I have much respect for my colleagues in the metaphysical pathology department at the Udenland Institute,  whose Botanical Alchemy Department has made great advances in the area of plant based antidotes, potions and curatives.  They search some of the most inhospitable environments, combing through the underbrush and canopies of dense forests, or the most noxious and dangerous swampland hoping to discover new herbaceous ingredients for the latest miraculous elixir.  Their diligence in pursuit for the most effective cures for everything from the cold to the expulsion of contagion specters, has been inspiring-though, sometimes not so much.  Those of us who are long time residents of Azura City remember when an ambitious botanical student experimenting with mulberry cabbage using an untested dispersion hex hoping to find an acne remedy caused an outbreak of the Vapors Curse though out much of the cities populace.  The ensuing fetid flatulence caused by the curse made for a very trying summer in the city, as we all longed for strong breezes.

Algor Mortis Flower

Also known as:

Plissmen’s Bloom

Henchwoods Guide

Recently Fiona Plissmen, a graduate student in the Temporal Geography Department, made a startling discovery that may change the entire science of Botanical Alchemy. Young Ms. Plissmen was exploring the unchartered eastern edge of the Ragstaad Mountains conducting a routine survey expedition.  She found herself caught in a brutal thunderstorm and having lost her bearings in the deluge she stumbled into a heavily forested glen. Though botany is not her discipline, she immediately realized had found in that remote glen was something truly astounding.  Upon her return to the Institute, Ms. Plissmen met with the heads of the Botanical Alchemy Department and showed them sketches of what she had seen and presented them with a single large red bloom. Within days an expedition was organized and using the very detailed map Ms. Plissmen had drawn they returned to the Glen and were amazed at what they found.

The Algor Mortis Flower or Plissmen’s Bloom has turned out to be a virtual cure all.  Every part of these remarkable blood red flowers has some healing properties. As experiments continue in the labs of Udenland Institute, researchers are claiming that from this single flower they have witnessed it heal everything from broken bones to male pattern baldness. Adding small amounts of the of the blooms nectar to existing elixirs has shown that its potential benefit seems boundless. But, even though it is being hailed as the “miracle plant”, the board of the Udenland Institute, of which I am a member, have agreed to lock away the map and all related information on the Algor Mortis in the Institutes vaults and restrict all travel to Mrs. Plissmen’s hidden glen. Though the flower has proven to be a potential goldmine for advancement in the healing arts it must not ever to be harvested.

I was able to accompany that first expedition to investigate the glen before the ban was placed into effect and what I saw was truly extraordinary. Plissmen’s Bloom is people.  To be specific it is an organism, which appears to be capable of elementary thought and emotion.  We have encountered many plants that appear to respond to external stimulus in a way that appears conscious and deliberate, but is in fact merely a inherent automatic response  evolved as self protection or for procuring sustenance, nothing suggesting cognizant thought (the one known exception to this is the Throckmorton Tree, which is very rare and very rude.) The Algor Mortis Flower shows many signs of sentience as well as the physical characteristics of hominids, which is a tad creepy in my scientific opinion.

They emerge from the soil first appearing as a small common mushroom, within a few short days they rapidly grow to the height of two feet.  Over the course of that initial growth spurt the “cap” of the mushroom transform into an indistinct head.  The features on the “head” are vaguely human, with a rudimentary nose, mouth, and ears, but it is the Algor Mortis’s penetrating grey-blue eyes that are the most disconcerting as they follow any movement that fall within its field of vision. I must admit entering the glen for the first time and seeing dozens of the Plissmen’s all turn their heads and fix their eyes on us was unnerving, still gives me chills.

The stem of the Plissmen broadens as it grows into a torso, of sorts. Some sprout arms, complete with hands and fingers, which dangle, seemingly superfluous at its side.  That is until the Plissmen feels threatened, then the arms suddenly become animated, waving about in a somewhat ineffectual manner. It is not difficult to simply slap the hands away, but you are met with a rather pained expression on the “faces” of the Plissmen. What would be the legs on a conventional human do not exist, as at the “Waist” of the Alga Mortis it is rooted to the ground.

