The Immortal Feyflower

When Father Berdea created the Fey creatures, his intent was for them to revel in the beauties of his works on Cartyrion forever. Thus, the Fey do not grow old and die as most other beings on Cartyrion do. But Berdea also knew that accidents could happen, and he knew that one day, other Astralar and powers of the Astral Realms would introduce treachery to the world. Berdea provided a way for his beloved Fey to transcend these circumstances. The form his solution takes is that of the feyflower.

Whenever the heart of a Fey ceases to beat, a feyflower will blossom to mark the spot and memorialize the joy and life of the creature that can no longer partake of the wonders of Berdea's creations.

Note the exquisite structure and balance of the flower. Each petal much like all the others, and all arranged in perfect symmetry. It is clear that Father Berdea intended this flower to be a testament to the beauty and order of his works, as well as to the place the fey hold in the maintenance of that order.
— Elven teacher addressing her students.

Gremlinweed

In the time since Berdea created the Fey, other deities have appeared and made their mark upon Cartyion. Some of these lacked the power to create life from the magical energies that permeate the world, but they had the skill and ability to warp and twist life that existed into shapes and demeanors more suited to them. One of these - Gremdial of the Mysticar - twisted and adulterated Berdea's Fey into the creatures called Gremlins . As there are many Fey species, so too are there many Gremlin species - each tracing its origins back to one of Berdea's creations. While Gremdial was able to twist and reshape his targets, he could not completely alter their base nature. Thus, the Gremlins, like the Fey, are immortal - though killable. And when they do die, an analog of the feyflower grows to mark the place where they fell. Some call these darkflowers, or black feyflowers, but the most common name for them is gremlinweed.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Feyflowers (and gremlinweeds) grow a single stem from which a few ligulate leaves emanate. The stem is crowned by a single flower blossom.
Feyflower.png
In the case of the feyflowers, this blossom is composed of hundreds of petals arranged in symmetric circles around a central core containing structures that resemble stamens and pistil. These are not functioning reproductive elements, though, for just like the Fey that spawned it, the feyflower is incapable of propagating itself.

The fully grown size of the plant, and the specific color and petal structure of each feyflower are both dependent on the subspecies of Fey from which the flowers sprout. Thus, one well trained in the lore of the feyflower can determine whether the unfortunate creature that fell was a Brownie or Sprite, a Pixie or Nixie, or any of the other types of Fey.

Regardless of variety, the plants produce a faint, but exceptionally pleasant aroma that some say is capable of inducing a sense of mild euphoria. This aroma is commonly referred to as Berdea's Breath.

The nectar of the plant, when collected and properly refined, has magical properties.

Now you all know of the relationship between Fey and Gremlin... the latter were formed out of the former by Gremdial who deigned to pollute Father Berdea's beautiful works. Because of their heritage, Gremlins, too, are immortal, though subject to death by violence. And when killed, their immortal nature is also manifest by the growth of a plant. But, just as the Gremlins are dark and twisted caricatures of the Fey from which they were spawned, so too are the plants that mark their passing. They are but dark and twisted reflections of the feyflower.
— Elven teacher addressing her students.

Gremlinweed.png
Gremlinweed, like the creature it springs from, is a misshapen shadow of the form that Berdea intended. Like the feyflower, a single blossom from a single stem is found. While the leaves are still ligulate, they have irregular edges: sometimes serrate, sometimes undulate, sometimes both. The leaves may have colorations ranging from dark greens to blood reds and near blacks. The flower itself is irregularly shaped; always dark in color.

The aroma emitted from the flower extends the theme of the plant - and the creature from which it spawned - a distorted shadow of what Berdea intended. The scent is best defined as putrid, reminiscent of rotting meat. Where bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the blossoms of the feyflower, it is only flies that seek out the gremlinweed blossom.

Genetics and Reproduction

Put simply, feyflowers or gremlinweeds cannot be propagated. They do not produce seeds, and cuttings taken fron a stem or leaf cannot produce a new plant. If the blossom is cut from the stem, it will immediately lose its aroma (and magical potential), and will rapidly wither. The plant will, however, grow a new blossom within twenty-four hours.

It is possible to dig up an entire plant specimen for transplantation elsewhere. Care must be taken, however, to ensure that enough soil is collected so that the remains of the Fey or Gremlin that spawned the plant are included. If insufficient soil is taken, the removed plant will immediately wither, and a new one will begin to grow in its place, taking about three days to mature.

