Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Chromatic Soup 03: Molding Gates of the Fungi

Contributions by Saker Tarsos, Harald Wagener, Michael Kennedy, Charles Castillo and Evlyn M

Long have the Fungi been content to remain in the undergrowth of history. The world's silent, unseen rulers. After all, patient decay claims all things in time.

But now the world is no longer theirs. The sunset has begun, and the many peoples of this world are leaving. Thousands of sightless eyes observe the caravans setting off. Silent councils gather in the roots of the world, and the fungi debate.

They fracture. At a loss for what to do, some colonies imitate: mold themselves into humanoid shapes and pull mushroom caravans until the great beyond, heralded by waves of glittering spores. They infect the dead and use them as beasts of burden.

But some ancients, the oldest and wisest, will stay. Some disbelieve. Some cannot move themselves. Some cannot bring themselves to say goodbye. They wish to personally witness the night-death of their world. Some of these venerable Fungi will open the Molding Gates, their spores infect the corpses of divine beings, reshaping them into portals of escape.

Some caravans that went astray met the fungoid trail and started the Ritual of Symbiosis; preferring to retain their essence by sacrificing their bodies as sustenance to a fate of slow waste, cannibalism, or worse. Thus the Mold Traders: Their symbiotic bodies don't require many things and are willing to trade tools, pickled foods, and other items not inducible to symbiosis ... usually at the price of some suitable host to continue the Mold Traders' growth and expansion. Sadly, not all hosts are traded by their own volition.

Some insidious Fungi who have been exiled by the Mycelium Council began to covertly float their spores into the crowds of refugees fleeing the world. Quietly infecting entire caravans, unbeknown to their carriers. As soon as the caravans would exit the world the corrupted mycelium networks that had been silently spreading in their hosts would desiccate whole communities. Leaving empty husks filled with spores behind, to float in a state of hibernation in the astral sea, till a more suitable world was found. There they could take root and begin anew. Their slow creeping spread into eternity with antediluvian patience.

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