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Greenhouse Infestation
#1
((Note: This is essentially some background information for a small plotline for those who were unable to attend tonight's moot and hear Lailya's announcement and want some info on what's currently in the shout box. Feel free to post reactions to the situation here or approach me ICly or OOCly in-game for more details. This was mostly a spur-of-the-moment thing that grew from a throw-away comment made by Lailya last moot, so the idea isn't wholly developed, and input from others is more than welcome!))

There is, in fact, a greenhouse a good distance behind the guild hall. Most of the tribe's herbalists are more than happy to gather their plants direct from the wild, but the greenhouse allows for the growing of certain plants out of season or more common plants no one has the time go out and search for. Lailya's taken charge of most of the upkeep, and when not out adventuring, in her workroom, or lounging in her favorite chair, the warlock can often be found puttering around the greenhouse, tending the plants and experimenting with new strains of flowers for sale at market.

Normally many of the herbs and flowers that grow inside are clearly visible through the clear glass panes, but the greenhouse's interior is now oddly darkened and a strange, dark mass can be seen faintly twisting within. A faint shimmer covers the outside, a clear sign of active magical wards, and a large sign is tacked to a post next to the door that says:

[center]KEEP OUT!
Unknown Plant Within, Consider Dangerous
Please see Lailya about obtaining samples for research.
[/center]

The blood elf in question is sitting cross-legged a few feet away, elbows propped on her knees and chin resting on a closed fist. Her glare could probably peel paint at this point, but instead it's focused on the greenhouse. There are scorch marks covering the gardening gloves resting on the grass beside her, the the floppy sunhat sitting on her has a chunk missing from its brim, and the blade of the shovel laying within reach is oddly bent.

"Any news?" she asks tersely, gaze not wavering from the greenhouse.

Pizpit, clutching a clipboard almost as large as himself, fidgets and looks nervous rather than sneering and sardonic as usual. He flips a page up and glances warily over at his mistress. "No news back from either the Cenarion Circle or the Earthen Ring," the imp says. "Nothing from the Royal Apothecary Society, either, but Captain Bragor Bloodfist wrote a note saying, and I quote, "The next time you send something to the apothecaries, run it by me first.""

"Noted."

The imp hurries back to his clipboard. "Madam Senne is still studying the clipping she took last Friday. The other clipping you took has been delivered to Lady Nadilynn to be sent to Freya. The sproutling we found in the kitchen garden earlier today has been dug up, chopped up, charred as well as could be managed, and tossed over the side of the Maiden's Fancy on its last trip to Booty Bay. Shaathun and I were unable to find any other sprouts in the kitchen garden, but we'll be checking the next few days to be completely sure the infestation hasn't spread beyond the greenhouse."

Lailya grunts, but reaches into the pouch on her belt, takes out a hunk of Alterac Swiss, and tosses it to her imp. Pizpit leaps up to catch it, and vanishes with the cheese and clipboard back to the Nether with a loud "pop!", leaving behind a sulfurous cloud that dissipates quickly.

The warlock settles back down. "Fire doesn't kill it, shadowbolts just tickle it, not even the Infernal could take care of the thing," she mutters to herself. "Digging out the roots is an exercise in futility, and what little we do manage to get rid of grows back frighteningly fast."

She rubs her temples and sighs, but continues with her little monologue. Thinking out loud has always made her feel better, no matter that it makes her seem a little crazy. "Luckily even though the roots are thick, wide-spread, and harder than damned iron, they don't go deep, so Anca's tunnels should be safe and it shouldn't spread into the hall itself. And it isn't poisonous and most importantly, it's not intelligent, otherwise we'd probably be doomed." Lailya sighs again and flops onto her back to stare up at the clouds, her hat falling off with the sudden movement. "Damned if I know what in the Nether it is, though, or even how it got in in the first place.

"Dath'remar's bones, I want my greenhouse back."
[Image: 2627648EgUWn.png]

[Image: 2627663SOPQY.png]
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#2
((Note: The encounters with the plant's strange visitors have been RP'ed out, but Lailya's visit to the greenhouse in the aftermath to assess the evolving intelligence of said plant was not, simply what happened after that. This was due to a combination of laziness on my part, some uncertainty (again, on my part) on how to effectively RP the scene, and some constraints involving the need of a preferably sane tree druid, none of which were available at the time. Lailya ended up coercing Ituhala (my druid) into helping her with the idea that a feral druid was better than nothing. I figured I should at least show what I figured happened in the greenhouse, so enjoy!))

Lailya stood near the door to the greenhouse, fidgeting as she waited. Undead demons, then Old Gods, and now chances were high that the damned plant was developing some rudimentary intelligence, if its behavior after being yelled at during the first "visit" was any indication. Her nerves were shot to the Nether, she still had no idea what that thing was or how it got in, and she really needed a damned drink.

Where the hell was that druid?

"Boo."

The blood elf shrieked and jumped half a foot in the air in the surprise. She whirled around to glare at Ituhala. "You have a sick sense of humor," she said.

Ituhala grinned unapologetically and crossed her arms as she stepped up beside Lailya. "And you left yourself wide open, knowing a kitty would be showing up," the tauren said. "No one to blame but yourself."

Lailya snarled something nasty in Thalassian. Ituhala only widened her grin and gestured to the greenhouse. "Shall we?"

The warlock flung one last curse at Ituhala but turned back to the door. She raised her hands and murmured softly under her breath, opening a large enough hole in the wards surrounding the greenhouse for them to enter. She lowered her hands and strode forward to open the door.

