Alternate Universe SPECIAL for: Oct. 21st 2002 C.E.
Every Worldplate in the Tryslmaistan cosmos has the same identical structure: a sand-covered crystal desert and a central freshwater sea (see Life In The Sea). The sands of the open desert plains run from pebble sized grains to dunes of tiny particles, but all of the sand is made of crushed and crumbled sharp-edged crystal. Some of this polyhedral matter is native rock, but some is made of the discarded remains of dead crystal life.
The life of the Tryslmaistan Worldplates is diverse. Among the vast array of life forms we would find...
Vlaxifurm, the only lifeform to manufacture Vlaxilinic compounds,has a complex life cycle, a portion of which occurs in the sea. Crawling from the sea as living ribbons, Vlaxifurm eventually settles out in the open desert, and grows into a complicated life form. The Vlax dome, a liquid-filled entity, is neither plant nor animal, but something unique unto itself. The thick, viscous fluid inside the dome carries a high concentration of Vlax, the one chemical that makes it possible for extraversal life to exist within the Tryslmaistan cosmos. The Humans of Tryslmaistan both cultivate, and harvest wild Vlaxifurm, for the Vlax containing fluid in the domes. Without this remarkable life form, Humans could not hope to live in the Tryslmaistan universe.
The Crystal Basilisk is a ferocious, lone hunter. Sometimes referred to by the Jellese as 'The Relentless Death', the Crystal Basilisk is the fastest megafauna in the Tryslmaistan cosmos. It achieves this speed by being willing to leave parts of its own mass behind during a chase. The Crystal Basilisk is indeed relentless, and will track prey almost indefinitely, once it has locked onto a target. The Crystal Basilisk is a rigid, unbending structure with a curious form of locomotion. While many Tryslmaistan creature crawl or climb or tumble using rigid spines, and all life in this cosmos manufactures internal organs on the fly, as needed, only the Crystal Basilisk combines these two principles. The Basilisk uses a powerful chemical solvent to extrude a long, strong, hollow crystal spine from any point upon the surface of its hull. The angle and length of the spine is calculated to push and prod the creature in a chosen direction, when this has been achieved, the spine, called a 'pirapod' is sucked back into the hull and instantly dissolved. By the use of many such quickly extruded spines, the Crystal Basilisk prods and pushes itself in a tumbling, end over end form of locomotion. When giving chase, this huge creature will often sacrifice some or many of the spines, breaking them off rather than wasting the time to reabsorb them. The spines are also used to penetrate prey, where they then act as a kind of straw, to suck out the contents of the target. The Crystal Basilisk reproduces by injecting crystal replicators inside a host creature, which then convert the biomass of the creature into a juvenile Basilisk.
On every Worldplate there are exactly 303 of these enigmatic creatures. Existing only among the rubbery, crystalloid Dodofruit Domes upon which they feed, the Crystal Dodo embodies the very nature of the Tryslmaistan cosmos. The Crystal Dodo has no eyes, and only one mouth, located on the underside of the central body cylinder. The mouth is exactly sized to be able to eat the topmost 'fruit' of the creature upon which the animal feeds. A Crystal Dodo is biologically immortal, and never ages, and even more intriguingly, never reproduces. The number of these creatures in the entire cosmos is finite, and should one be lost, the loss is believed permanent. The Crystal Dodo spends eternity mechanically walking a complicated, cyclic path, about the field of Dodofruit Domes to which it is stationed. The curve of its body exactly matches the shape of the Dodofruit, and it will pause, briefly, to devour the fruit which grows on the top of the Dodofruit, the only food it will ever eat. Because the Tryslmaistan cosmos is normally devoid of wind, or of any significant change, the Dodo can blindly follow its eternal, exacting path without interference or alteration of its environment, even the slightest of which would mean the creature's extinction. All native life forms in Tryslmaistan instinctively, and mysteriously, avoid the Crystal Dodo, even the largest predators. No one knows why, since the Dodo has no ability to protect itself, or indeed to even perceive the world at all. In effect, the Crystal Dodo is a living machine, that endlessly carries out a single behavior...walk, eat, walk, forever.
