For the Lord Of The Files contest in
The trees may be listening - Wandering Woods
Common elements: Wandering Woods are predominantly earth affinity, with other elements more often observed as sub affinities. Wandering Woods with primary affinities other than earth usually show more outward signs of these elements; such as dew/wet leaves even in dry weather for water affinities, or constant formation of snow and ice on their limbs if they are ice affinity, and so on. As sub affinities, these other elements generally play into the Wandering Woods’ preference in climate and terrain. Though they have been viewed with a variety of different and less common elements, Wandering Woods have almost never been seen with a fire affinity. There have also been no recorded sightings of a affinityless Woods, thus far.
Hereditary magic: Wandering Woods affinities are normally hereditary, but the magic in their environment greatly affects them. The climate of the area determines the type of foliage a Wandering Woods will produce while it is still inside its egg. Though rare, a sudden very strong, or opposing magic in the environment can force a change in the affinity of the egg if it takes place just before hatching. This can cause Wandering Woods to be born with foliage that is very out of place and sometimes very ill suited for the climate. In cases where it would affect the health of the hatchling, a male Woods will transfer it to a different grove.
*Water, Earth, Air, Ice: Living in their traditional manner, Wandering Woods are heavily resistant to elements found frequently in nature. Older Woods tend to lose resilience against air and ice elements however, causing them moderate to severe damages depending on the force.
*Fire: All Wandering Woods are highly susceptible to fire and its subsets. Extreme heat will very easily damage their bodies and foliage, and droughts can lead to their starvation. Forest fires can cause a tragic end to an entire grove of the great creatures. Areas of their bodies that become heavily burned are incapable of any sort of new growth and make them more susceptible to other ailments. Albeit very rare, lightning is also a danger to these tall creatures; Powerful strikes often leaving severe burns or internal damages.
*Poison: Though air bound and ingested toxins are easily processed, poison that is absorbed through their root system cannot be fought off in the same way. Poison taken in this way rapidly travels their systems and it can wither them within days or hours. Those that somehow survive poisoning usually lose the ability to produce foliage and offspring. Wandering Woods that reside near ponds, lakes, rivers, etc. who die off suddenly can be an indicator of a terrible toxin within a water supply.
*Parasites: Older Wandering Woods, as well as heavily burned ones, often play host to a assortment of small parasitic insects and lichens. These organisms can cause the Woods great distress depending on the severity of the infestation. To combat this, the Wandering Woods happily allow and encourage small insectivorous and fungivorous creatures to roam their bodies and remove the unwanted pests.
*Woodcutters: Though very uncommon, careless woodsmen have been known to damage Wandering Woods and their offspring. Damage from axes can lame or kill smaller Woods. The larger females, with their thick hides and abdomens, are often just left with an axe scar. When struck, they will uproot and lash out with their heavy appendages until the threat is gone.
Common locations: Wandering Woods travel in family units, called groves, containing usually three to seven mature females. They aren’t often found outside of their groves, but solitary ones have been known to reside close to small, less industrialized cities. Wandering Woods are sometimes employed to maintain parks and orchards; living within these areas while keeping the unwanted undergrowth in check.
Climate preferences: Wandering Woods are heavily diverse in terms of prefered climates. Woods opt for areas suited to their sub-affinities, as the type of foliage they produce is heavily influenced by this. As long as there is a ready supply of undergrowth and shrubbery, groves are content to roam their areas of choice. Though this does not stop a adventurous Woods from traveling to entirely different climates, their bodies cannot produce a different type of foliage to adapt to their new surroundings; such as palm leaves to pine needles. So generally, if a Wandering Woods is seen with foliage completely inadequate for the area it is currently in, it is likely only passing through. This is more commonly seen in young males as they seek out new groves.
Level of intelligence: Wandering Woods are slow and methodical thinkers with a high curiosity for other species. They are capable of higher-level thinking, such as the ability to plan ahead, to reason, rationalize, and to understand abstract concepts and principles. Woods living away from society are particularly curious when it comes to cities and technology.
Language: Wandering Woods are naturally capable in Plant and the insect language, Chitter. Chitter is a complex system of high-pitched chirps and droning noises that can he heard over long distances. Wandering Woods produce this noise by vibrating their mandibles over small holes along their lower jaw. Common is picked up easily by Woods living closer to populated and frequently visited areas.
*The foliage on a Wandering Woods body does not normally fall off. Instead, they have been observed preening away old leaves and limbs to make way for new growth.
*In climates that experience snowfall during winter Wandering Woods will devour all of their own foliage and go into hibernation. Becoming mostly dormant and feeding only through their roots. Once new growth begins to appear on them, they slowly become more active; returning to normal by mid-spring. Flowering varieties seem to perk up more rapidly. Woods with an affinity to Ice are unaffected by the need to hibernate and will remain active through winter.
*Wandering Woods only travel at night and have been known to cause confusion among travelers who will fall asleep among trees and wake up within a large clearing.
*Wandering Woods have been given nicknames, such as: Fleeting Forests, or Branchy Bug. But the most well known and widely use nickname for them is Tree Ant, which is used more than their real species name.
*Mature males will leave their groves to seek a mate in other groups. Males of differing foliage are more readily accepted than ones that share similar traits.
*Young Wandering Woods imitate bushes or shrubs as they are born with much more foliage than adults until they grow their own bark. When they mature they will molt or eat away the excess foliage.
*Wandering Woods that imitate fruit bearing trees are capable of producing their own fruit, but theirs will taste sour compared to the original in order to discourage creatures from constantly climbing it for its fruit.
I like the pun with "Tree Ants" too hahaha
And yeah, haha, the nickname was too much fun to pass up.