The Cellulose Kingdom

(Next) (Six Nucleotide Evolution) (Four Nucleotide Evolution) (Back to contents) (Stories)

The Kedoids

Keda, theirops, inglethors, myuriahlah etc.

The most loved and most feared creatures of the wilds in both modern fact and oldest legend.

Picture of a keda running toward us and turning left

There has been a relationship with the keda since humans first arrived. The native's most advanced scientific scholars believed that humans and the other three evolutions of life which began at that time were most likely artificial life cooked up in the labs of the 'saggothan' civilization that kedas inhabited at the time humans arrived. The keda is pretty typical of the Lentos class except that it has five eyes of equal size like a theropsiod instead of three with a larger one in the middle.

Picture of a theirops cub ready to pounce

The most feared creature on the planet is the theirops. It will prey on humans if it thinks it can get away with it. It is smart enough to know humans can be dangerous if armed or in groups. It may tease it's prey, darting in and snipping off a limb with one of it's pincers and bounding out of reach to see if it is pursued. At this point the best the human can hope for is that the theirops isn't REAL hungry and will content itself with the limb and leave the remainder of the human to contend with the arterial bleeding. Both the keda and the theirops are in the Lentos class of the Kedoid phylum. They are as closely related as you are to a pig.

What are called inglethors are actually three different classes with numerous sub-classes that share the same general size and shape. Closer inspection shows that they are different as kedas and blanths. One of those classes has two families that can fly, the bagmouths. Their common names usually deal with their colors and stripes in whatever language is used in the area. Those that produce musical mating calls are called 'lumins' and not all are in the same class, though none of the Highknees sing.

A whole class of this phylum called the mlaks has developed large flaps of skin filled with photosynthetic bacteria of the six nucleotide evolution. This class still retains some ability to move, but it's head and mouth just probe for minerals needed by the photosynthetic organs.

Deep in the lowlands a whole different class in this phylum has learned to fly where the air is so thick a few square feet of sail is all you need for a wing. These creatures have more than that in the wings that drive them thru the air. They have many square feet of sail in their gliding wings. They effortlessly drive their half-ton bodies thru the thick air at three times the sea level pressure of Earth, and still do so in 4100ad.

Most of the important domestic animals are members of this phylum. The keda has already been mentioned. There are several smaller varieties used as beasts of burden, as performing animals and as pets. Thongas, lentosaurs and kargas are the most important large meat animals, though most meat consumed on Kassidor is varmints caught in the gardens, primarily inglethors. The talrins, which produce the eggs used in this society are members of this phylum, in the class with Nyobbas. In ancient times when ectoparasites were an important problem, a type of inglethor from the Highknee class known as a 'lumpil' was worn inside the clothing to control them.

The Scamps

There is some academic debate over whether the scamps should be considered a separate phylum or a class in the kedoid or ensaloid phylum. Their cellular machinery has features of each. Their eyes are more Kedoid, but their brain structure is very different from either phylum. Their appearance is more like a Kranjanoid except for the mouth. Their jaws are more like those of an Earth fish than a Chilleeth. We're giving them a phylum name in this handbook but staying out of the argument.

The scamps have short legs and many of them. They have round heads with random numbers of eyes, many of which are vestigial. They have the plushest fur of any of Kassidor's fauna and can live in the thinnest air. Scamps themselves are vegetarian, living on lichen-like rockworts, sap nubs and week leaves. Many of their relatives prey on them such as the Coriscamp, and Axio.

The milliclamp is sometimes kept by humans as a pet and can guard the territory. They are intelligent enough to know one person from another and they can be affectionate. The threadscamp is used as a living fur scarf among the tundrites.

The Dactyloids

Dactyls, stryders, droppers etc.

A Violent Greenstripe dactyl landing on a kill

This is a phylum that never bought into the idea of vegetarianism, these fearsome aerial predators have struck terror into mankind since humans were first released on the planet. In modern times droppers cause humans more blood loss, especially in the jungles to the northwest of Trenst. This whole phylum is characterized by a single landing leg and a pair of eyes that hang down below the jaw. They may have one or three eyes above the jaw, it's usually the mini-dactyls with three.

