elf grafting

From: Argrath_at_aol.com
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 1996 12:23:05 -0500

Fleeing in panic from the scene of massacre, you seek a way out of the forest. The trees rip at your clothes as if they were possessed. Pausing to catch your breath, you look around a twilight-shrouded grove. That tree limb closest to you looks like an arm, though it has a branch growing out of the elbow. The next limb looks like a leg, you can count the toes. The hairs rise on your head and the back of your neck. Still gasping for breath, you rush on, away from this horrible place and the morbid images tearing at your mind. You can't get out of your mind the image of your friends being cut down by axe-wielding elves in copper armor--what you saw this very day over your shoulder while you ran, dropping your sword. You are interrupted from this fresh memory when you bump your head on a low-lying branch. When you pull your hand away from your bruised forehead, you see an elf's face, with a tongue made of a reaching, quivering tendril, staring back at you from the bark of the tree. It is the last thing you ever see.

Peter Michaels and I were talking about elf splicing and grafting, and he convinced me that it's NOT "Making," though I was skeptical. It's really akin to plant harvesting (and in fact, it uses Food Song). Plus, it has some way-cool applications that shouldn't be discarded. This is how it works:

A bunch of elves are in a battle with some trolls. The trolls manage to get close enough to attack with melee weapons, killing two elves and wounding others before being driven off. Some of the wounded elves have mace-crushed limbs which require Regrow Limb. Rather than use scarce rune magic, however, the elf healers harvest the needed limbs from the dead and Heal them onto the stumps of the survivors.

Now, to those of you who say that a severed limb has to be reattached within six melee rounds (or some such time limit), I say "blow it out your hawsehole." First, in real life human limbs can be reattached after hours of being severed. Second, we're talking about PLANTS, for Aldrya's sake.

And the fact that they're plants explains why what works for elves won't work for humans or other sentients.

Now suppose that, after this battle, the elves have more limbs on dead bodies than they need. No problemo. They just harvest the rest (with the same respectful prayer of thanksgiving, a/k/a Food Song), and store them. How? By lopping off a tree limb and grafting the elf limb to the stump. Over a few seasons, the elf limb turns into just another tree limb, and is useless for grafting. But for a few weeks, at least, it's available for any elf who needs it.

This practice may not be universal, and there may be Aldryami hard-liners who believe it is "Making." I think it definitely occurs where Aldryami are in a constant state of war, such as in Dorastor or eastern Erontree.

And in the Hellwood, it gets even weirder when you graft a krjalki elf's limb to the storage tree. Sometimes the tree gets infected with chaos (which, after all, is infecting the soil and water, too). You begin to see trees with twisted arms or even tentacles in place of branches, or with leaves shaped like fingers and body parts growing on or out of the trunk. A tree of eyes, perhaps?

Then, too, sometimes the Hellwood elves graft a head, or a head and a part of a torso, onto a storage tree. Over time, it becomes woody and unable to move. This only works at all when the immortal part of the elf's soul has fled the body, but the other parts of the soul can still animate the body.  That period lasts a few hours after the elf's death. The tree's soul then replaces the elf's immortal part, and uses the grafted head like a puppet.  Unfortunately for outsiders, the head retains its intelligence and spirit spell knowledge (divine magic doesn't work). Head grafting requires an all-day ceremony and doesn't work if the tree is dormant, so it'd be rare.

Well? Comments, flames, anyone?

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