The Petrified Child
The Petrified Child1 is a supernatural being or deity concerned with the regulation and destruction of evil. It was formed from the mountains, owing to the fact that it is made of rock, and has the appearance of an infant. In addition, it is capable of travelling across the realms at its own discretion, and moves by quickly floating above the canopy or surface of the ground.
The Petrified Child has the form of a long, inverse egg made of pure rock. It has a round top with a curved, tapering bottom, a vertical length of 3 metres, and a diameter of 1.5 metres at its widest point. In addition, it has no visible body parts except for a round infantile face on the front side of its upper section.
Its face varies in shape over time due to the presence of Alucinara energy within it; this can cause its face to unpredictably shift in form. The child often appears to have the infantile face of a minikin, but it can also present with a strigine face, canine face, or a feline face, causing a lot of variation from culture-to-culture in how the deity is depicted.
Its eyes are made of smooth Alucinarium bulbs, appearing dark, shiny, and purple. Round yellow-orange emissions of light appear and fade sporadically, a common visual phenomenon of crystalline Alucinarium, when its eyes are open. However, they are often closed to portray a wide, innocent smile with a look of contentment and calmness.
# Cultural Variance
- In morellic tradition, the petrified child is depicted with the face of a minikin;
- In dviri tradition, the petrified child is depicted with the face of an owl;
- In snixoj tradition, the petrified child is depicted with the face of a goat;
- and in neth tradition, the petrified child is depicted with the face of a ferret.
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 energy 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.
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.