Genesis of the Horticulturalists

Turnsheet 2 – Edward de Vries Continues his Research

The Lily/Rose hybrid goes well and is everything you hoped for.

Unfortunately you are less successful with the insect/flower hybrid. You decide to avoid the whole idea of using wasps, or *shudder* bees, and decide to go for something safe like combining ladybirds and a daisies. As far as you can tell this goes well and they seem to make excellent experimental subjects. You soon have a greenhouse full of such chimera and believe you're really about to make a breakthrough in Spiritus Dei. You can almost see it now.

You have to break off your experiments to travel to the Netherlands and to Somerset to see the Franzberg Cannon being fired and when you return the situation is less good. Apparently the nature of the chimera changed while you were away. It's easy to forget that ladybirds are carnivorous, but it was still part of their nature. Now the “flowers” are mobile and hungry, sweeping the countryside for meat. When they broke out of the greenhouse they consumed the servant who went to investigate the sound of broken glass and now they're worrying sheep and milkmaids throughout Hertfordshire.

Turnsheet 3 – Correspondence

To Colonel The Right Honourable Edward de Vries, the Viscount of Hertfordshire,

On the matter of your Gardening Problem, it is Possible that Outside Help could be Hired by Duke Milton to Deal with the Stubborn Weeds, and ensure that they are Thoroughly Rooted out of Hertfordshire. Does this Solution seem Agreeable to You? I am Happy to state that Captain O'Keefe should be Accompanying the Expedition, so it Already has every Hallmark of Success.

I Earnestly look forward to your Reply.


Sir Alexander Cross, MP

Sir Cross,

That may allow me the time to help you out on your expedition. Do you know if the Duke would be willing to lend me some men to help look after my estate whilst I am gone, just in order to maintain security. I know my brother is doing something to help deal with the problem, so most likely what they would be doing is clearing up the remainder after that is done. In addition, do you know what form this aid will take?

Edward de Vries

To Colonel The Right Honourable Edward de Vries, the Viscount of Hertfordshire,

The Duke's Very Idea was to Sent to Your Assistance some Strapping lads of a Military Bent, who could Deal with the Situation with the Minimum amount of Fuss. I'm Sure they'd be Quite happy to Guard the Estate in your Absence.

With Your Permission I shall Request that His Grace make the Necessary Arrangements.


Sir Alexander Cross, MP

To His Grace William Milton, the Duke of Somerset,

It Gives me Some Pleasure to Announce that I have Obtained the Services of Matthias Kimmons, a wildlife Expert, and Colonel de Vries, for Our Expedition to the North. The Colonel has Requested that some Military Men be detailed to Guard his Estates and deal with an Infestation of his Flower Gardens by some Unpleasant Magickal Creations. I believe that Following our Prior conversation you were in a Position to Provide said Services to the Viscount?

Many thanks for your Generous Support in this Most Exciting Endeavour,

Sir Alexander Cross, MP

[To Sir Alexander Cross]

It would be my pleasure to repay the favour you are doing for me by doing one for you in return, or for the viscount I suppose I should say. Can you tell me any more of the problem there? Are the magical creations vulnerable to mortal weaponry? Would this menace merely need to be kept out or would hunting them to destroy them be an option?

Many of my men are tied up with the war in Holland at the moment but Lord Luca approached me and offered me use of his men should I need them and that would seem to save from having to withdraw troops from the war effort.

If you could provide such details as you can I would be most grateful or feel free to contact Lord Luca yourself to discuss the matter with him and I will pay for his services, assuming that they are not extortionate.


William Milton,

Duke of Somerset.

Your Grace,

I believe that the Creatures Troubling Hertfordshire are a Product of Alchemic dabbling by the Viscount. So far as I am aware they Should be Vulnerable to Standard Arms and Armaments. If not, Well I am Sure that Luca is an Sufficiently Creative Commander to manage the Effort Competently. Hunting them Down would be Preferable, and I understand the Viscount's Brother will be of Assistance in the Matter.

As a Further Note I believe the Viscount would Prefer that the Matter be Handled with Some Discretion- I'm sure this Will not be an Issue?

Speaking of Your Regiment in the Netherlands, I have recently, and Most Unexpectedly, been granted a Barony in the Region, on the Edge of the Border with Spanish Lands. I would be Delighted to Offer my Lands as a Staging Point for your Troops, that They may be Suitably Provisioned and that I might be Assured of the Safety of those now Within my Care. Is this Disposition of Your Troops suitable to Your Interests?


Alexander Cross, MP

Dearest Brother,

While your attention is appreciated, you neglect our childhood. As second son, I was always destined to be the soldier of the family, and you the gentleman of leisure. The sky was lifted from my shoulders the day you showed interest in the blade, though our father was hardly pleased. I have no love for brutality, no aptitude for violence, and no desire to witness warfare.

To this end, I fear I cannot stomach to aid you in your quest for Dragon fire. I apologise but handling the affairs on our estate fills me with enough trepidation.

