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Old arborea

Old Arboria

The fresh humid air of the dense forest looms all over, thick pillars or light dance through the layered canopy wherever it can find columns that are left unoccupied by the ever present leaves and branches. All around nearby birds of all sorts sung, and sometimes a larger one in the far distance let out a shrill noise and all the birds quieted for a moment, as if to give the new sound space out of respect. Insects and butterflies colored the sky and greenery in a smattering of colors, flying and jumping as they did while the two seekers moved through the canopy, with their pack animal in tow. The other of the seekers, a chemist by profession would frequently remark at the diversity of the plants and their origins and of their purposes in medicine and chemistry, or to educate about the strange mechanism by which they drink and eat. Much to the dismay of the guide, who had several hours ago ceased to listen, the words coming out of the chemist being to him less important than the passing of the wind.

The sun was close to its zenith, they had been trekking through the bridge like branches since yesterday's noon and soon they would reach Old Arboria. Greeting them were haphazard ruins embedded in the strange interconnected trees, traces of ancient paths and walkways now suspended in the air by the branches that have forced them upwards along them. Unused chambers and towers torn apart and engulfed in a melange of roots, branches and trunks. At the sight of this the chemist was eager to collect any and all samples from the flora that he could clamber himself up to, all the while the guide had stopped to dangle his legs over the edge of one of the entangled paths and where he had now lighted up his pipe, idly looking at the chemist at his labor, grunting and sweating and sometimes calling out the special unknown properties which this and that bark and leaf could hold. By the time the guide had begun to prepare a simple a lunch the encyclopedic minutiae had drifted further away and eventually ceased. The guide found the chemist face down laying in a small pit filled with a collection of thorned vines and yellow flowers only a few hundred yards from where he had been sitting, some of the vines already having begun to creep and grow over his body. As he moved in closer to the pit, he pulled his cloak over his face and held his breath, for he knew of the properties the spores and thorns this plant had on people and animals alike, and if he wouldn't hurry and be careful all the while, both him and the chemist would perish. He turned the chemist to the side slightly so he could face him and he saw the chemist's eyes follow his. The vines unfurled away from the chemist with a few slices from his sword and his limp body was freed. With great effort and concentrating on the spikes and his breath all the while he pulled the chemist up from the shallow overgrown pit. He faced away from the pit and caught his breath before looking at the chemist again, whose eyes were wild and in turn looking at the guide and then all over the place.
"Can you not speak?"
His eyes stared back and after awhile they made a sort of side-to-side motion.
"Can you not move?"
The eyes just stared back. The guide lifted up the motionless chemist and moved him back to the place where their pack animal was pacing anxiously on a suspended piece of ancient and bleached construction. It was already well into the afternoon now, the sun having dipped and where it was now closer to the horizon than its peak. The guide pondered and lit up his pipe. In the distance, the direction from which he had retrieved the chemist a figure made of plant matter circles around the pit before moving towards where the party was camped. From an alcove in a tree the guide spies the creatures strange and odd movements, as if a marionette trying to mimic the movement of a regular person.
"Help! Oh gods, this is terri..."
The guide quickly covers the chemists mouth. The creature walking along the roots and debris doesn't seem to react at all as they shamble past the camp and away into the canopy. Shortly thereafter the chemist regains full control of their body again as the paralysis that took them vanes and vanishes from their body, but not before he pricks himself with a needle and takes a sample of his own blood. With another vial held out he rushes to the trail the creature took and much to his delight finds sap that the creature had left behind, all the while scooping it up into his vial musing and ruminating with his slurred and half paralyzed tongue on the possible effects such a material could have, any dread from his near death experience far divorced from his mind thanks to this discovery. Now they had to depart, and it'd be a long trip back without any sleep, listening to the chemist in turn bemoan the time he had lost due to the mishap and then congratulating himself for encountering such a strange creature.