Aligare’s Mandragora, the Legend Creature of storiesPosted: September 23, 2013
On the Aligare Lore page, I’ve outlined the twelve Legend Creatures thought to inhabit the land. One of them is the Mandragora, a plant creature.
The Mandragora is loosely based on Earth lore about the mandrake/mandragora plant.
This plant’s roots contain hallucinogenic compounds, and they often resemble human figures. Our Earth cultures have attributed all sorts of meanings to this plant: fertility, love, death. One bit of folklore says that the mandrake plant screams when uprooted, and this scream will kill any living thing that hears it. Mandrakes must be uprooted by tying a dog to them and abandoning the area. When the dog tries to follow its master, it will uproot the mandrake and die in its human’s stead.
Aligare’s mandrake plants are friendlier. They don’t scream: they’re silent like any other plant. But they’re thought to soak up negativity and sadness in the area, like absorbing and neutralizing a poison. Mandrakes are treated as good omens and luck charms. If a peoplekind settlement encroaches on a mandrake, the plant might be relocated to a meaningful place near the Middling circle or the town’s chromepiece. Or the mandrake might be allowed to grow undisturbed, even if that means leaving an untouched patch of plant growth in the middle of a busy town street.
Mandrakes are the children of the Legend Creature Mandragora, and Mandragora is friendlier still. Despite being a plant, it has enough animal qualities to be considered a Legend Creature. It’s sort of a self-appointed liason between plants and animals.
The Mandragora is a bipedal plant-creature that walks on two rootstalks, and flies on the wind (with wing-like leaves or fluffy seed-pod sails, depending on who is telling the legend). Its head is a flower blossom with rainbow-coloured petals. But although the Mandragora has a toothy mouth at the center of its flower head, it can’t speak. Instead, it loves to meet other travellers and listen to their stories. It smiles a lot, especially while listening to a tale. The Mandragora travels on the wind because it’s curious — a lover of life and a seeker of new stories.
Rue had often thought that Father was like the Legend Creature Mandragora. He kindly smiled; he didn’t speak overmuch; he left whenever a travelling wind caught his leaves or tempted his whims.
–Render (A story of Aligare), Chapter 13
Like any Legend Creature, there are very few reported sightings and those … aren’t from the most reliable sources. But Aligare folk still like the thought that somewhere in their mysterious land, the Mandragora is out there listening to everything worth listening to.
◦ Aligare’s Barghest, the Legend Creature of judgement (heidicvlach.com)
◦ Writing gods I don’t believe in: how atheism gets along with fantasy (heidicvlach.com)
◦ The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya (heidicvlach.com)