Jet Black and the Elixir of life... and Death. #7
By John Stevenson
Copyright John Stevenson 2013
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There is a plant that grows on the planet Taates; it has large red and pink variegated leaves, and a deep green flower that is both exquisitely beautiful and heavily perfumed. It is a sight to behold and also extremely deadly.
Growing alongside this plant is a singularly unimpressive vine. It grows up into the highest branches of a host tree, with a rough, hairy stem covered in barbs that capture and hold any creature foolhardy enough to come into contact. Those without the required botanic knowledge immediately assume this plant is not only of a different genus but also of an entirely different species: They are wrong; the vine is the male, and the flower the female of the same plant.
The people of Taates use both plants: the flower for its toxin; within the plants pith is an essence that protects it against all predators: with the exception of humans. The vine is prised for its medicinal purposes: within the vines sapwood is a chemical neuroprotective agent that protects the brain; and is also the antidote to the flowers poison. The planets inhabitant’s discovered that by combining the toxin and the neuroagent a drink can be distilled. It is sweet and intoxicating, and is called the Elixir of Life and Death.