- May 24, 2020
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From moist soil they sprout, eyes of wonder atop, stern roots below.
Back to mud they go, season after season, awaiting their ascent.
Origins of Asmenfolia
Anatomy of Asmenfolia
Subspecies of Asmenfolia
Art & References
Origins of Asmenfolia
Asmenfolia, a word that originates from a prototypical dialect of Human speech used by the first settlers of Ynslee, to describe particularly magical or life-like species’ of plants. Meaning literally “As Men but plants” or “To Be like plants but like men”, they were so aptly named because of the enamorement they produced in nomadic man when observing seemingly intelligent and mortal behaviours in these little floral folk. Asmenfolia are believed to predate the majority of beings in Enarion, being a much more primitive form of life. Long before Fauna arose from the muck and mud, or fish traversed the bottoms of oceans - the Asmenfolia grew in the light of a younger sun and bathed in eerie energies of the void.
Whether you could argue that they had risen from the ground, at first, from the arcane influence of energies forthwhence, or by sheer luck of their make, the Asmenfolia were amongst the first beings to walk across the surface of Enarion. Unlike mortal-kinds, they could not leave their enduring mark on the landscape - but everywhere that can be seen and touched is likely to have felt the inhabitants of Asmenfolian broods over the long life-ages of the continent.Life sprouted, at first, in exposure to the Life Rune. Plants of all sizes, denominations and types beyond the imagination and ilk of modern reckonings. Flourishing and thriving for aeons, the seeds of the Asmenfolia spread far and into many corners of the earth.
Though most of plants were natural, not all could maintain that status, some were artificially imbued and selected by mortals in later ages. Taken time to experiment and learn of their unique properties; new species, mutations and properties were arranged in descendent broods.
The lifecycle of the Asmenfolian genus is the most curious of all of their features. When a specimen reaches the end of their life, whether that be a few short days or an entire season they will crawl towards their local broods’ spawning grounds. Herein they will bury themselves or ensure supplantion within soils surrounding a crude effigy which oversees the spawning soils of the next generation of Asmenfolia. From the decaying bodies of the last generation, the spores of the infantile next generation will grow.
It was not until the early ages of the Dwarfs, first pioneering and exploring the natural cave systems of Enarion, that the Asmenfolia - or subterranean broods thereof - were discovered. Developing a symbiotic relationship with the water-drinking Asmenfolia, the Dwarfs discovered that their spawning grounds bore effigies of a unique rune in a style unbeknownst to their kind. Recognizing that the simple-minded Fungi had imbued meaning in this symbol of their lifecycle, the Dwarfs hypothesized the meaning of this rune to be taken literally for the value of Life. Dwarf Kind soon realized the value of the Fungal folk though, with their capability for a bioluminescence when exposed to bodies of water that didn’t burn oxygen like flame, and their natural capability to traverse and navigate subterranean passages. These qualities formed a tight bond between Dwarven miners and early spelunkers, and their companion Asmenfolia, who were brought back into Dwarven holds as utilitarian companions and menial servants. Over the centuries, the broods of Asmenfolia began to adopt some of the more rugged characteristics of their Dwarven masters, although it is to be noted that they don’t truly lack an understanding of culture but rather mimic it through exposure. Particularly to note is their fondness for mining shanties and song, humming along to the chorus of Dwarven miners as they dig. Either submerged in mounted jars of water, or given drinks by their proprietors, the fungal folks rely on water as a source of nutrients and to power their bioluminescent qualities - a trait that was poached and bred into prominence by the Dwarfs.
Many ages later, after their settlement of the South, the peoples of Elfdom discovered woodland and meadow-originating broods of Asmenfolia, particularly those with natural resemblance and make akin to species of herbs and roots. Their study of these species lead to an understanding that their origin lay in unique magics exhibited by the Ether, which although poorly understood, can be seen to have mutated the Asmenfolia from mundane Flora just as they would have mutagenically affected larger flora to deviate into species like the forest Ent and their Entlings. Although they study unique life, the peoples of Elfdom seldom came into contact with the floral folk, choosing to let them remain in their solitary existence within the depths of the woodland realms.When finally Man had accomplished settlement on Enarion, they had also discovered the western broods of the fungal folk. Unlike Elfdom, they hadn’t thought to leave them in peace, instead experimenting with the essences and ground humours of the Asmenfolia. The floral folk became a poached species, used for their herbal healing properties when correctly prepared. Although wild broods still existed through the years, many ended up dwindled in numbers.