Growth Rate & Stages

When a Fey creature dies, it decomposes into something resembling damp, fertile soil within a few minutes, and the feyflower stem will appear within the next hour or so. The plants grow to maturity rapidly, taking no more than three days to mature and produce its single blossom. Similarly, Gremlins also decompose almost immediately, but their remains are more reminiscent of manure than clean, fertile soil.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

The nectar of the Feyflower is a key component in the most powerful of alchemical healing elixirs, and is often used in the preparation of more powerful magical potions that render healing or restorative effects. Those who have achieved very high levels of expertise in these crafts will often seek out specimens of Feyflowers in the wild and carefully transport them to their own work places. It takes at least two weeks of collecting nectar from a single plant to brew but a single batch of these potions - hence the very high cost of the product. But this also means that a knowledgeable artisan would be willing to pay handsomely for a properly harvested specimen.

Gremlinweed also has its alchemical and potion-based uses, though these are not for healing or restoration. In fact, different varieties of Gremlinweed have varied uses, ranging from deadly poisons to mutagenic compounds that can be used to produce undesirable (for the recipient) effects. While the market for these concoctions - or for the plants required to make them - is not nearly as "open" as that for Feyflowers, the demand and associated costs are quite high.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Because the Fey are everywhere on Cartyrion, Feyflowers (and Gremlinweed) can also be found everywhere. But just as the different varieties of Fey prefer particular biomes, the specific varieties of Feyflowers will also tend to be clustered according to the surrounding environment. The flowers that emanate from the remains of naiads, for example, will almost always be found along river and lake banks.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Those with the magical ability to Speak With Plants have reported that both feyflowers and gremlinweeds appear to retain much of the memory and personality of the creatures that spawned them, though memories are cloudy and temperament is magnified. Neither type of plant is of much use when, for example, asking about other creatures that may have simply passed through an area. A feyflower's attention is on the natural world around it. It can report on disturbances to the natural essence of the immediate surroundings, but brief transitional events are often overlooked. Similarly, gremlinweeds will have taken notice of any serious, lasting mischief that may have been perpetrated within its sensory range, but transient events are often missed.

When communicating with a feyflower, the plant offers responses in a serene, peaceful manner. The gremlinweed, on the other hand, responds with sharp, terse, and often insulting replies.

It has been universally reported that neither feyflower nor gremlinweed are capable of describing the circumstances of the demise of the creature that spawned the flower itself.

Credits

Feyflower -- Photo by Tavin Dotson on Unsplash
Gremlinweed -- Photo by Sam Skyer on Unsplash

Banner image by RPGDinosaurBob using Flowscape on Steam.
Side panel forest images by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Side panel Fey images by RPGDinosaurBob using Hero Forge

Cover image: The Inn from the Bridge over Daphinia's Stream by RPGDinosaurBob (with Flowscape)

Comments

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20 Mar, 2021 21:54

This is a great article. I love the idea behind this plant, and how poetic and nice it is for it to be left behind by a dead fey. The description are great and I like the contrast between both sorts of lowers.   I have a few commets/suggestions:   "The stem is crowed by a single flower blossom." Crowded felt like a weird word choice when there is only one flower.   I would put the "growth" section nearer to the top since I was wondering about that earlier. I was a bit distracted by thinking about decomposing corpses lying around!   I'm also wondering if in the few hours window between the death and the flower blossoming the corpse can be moved so people can choose where to have it grows? What would be the preferred location in those cases? In the garden of the next of kin? Or do all the feys prefer to avoid seeing the flowers and the reminder of the dead feys?   In the next section you say that people try to find flowers in the wild to move it to their workplace. Is it not frown upon by the other feys?   Also since the flowers are sentient, what's their opinion about being moved? Or do people not care if they can't speak with them?   Is there any way to definitely kill the flowers?   I'm also wondering about how the flowers communicate since they can't speak. You could add a tooltip with " Speak With Plants" – unless you plan to make an article about that later.

Feel free to check my my plant challenge article!
Sage dinosaurbob
Bob O'Brien
21 Mar, 2021 13:12

Thanks for the feedback! "Crowed" was indeed missing a letter, but it's "crowned", not "crowded". That's been fixed. The sequence of sections at the moment is governed by the template. I'm still considering whether or not to move everything to vignette and resequence. I might... I might not. You're correct... the fey aren't thrilled with people digging up their plants, which makes doing so all the more challenging (and all the more costly!) You could move the "remains" before/while the flower grows, yes. This introduces an even more dubious method of collecting them: killing a fey and "potting" it immediately. Not nice, but a potential adventure plot feature! It's not so much that the plants are "sentient"... perhaps a bit more than "ordinary" plants... but "Speak with Plants" is a thing, so I wanted to lay out some parameters for GMs that may need to deal with it. Something that annihilates matter completely would kill the plant. A "Sphere of Annihilation" is a popular thing in D&D and Pathfinder... A "Disintegrate" spell would probably do it too. I mention that Speak With Plants is a magical ability. In D&D, Pathfinder, and other systems, it's a spell that some casters - especially druids - can acquire. The communication this spell grants is usually telepathic since, as you point out, the flowers can't actually speak.   Hope these explanations clear up a few things!

