Flourishing Hedge (Chain Shirt ••••)
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By TheUnsungHero

Green Jade Chain Shirt, Artifact ••••

Laughing Mist had a good life. She dwelled with her tribe in the trees to the East, unburdened by the troubles of the world. Though her fellow chosen would often scold her for ignoring her duties to Creation, she merely laughed and disappeared into the woods again. She befriended gods and spirits alike and brought prosperity to them through protecting of their forests and forging great works to aid them.

Her greatest allies were the treefolk, tall god-blooded people with long, stick-like fingers and rough bark for skin. Laughing Mist treated with them daily and even took the occasional lover among their people. Together they paid homage to the great forest lord T’tirok, an ancient wood elemental in the form of a massive ambulatory tree.

All was serene, until a sickness took root in the forest. A black corruption that turned the hearts of the plants and the animals. The treefolk feared it would take the heart of T’tirok, and so Laughing Mist ventured into the black lands to rescue the ancient tree. Monsters and spirits most foul barred her path, but she would not be delayed. Eventually she found T’tirok, mad with rage at the loss of his forest and corrupted completely. Weeping inconsolably, Laughing Mist cut down the ancient tree, killing him to save him.

The tree people mourned and blamed Laughing Mist for their loss. She had failed to protect them and slain their god, and so she was exiled. Laughing Mist was only seen once more, ten years later, when she returned to the tree people and gave them an offering. A fine green chain armor, glittering in the sunlight, and fitted with ivy motifs, gifted as a memento of their lost god. For Laughing Mist had rescued T’tirok’s heart, purified it, and forged it into this armor. “May it protect you where I could not,” she said with a voice devoid of mirth. Walking into the morning mists, she was never seen again.

Flourishing Hedge is a green jade chain shirt with ivy motifs scattered amongst the links and a single hearthstone socket in the collar. When worn, the wearer can feel the soft beating of T’tirok’s heart from the armor, and it beats faster with excitement when near forests. While it can be hidden under clothes, this can be problematic when activating its evocations.

Evocations of Flourishing Hedge

A Solar or Dragon-Blood who spends 2 extra motes attuning to Flourishing Hedge can choose what kind of foliage is created by its evocations. They need not be native to the surrounding environment and can even small amounts of food if desired. It cannot produce rare or magical flora, or anything that doesn’t occur naturally within Creation.

Trees for the Forest
Cost: 5m Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Mute
Duration: Indefinite
Prerequisites: None

The Flourishing Hedge is a medium for plants, and can produce them at will. Activating Trees for the Forest causes leaves, bark, branches, needles, and other foliage to sprout from the chain vest and rapidly begin to cover the exalt. The nature of this spontaneous growth is always appropriate to the region the exalt is in. In the North, it may become needly with cedar barks, while in the south it could become spined like cacti.

Beginning the round it is activated, the exalt gains 1 automatic success on all Stealth rolls when amongst any amount of surrounding foliage. This bonus increases by 1 each round afterwards to a maximum of the highest of Essence or 3. This benefit requires the exalt to remain perfectly still and quiet, though with a proper stunt, they could move slightly with the wind, water current, or any other appropriate natural motion. The exalt may explicitly use this evocation to go to Stealth mid-combat, but each time they do, the benefit resets to 1 regardless of how long it has been activated.

In addition, after 3 rounds of Trees for the Forest being activated, the exalt gains +1 to their Dodge Defense, as foes struggle with finding their foe among the accumulated brush. When the evocation ends, all created foliage decays and falls off the armor, decomposing on the ground to dust.

Strength in the Roots
Cost: 5m 1wp Mins: Essence 2
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: One Scene
Prerequisites: Trees for the Forest

Roots harden, bark thickens, and vines wind endlessly around the body of the exalt, shrugging off stronger attacks than before. Trees for the Forest must be active for this evocation to function. Strength in the Roots causes the Flourishing Hedge to upgrade to medium artifact armor (from base, +3 to soak and hardness, -1 mobility penalty) as the sprouting foliage protects the body of the wearer like a reinforced buff jacket made of plants.

In addition, if Trees for the Forest has been active for 3 rounds, the wearer gains limited control over the vines and branches of the Flourishing Hedge. Minor acts of dexterity may be performed with the foliage of the armor instead of the exalts hands at a -1 offhand penalty. Examples include untying bonds when the exalt is tied up, picking a lock, holding a book for the exalt to read. Due to the concentration required, consider this to act as a second set of hands, even though it can be represented by dozens of animated vines as easily as a single winding stick. This effect cannot be used to wield weapons or make attacks except as part of an unarmed stunt, and it cannot carry more than 20 lbs of material.

A Force of Nature
Cost: —(+5m) Mins: Essence 3
Type: Permanent
Keywords: Perilous
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Strength in the Roots

The power of nature is unfathomable, and the Flourishing Hedge embodies a portion of that. The foliage created by the armor encompasses the wearer’s entire body, transforming them into a huge treant with the aspect of the local plantlife. Paying the cost of A Force of Nature when activating Strength in the Roots upgrades the evocation granting the exalt a variety of benefits:

  • The round it activates, the exalt may roll a Join Battle roll that cannot be amplified by charms. Successes are added to their initiative pool.
  • Flourishing Hedge is considered Heavy Artifact Armor (from base +6 soak and hardness, -2 mo

bility penalty)

  • Adds 3 to the character’s Strength for feats of strength (qualification and dice pool)
  • Increases in size by 50%, adds 2 dice to intimidation rolls

In addition, for every round that Trees for the Forest is active at the same time as A Force of Nature, the exalt gains 1 initiative.

A Force of Nature ends if the exalt is crashed, ending both it and its prerequisite. When the evocation ends it cannot be activated for one season unless given the personal blessing of a wood elemental or a forest god.

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