Solo It's Just Another Day

Job thread - Sophia and Uta study some fungi.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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It's Just Another Day

Postby Sophia Sunshore on May 12th, 2019, 8:47 pm

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21, Spring, 519

"Speech"


A breeze wound its way through a clearing near the home of Uta, Syka’s resident botanist, and ruffled the long blonde hair of a young woman knelt in the soft mixture of moss and soil. Sophia paused her work for a moment, letting it cool her face with a small smile. The spring in Syka was sweltering, with the rains everyone had been expecting to continue for a while longer disappearing to almost nothing. Sophia pushed her sleeves up further before returning her attention to her current task.

Uta had sent Sophia to the clearing to plant a sapling the pair had been growing. The botanist had spent some time clearing the small area near her home so that she could study how some of the rainforest plants grew in a - mostly - controlled environment. The trees and flowers they had been finding here were so unlike anything else they knew about, and so Uta had devised this particular idea so that they may learn as much as they possibly could.

The sapling Sophia had with her today was a young cinnamon tree. Uta had marked the place she was to plant it with a stick, and the Svefra was currently in the middle of digging out a hole large enough to place the root ball in. The soil was fairly easy to move for despite the heat everything was still slightly damp here thanks to the proximity of the clearing to the rainforest proper. She was using a rudimentary spade borrowed from Uta, ramming it into the soil with force then lifting out clumps and setting the dirt in a pile to one side.

When she deemed the hole large enough, Sophia gingerly pulled the sapling over to her. She had asked to plant something else out, for the cinnamon tree was fairly precious. Once it was established in the clearing, the bark could be harvested to make a spice, and cinnamon was not particularly cheap. She eased it from the pot and then placed the root ball into the ground, eyes scanning over the tangle of white roots for any signs of decay or disease. Satisfied the specimen was healthy, Sophia filled the space around the roots with the excavated soil, pulling it back into the hole with her hands. She pushed down on the ground around the young trees skinny stem to firm the soil as Uta had instructed, apparently to help the roots grow better and stronger.

Sophia pushed herself to her feet and wiped her hands on her trousers, soil leaving dark smears on the fabric. She reached for a large bowl of water that she had laid nearby and poured it around the base of the freshly planted sapling. Next, she collected her journal to scribble a few notes.
Cinnamon sapling planted out morning of 21 Spring, 519.
Weather is hot, slight breeze.
Healthy specimen, good roots, glossy undamaged leaves.
Sapling approximately the length of forearm.


She flipped the book shut as moss-muffled footsteps announced the arrival of Uta. The botanist was carrying Sophia’s backpack and cutlass in her hands, her own backpack slung on her shoulders. The Svefra raised an eyebrow by way of a greeting. Uta smiled. “I thought we would head into the jungle now you’re finished planting. Not far mind - I found one of those fungi nearby that I want to check out.”

Sophia took her things from Uta, strapping the cutlass round her waist and carefully stowing the journal into her backpack before putting that on too. She tidied the supplies she had used to plant the tree and left them next to the sapling to be collected later and turned back to Uta and nodded. “Lead the way!”
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Sophia Sunshore
Plant Lady
 
Posts: 208
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Joined roleplay: July 5th, 2018, 5:26 pm
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It's Just Another Day

Postby Sophia Sunshore on July 30th, 2019, 8:29 pm

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"Speech"


As the pair made their way over to the treeline, Sophia pulled the sleeves of her shirt down to cover the rest of her arms, right up to her wrists. The unusually hot spring weather had bought with it a veritable swarm of insects, and even though being completely covered meant she would be incredibly warm, she would rather that than being eaten alive by bugs.

“How far in are we going?” Sophia was following behind Uta, and the pair were traveling fairly rapidly considering they were traversing the jungles. The narrow path the botanist was following appeared to have been trodden before as the plants that would usually reach out and snag one’s clothing had been cut away to leave just enough room for a single person to pass through unhindered. At least not having to fight her way through the foliage meant that the Svefra could focus more on her feet and the uneven ground below them.

“Not that far, just beyond the fringes really. I got pretty lucky with this find.” Sophia smiled as Uta’s words confirmed what she had been thinking.
“Did you cut this trail?” Sophia’s foot slipped on a loose stone, though she thankfully didn’t lose her balance, mentally chiding herself for letting her concentration wander. “Yeah, this is my most recent one. I’m trying to head out in a new direction every now and again to cover as much ground close to the clearing as possible.”

