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The Petrified Child

Last updated Mar 13, 2024

# Overview

The Petrified Child, also known as ‘Goodness,’ is a deity that regulates and destroys those who commit evil acts. It descends from the pre-shattering force of Goodness, travels by floating metres above the ground, and can shift across realms at its own discretion.

# Appearance

The Petrified Child has the appearance of a swaddled infant, and is approximately 5 metres in length. It has the body of a bean-like inverse teardrop, a surface texture of shifting, looped ridges, and a round face on the front of its upper half.

It is made of solid stone, composed of many mineral or mineraloid compounds, and has alucinarium eyes with a deep purple sclera and glowing orange iris. Its rock type cannot be determined, as it was not formed but rather manifested upon the shattering of the realms.

Its face takes many forms, often shifting depending on who the Petrified Child is facing. For example, to the minikin, it appears with the face of a minikin child, and to the demi-slugs, the face of a demi-slug child.

During the reign of the Empire of the Petrified Child, it was commonly depicted with the face of an owl, owing to the animalistic masks worn in Stonechild Imperial society.

# Purpose

The purpose of the Petrified Child is to destroy evil where it may arise. The term ’evil’ is not a term defined in the petrified child’s mind, as to allow for a case-by-case conclusion on wether or not an offender needs to be destroyed.

The method by which the petrified child destroys is by disintegrating all but the offender’s skeleton into an organic fertiliser known as ‘Baby Sludge,’ an alucinariferous substance far more conducive to plant growth and ecosystemic health than other fertilisers, due to its inherent volume of nutrients as well as magic influence.

# Baby Meadows

A ‘Baby Meadow’ is the term for the resulting oasis-like region that arises after baby sludge becomes incorporated into the earth. Following the destruction of evil, a baby meadow goes through three stages;

# Stage 1

Following disintegration, the baby sludge settles on the ground and is partly absorbed into the soil. Little ecosystemic proliferation takes place in this stage, as the baby sludge is so severe that any flora or fauna in the vicinity will suffer from fungal or bacterial infection upon coming in contact with it.

This stage features mass ecological decline in the immediate area; the outward appearance of a baby meadow at this stage is that of a flat plain with a skeleton at its centre and decomposing trees, shrubbery, and animals scattered about.

# Stage 2

This is the stage at which the immediate danger has subsided, and nature begins to reclaim the area with greater ferocity than before. Alongside the proliferation of the local greenery, animals from other habitats may migrate to the area to feed upon the new food sources brought with the ecosystemic growth, especially if they are collecting food for hibernation.

Alongside this appearance of new herbivorous fauna, predatory animals will similarly frequent the area in search of prey. Some predators, having smelled the appearance of baby sludge, will have shed their normal coats of fur over the first stage in favour of a coat of better camouflage, hiding in the brush until a prey animal walks by.

The appearance of this stage is similarly plain like the previous stage, but it otherwise features the proliferation of dense fruiting, blooming shrubbery, and the appearance of animals arriving to feed. At this point, moss, lichen, and vines will have begun growing on the skeletal remains, resulting in a characteristic green shade to the bones with blossoms growing from the surface.

# Stage 3

The final stage is the least dangerous relative to the previous stages, featuring little danger and little predators than wouldn’t usually be expected. By this point, the ecosystemic proliferation will have ceased, and the health of the flora will sustain itself in the natural cycle of nutrients into plants and back into the ground.

At this point, the central skeleton may have rotted and crumbled, serving as fertiliser in and of itself, or it will have stayed standing in the case of stronger skeletons. The appearance of this stage is marked by the appearance of tall green trees; if the skeleton hasn’t disappeared it will surely be hidden by the lush trees which will have grown in the area.

From here on, the area will stay relatively constant in state, featuring dense flora. Over time the region may be overcome with other flora, resembling a baby meadow less and less after the initial propagation declines, but this is a very slow process due to the influence of Alucinara in the area following the dissemination of baby sludge.

# Detection of Evil

The petrified child detects evil through ’eyes’ scattered across the realms. A fair proportion of these eyes exist naturally, but the majority of these eyes were carved by the Sarvaran and Stonechild minikin, after it was discovered they could be created manually.

‘Eyes’ are rock formations given use by their physical resemblance to eyes or faces. They were discovered by an early morellic group of minikin who realised that the petrified child came to save them from danger only when there was a nearby cliff face or boulder with eyes formed into the surface.

The formation of these eyes is greatly helped by Alucinarium content in the rock, as this often causes the surface to shift into the shape of a face. This is often hastened by the process of erosion.

# Watchstones

Once the morellic minikin had discovered this, they began to seek out rocks and carve faces into them, commonly as a good luck charm. These came to be known as ‘ Watchstones.’

A lot of these rocks would be ineffective as they would be hidden away in a pocket, unable to see out of the fabric. So, the morellic minikin would sometimes cut holes in their pockets so that the eyes could see out.

An innovation came when early-stonechild minikin discovered that carving alucinarium geodes into watchstones worked to allow them to move, tremendously increasing the field of view of the watchstones.