Anatomy of Asmenfolia
From one species to another, the physiology and physiognomy varies greatly, although the commonalities across the whole genus illustrate crude understandings of how this unique classification of life is built, and how that may affect their behaviours, social practices, and preferred habitat.
The first classification of Asmenfolia is by far the most common - this variation of plants represents the floral colours of Enarion. Plants, flowers and bushes make up the majority of this subdivision. Angiosperm are most like mundane flora and are therefore the easiest to understand and grasp for Enari. The largest factor defining the looks of Angiosperm is its foliage, these plants gather nutrients through photosynthesis and need sufficient foliage coverage in order to do so efficiently. They spend most of the day trying to catch sunlight upon their leaves and foliage from which energy is created and dispersed from the leaves all the way through the branches, to the stem. This means they rely on direct contact with the sun and shall, depending on their size of foliage and behavioral patterns, stick further from the ground than other Asmenfolia.
The second classification of Asmenfolia are most alike to root-related plants - think of carrots or other grainy vegetables. In comparison to the Angiosperm, these plants rely mostly on gathering nutrients from the ground - using stem and root to drain minerals and water from the soil they sprout from. These Asmenfolia are anatomically quite sturdy, their structure fibrous and tough to ensure the safe transport of nutrients through its floral veins. This plant does not rely on sunlight, they are therefore more commonly found in sheltered biomes with fertile soil to settle within. Due to the intense labour of draining minerals and the hefty lower-body of the Vascular Folia, these plants are individually unable to move around themselves. Instead they try to lure wildlife towards them - disguising as a potential source of food. These animals pick the flora from the ground and naturally disperse its seed and host across various sections regions of Enarion.
The fungal folia anatomy revolves around either mushroom or humanistic characteristics, involving a resemblance towards either category. For organisms resembling mushrooms such as Palumosos and Lucetumbras, they hold their upper bodies as the stalk and cap and their lower half as the roots. For natural practices, whether involving photosynthesis from the sun or absorbing nutrients from the ground, both regions function similarly to a typical mushroom, but with a small twist. Given the adaptations of specific subspecies of fungal folia, they may consist of “abnormalities” to how their anatomy compares with other organisms. A common comparison may be the Lucetumbras’ mushroom hood gills, where their luminescent glow takes place. While typical mushrooms have small, thin gills resembling iron bars, Lucetumbra gills are more thicker and sturdy, further growing as they travel up the body. While most likely an adaptation to cold climates, this is but one example to how subspecies deviate themselves from their mushroom and human counterparts.
Regarding growth and reproduction, these fungi release spores from their burrows and from there, the wind and local wildlife transport these sprouts around the region. While this carriage process is unpredictable, so is the competitive nature for fungal folia. Offspring aren’t cooperative with one another, as once they breach into the reality around them, their main concern is simple; grow, and don’t let anything stop you. Even if it means absorbing the nutrients from fellow offspring, only the strong can survive amongst these populations. That is, if the conditions are favorable enough. With the unfortunance of settling into a difficult terrain for growth, the fungal folia must create for themselves a productive environment. From there, breaches to their typical adaptations may be seen, such as Palumosos having wider caps and more bountiful bundles of flora on their heads when in sunny regions/hotter climates. In essence, their anatomy is in a state of constant change, a fluidity that involves mastery in adaptation. To be successful, one must be able to be productive.
Asmenfolia are as varied and rich in distinction as all of the mortal races combined; each major habitat on Enarion hosts several species of the floral folk. That being said, there are groupings amongst the floral folk as according to their geographical location. Particularly speaking; there are the Fungal flôric living primarily in the subterranean caverns and tunnels of the Dwarves but also in some select regions of marshland, the Arboreal flôric tend to migrate throughout the heavily forested regions of Enarion and make their most permanent homes in the most untamed wilderness, in addition to the former two the Meadow flôric make their home amongst shrubbery and brush.