The class called the stryders is extinct except for some dwarf species called 'hoppers' and some laboratory re-creations. They had been totally extinct for several of the native centuries when contact was achieved with the Angel civilization. This was essentially a one-legged beast, though it did have two small 'landing legs' it could put down to stabilize itself. They were legendary predators on humans until they were exterminated. When they were exterminated the population greeted the news about the way Earth's population greeted the news that smallpox was eradicated.

Today's population will probably feel the same way about the news that droppers have been eradicated. Far from thinking an important class of biodiversity must be maintained, the population would be gleeful that an important menace to human life and health had been removed from the world.

In the southern Gligzath's a member of the 'lesser dactyls' class in this phylum has been bred to have lush fur on it's wings. They are trained to lie on human shoulders and wrap their wings around them for warmth in the dark. They were an important pet in the time and place. Other than that, there has been no domestication of this phylum.

The Ensals

This phylum of fish-like creatures is characterized by a one-piece skeleton of either rigid or flexible cellulose and protein. Their body-plan is the most similar to vertebrates of Kassidorian evolution. They are mainly aquatic though some are amphibious. The head can be half the body weight and among the big head ensals, digestion of the prey happens in the mouth. They have multiple eyes, but very good senses of smell and electric charge.

They are highly prized as food by humans and many have been domesticated. Most are active but a couple classes are slow moving bottom feeders and they do have a class of sessile filter feeders that grow in aquatic polyp-wort reefs. They are important in keeping the water clean and it is important that they are not over-fished. Several types are kept as pets in pools and they can be affectionate and playful when humans are in the water. In many cases their intelligence is closer to that of a seal than a fish.

The Keltoids

Archwoods, ribbonleaves, tussocks and thickets.

This phylum is very plant like. The basic body plan is that of a branching fern growing from a complex of underground bulbs. They have the ability to propagate by rooting their frond tips. They vary in size from moss to canopy in any environment where the vital parts of the plant don't freeze.

This phylum provides most of the housing for the current population of the planet and has since Earth's year first had four digits. The Archwoods are the root stock of most of the plants that have been modified to grow into homes and apartment towers for humans.

The ribbonleaf class in this phylum has leaves that can withstand frost, though the bulbs cannot stand freezing except in a few desert specialists. The ribbonleaves provide two important crops, thesh and vedn, which can be translated to 'pasta and grain group' in whatever language you want to translate it into. The ribbonleaves occupy the ecological niche(s) that grass does on Earth. They have those that have invaded the highlands by growing a viable bulb in the soil ahead of them, but abandoning the frond to the freeze of dark. They are called week-walkers and cover nearly a million square miles of the plains around Ydlontrostl. There are families that can climb the cracks in the barks of great trees and some that approach the size of trees themselves.

The tussocks are a hugely varied class that has invaded all environments from the desert fringe to the damp crotches of jungle trees. They are now an ineradicable invasive species on Kinunde and Earth. The fronds of the tussocks are not vulnerable to the freeze, being so low in water that ice does little damage. Thus they climb the great shaftwoods of the highland forest and support populations of chuff.

The Gnarl class is another that can survive the freeze. It is one of the most common kinds of brush on the tundra and their berries are an important food source in that environment. Many species can live in areas frequented by humans and this class produces important crops from shums to kalic. The cheeseapple is a larger, sturdier member of the gnarl class that cannot live where the ground freezes, but over much of the current human range it is even more important. Note that the Kalic is actually a shrub of just about zero height. It's surface is covered by, and/or, is haloed by leaves, but the edible part is the thick starchy root just below the disk-like woody stem.

The spray berries look like large ferns and bear fruit and flowers hanging from their fronds. There are hundreds of species; some are the sweetest things in Kassidorian cuisine, and most are sweet enough for Centorin palettes. They can stand only a brief freeze, different species have different definitions of 'brief' but none can survive more than twenty hours of sub-freezing temperatures. This puts them along the shorelines of the larger lakes in the Highlands. They grow wild in the New Midlands which is now accessible on the tubes.