The purplish Dodofruit dome is topped with a geometrically arranged set of pink globes, its 'fruits'. Only the very topmost of these fruits is consumed by any creature, and the only creature that eats the Dodofruit is the Crystal Dodo. The Dodofruit Dome is not a plant, but rather an immobile animal, possessed of a striking array of sensory abilities, yet unable to react to its environment. Like the Crystal Dodo, the Dodofruit is immortal, and never reproduces. There are only 303 patches of Dodofruit on a single Worldplate, each consisting of 303 Domes. These zones are never entered by any other native creature in the Tryslmaistan cosmos. Even the blind, wriggling ribbons of the fetal Vlaxifurm somehow avoid Dodofruit patches. The Domes continuously regrow their topmost 'fruit', actually a delicate, sensitive, and superior eye, after the passing of a Crystal Dodo. The Dodofruit gains its nutrition from the soil, and from ambient Charge.
A shimmering crystalloid plant, the Krepoxil is named for the incredibly lethal poison it carries within its mobile, waving injector spines. Able to sense proximity, the Krepoxil will bend the spines to face any creature that approaches it. The spines are also capable of a sudden, swift jabbing action as well, to nearly double their apparent length, making the Spiny Krepoxil the single most feared stationary life form on the deserts of a Worldplate. Krepoxil poisoning is marked, in Humans, by crimson and purple spots which blossom upon the body after death, which is nearly instantaneous. In Native life forms, however, the poison is merely an irritant, driving away any creature that might approach.
The closest analog to earthly grass in the Tryslmaistan cosmos, the Glassy Elecmatis grows tall, slender, hollow columns of slightly flexible translucent material. A very faint crackling hum can be heard emanating from within the columns, the sound of concentrated ambient Charge interacting with the air. The Elecmatis collects and concentrates Charge inside the hollow columns and uses it to supplement its own biology. The Elecmatis is used by Wiccan Faction Humans in the Tryslmaistan universe to cover their flying 'brooms', the Elecmatis columns making for an elegant and shimmery 'brush'. Elecmatis columns are also grazed upon by many forms of Tryslmaistan native life, and the Jellese feed Elecmatis to their Slime workers, among other things.
A common and utterly unremarkable crystalloid plant, the Obelesfern appears to be a simple, geometric piece of translucent rock. In actuality, the Obelesfern is a living crystal plant, analogous to a bush or shrub. Soft and rubbery in texture, the Obelesfern has a thick hull filled with a clear viscous center. Obelesferns grow in clumps and clusters, and are food for many forms of native life.
Pink ShimmerPack SpikeWolves
Not unlike a much larger, much fiercer, and much faster version of the shore-dwelling three-legged Scut-Scut, the five-legged SpikeWolf runs swiftly across the open desert of a Worldplate. Shunning the sea, the SpikeWolf prefers flat sands and rolling hills. Hunting in packs, the SpikeWolves cooperate in bringing down prey much larger than themselves. They coordinate attacks with eerie whistling and clicking sounds, and use surprisingly advanced tactics during hunting behavior. Their method of attack, however, is truly amazing. When the SpikeWolves assault prey, they begin with a fast run obliquely to their target. At some point, the SpikeWolf will begin spinning, touching but one leg to the ground at a time, building up speed. When a maximum velocity has been reached with this spinning run, the SpikeWolf kicks itself up into the thick Tryslmaistan air. Like a living Ninja throwing star, the SpikeWolf is able to alter direction by the careful manipulation of its five sharp legs, sometimes resulting in a devastating impact upon, and impalement of, the target creature. With one or more razor sharp legs buried inside its prey, the SpikeWolf begins to inexorably slash and burrow its way into the center of the target, devouring as it goes. Only a handful of shimmering, spinning, scuttling SpikeWolves can bring down even the largest Tryslmaistan fauna.
Neither plant nor animal, the Purple KnifeCarpet is a mystery. Individual, iridescent, three-sided pyramids are linked, underground by incredibly fine tendrils of a white matter that resembles hair. In a sense, the perhaps hundreds of spires are but one creature, in another sense, it is a linked colony of individuals. The KnifeCarpet is exceedingly sharp, and also hard, by the standards of Crystal life, and it is said that the entire structure slowly migrates in some fashion. KnifeCarpet is harvested by the Jellese, and make up one part of their diet.
Perhaps the largest land-dwelling creature known in the Tryslmaistan universe, the gentle, grazing Clampstrider may be analogous to the Earthly elephant. Slow moving, the Clampstrider forages on Elecmatis and other crystal plants, occasionally thrumming in a deep ululation. Generally docile, the Clampstrider has three formidable claws upon which it walks, and its main body features razor sharp spines as a passive defense. It needs this protection since it is a favored target of both the ScizzorTiger and the SpikeWolf.
These jingling, humming crystal plants are analogous to earthly flowers and mushrooms together, and emit a constant, eerie sound. They can be seen visibly shaking as they generate the tones, which apparently serve to drive off most creatures that would eat the otherwise defenseless creature. The Jellese make use of these life forms, and they are a favorite of the Clampstrider as well.