During the first few weeks in the glen we witnessed the mushroom to human transformation several times, but we did not find the actual bloom which has been the source of so much fascination. We were becoming discouraged  when on the night of the full moon we all were abruptly awakened.  The night was remarkably clear and full of the most disturbing sounds,  as if hundreds of cats simultaneously all began to regurgitate up particularly stubborn hairballs. 

It was then that I became aware the Plissmen’s had all turned their faces skyward and their eyes were following the path of the full moon as it passed overhead.  They also appeared to be in great distress, heaving as if trying to draw air, this was the origin of the nauseating noise that has awakened us. I was becoming quite frantic, concerned that the Plissmen  were in danger of suffocating.  Members of the expedition team tried to approach the struggling plants in order to clear their airways only to find themselves gently slapped away by the flaccid arms of the Algor Mortis.  As we gathered to speculate on the possible significance of this behavior the Plissmen stopped heaving  to let out  a chorus of sharp coughs.   Out of their open mouths, slowly, elegantly unfurled the Plissmen’s  Bloom, the deep red petals glowing in the moonlight.  The Plissmen then closed there eyes and appeared to fall into a deep sleep, exhausted from their exertion.

The following day swarms of bees filled the air with their hum as the collected this rare pollen. Hummingbirds and radiant butterflies followed suit, all eager to extract their share.  We spent the morning compiling data and making observations, noting that the Plissmen still slumbered in the warmth of the sun. 

It was Professor Stainly who was the first to attempt to harvest one of the blooms.  As she approached a sleeping Plissmen with her shears, it suddenly burst into consciousness, eyes wide with fear.  It lifted its arms, shielding its bloom.  The plants immediately adjacent to it, also became agitated and began to bend towards their distressed neighbor, lifting their arms in a defensive posture. Professor stepped away and the plants calmed themselves returning to their previously sedated state.

We regrouped to consider the implications of what we were doing.  We know Ms. Plissmen had cut the bloom she had carried to the institute, but she had been very evasive when questioned about it, being vague on the details. We spent the better part of the day debating what how we should proceed, most arguing that it was merely a plant and that the benefits of the bloom far outweigh any moral issues that arise.  I very strongly opposed the cutting of the bloom, but was outvoted by my fellow scientists.

Professor Stainly again approached the Algor Mortis, shears in hand, this time with three students, two  who held the neighboring plants at bay and another who grasped the plant Professor Stainly intended to prune.  As the shears moved closer the eyes of the Plissmen went wide with fear, other plants throughout the glen began to twist and writhe. Professor Stainly hesitated a moment then cut the stem of the flower. Immediately the Algor Mortis collapsed to the ground, eyes closed, very clearly dead. The other Algor Mortis began to quiver and profoundly weep. This outpouring of grief left us devastated, never could we imagine that a “mere plant” could harbor such deep emotions. And though we, as objective natural philosophers endeavor to not anthropomorphize wildlife in the case of the Plissmen’s Bloom it seem completely justified. 

We unanimously agreed that harvesting of the bloom could not continue, Professor Stainly being the most adamant. Upon our return we presented our findings to the Institute board of trustees. We passionately argued for the protection of the Algor Mortis and the need to never disclose the location of the hidden glen.  Reluctantly a majority of the board voted with us, though many felt that we were overstating the seriousness of the situation, stating that we were passing up both a research and financial opportunity for the Institute.  Hopefully these more avaricious individuals will not attempt to locate and harvest the Plissmen in order to satisfy their own greed.

We have hidden all information concerning the Algor Mortis, including the blooms themselves deep in the Institutes archives.  I can only hope that the glen will not be discovered by someone who does not have the ethical backbone to see the moral implications of harvesting such an extraordinary complexly emotive life form.


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