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Sentry Vine

The Green Guardian

"You know old Hallens down near Sudensun? He can grow crops all year round thanks to his vine and when trespassers come in the night, his vine will grasp them by the ankle and catch them, so they say."
— Anonymous citizen of Narsemtour
        The sentry vine is one of the most useful plants in all of Pentham. Some even say Penthaar, deity of Pentham, gifted his spirit to the plants and as such the vine is one of the few remaining relics of the ancient age. Known for its semi-sentient responses to changes in its atmosphere, the vine protects and nourishes the crops or other plants in a given distance. Beloved by all, except trespassers and robbers that is, the sentry vine became a common hero in folklore, often saving the protagonist in the story and bringing punishment to the guilty. Although the stories tend to become far-fetched over time, the sentry vine still does its job and over centuries, has single-handedly kept the agricultural market from crashing. Through disaster and chaos, the sentry vine kept food on the table for all of Mescar.   The primary function of the Sentry Vine is to sense trespassers and robbers and ward them off one's property. Prized for their unfailing ability to seize the unwelcome person by the ankle with a tendril, the Sentry Vine is an important necessity for farming in Mescar and neighboring countries.

Physical Appearance

  The core of the sentry vine in a bell shaped segment covered in thick, almost scaly organic material. This core is a foot in diameter and about two feet tall and is almost impossible to breech as the plant is sentient and can detect danger. The core anchors itself in the soil with numerous vines emerging underground from the base of the bell. These vines become as thick or thicker than a human's arm. These vines are as strong as reinforced steel and can withstand an ax easily.    When its owner alerts the sentry vine that it needs to move in order to be transplanted in another area, the vine will dispel all its water suddenly and shrink up into the core. This way the owner can carry the plant easily to its new location.  

The core of a Sentry Vine in a field (by --merlin--)

Reproduction and Germination

The sentry vine does not reproduce very quickly, in fact some vines have a genetic defect which does not let them reproduce. A sentry vine gathers nutrients throughout the majority of a year then the vine core will open and a single seed will emerge. After the first seed has been produced, subsequent seeds will be created on the same night annually until the Sentry Vine dies.    The vine creates this seed by splitting off a segment of its own genetics and DNA and supplementing the split section with nutrients gathered from the earth to create a new seed. Sentry vines, however are very particular about nutrition and location when gathering energy for reproduction and will not reproduce if its needs are not met or if it is in hibernation for travel. A typical sentry vine will produce a forty seedlings in its lifetime.  

Growth Habits

As a seedling, a sentry vine must be nurtured with care for the first year so it can grow into the indestructible guardian of plants which it is famed for. When the seed is first taken from the parent plant, the seed will be in hibernation until planted and can last in this state for up to a hundred years.   Seedlings are prized in the agricultural market as they will give the buyer the more prime lifespan than a full grown sentry vine. The seedling grows a single tendril into the soil then the seed shell transforms into the core where the plant soul will dwell. After its first year, the plant is ready to be planted in a field, although its range will be limited due to core size. After a few years, a full grown sentry vine will be able to reach up to a mile in diameter underground. When the vine reaches an elderly age of fifty, the coverage will shrink again and the core will diminish in size and lose its green color.    

Climate Preferences

Although the sentry vine can be found anywhere in civilized Pentham, the vine prefers places with cooler climate and damper soil. It is known to grow very well on the northeastern borders of the Mith Sea where fog is plentiful.  

Nutritional Needs

The sentry vine requires plenty of water when growing as it needs extra liquid in order to extend its vines into the earth effectively. It draws nutrients from the soil and has been known to eat plant parasites and small grubs without taking harm to itself. The vine regulates the amount of bugs in the earth to the crops needs and, as such, will absorb the excess in order to protect the other plants.    In order to eat more solid things such as grubs, the vine will grasp its food and will quickly encircle with greenery. The vine can transfer semi-liquid substance from one tendril to another so it can grow almost instantly around the food. It will then suffocate its food and dissolve it to eat it. It is very rare that anyone has seen a sentry vine act carnivorous above ground although it does happen.  

Travel and Transplanting

When the owner of a sentry vine moves location and wishes to bring the vine with them, the sentry vine will remove its tendrils from the earth by discharging its liquid into the soil and will shrink inside the core plant, ready for transport. The farmer can notify the plant by placing it's hand on the core. The plant will recognize the hand and the signal and will comply to be moved.   When outside of the earth, the owner needs to submerge the core in a container of water in order to keep the basic functions of the plant in motion. When traveling, one may see a farmer carrying such a heavy pack on his back as he moves on to a new future.    

Societal and Monetary Value

While the sentry vine is used mostly for the protection and supplement of crops, sentry vines have been used as security measures in wealthy peoples homes or barricades for prisons. The sentry vine is well known as a fantastic trading piece as their value never goes down in price. Since sentry vines do not have a high reproduction rate and last a long time, they are a good investment and any up for sale will be snatched up immediately.  

