Power’s Flower
Power’s Flower

Power’s Flower

Power’s Flower

(orchideae proxae)

As happens with all the most meaningful discoveries, this one occurred completely by accident. It seems that the moment you stop looking for something, it happens along and finds you. I wonder what the Signers’d say to that?

I was walking along this morning, hacking away the undergrowth, when I tripped and fell over a root, right onto my face. As I stood up, mud dripping off my nose, I was sure I heard a stifled chuckle.

“Who’s there?” I demanded. “Show yourself!”

There was no answer. I suspected an invisible assailant, so I muttered the words of a spell to detect magic in the area. Scanning around, I saw a fading magical residue on the root which had tripped me, and an enchanted swirl growing around a lilly-white orchid besides the path I’d created.

The little flower’s petals were pulsating, and I could see beads of nectar forming in the head of the blossom. Then suddenly the environment around me began to mutate! The tiny copse of trees grew tall, gnarled and menacing. Haggard limbs reached towards me like zombies in the Mortuary, blades of grass licked at my legs like tongues of hungry beasts, and the branches I’d chopped down lay bleeding on the stained earth.

I was scared.

“You! You create carnage in this sacred grove!” The voice was whispered by the grasses, scratched into my flesh by the brambles, and boomed by the oak trees. It was all around me!

“Calm down, cutter, whoever you are,” I began, in a trembling, not-very-reassuring voice. “I’m sure we can work this out. My name’s the Druid. Who… errr…what are you?”

“Speak not with that name, liar and knight of cross trades,” the floral voice said. It now issued from the orchid before me. Though it was tiny, its curvaceous petals resonated with the words. “We know who you are; we’ve been watching you and your curiosity for a long time with many eyes.”

“Who is we?” I stammered. “How dare you claim I’m not the Druid?”

“Your name is Short Paddy McFarthey. You are a Prime, a halfling, and not a druid of any order we recognise. We are the Plants. All the Plants in the Multiverse.”

I was stunned, to say the least. In fact, it was a while before I could answer at all.

“How can you be all the plants? You’re an orchid, and a mouthy one at that, if you don’t mind me saying so.”

The ground trembled beneath me, and I got the distinct idea that it did mind me saying so. An oak tree beside me dropped all its acorns on my head, at once.

“Okay, okay. I get the message, cutter,” I agreed, in my best plant-soothing voice. As I rubbed the bruises, my magic-sight showed racing streaks of mystic power all about me. Priest magic, if ever I’ve seen it, of the Plant sphere. And all of it emanating from the tiny orchid. It was almost as if it were…

“A priest, in your words, yes…” the orchid finished my thoughts for me.

I grew excited. Perhaps we could strike a deal. “You’re a priest of Sheela Peryroyl too?”

I knew I’d said something horribly wrong when the oak uprooted itself from the wet earth with a creaking squeal, and crashed down inches from me. I’d narrowly avoided becoming pulp.

“Calm down!” I squealed. “Please! I don’t mean harm, really I don’t!”

“You slew my brothers and sisters,” it seethed. I knew it meant the plants I’d been trampling.

“I didn’t realise they were related to you. I’m sorry.” The flower seemed pacified somewhat, so I risked another question. “So which Power do you serve, then?”

The orchid’s stem turned so the flower could look at me. “I follow the One True Power, the King of Plants.”

“Silvanus?” I questioned. “Demeter?”

Again the ground trembled. I watched the trees carefully; it wouldn’t do to get squashed now. “Yggdrasil?” I offered.

The orchid shook with laughter. “A mere sapling! No, none of those. The Herb Lord is only known by plants. You fleshy creatures realise nothing of our culture, nor would you understand it.”

“Try me,” I quipped. “I’m a good listener.”

“We, the Empire of Plants, have penetrated to the heart of your blood-based world. We know your darks, your cant, your petty power squabbles. We know of the Cage, of the Lady, and her secrets too; we have seen them.

“We plants watch everything you do, and we remain silent. What do you know of our nation? Nothing.”

I was about to protest that wasn’t the case, but thought better of it, because it wouldn’t really be true. A whole empire of plants? I just thought they were green and looked nice. They sometimes even tasted nice. But an plane-spanning empire? Was I being peeled?

“It is the truth,” answered the flower. I must’ve been thinking aloud. “You want to learn more, don’t you?”

The orchid was playing with me; tempting me with darks it knew I craved. “What do I have to do?” I asked.

“Join us.”

The presence retreated, and I was left alone in the copse.

The orchid’s silent now, as if it never even spoke. And so I remain, writing down what I’ve seen, not really understanding. Who did the orchid mean by the Herb Lord? A power nobody’s ever heard of, worshipped only by plants? It seems too far-fetched to be real. Think of how mighty it’d be, with those countless infinities of plant worshippers. Still, I’ve seen less plausible things happen.

Where would this Flower Power’s realm be? A dark forest? An orchard? That realm no high-up claims in Elysium? It’ll all be hopeless unless I can find out more.

“Join us”? It’s going to be a great adventure finding out…

See Also: The Valley of the King of Trees for more plant-related ideas.

Source: Jon Winter-Holt, mimir.net

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