Definition - flôric: “A grouping of interconnected magical flora in a habitat, not unlike the term ‘Trophic’ for Fauna.”
Primarily speaking, the majority of Fungal flôric don’t stray from their caves and caverns, so they have no citing or knowledge of surface seasons, indeed they are unique in that they rely on no cycle at all for their life-cycles. It's common for species of Fungal flôric to live approximately 2-6 months, dependent on species, as they age, they become often larger and drier with division of moisture becoming increasingly internal. It is understandable then, that these fungal folk are entirely vulnerable to sunlight and the brightness of that magnitude. Besides magma flows, which nothing organic should likely grow near, or other bioluminescent life, the Fungal folks’ entire visible spectrum exists usually in the dim-pitch black range. Thus, if a Fungal folk is exposed to broad sunlight in any quantity, not only can you expect extreme pain from their immediate blindness - a debilitating ailment explained later herein - but older specimens are liable to burst into flame from their extremely dry outer skin.
It is to note that besides their eyesight, which is only mildly valuable in the subterranean realm, the Fungal folk also possess incredibly sensitive skin useful in detecting air currents and pressure changes in the nearly-enclosed atmosphere of caves. Thus, exposure to sunlight deprives them of both useful senses, and without either, they are incapable of preserving their next generation, thus perpetuating the species.
The Arboreal flôric are the most diverse and largely populated of the floral groups, being found in nigh every corner of Enarion in one species or another. Their versatility is rendered thusly because of their relation to mundane herbs and brushes - that is to say that there is clear biological and morphological resemblance between species of mundane or near-mundane herbs, and the equally descendent Arboreal species of Asmenfolia. The belief, Pomologically speaking, is that Asmenfolia originated as magically mutant offspring of the ancestors of these modern herbs, and they evolved divergently from the same genetic ancestors. Because of this, many species in the arboreal flôric tend to possess physiological properties when correctly processed, ground or refined for hydrological, alchemical, and magical purposes. To this end, many arboreal species are heavily poached and endangered because - although it was humans who first popularized the practice - many mortal establishments now cater their products around the properties of flôric extracts and essences.
Finally, we arrive at discussion of the Meadow-bound flôric, those species of asmenfolia most native to the shrublands along the west-coast of Enarion. Generally speaking the Meadow-bearing species of Asmenfolia are rarer and less populous, this is a product of less complex trophic chains out in the meadows, less prey to feed on and less to interact with (perhaps also being that there's less plants to have been mutated in said meadows and plains). The flôric of the meadow do tend towards being more carnivorous or active then those of the forests, chiefly because they have to be in order to survive. During the drier seasons, chiefly spring, the various arboreal and meadow species flower and seed in exceedingly higher numbers then the winter and autumn months. This leads to an explosion of local populations and thus coincides with many poaching hunts led by human and elf towns/cities throughout regional landscapes.
When an Asmenfolia is spawned from their spawning grounds (being any area of clear soil around their devoted life rune), they go on throughout their prescribed lifespan performing the behavioural cycles unique to each of the species of Asmenfolia. Towards the end of each lifecycle, in a method unknown to mortal researchers, most all Asmenfolia will sense their lifespan is coming to a close and return to (if they’re a mobile species) their seeding grounds. Burying themselves in or around these fertile soils of rebirth, their body will become fertilizer for the next generation of seeds/spores , which relative to their size and biological complexity, mature quite quickly overall.
Subspecies of Asmenfolia
Not unlike other flora on Enarion, Asmenfolia are varied and can be divided into countless subspecies. Some settle in forests, others seek shelter under water - some simply look like grass, others may intimidate you. Although these floral monstrosities have predated us and been with us since, many species are still undiscovered - awaiting to be found.
Many subspecies of Asmenfolia are to be discovered, depending on the findings of the playerbase - they will be added below this post.
Art & References
Credits to Blockaxe and Andydreww for assisting me with this piece!