Abnormal Semi-Sentient Qualities

  The sentry vine is a semi-sentient plant allowing it to sense danger, ill intent, trespassers, sickness in other plants, weather, insuring disasters and other such things. Its abilities allow it to react to potential dangers and protect both the field or fields of crops, an area of land (preferably undeveloped), and the owner and all beings the owner trusts or are under its care.   When the vine is alerted of an intruder in the area, the vine will emit a reddish glow from the core and the homing link, a specialized vine tendril growing above ground just outside the owners house, will squeeze inside the house either under the door or through a window and emit the same light (some owners have built a little 'vine door', a small hole in the wall for the vine to come in through). The vine will do the same if a crop had reached a point the vine cannot sustain them wholly but will shine blue, not red.    

Sensing Threats

Robbers and trespassers fear the Sentry Vine as it can always tell when someone unwanted is on the property. By sensing vibrations in the ground and using a special magical sense to detect types of life, the Sentry Vine can never be fooled as to the nature and intention of a visitor.    Normal community members just out for a chat or visit don't have to fear the vine since it knows weather you intend harm or good. In the case of someone with evil intent, the vine has been known to burst up out of the ground and entangle the trespasser's feet with its greenery. The vine is never wrong and farmers rely upon the 'soul sensing' capabilities of the plant to guard their property and goods.  

Owner Loyalty

The vine is always loyal to its owner. When one purchases a vine, the new owner places it's hand on the core of the plant for a few minutes until a faint green glow could be seen along the seams of the core. This way, the owner has registered itself with the plant and the vine can detect the owners life force amongst others. The handprint is used to notify the vine of a transplant.    
"I tell you, last night I was on my way here on the main road and the fog was just as bad as ever but I swear I saw the Karnm family vine light up. The house lit up and they all came barreling out to see what was the matter and I heard a few pairs of feet and what sounded like hooves running behind me but the fog was to thick that way and I couldn't see."
— Arik of Meerenah
60 years
Conservation Status
Sentry Vines are very well protected as they are coveted amongst various groups.
Average Height
two feet
Average Weight
core - ten lbs., whole - unmeasured
Average Length
core - 1 foot, whole - 1 mile
A segment of Sentry Vine above ground

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
2 Apr, 2021 22:20

Nice article and nice plant, it sounds very useful! :D   Some notes I took while reading the article:   You could use the quote function for your first paragraph too, to highlight it.   " Sentry Vines are very well protected as they are coveted amongst various groups." Aren't the vine the one who do the protection? XD   "Beloved by all, except trespassers and robbers that it," I think you have a "hate" missing here.   Nice images, I found the illustrations helpful. However, you need to add author credits for your image, even the one you drew yourself.   How do people signal to the vine to move? Why do the vine obey them?   " A sentry vine gathers nutrients throughout the majority of a year then on the eve of its own creation, the vine core will open and a single seed will emerge" I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. The vine core is already there, the vine is just reproducing by creating a seed, right? So it's not really on the even of the creation of the vine itself, but rather on the eve of the creation of the seed, right?   " the vine will grasp its food will quickly in circle its prey with greenery." Do you mean "by quickly circling its prey with greenery"?   " It is very rare that anyone has seen a sentry vine act carnivorous." So it only eats insect? What does it do with robbers and trespassers then? You also say later they almost never catch robbers. They are only a warning mechanism for their owners then?   How does the plant recognise its owner from other people like trespassers? Is it a magical bond? Do a new owner need to do something specific to make the plant recognise them? Like give them blood, cast a spell… Or do they just tell them "now you're mine" and the plant is able to hear and understand that?

To see what I am up to, my latest article is Geography of magic for the River Challenge
3 Apr, 2021 17:14

Thanks for your kind feedback! I really appreciate the help. Sometimes it takes another person asking questions to get information the author implies in their own mind out into words. You will find updated and clarified sections here in the article! :)

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
3 Apr, 2021 20:58

The new additions do answer my questions, well done :D I'm glad you found my comments useful!

To see what I am up to, my latest article is Geography of magic for the River Challenge
5 Apr, 2021 22:11

Nice concept of a plant! It seems like a really smart plant that can know the intent of the intruder. Can it only do this due to the vibrations of the earth like you said or does it also have a sort of mind reading ability? The images were a nice addition to give me an indication of how the plant looks. I also love the idea of people actually having some kind of dog door but for the vine :p   One improvement that can still be made is perhaps to add some spaces in the longer blocks of text. That makes it a bit easier to read. In all nice read!

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
7 Apr, 2021 03:50

Thanks for the feedback! I'll make sure to space out the paragraphs. :) To answer your question about the sensing capabilities of the vine, the vibrations in the earth notify the vine of a presence then the the vine will reach out with it's magical capability to read intentions and will decide what to do from there. Anyways, thanks for showing interest in my work!

11 Apr, 2021 22:45

Neat! But it was a bit frustrating to take half the article before finally reading exactly how they do their jobs as sentries. =/ It'd make more sense to have a quick summary in the intro.

12 Apr, 2021 18:06

Thanks for the input! I had forgotten about that! I'll see to editing it shortly :)