The Daikoid

Shaftwood, rushwoods, bigleaves and false levaleaves.

A douglas fir is indistinguishable from a number of common species of shaftwood from a distance. They have a very different pattern of growth in detail because each shaftwood limb is either a leaf, or a separate plant and the tree is a group of them growing back to back. Each leaf (branch) adds to the wood just under the bark, and has it's own root in the soil below.

These grow in sections, an inch or even less, to a whole story in height. They are strongly differentiated into vertical and horizontal members and will not last in the wrong orientation. They do have a variety where the vertical is a rope, the horizontal is a lighter-than-air leaf that floats in the calm air of many deeps. The bigleaves look similar, but hold up the leaves with very strong stems that are some of the best structural rods available for the weight and price. They are used as construction scaffolding in every basin where they grow large enough. Some bigleaves have leaves large enough to serve as a roof for a small family. In lean times the homeless have driven the bigleaves to the brink of extinction because of it.

All members of the celluose kingdom are intrinsically eternal and will continue to operate as long as they remain adapted to their environment. But the amount of time they actually manage to do it is finite for any member of the kingdom, and no one organism has been scientifically determined to be older than a hundred and seventeen million years. That record holder is a great mesawood. It has a new shaftwood forest growing on the rotted old heart of the wide area that is filled with old wood now, but the two hundred foot tall wall of leaves on that eighteen hundred foot in diameter mesa of heartwood is still hearty. There are over a hundred of these mesawoods measured to be over a million years old in the black forests of the Westlands. There is one over a mile in diameter with a forest on top in which there are some species of dtair and fish that are unique to it's rotted heart alone.

Each shaftwood limb, is a leaf, and each has it's own connection to a root, thru the trunk to the soil. The basic shaftwood body plan is a collection of huge leaves on vines that lean against each other for support. As long as a leaf has outer bark on it's part of the shaft, it can keep growing. New leaves are spawned by adding a level, until a leaf on a lower level dies. Different species will spawn different numbers of leaves at each level, biologists further subdivide the families by leaf count at each level. There are some who maintain that the leaf is the individual in a shaftwood, and a seed sprouts only the first individual in a colony, all other individuals (leaves) in that colony are clones. In this handbook we are only reporting this scientific debate without taking a stand either way.

This phylum used to include two more classes, many with members that were important crops. Those were the tall-grains and the tubers. Both went extinct because they were symbionts with tiny grubs in the Klinoid kingdom. When the whole grub phylum was exterminated by a broad-spectrum viral pesticide, their symbionts died also. Their roots were unable to grow without the grubs that ate them penetrating the soil to make a hole. Since then, vedn has taken the place of the tall-grains in the human diet and kalic has replaced the tubers. Both were considered 'camping' substitutes before that time. Genetic modification has made them far superior today.

The False Spikerbushes

These look like a dead plant with huge thorns on the ends of long coiled vines. They have given up all pretense at photosynthesis and are pure carnivores. They are more closely related to the Daikoid than any other phylum in the cellulose kingdom, though in ancient times they were placed closer to the dacyls on the family tree. They are the most primitive of the celluloids, having neither the photosynthetic talent of the plant phyla nor the muscles and nervous system of the animals.

This phylum of sessile animals is actually more deadly that the real spikerbushes. It has spring-loaded tendrils ending in spears. All species use poison, some have poison that will inflict severe harm and some of them are large enough to get serious about digesting a human. The thorns are barbed and extract whatever fluids they can from the prey. They can live nicely on human blood. Some classes can move, especially the aquatic ones. This phylum has exploded in population since the wildhull event and that makes any attempt to penetrate the wildhull swamps even more dangerous than it already is.

(Continue) (Six Nucleotide Evolution) (Four Nucleotide Evolution) (Back to contents) (Stories)