Groworld Story Excerpts

Full draft on groworld story

Layers are the different vertical strata of the environment, that are a home for different plant species. All plants can live in different layers, but each layer is dominated by a specific type of plants, best suited for the environmental conditions in that particular layer. Each layer has particular morphological structures (the shapes in which plants grow above and underground), ways of time-binding and unbinding and particular reproductive mechanisms (through touch, through air, using pollinators, etc.).

Layer: Canopy

Plants in this layer are the stanchions of the world. They loop over the other life-forms, diffusing otherwise sharp light and tinting it viridian - making sure that the colour of the greening force (viriditas) seeps through every particle of air, liquids and solids. These quiet and slow giants shade and colour the world, alongside providing support through the thick bones of their trunks. The bones (thin and elongated, massive and sturdy) support the plant's vast overhanging bodies, that spread, lace-like for kilometres across the roof of the world. These plants are so huge and so ancient that, close to the ground, they seem fossilised and almost mineral.

  •     metaphor: shelter, roof, pillar, column
  •     archetype: spiritual leader

Layer: Dwarf Trees

The multi-jointed balusters of these plants endlessly reach towards their kin, forming curved (sometimes gnarly, sometimes smooth) portals into and out of the world. On top of these portals, they sprout a meshwork of thin appendages that can also be joined with other plants, forming more or less dense tunnels, caves and niches; a habitat for the darkness-loving flora. Through the various relationships with their brethren, these plants guide the shape of the landscape. By creating labyrinthine spaces of light and darkness, they attract and repel different species that grow in lower layers. They are able to flower and bear fruit and so communicate with the non-vegetal species, and channel information from the outside into the vegetal realm.

  •     metaphor: doors, windows, passages
  •     archetype: architect, policy-maker

Layer: Shrubs

These plants change their density and hardness depending on the presence and absence of external threats. In calm periods, they form leafy green screens, framed by their narrow, angular branches. In more turbulent times, or in parts of the world that need intimate and secluded spaces, the plants swell into fortified walls of woven thorns. The branches turn into spiky lengths of barbed wire, making the passage in/out of the world a very painful affair.

  •     metaphor: barrier, wall, fence
  •     archetype: activist, warrior

Layer: Herbaceous

A wide variety of plants in this layer makes them difficult to classify. They come in all colours, shapes and sizes, yet all of them have two things in common: their bodies are soft (as they have no bones) and they are short lived, ephemeral. This ephemeral nature makes them prolific and promiscuous, fast living and extroverted. They are seductive and buoyant, brimming with energy from the moment they are born, to the moment they die. Most of the plants like to socialise and are always seen in groups of various sizes. The groups are open to foreigners, so often change shape and function. Their soft bodies make them fast movers - they respond to light, scent, colour and wind, changing their shapes as contortionists.

  •     metaphor: furnishings, mirrors, ornaments
  •     archetype: artist, entrepreneur

Layer: Rhizosphere

Plants in this layer don't care much for the world above-ground, although they need some light to grow. They sprout minuscule, horizontally-oriented, broad leafy formations, optimised to collect light and information. The collected materials pass thorough ergonomically designed shafts down to where these plants mean business - the shallow layer of soil. They are the edge between the life above and below ground. Avid analysts of both and translators between the two. In their carefully grown rhizomes, they form elaborate networks without a centre. They prepare various concoctions of chemicals and data, to explain and influence the world (above and below). They communicate and mediate with all layers through their roots, rootlets and swollen stems.

  •     metaphor: foundation, basement, bedrock
  •     archetype: alchemist, technologist, scientist

Layer: Soil Surface

The plants in this layer are the twilight-dwellers between life and death. Their lives are extremely short and they spend long periods in suspension / hibernation. They indulge in decay (both of self and of others). They live in large, rather conservative clans, who stick to themselves and their traditions. They are hard-working, no-nonsense life-forms, at the edge of the plant-kingdom. They communicate and cross-fertilise with non-plant species who are equally attracted to death and decay. Their thick, fluffy clumps cloak the topsoil in dampened colours - mushy greens, blues & purples, dark reds, rich browns and cloudy greys. The colours change depending on their diet - they digest the dead from various layers, swallowing and transforming matter and knowledge & passing it down to the soil, nourishing the life beneath.

  •     metaphor: carpet, floor covering, veil
  •     archetype: gardener, undertaker, garbage collector

Layer: Vertical

These plants are the only species where an individual plant can indulge in spatial travel. They criss-cross the other layers, connecting, entangling and confusing their dwellers. They can be fickle and treacherous at times. Their tangles are communication conduits between the different layers above ground. However, the information that passes through the twining vines rarely arrives unchanged - translation is never perfect, always enigmatic and slightly glitchy. Some plants in this layer are aggressive bullies, that can even turn murderous. Others can enjoy a cushy, parasitic life, usually sucking-up to the larger plants. Others again turn into explorers, venturing across the ground and different layers, to the furthest reaches of the world. As their shape reflects their journeys for the rest of their lives, they take utmost care of the twining and tangling of their paths, creating magnificent, twisting and undulating ornaments throughout the landscape. On their travels, they grip the ground lightly, without venturing underground. In order to prevent being blown away, their grips are distributed throughout their elongated bodies and can cling to any surface.