Sophia nodded to herself. The botanist’s method of exploration, while not grand, was perfect for discovering the plant life of Syka. One of the first things Uta had told her was that you would be unlikely to find the same species of plants repeated in an acre. So by exploring methodically like this, the botanist would be less likely to miss anything especially helpful or interesting.

Soon enough, Uta peeled off the little path and deeper into the trees. They were at the point where the foliage started to grow denser, changing almost imperceptibly from the fringes to the jungle proper. Their pace slowed considerably, as they now had to cut and push their way through creeping vines and foliage, the ground below nearly obscured. Sophia slipped again, the ground was mostly mud here and what wasn’t was covered in moss or other plants. She forced herself to stop walking stiffly and to loosen her limbs. She had been told before to try and move like an animal in the jungle, loose and twisting. It was a habit she was still trying to form.

“Ah!” If Uta was an animal, Sophia fancied her ears would have pricked up in excitement. Peering past the botanist she could make out a couple of grand trees, their trunks too wide for the pair of them to wrap their arms round together. A third tree had fallen across them and was resting about waist height off the ground. The fallen tree was adorned with huge fungal plates - the reason they had come out into the trees today. Uta hurried over to the tree as fast as the terrain would allow, Sophia following behind at a more cautious pace. She didn’t need to slip for a third time. Knowing her luck that would be the time she’d hit the ground..
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Sophia Sunshore
Plant Lady
 
Posts: 208
Words: 186359
Joined roleplay: July 5th, 2018, 5:26 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Mixed
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It's Just Another Day

Postby Sophia Sunshore on October 1st, 2019, 10:43 am

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"Speech"


Sophia took an extra chime or so to reach the trees they were headed for, her feet still unsure of the terrain below. The tangle of roots and the slick mud make moving around in the jungle treacherous, and she had already slipped and tripped enough times for her liking. She came to a halt at Uta’s side, eyes roaming over the huge tree that now lay prone before them.

The trunk was thick, ticker than she was tall and as she ran her eyes down to where the base of the tree was just visible, she could see enormous roots that disappeared off into the gloom of the jungle. Sophia thought she had seen trees like it before, with the strange roots that seemed to start way up the trunk and extend right out over the rainforest floor. It was quite amazing that something that looked so sturdy and unbreakable could be felled at all.

Uta however, was not here for the tree. The trunk was adorned with huge plates of fungi, banded in yellow, brown and a deep purple-red. The botanist had always suspected that the fungus had something to do with the death of trees from what she had seen, but until now she hadn’t been able to find an appropriate specimen. While Uta examined the many brackets clustered along the trunk, Sophia decided to refresh her field note skills.

She fished her journal from her pack and set about sketching the fallen tree before her. Rough lines went down for the outline of the trunk, and she drew in a little human figure that was meant to be herself standing next to it for scale. The width of the trunk was easily two Sophia’s tall, so she thought it was an important detail to note. Along the trunk, outlines of the plate fungus went down, not too detailed for now as she would draw one properly in a moment. She just wanted to get a rough idea of just how covered the tree was, and the size of the plates compared to it.

Next, Sophia moved closer to sketch one of the fungi on its own. A shaky semicircle was drawn, and then she added lines to show the pattern of colours, with labels to show what colours the bands were. Without touching the fungus, Sophia measured it against her hand. It was a little over two of her handspans, so she noted that next to her sketch, with a sub-note that there were brackets much, much larger than the one she had drawn. A few comments about the weather and location were jotted down next, and she then closed the book to join Uta in her investigation.
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Sophia Sunshore
Plant Lady
 
Posts: 208
Words: 186359
Joined roleplay: July 5th, 2018, 5:26 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Mixed
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It's Just Another Day

Postby Sophia Sunshore on October 1st, 2019, 10:47 am

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"Speech"


The botanist was examining one of the smaller brackets, a little over a handspan wide. As Sophia approached, she glanced at her. “Here, listen to this.” Uta then tapped on the bracket with the hilt of her knife, making a solid rapping sound. “It’s rock hard.” Curiously, Sophia peered at it.
“Huh, you would think it would be soft, like a mushroom.” She paused. “It is similar to a mushroom, right?” Uta nodded. “Yes, I think they are the same family.”

Even though the tree was quite covered in the brackets, Sophia still didn’t see quite how it would have caused the tree to fall. She voiced her thoughts aloud.
“I don’t understand how something so small could cause such a big tree to die.”
Uta didn’t respond, but instead flipped her knife around and started digging at the bark below the fungus with the blade. It came away easily, flicking off the trunk and whatever was underneath clearly excited Uta. “Hah! Come and have a look Sophia.”
The Svefra moved closer, peering at the inner bark of the tree. The surface was dark with damp and rot, and a couple of raised black lines snaked across its surface. Sophia frowned.
“I still don’t understand.”

