Corpse Weed

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Corpse Weed
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Flora
Official Name Corpse Weed
Common Name Corpse Weed
Classification Grass
Common Use Utility
Origins Daen
Habitat Rivers, Coasts

Corpse Weed is a type of marine seagrass that is native to the coastal waters and rivers of Daen as well as later spreading to Hadaria’s ecosystem. It grows in thick forests that blanket the surface of the water. The plant is notorious for obscuring water passages and entangling sailors who have fallen overboard. It is also known for very quickly enveloping and decomposing any corpse caught within its grasp, an ability generously used by nefarious individuals.

History

Corpse Weed has existed in the waters of Daen for centuries, where it covers entire stretches of rivers and coastlines in underwater forests of green, sticky tendrils. Corpse Weed feeds on both sunlight and dead fish or other animals that become entangled within their forests, which in turn experience cycles of shrinkages and blooms over time. As more animals get trapped by the algae, the forest grows and grows until it becomes nigh impassable. At that point, less fish swim through, decreasing the Corpse Weed's food supply and causing the forest to shrink back again until it once more allows passage and restarts the cycle. Elven boaters and fishermen have learned early on to avoid waterways with Corpse Weed as even small forests pose a threat to their travel. The tendrils of the algae are long and sticky like a net of thick hair, causing paddles to get stuck and swimmers to become entangled and drown. Areas thick with Corpse Weed also hide underwater dangers as well, including sharp rocks, sandbars, or reefs. Attempts have been made to craft special boats that could cut through the algae, but the sticky plant would stack up and clog the boat, impeding it even more. Eventually, Elven seafarers learned to avoid Corpse Weed altogether.

While sailing through Corpse Weed infested waters was not an option, a more gruesome use was found for these aquatic plants. Throughout the various wars fought on Daen, rivers of Corpse Weed would be used as graveyards and dumping grounds for the disposal of dead bodies. Interestingly, this fed into the wane and bloom cycles of Corpse Weed forests and caused them to coincide with the rising and ending of every war. This usage for Corpse Weed has been noted by many nefarious individuals who have attempted to import the algae back to their places of business, including the Regalian Archipelago. Though the algae cannot survive the freezing winters in Regalia, during warmer seasons, rivers and waterways in the seedier areas can be seen covered with Corpse Weed.

Appearance

Corpse Weed is a trailing aquatic plant that can grow over a hundred feet long. In shallow areas, the upper portion of the plant reaches and continues growing along the surface of the water, blanketing it like green, slimy hair. The plant itself has a dark, lime-green color and a tape-like consistency that makes it tough to tear, as well as a sliminess that makes it hard to cut. A rootlike structure anchors the algae to the seafloor, from which grows the thin, sturdy stem and sticky blades or algae leaves. The blades grow along the stem at short intervals; they can grow up to three inches wide and reach over a foot long. Each blade has toothed edges almost like a pond frond which, while not sharp, make it easier to tangle objects. All in all, Corpse Weed forests can be said to resemble thick green nets that cover the water.

Uses and Abilities

Unfortunate individuals who fall into a forest of Corpse Weed will find it sticking to them. Panicked movement often causes further entanglement as the victim comes into contact with more of the algae, causing it to wrap around them like a mummy. In water, live Corpse Weed has the texture and strength of adhesive tape, causing it to be difficult to tear or cut. Victims usually have to be carefully pulled out by another person or risk immobilization and drowning. Corpse Weed is known to feed on dead bodies. Animals that become entangled often die by drowning or suffocation. The slime that coats the algae then works to break down the newly dead body, allowing the blades to feed on it.

Within merely a week, the body may start to become unrecognizable. Within a month, it may be reduced to bones. Criminals and clandestine organizations may take advantage of this plant by disposing of their victims in waterways where Corpse Weed forests are growing. Corpse Weed becomes less sticky and more accessible to handle when frozen. Rivers in Regalia that become clogged with Corpse Weed often have to be cleaned in the winter by breaking up large, frozen clumps of the algae, along with the remains of corpses that have been dumped into them.

Trivia

  • Corpse Weed doesn't seem to stick to inedible objects like stones, metals, or even wood. Sailors have tried to use it to patch holes in their boats with little success.
  • Relatedly, Yanar have a bit of immunity to the algae's stickiness, more so if their body are woodier, though they can still get tangled up within a forest.
  • Corpse Weed loses its stickiness when out of the water for an hour. Fresh Corpse Weed have been known to be used as short-term bandages.
  • Corpse Weed has the stench of salty rotten meat when dried. While it is edible, most people find it repulsive.

Accreditation
Writers Enkiduu
Artists None
Processors HydraLana
Last Editor HydraLana on 06/24/2018.

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