Sensing motion, the razor edges of the individual disks of this tall colony creature begin rotating rapidly, like crystal buzz saws. The Stackspinner is a dangerous thing to stumble into, but is otherwise a passive collection of platelike creatures that live together like a large plant. Soaking up ambient Charge, and distributing matter from the sands below from plate to plate, the whole of a Stackspinner works as a single entity for survival.
The dominant native sapient life of the Tryslmaistan universe, the Jellese live in partnership with another, semi-sapient life form, the Slimes. Jellese are capable of language, art, music, and all of the expected activities of civilization, and have a rich culture. Dome-shaped, the Jellese can extrude pseudopods as required for the manipulation of objects and materials. Dry and soft to the touch, the Jellese feature two eye-strips, bands of lumon reactive matter that are among their only permanent organs, other organs being generated, as is usual in the Tryslmaistan cosmos, as needed. The Jellese, who are born from pods that develop on the backs of 'females', gradually gain a kind of 'genetic' memory passed on from their parents, as they grow. While adaptable in youth, the Jellese become increasingly rigid in thought and behavior as they mature, until, at full adulthood, unexpected events can cause madness and death. This is not normally a problem in a Steady-State universe such as Tryslmaistan, but the introduction of Humans has brought change, and thus potential doom, to the native Jellese.
Barely sapient, or perhaps 'other-sapient', the Slimes of Tryslmaistan are amorphous, puddles of living crystalloid gel. Acidic, the Slimes can easily digest matter, and can then chemically alter and manufacture all manner of substances from what they eat. The Slimes 'cook', or predigest, the food the Jellese need to consume, extrude the material of the Jellese organic cities where both Jellese and Slime live together, and can also make medicines and solvents as needed. Living in partnership with the Jellese, the helpless Slimes benefit from the safety of living inside the vein like tubes of the Jellese cities, and in return, the Jellese benefit from the incredible chemical magic of the Slimes.
These fragile crystalline plants are composed of a central spire which pierces three bright crimson disks. The Spradic DiskTree is perhaps analogous to the Earthly pine tree. The Spradic is a food of the Clampstrider, used for building materials by the Jellese, and serves as protection for numerous small life forms not covered here. One interesting thing about the Spradic is that Shatterel will never collect on or near the crystal tree. It is believed that the crimson disks do something which prevents Shatterel formation, but no one knows for sure. What ever the tree does, it does well, and during Shatterel seasons, all manner of animals will seek shelter near the Spradic DiskTree, under a mutual truce.
The StackStance is another common, basic plant-form that is found across the deserts of a Worldplate. Immobile, its only defense is that it is tough, and resists common browsing. Dedicated effort, however, can nibble away at the hardened shell, to get at the juicy liquid goo inside.
Spiny and sharp, the TandleSpear is unremarkable save for the viscous fluid inside of it, which is remarkably conductive to electanic Charge. Indeed, during times of high Charge, such as just before Shatterel season, the TandleSpear will arc with discharges of electanic force, between the spires that make it up. During this time, the TandleSpear may grow at a visible, if very slow, rate. The TandleSpear is a common food of many desert dwelling native life forms.
One of the rarest desert life forms, the GlassTear is analogous to a seldom seen mushroom or fungus. Soft and sweet-smelling, the GlassTear is a favored treat for almost all native life. The Jellese particularly enjoy the Glasstear, which is considered a great delicacy.
Ferocious and terrifying, the Teal ScizzorTiger is a dangerous lone predator. Heavily armored, it is virtually invincible, and even a large pack of SpikeWolves would have a hard time bringing it down. The ScizzorTiger is slow walking, saving its speed for its devastating attacking armature, which ends in a needle sharp spike capable of impaling even the most hardened armor. The ScizzorTiger has two primary strategies for attack. One is to remain perfectly still, which renders it almost invisible to native life. Because of its coloration, and the way that lumons are perceived by native life, the ScizzorTiger is effectively cloaked unless it moves. Should prey come within range, the lightning fast attack spike instantly impales the prey, and pulls it to be devoured. A second strategy is to move silently, slowly, and utterly quietly, gradually drawing close to prey. Travelling Humans and Jellese are easily taken by this technique, during the night, while sleeping. The ScizzorTiger is utterly silent, and has no problem with taking an entire night to creep up on a target, only to attack with the dawn. Under attack itself, the ScizzorTiger can use its attack spike like a fencing master, quickly repelling any frontal assault.
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