5 Apr, 2021 11:38

I like the changes you've made to the article since I last read it! This answers a lot of the questions I had :D

Feel free to check my my plant challenge article!
Sage dinosaurbob
Bob O'Brien
5 Apr, 2021 15:27

Thanks for the re-read! I do try to pay attention to comments and on-stream critiques. I admit I don't make use of every recommendation, but if it becomes obvious that something is unclear, I try to fix it. In this case, I added a few new lore bits that I hadn't fully formed in my mind at the time of the first writing. Hopefully, it improved the article!

21 Mar, 2021 10:02

This is a really lovely work! The origin of these plants is really poetic, the fact that they were a god's gift to his favourite creatures really makes this sweet. I find the inclusion of gremlinweed really interesting too, and it makes a lot of sense for it to exist given the world.   I wonder what the perception of people who use feyflower for alchemical purposes is- does it raise any ethical concerns, or is it commonly accepted?

Feel free to check out my submission to the Peculiar Plant Challenge !
Sage dinosaurbob
Bob O'Brien
21 Mar, 2021 13:15

Thanks for the comment!   Amelie had essentially the same question! Do the fey like people digging up their old friends and carting them off? Probably not! They certainly wouldn't approve of folks killing them to make flowers! The potential for ethical dilemma is there -- and could be used as a plot device in an adventure or story!

24 Mar, 2021 21:18

Congratulations for this article! It was a pleasant read, and a fairly unique take as well! This entry is both an interesting plant concept, and a just as original take on some afterlife, which I really liked!   As mentioned by you and the oher comments, the use of Feyflower (and the danger of starting to hunt feykind to turn them into flowers) seems like a good ethical question, and point of entry for some conflicts.   Do feys and gremlins go to war? An ancient battlefield between immortal beings, covered by flowers, would seem like a breathtaking, poetic sight.   I do not have a lot to tell you as feedback, to be honest: this is already a good article as it is! I'd just mention that the bold text seems to be in a different font from the rest of the text: you may want to change that. If you want to add something, you may want to give a few details about the way gremlins and feys view feyflowers and gremlinweeds, and how they typically interact with those.

With love,   Pouaseuille.   Feel free to check out my entry for the Peculiar Plant challenge! Or don't, if you don't want to.
Sage dinosaurbob
Bob O'Brien
25 Mar, 2021 00:18

Thank you for taking the time to comment! To give you my thoughts (anticipations)... Fey and gremlins don't generally fight... they tend to avoid each other though. The Fey are at once repulsed by the gremlins and at the same time pity them. The gremlins despise the fey for their pity, but at the same time see them as "what they once were". Remember, since both are immortal, the gremlins that were "altered" were once fey themselves... and they remember! That said, there are indeed fields where many of each have died. Many such fields are 2000 years old and hail back to "the Great Strife" - which was a god-war that spilled over onto the world itself and wreaked much devastation.

25 Mar, 2021 14:12

Thanks for this answer: I did expect that feys and gremlins were somewhat pacific enough not to directly go to war against one another. Still, it is a good idea to present things such as that ancient god-war!

With love,   Pouaseuille.   Feel free to check out my entry for the Peculiar Plant challenge! Or don't, if you don't want to.
25 Mar, 2021 12:05

What a lovely plant(s)! I love that they are mysterious but relatively common. It seems that the plants are particularly difficult to kill, so in a generic, linear timeline sense: what prevents the world/an area from being over-crowded with these flowers over time?

Sage dinosaurbob
Bob O'Brien
25 Mar, 2021 12:38

Thanks for commenting!   Fey (and hence gremlins) don’t reproduce. All there ever will be were created shortly after the world was formed.

25 Mar, 2021 13:52

Makes sense. Also, now I'm concerned about fey conservation in your world :P

Sage dinosaurbob
Bob O'Brien
26 Mar, 2021 03:30

Good! The adventure arc I'm currently working on (and playtesting) involves the party trying to stop a poaching ring that is killing small fey to collect their wings -- for use in high fashion in a city far to the north.

6 Apr, 2021 14:56

Very interesting concept about how this plant came to be. I also like how the plant remains unkillable since a new bloom or new plant will grow is it gets destroyed. That even corrupted fey produce a flower is also a nice addition. Lovely article!

Feel free to check out my world Niorathand my plant article Mizarin Nightlight
Sage dinosaurbob
Bob O'Brien
6 Apr, 2021 21:53

Thank you!