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Forum -> Legendarium -> The Gladiola and the Pirate Crimson

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01-05-2016 11:01

The Gladiola and the Pirate Crimson

Pirates aren’t renowned for their love of history. Most would rather chant vulgar drinking songs or pick a fight over an accidentally spilt pint of beer than read a book. However, obscure pirate legend, passed down by word of mouth, speaks of a magical flower: the Sword Lily.

In ancient times, before the first criminal exiles discovered the island, Skull was barren and inhospitable, battered by thunderstorms and torrential rain; infested by rat-like rodents the size of small wolves. Anything that grew in the soil would be uprooted and eaten by these ravenous creatures. Eventually, this destructive cycle became intolerable to the gods, so Vishenyu, Lord of Nurture, cast down enchanted seeds from the heavens. In early summer, a new flower sprang to life on Skull, the Sword Lily, which scholars of legend call the Gladiola. It was a beautiful creation: tall flower spikes adorned with clustering columns of bright, showy florets of white streaked with pink. Several grooved, blade-shaped leaves surrounded the Gladiola, each enclosed in a protective leaf-sheath, like swords in their scabbards.

When the wolf-rats noticed its presence, they raced to devour it, yet Vishenyu would not allow such a thing. Light from the heavens pierced the storm clouds and illuminated the leaves of the Sword Lily, which now appeared sharp and unforgiving as ice that glistened with green venom. The wolf-rats stopped short in their paces, cowed by this illusion, then reluctantly turned and slouched away. And, though the heavenly light vanished, the flower’s illusion remained.

Throughout the summer, more and more Gladiolae sprang from the soil, fed and nurtured by the sun and the rains. Yet as autumn cast deepening shadows on the soil, the leaves of the Sword Lilies began to lose their illusory sheen of venom and ice, and their flowers began to wither. As nights fell, the omnivorous wolf-rats crept closer towards the flowers.

Fearful for their safety, Vishenyu cast down more enchanted seeds from the heavens. These immediately sprang into quite different flowers that bloomed alongside the Sword Lilies. They produced open, crimson-red, starry blossoms, each with a blood-red eye and yellow throat atop a mound of arching leaves. Each flower survived no more than 24 hours, opening in the morning and withering the following night. Yet, with the rising of each new sun, each flower was replaced by another on the same flower stalk. Hence scholars of legend have named this flower the Day Lily, though pirate storytellers consider this name embarrassingly effeminate, and thus take to calling it the Pirate Crimson.

For as long as the Day Lily grew alongside the Sword Lily, each was illuminated by the other’s magic. To the wolf-rats, the Day Lily’s blooms appeared hard and cruel as rubies dripping with blood and, every morning, the Sword Lily’s leaves regained their former sheen and strength. Thus centuries passed and what was once a barren island grew bright and beautiful with enchanted blooms. Yet, as with all things magical, it was not to last.

A band of criminals, exiled from the mainlands into the unknown seas, were the first humans to discover Skull Island. More soon followed, until human settlers eventually outnumbered the vicious wolf-rats, whose presence on the island was cowed yet not extinguished. By night, the pirate settlers could still hear their howls and often slept restlessly in their hammocks. As pirate civilisation on Skull began to germinate, the settlers grew to appreciate the flamboyant blood-red blooms of the Day Lily, yet had no taste for the more delicate, ethereal beauty of the Sword Lily. Thus it was agreed that all Gladiolae should be uprooted in order that the Pirate Crimsons might flourish. But the pirates did not understand the mystical relationship between the two flowers. When the Pirate Crimsons eventually stood alone, stripped of the company of their ancient companions, their fierce lustre dimmed and they suddenly appeared all too vulnerable. (Some versions of the legend mention a solitary pirate who, feeling sorry for the Gladiola’s fate, managed to salvage a few seeds and later returned with them to the mainlands but, whether or not this is true, none can say).

One night, a pack wolf-rats, driven to the brink of starvation, wandered close to the pirate settlements and noticed the Pirate Crimsons in all their naked vulnerability. As the new sun rose, their work had been done: every single Day Lily had been uprooted from the soils and devoured. The pirate wrath was lethal and uncompromising. Orders were given that every single wolf-rat should be hunted down and slain, no matter what the cost to human lives (which pirates, as a rule, tend to regard rather cheaply). And so it came to pass that there were no more Gladiolae, no more Pirate Crimsons, and no more wolf-rats on Skull.

Legend has it that, one day, these magical flowers may bloom again: when rains fall with heavenly might to awaken seeds still asleep and lost in deepest soils. Some say the Pirate Crimson will bloom again on Skull. Others say the Gladiola will bloom not only on Skull but also from lost seeds transported to the mainlands by the lone pirate of legend. And, though their sympathetic magic may be lost (and thus also their rare value), it is whispered that both beauty and ancient memory shall reawaken with the return of the Gladiola and the Pirate Crimson
[4] 23:28 kingcrusher123: how do i get magic
[4] 23:28 thorn[CFH]: It's not something you get, you're either magic or you're not.

Haled[Sleep]: I think griffin summoning orbs should be called griffin doors
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Forum -> Legendarium -> The Gladiola and the Pirate Crimson

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