Uta prised more of the outer bark away, revealing more of the black lines running across the trunk. “It’s the roots of the fungus! Look, here’s a main branch.” Sure enough, the winding lines all fed into one that ran almost straight up and down the trunk that was as thick as three of Sophia’s fingers.
“It looks like strings.”

The botanist laughed. “It does. I think that these roots probably run over the whole tree. You can see how high up the fungus is growing.” A glance along the trunk confirmed that the brackets were present right up until the top of the tree disappeared from view. Sophia pondered for a moment, and Uta let her try to work it out for herself.
“So… it’s like those plants that live off of other plants? It’s taken its nutrients from the tree?”
There was a pause before Uta replied. “I think it’s actually more of a disease. The inside of the tree is rotted, you can see.” She gestured at the decaying bark she had exposed. “So the fungus has caused the inside of the tree to rot, and that weakened the tree which made it fall.”

“But the fungus looks really healthy still.” Sophia had crouched closer to examine the underside of a bracket and missed the nod the botanist gave her. “I believe, like mushrooms, that they live off of decaying material, hence the rot. So I am sure they will survive on this tree until it eventually is completely rotted away.”

It was fascinating to Sophia, and as she flipped her journal open once again, her eyes fell on her forearm and the ever-moving mark of Caiyha’s gnosis. The tree before her, and its fungus, was another reiteration of the cycle of life and death. If these brackets acted like mushrooms, they would decompose the tree and return it to the soil, and in its place something new would be able to grow and support hundreds of species in turn. The Svefra had forgotten recently to think about how life worked, and crouched before such a mighty tree, felled by something so much smaller, she was grateful to have been reminded again.
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Sophia Sunshore
Plant Lady
 
Posts: 208
Words: 186359
Joined roleplay: July 5th, 2018, 5:26 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Mixed
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It's Just Another Day

Postby Sophia Sunshore on October 1st, 2019, 10:48 am

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"Speech"


Sophia added one more sketch to her journal, of the exposed inner bark beneath the bracket. She tried her best to accurately draw the lines of the fungus roots in their weaving pattern and added some, rudimentary, shading to try and show the decay inside the tree. Finally, notes were added on what she had learned from Uta.

'The fungus has very long, thick black roots that grow underneath the outer bark. The roots cause the inside of the tree to decay. This weakens the tree and eventually causes it to fall. Suspect the plates are like mushrooms (though very hard) and will decompose the fallen trees.'


Returning her journal to her pack, Sophia watched Uta as she carefully collected some samples of the roots, bark and the plates. Even though she had chosen a fairly small bracket to take back, it was almost impossible to remove it from the tree and took several chimes to do so. With the specimens carefully wrapped and secure in Uta’s pack, the two women turned to make their way back through the jungle. It was never wise to spend longer in the trees than necessary, and Uta was itching to get the fungus stored safely.

The trek back was a little harder, the unrelenting heat and humidity having tired Sophia’s body in the fairly short time they had been studying the fungus. Her hair was frizzed into a fuzzy halo around her head where parts had escaped from the knot she had tied it in. Sweat trickled down her back and dampened her shirt, causing it to stick to her. The first thing she would do upon returning home was dunk herself in the ocean. It took all of Sophia’s concentration to keep her feet treading the ground safely, relaxing a little only when they came back to Uta’s little trodden path.

It had been mid-morning when the pair had left and judging from Syna’s position in the skies when they finally reached Uta’s clearing, it was well into the afternoon now. Sophia’s stomach rumbled in protest as it realised she had missed having a midday snack. While Uta went to sort the samples they had collected, Sophia headed over to the sapling she had planted earlier, gently rubbing a glossy leaf between her fingers. Growth and ambition filtered into her mind and she smiled, hoping that the tree would achieve its goal and grow tall and strong.

She collected up the tools she had used to plant the sapling out and cleaned them, before trudging up the steps to Uta’s Place and returning everything to its proper home. Sophia then turned and started to make her way back to her own patch of Syka, wondering what Uta would have in store for her tomorrow.


Total wc: 2655
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User avatar
Sophia Sunshore
Plant Lady
 
Posts: 208
Words: 186359
Joined roleplay: July 5th, 2018, 5:26 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Featured Character (1)


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