…On the subject of our… unusual gardening arrangements… I have outlined the plan of attack:

  • I will prepare a simple weather control spell which I have dubbed an Aire Strike, and provide the base tokens. My research suggests, however, that we can further enhance the potency of this spell through use of alchemically fortified components.
  • You will purify/filter/refine a small quantity of air, water, earth, and perhaps a candle for the ritual. refinement to the extent of vermilion Sky is not required. A semi-pure sample of all four elements will work better than a lone fully purified one.
  • Array and brief a squad of your most trusted dragoons on the edge of 'no mans land'. They will provide cover as we travel to the casting site, and assist throughout.
  • We will journey with haste via the rose garden, skirting the chrysanthemums and approach the allotment. We will travel between the cucumbers and potatoes as we approach 'ground zero', trying not to trample the tomatoes too badly.
  • Approach and set up a defensive formation at 'ground zero' – The old oak tree on the Eastern Central side of the estate.
  • I scatter the magic circle around the base of the oak, administer the fortified components to my cock, and bury it in the earth at the base of the oak. Dragoons will be instructed to stay outside the circle, and not disrupt the circle or touch the cock.
  • I will cast the spell. Hail and Lightning will rain down on the entire estate, freezing and charring all hostile foliage. The hail will assure that any fires caused by the lightning are contained, and the shelter of the oak should keep us mostly safe. Dragoons will be instructed to remove metal helmets and keep their swords pointed at the ground at all times.
  • Dragoons spread out to finish off any surviving foliage, tackling any fires with water from the goldfish pond and ornamental wishing well. Tea and light refreshment will be provided as is appropriate for gentlemanly gardening.

P.S. For the love of God, please for once try to keep the 'fire' side of things under control. Part of my reasoning behind this strategy is that I need the wood of a twice struck Oak for an incredibly important project. If the thing is charred to a cinder by a rain of fire, our estate will suffer to the sum of several thousand pounds!

P.P.S. Would you kindly loan me the services of a few of your junior dragoons for a few days? I have a large shipment of sensitive books that I need to transport, and reason to believe them coveted by undesirable elements. You needn't turn your attention to this task, but merely release them to my responsibility.

Many thanks,

Simony [de Vries]

Turnsheet 3 - Simony De Vries: BATTLE GARDENER

Following the plan in his letter above.

It's a new experience for you but your plan works! Edward orders the staff of the manor indoors for the duration and the Duke of Somerset supplies the troops. They heard the hostile flowers around the tree and you let loose the lightning and hail vaporising and freezing and smashing them. Somehow you yourself are neither incinerated nor electrified by the lightning that hits the oak tree under which you've chosen to shelter. Surprisingly the troops are largely unburnt too and give you a rousing cheer when you emerge covered in ash in triumph!

News - Heroick Efforts of Dragoons Halt Savage Vegetable Menace!

From the notes of Master Thomas Irvin, printed in the City of London

Bravely did the Dragoons sally forth that day, pausing only for tea and light refreshment, as appropriate for gentlemanly gardening! Hefting sabres and pruning-forks, they journeyed with haste via the rose garden, skirting the chrysanthemums and deftly avoiding damage to the prize tomatoes!

The enemy were both numerous and savage, with twisting Jaws and terrible staring Eyes, but the brave forces of the Duke of Somerset cried “De Vries!” as they raised their stalwart muskets, and “De Vries!” as they fired a volley into the oncoming rush of vegetable fury! Hail and Lightning rained down upon the estate, charring all in their wake! The fruits of Magickal mishap had threatened the innocent shepherds and labourers of Hertfordshire for Too Long - and under the leadership of the brave Sir Simony, they would be safe once more from these vegetative monstrosities!

The pamphlet continues in similar tone, detailing with lurid verbosity the brave efforts of Sir Simony de Vries and Duke of Somerset's forces to destroy the plant-monster things ravaging the De Vries estate and Hertfordshire countryside.

Turnsheet 4 – Edward de Vries researches the Undying Flower

This does not go well. Although you can now see the Spiritus Dei clearly, and can work with it reasonably well in a creature as simple as a flower it doesn't mean making a living thing immortal is suddenly easy. The Spiritus Dei flows through the living plant welling up throughout the plant and then flowing around, converting the inert alchemical material into something that lives and grows.

You realise that you must somehow cut off the inflow and outflow and remake the whole thing into an endless loop. Just like creating a river than flows from the mountain and sea and back into its source before it reaches the sea. Simple really!

You work in the greenhouse of the gardens of your Hertfordshire estate. One night after a long, frustrating day of getting nowhere and you are woken in the night by the urgent shaking of one of your servants. The greenhouse has been destroyed by one of the plants within which has grown enormous. It also seems to have picked up some of your alchemical signature because it burns with a cold but red fire which illuminates the area all around. By the light of the almost-fire you can see that it is still growing. Somehow by accident you've only closed off the outflow of Spiritus Dei within it and so the fresh inflow is causing it to grow enormously.

By the time of the Court session it is several hundred meters tall and at night provides light enough to read by for a mile around. Its roots have run under your manor. If somehow it were to fall then it might tear up the house itself.

Turnsheet 5

News - The Giant Beanstalk

From the regular pamphlet “The Gardener's Guide” …Of course we can dismiss the Rumours that reach our ears from Hertfordshire out of hand. The genus Leguminosae, home of the common Bean, has no members that Tower to a height of several Hundred Feet nor do they Illuminate the surrounding Countryside. It is most likely mere Peasant Cuperstition or a garbled retelling of a Great Oak which has been struck by Lightening. But to make your own beans grow to a height of at least a few feet you must turn the soil regularly…

Turnsheet - Edward de Vries Sorts out his Estate

The Duke of Somerset gives you men from his regiment to help you and your Dragoons with their “gardening”. Apparently they are the same troops that assisted Sir Simony previously. It is amazingly difficult to dispatch the beanstalk since it seems determined to live; even the smallest fragment immediately begins to grow again. In the end it takes axes and fire and even some initial cannon fire to kill the thing. Fortunately your brother supplies you with a number of pewter vessels filled with enormous heat. It's quite odd that they don't cool, but when smashed against the side of the beanstalk they ignite it with a fury like the flames of hell.

Eternity – Edward de Vries

[…] Set up a special leet squad of my personal skilled fighters as my “Dangerous Horticulture Division” for the purposes not only of clearing up my effluvia but as a group of men I can use on my own dangerous and slightly insane escapades. […]

bonus.genesis_of_the_horties.txt · Last modified: 2008/03/13 21:10 by ivan