  •     metaphor: connection, communication, cabling, plumbing
  •     archetype: trickster, translator, hacker

Functions are actions that particular plants undertake to sustain themselves and balance (in) the environment. By performing these actions, the plants take on different roles in the vegetal society. In order to perform these actions, they rely on microscopic organisms that live in a symbiotic relationship with the plant. When the plant is young, it has the ability to summon a specific type of micro-organism, that will allow the plant to assume a particular role in society. This role can change only once in the plant's life-time, when it reaches adulthood. In a specific ritual, a plant can either accept its childhood role for the rest of its life, or go through a role-shifting phase to accept a new role. Not all micro-organisms can be summoned in the childhood phase - some are solely adulthood-related actions.

Function: Fixing Nitrogen

This function can be summoned from childhood. A plant which accepts this role is able to absorb and transform an important mechano-chemical. This chemical can be diffused back into the environment, and change the life-giving properties of the soil. This role can increase and decrease the density of the world, as well as steer growth and morphology of plants for generations to come. The micro-organisms assisting the plants in this function are swarms of tiny organo-robotic creatures, hybrids of the vegetal and the machinic. They are capable of mechanically transforming matter on the scale of atoms and molecules. They can change the bio-mechanical make-up of soil by creating holes and tunnels, as well as shape plants themselves (pushing and pulling on plant matter in stems and roots. They move as swarms (not unlike insects) inside the plants and underground, and can move from one plant to another when their roots touch (if the other plant has accepted this function).

  •     metaphor: transforming, crafting, creating
  •     archetype: industry, technology (bio-engineering, nanotech…)

Function: Pest Controlling

This function can be assumed from childhood. Plants function as immune system of the world. They protect themselves and others from external threats and dangerous internal anomalies. They can do this both offensively (attacking the threat directly) and defensively (healing the diseased plant, or environment). The micro-organisms responsible are liquid flows of single-cellular, amorphous beings. They are able to stream through the plant's veins and moisten their surfaces, thereby coating them against threats. In sunlight some of them can temporarily evaporate into a gaseous form, becoming able to travel to other plants through air. In most other cases, they will form droplets that can rain down on other plants, or diffuse through the soil.

  •     metaphor: defending, protecting, healing
  •     archetype: border, frontline, hospital, clinic

Function: Mulching

This function can only be summoned when adulthood is reached. The plants who assume this function are invaded by heaps of dust-like particles that are able to decompose plant tissues and transform them into soil and nutrients for the environment. These plants give up their physical form and decide to live suffused throughout the world, communing with other plants by being consumed. The micro-organisms, the dust-particles have abrasive edges, that are able to carve through the cell-walls of plants, allowing their contents to pour out into the air and soil, freeing the plant juices (and plant perception) of their physical boundaries. The carved-out plant fossils remain as memories of the individuals. The fossils are brittle and will over time be reduced to fertile dust by wind and rain.

  •     metaphor: composing, conserving, decaying, dying, regenerating
  •     archetype: cemetery, waste-dump, sewage, sublimation

Function: Providing nutrients

This function can be summoned from childhood. It is meant primarily for healthy, altruistic plants. The plants performing this function are required to continually seek solid, liquid and airborne chemicals, then dissolve them in blisters of living solution that grow across their bodies, as soon as the function is assumed. Once the blisters fill up, they swell and burst in pulses of a viscous liquid. Above ground, the pulsing droplets are smaller and can spray metres through the air. Underground, the spray is heavier, but with higher pressure, so can quickly burst through the pores in the soil. The chemicals are primarily meant to sustain the growth of plants, but their composition and concentration have a strong influence on the shape of the plants and their bio-chemical make-up. This function can speed up and slow down the growth in the world, as well foster its diversity.

  •     metaphor: making, cooking, gardening, hunting & gathering, parenting, educating
  •     archetype: philosophy, religion, school, kitchen, library, temple, family

Function: Attracting Pollinators

This is a strictly adult function, that can only be assumed by particular plants capable of sprouting open translation organs in their flowers. The evolution made this into an adult function due to the fragile relationships between the plants and the non-plant pollinators. The action of the plants with this role might be damaging to the world, if the attraction skill is not mastered. Young plants can become apprentices, but the full function can only be attained when the skill is sufficient. The attraction of non-plant pollinators is only permitted to be exercised in particular seasons, while it can be performed as practice and entertainment with other plants at all times. The micro-organisms involved in this function are clouds of airborne gasses, that act as pheromones, affecting emotional states of their recipients. In plants, this can be visible through coloration. In seasons where communication with the non-vegetal is impossible, the clouds can carry reproductive cells themselves. When this communication is possible, they attract moving creatures and seduce them to carry reproductive cells between the plants.

  •     metaphor: seducing, imitating, storytelling, translating, poetry, con-artistry
  •     archetype: park, theatre, street, festival
  • groworld_story_excerpts.txt
  • Last modified: 2022-10-14 13:18
  • by maja