SAPLING

JANUARY 2022 ART PROMPT

Field agent Tulin has been stationed along the edges of the Black Forest, patiently waiting for a very specific Guardian to come forth. It took nearly a week, but finally the little tree creatures we've fondly called Saplings emerged to curiously inspect Tulin. Included below is his account of the playful encounter:

 

"Tales of the Saplings are quite common in human villages close to the Black Forest. Most consider them to be embodiments of nature's spirit itself, but depending on who you ask, they can be viewed as either good or bad omens. So far, nobody has been able to decode their odd behaviours and motives, and perhaps no one will ever fully grasp the mystery behind these peculiar creatures.

 

I asked my colleagues how these creatures are viewed in the faerie and demon territories as well. I learned that faeries are quite wary of anything coming out of the Black Forest, including something as cute and harmless as the Saplings. Most faeries will either flee from a sapling or try to trick them into wandering back where they came from. Demons, on the other hand, tend to dismiss them entirely and view them as innocuous as any other creature of similar disposition and stature.

 

Using this handful of knowledge, I travelled to the southeast corner of the human territory where the rumours of sightings were most numerous. I set up camp south of Lake Muura, an area where many strange occurrences happen on a regular basis. It was unnerving staying so close to the Black Forest for so long, but my patience was rewarded.

 

Though I already knew what they looked like from second-hand descriptions, I was still taken aback when I first saw one peek around the tree. It was only two feet tall with a strangely proportioned humanoid body. Its arms and legs were thin and twig-like, while its stomach was rather rotund which reminded me somewhat of a ginger root. From the top of its head sprouted a single twig with a lone, sprightly leaf.

 

It was delightful to watch the way it would peek around a tree, hide, then scurry to another closer one and peek yet again, repeating the process until it got brave enough to come out of the Black Forest. In fact, I had been so engrossed I didn't notice that it had brought friends! There were eight of them all together and they ranged from a mere six inches tall to the largest being three feet. The types of leaves sprouting from their heads were quite varied as well. The smallest, shyest one was even sporting a small flower!

 

They were far more friendly and curious than I expected, and I regretted leaving my bag open as they ended up scattering my things about. It was also quickly apparent that they loved putting things on their heads, though they were rather displeased that the sheets of paper I brought didn't make very good hats.

 

Their most disconcerting feature would have to be the strange, hollowed out logs that completely enveloped their heads. Or perhaps that was their head, as it seemed fused to their skin and I never saw a glint of an eye in the twisted, black eye sockets. I tried to offer some berries as food, and even pantomimed eating to see if they would follow suit, but they were simply not interested. It didn't appear that they had mouths, so perhaps they are more akin to plants than animals and use the sun itself for food. It's a question I'll have to answer at a later time.

 

For as tempted as I was to stay longer, my courage at staying so close to the Black Forest was waning. I didn’t want to risk an encounter with a larger class of Guardian, not when we still know so little about them. So I decided I would have to return on a future trip to study the Saplings further. I'll try to remember to bring better hats."

 

Key Features:

  • Hollowed out log for a head with only eye sockets carved out

  • 6 inches (15cm) to 3 feet (91cm) tall

  • Thin arms and legs

  • Round stomach

  • Small leaf or flower sprouting from the top of their head

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HOW TO PARTICIPATE

 

To participate in the prompt, simply join our Discord and post your submission in the "prompt-submissions" channel. All past submissions will be gathered and displayed in our "prompt-gallery" channel.

Entries can take the form of sketches, paintings, sculptures, poems, short stories, photos, or even music! Choose whatever medium suits your art practice best.

At the end of every month, we will gather all prompt submissions and share them on our Twitch stream hosted every Saturday at 6pm MST.

Most importantly - we want you to have fun! We encourage you to use these art prompts as a way to stretch your creative muscles and practice your art skills.

Note: You can still participate in this prompt! Although it was released in January 2022, we accept submissions for all past prompts at any time in our Discord. Submissions for past prompts will also be included in the counting for the special Discord roles listed below.

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PARTICIPATION PRIZE

 

All participants will be granted a special Ecologist Discord role depending on how many contests they have took part in:
 
Novice Ecologist - 1 contest
Junior Ecologist - 3 contests
Senior Ecologist - 5 contests
Chief Ecologist - 7 contests