Goblin Fruit & Oddments
Printer Friendly Version | Back to Changeling Index
Encountering: Babyfruit might spring up where murdered or neglected infants have secretly been buried, particularly if multiple bodies have been interred in the same general place.
Planting and tending: Babyfruit bushes will want grave soil, and will require fresh blood at varying intervals (generally once a month to once a quarter per bush). The blood need not be human, though that seems to satisfy the bushes the most. Infants satisfy the bushes the longest. Babyfruit have also been known to respond to lullabies and patting. The fruit will cry more readily as they ripen; regular tending will keep them relatively quiet, but they will probably continue to gurgle to themselves. Babyfruit that's starving or otherwise wilting will still cry, though more and more softly, until rendered useless.
The plant itself: The bushes that spring forth grow to a maximum of four feet high, with leafy branches. They will sprout round blue and purple fruits that develop human-like infant faces, which will start to cry when upset. When they are picked, their cries soften to whispers. Once they are rendered into a preserved form, their cries cease - but some vestige of a child's face will remain.
Harvesting: A hungry babyfruit will wait until flesh is nearby (as when someone reaches in for a piece), and attempt to bite with their wicked teeth (specimens will have 2 to 6 dice to roll). A sated babyfruit is unlikely to attack. Some have fallen off the vine if given a nipple to suckle (though creatures are unlikely to sit still for such a thing).
The fruit itself: Most individual babyfruit provide a point of Glamour, usually tinged with sorrow or wrath. Those that are near wilting have a chance to morph into babyfruit that heal wounds (1 lethal or 2 bashing). A side-effect of eating the fruit is that the imbiber will be able to understand the cries of pre-verbal children for a scene - including the cries of the babyfruit themselves, which are often bloodthirsty and pathetic at the same time.
These gemstone-colored flowers are commonly found in the Hedge not far from gateways leading to or from the orderly parks and gardens of the British elite. While some of them resemble roses, others resemble exotic blooms or crowns. Once plucked, imperial flower stems curl around whatever is closest to them, clinging stubbornly for a full day and night. During that time, the bloom emits a fine fragrance which commands respect and gleams with a perfection which reminds others that the bearer is their better. This grants anyone who wears an imperial bloom a +1 bonus to social rolls made to convince someone within line of sight that they are a member of the upper crust of society. Rumors abound that the blooms make it easier to masquerade as one of the Fae Gentry, as well, but these remain rumors. Changelings try to ensure that imperials attach themselves to lapels or hats before important meetings, but the blooms might latch onto fingers or hair if they cannot get out of the way in time. These flowers garner attention and scrutiny, whether it is desired or not, so wise changelings pluck them sparingly.
Anyone attempting to raise imperials must do so in a very orderly and pre-established Hedge garden, ideally with a gateway nearby that opens onto British-controlled soil, more specifically a park, garden, or cemetery. Seeds or cuttings must be buried with a rich offering, as well. Gems and jewelry seem to work best, especially heirloom pieces, but currency offers little to no benefit. The blood of someone highborn (and with a Status of no less than three) is also required. Semi-regular infusions of finery, refined company, and soil and breezes from English gardens tend keep the flowers thriving.
Destiny: Spring courtiers note imperials for the first time in the 1700s as English gardening and British colonialism gain momentum, and they are well-known blossoms by the Victorian era. They start to become harder to find following the death of Queen Victoria and all but disappear by the late 1990s.
Once upon a time in the goblin market, a changeling searched for a way to wake his comatose uncle. The story says that his uncle hadn't been responsive since a Keeper came and took his nephew, some ten years before. Now that he was back, the changeling wanted to start setting things right. He searched the Courts first and then decided he would have to haggle with the goblins of the local market. And a haggle it would be, he vowed, for he would pay the denizens of the Hedge next to nothing, since they had chased him back to the world when he was wasted away to next to nothing.
The goblin merchant called himself Creak, and his bones groaned together anytime he moved his tall, spindly body, which was girded with rusty braces of different kinds. Creak told the changeling that he would need something called Wake Fruit. It could only be harvested in the Hedge near a long-term, comatose person who hadn't been moved in a while. The Wake Fruit would only sprout into being when the person was dreaming (which not all comatose people do) and having a particularly intense dream (Intensity 9+), and sometimes not even then. At the moment when the dream faded, when the person had a new chance to wake up, the Wake Fruit would bloom for a few scarce moments.
So the changeling followed the instructions carefully and dispensed the fruit to his uncle, who promptly ceased living. Distraught, he dragged the body into the Hedge and tried other ways to wake him up, to no avail. He left his uncle's body in the real world for authorities to find and care for.
The next time the goblin market was in town, the changeling found Creak and demanded not only a refund, but reparations.
"Don't you see, foolish boy?" Creak creaked. "Your greed only bought you half an answer last time."
"W-what?" the changeling asked.
"You were cheap and dull to bargain with, and there are few sins more grave in the goblin market," said Creak. "You never thought to ask what would happen when your uncle ate it. And since you want reparations for your insolence, this I'll give you for free: upon tasting the Wake Fruit, the imbiber will lie as dead, one day for each month the dreamer had been comatose. At the end of that time, it would be likely for your uncle to rise, none the worse for wear."
The changeling reeled. His uncle's body had already been embalmed and buried. There was nothing to keep him alive, even if he tried to rise.
"Of course, they say the comatose dreamer dies when the imbiber wakes, but all that's just rumor," Creak supplied.
Printer Friendly Version |Back to Changeling Index