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Through to the other side Part 2

Dr Stephen Tungsten's picture

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When I finally moved from the spot I'd seemed stuck in at the entrance with my own entrancement, I found my eyes drifting to the 'ceiling' of the cave. Far above bits of light danced through the center point where these vines seemed to break through, and as I looked, I could see touches of purple and purples overhead, beyond the crags in the stone, and little bits of sky. I realized, after making it one of the cavern walls and getting a closer look, that these were indeed roots, not vines.

Now that my inquisitive mind had something to focus on for the time, I took a closer look. Above I had seen Diurnals finding tendrils of deep plum-colored roots that arched into the air above the soil, nibbling on the ends now and then. Down here in the caves the more tender tips of the roots bore scars from nibbling teeth, so it was easy to hypothesize that the Nocturnals fed from the roots in much the same way. A closer look showed me little stains of purple on the stones under where I found the healed plant-roots, a tell-tale sign of fluid that’d come from them being the main objective of the hungry creatures and not the root itself. Curious, I took a knife and cut into one of the woodier roots just a little. Much like you'd expect from a Sugar Maple, a bit of liquid oozed forward after a time, slow and lazy, but a purple that was a bit translucent and almost opalescent looking, not simply a solid color like grape juice.

Tasting it from my finger, I wasn't too surprised to find that the sap was a slightly sweet with a floral after-note much like jasmine tea. Intrigued, I took out a sample pot from my backpack and then cut the tip off of one of the more slender roots and left it to collect while I explored the cave a bit more. I have a plethora of different notes, sketches and things in my notebook from the crystal formations, little stone clusters and even interesting little creatures I found fluttering around in the caves. Once I get organized a bit more I will take time to make documentation on all of this. So much to do!

By time I got done exploring and making my notes, I came back and collected a fairly full jar of the sap from the root, then packed some moss and dirt into the cut I'd made to be sure to end the flow and not waste any of the sap. Calm over the fact that the Nocturnals had found their own habitat to be in, and assured that I could find my way to them as needed, I took a moment for a little experiment. I went to some of the different Tribes of Meeroos and offered individuals spoonfuls of the sap I'd collected. To a one, not a single one of them turned down the treat, even a couple exotic natives who's species type I hadn't seen before! Despite their natural preferences for diet, they all ate the sap! Excited by this I went back through to the surface again and found one of these trees nearby. Again I did the same thing, offering the different Diurnals I came across a spoonful of the sweet sap. To a one, they each enjoyed the purple stuff, even if it took them a moment of sniffing and a couple experimental licks before they really got a good taste.