungus ritual. It is one of the several techniques that druids may enter into Circle of Spores and only one known among the Druids of Lokinanda. By the active meditation and giving oneself to the mercy of nature will either grant them power or turn them to a mindless husks.


One who wishes to join the circle of spores will volunteer themselves to elders of the circle, requesting the trial. If the elders deem them strong enough for the attempt, the ritual is started, and it can last up to two weeks. A wound is cut to participant's skin, on an area of their choosing.   Some prefer to have the scar visible to them; others rather have it on their back or back of their arm, so they don't need to see the gruesome process, nor it will be easy to scratch the spot as the ritual goes on. This goes purely by the participant's comfort and preference. Scar of the trial will last for life, so extra care is put on choosing the spot.   After the wound is open, it is tied with bandages and living Rotheart-fungus, a type of swamp mold that eats dying trees. In the next few weeks, the fungus will start to grow inside the participant's body, while participants with meditation, clearing their mind and being vigilant will try to bind themselves to their parasite. If they are successful, the relationship turns in to symbiotic, and fungus stops growing, becoming a natural part of the participant's body and fading out of sight leaving only veiny scars behind. If they fail and the process is too far to remove the fungi, it will eat them from inside, leaving an empty, mindless husk that eventually rots away.   Successful participants become part of the circle and symbiosis grants them new powers on protecting themselves with the spores, and even guarding them on sickness. After symbiosis is complete, there are no ill effects caused by the state.

Components and tools

The ritual requires a clean, ritual knife, medicines, and part of living Rotheart-fungus. Rotheart can be found in deep swamps and doesn't usually cause trouble on most living creatures, though it does decompose plants. It will affect non-plants only if they stick to open wounds and some cases on soft tissue like the inside of the mouth. Rotheart requires humidity to thrive, and as such, it is mostly harmless.


Druid who wishes to join the circle of spores is required to consider their wish for a good while, as unwilling participants usually can't handle the stress and even under surveillance, the last stages of the metamorphosis are deadly for those who lack the necessary strength and skill. During their trial, older circle members will tend to them with the best of their ability, observing, educating and intervening if required.
Related Ethnicities

Cover image: Full moon by Guillaume M.


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