It swung forward with a creak, and Lailya motioned Ituhala in first. The druid sauntered in, followed by the blood elf who swiftly closed the door behind herself and sealed the wards with a quick gesture. Better to be safe than sorry about this plant getting out, and if they ended up needing to leave in a hurry, Ituhala could just charge her way through both glass and wards as a bear.

It was late afternoon, but inside the greenhouse, it seemed more like midnight. The pair slowly made their way toward the center of the greenhouse, stepping over overgrown roots and ducking beneath vines. A faint rustling could be heard in the background, and every now and then a vine ahead of them would pull away to better clear their path. Ituhala looked intrigued every time this happened, humming thoughtfully. Lailya looked like she wanted to have hysterics.

They finally came to what was the center of the greenhouse. This was where Lailya had first found the odd, impossible to kill monstrosity, choking the life out of the earthroot whose bed it was embedded in, plus the surrounding beds of silverleaf, kingsblood, and briarthorn. Now its myriad of vines and branches had twisted into a thick trunk and it was near impossible to tell where the limbs that crawled overhead began or ended. And here where the primary root was located, strange reddish flowers bloomed at varied intervals along the vines, with the largest of them balanced on a thick, relatively short stalk sprouting off from the trunk.

Ituhala tentatively reached out to one of the blooms, but Lailya smacked her hand away. The druid looked properly abashed - she of all people should know better than to approach an unknown, possibly dangerous plant.

Lailya glanced around warily, her fel green eyes glowing in the darkness. "Well, now what?"

A sudden hissing sound filled the tiny glade, and the pair moved to stand back to back as the vines along the floor were seemingly dragged away and the branches on all sides began to sway. Lailya began gathering a shadowbolt in her hands as Ituhala flexed her hands, shifting them into huge, heavily-clawed bear paws.

"We should have brought someone with a nice, big axe," Ituhala said, oddly calm. Lailya merely grunted.

The weird red flowers shook suddenly, and an odd sweet-sour smell began to fill the air. Ituhala took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she processed what the smell was. Her eyes snapped open, shock and confusion written on her features, though Lailya couldn't see. "It's a... communication chemical, I think," the tauren said. "But that doesn't make any sense! Volatile communication between plants only happens when the plant is being eaten and any other kind usually happens through the root system and what in the Earthmother's name is a plant doing producing an appeasement pheromone?!"

Lailya, by the this time, had turned to stare at Ituhala. "In Orcish, please," she said. What in the Nether did they teach druids these days?

"You have a really weird plant!"

"Well, thank you so much for stating the-"

*Hello?*

Ituhala's eyes looked like they wanted to pop out of her head and she lost concentration long enough for her bear claws to shift back to hands. Lailya had turned chalk white. "Did you just-"

"Yes."

"Is it-"

"Yes."

Lailya let her shadowbolt dissipate as she closed her eyes. She made a strangled noise in the back of her throat that sounded like a cross between a groan and a whimper.

*Hello?* A soft rustling followed the inquiry.

The druid and the warlock turned to look at the large flower that was the central point of the plant's structure. Its petals had curled at the ends and the leaves on its supporting stalk were shaking and twisting, as if nervous.

Since Lailya looked as if a light breeze would knock her over, Ituhala took the initiative. "Hello," she said cheerfully.

The petals uncurled and the flower swayed from side to side. *Oh, you heard it!*

"Hearing" was stretching it a bit too far, and it wasn't true telepathy, either. Instead, the plant seemed to be using both its pheromones and an odd type of empathy to communicate feelings, concepts, and even images rather than words. A restoration druid would probably understand the process better. Ituhala made a mental note to ask some of the tribe's other druids or possibly her teachers about it, then returned her attention to the matter at hand. "Yes, yes we did," she said. "Can you tell us what you are?"

The petal tips curled again. *It is...it. Green thing. Growing thing. Is itself.*

All right, it had no idea what it is was besides "plant," either (and it likely had no idea where it had first come from, so no point asking that), and it was most definitely self-aware. Lailya was starting to look a bit green, but she swallowed and asked, "Why did you grow here?"

Once again, the petals uncurled and the flower swayed - presumably happily. *Oh! Oh! It grew because it was in good place.*

Lailya's ears visibly pricked and she blinked twice. Well, the compliment on the state of the greenhouse was appreciated. "How was it good?"

*Good soil. Clean water. Much warmth,* the plant said. *Tingly - erm, magic? Yes, magic. And love. Much, much love. Is good place for growing.*

Ituhala grinned and gently clapped Lailya on the back as the blood elf broke into a beaming smile. The smile vanished, however, when the plant seemed to wilt and said, *It very, very sorry it killed Mother's other growing things. It was not awake yet and didn't know they were special, too. Mother angry with it?*

Lailya had turned white again, and though her mouth was opening and closing, no sound was coming forth. Ituhala decided it was a good time to take over again. "No, Mother not angry," she said soothingly. There'd been a particular image the plant had used with "Mother," but just to be sure... "Um... To clarify, who is your mother?"

The flower shifted so that it was completely "facing" Lailya, and one of the hanging vines uncoiled to reach down and gently stroke the top of the warlock's head. *That Mother,* it said, swaying happily.

Lailya whimpered. Ituhala burst out laughing.
[Image: 2627648EgUWn.png]

[Image: 2627663SOPQY.png]
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#3
((Thanks to the wonderful plot hook, I have been running the 'visitor' side of this plotline live and with Lailya's input and support. There have been two visitors so far, and I do have plans for this plot continuation, which I will be running during online hours when I see interested people, also I am trying to avoid raid times.

There have been rumors for such, and many Ironsongers involved who were on at the time with some key details.

Oh, and I am sorry that Tursiops was not available for the plant RP, but I am doing my own drift into insanity plot for him and I would rather that those plot streams not cross at this time. *grin* ))
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