Curseweald is just a fancy word for killer trees. There are more than 3 trillion trees on earth: A few million want to kill you.
Killer Tree Origins
Let’s accept that Mother Nature wants to kill us. We’ve got giant predators in the sea, viruses jump from body-to-body, and even then our bodies are rigged with genetic time bombs. It’s all about population control.
So, she made the planet’s lungs to poison us.
There’s no special origin story to killer trees. They’ve always been capable of taking out humans. How these trees do it is a bit different by its type and location. It’s certain: Humans are just fertilizer in the long run. Trees will keep growing long after our species is gone.
Descriptions & Variants
Killer trees come in 3 flavors:
And these variants determine how the tree could kill you.
When it comes to deciduous trees, they have a handful of ways to kill. Those include:
- Leaves: can contain high levels of cyanide or metabolize as the poison
- Fruit: the seeds can contain high levels of poison like apple seeds
- Flowers: these can be toxic when eaten, but not when they become fruit
- Sap: some is a highly concentrated poison or paralyzing agent
For conifers, they have fewer options, but they kill in an agonizing way. It’s their spores that do you in. Well, it’s not really the conifers’ spores: It’s the fungus that lives on the tree or near its roots.
These fungal spores waft through the air sporadically. If you inhale them, they take root in your lungs. Over time, the spores will mature and mushrooms, mold, mildews and other things that Scotts Fungicide for Lawns would kill grow in your lungs. It can take 6 months for you to suffocate.
Now, this is one reason why I don’t eat risotto.
Trees growing in cursed land is by far the most dangerous. They have vines and roots like tentacles, which pull you underground to its root system. Once you get stuck there, the roots pierce your flesh, inject some enzymes and digest you like a spider. Some vines will pull you up and hang you. Then, the flowers on the branches will stick to your body and sip away on your body fluids. You end up a Capri Sun of the arboreal variety.
In other cases, the tree has a belly. That’s just a bulbous area at the bottom on its trunk. Inside, it’s a cauldron of acid and bacteria that will poison you, then you’ll dissolve over a few months. Your bones would get pushed down into the roots when it’s done.
Killer Tree Territories
Different parts of the world can have more deciduous trees or conifers. The farther north you go, the more likely to have pine trees. Of course, the reverse is true if you live south of the equator.
Across the US, it’s the deciduous trees you have to worry about. Ohio has killer buckeyes. The sumac is another killer that’s spread across the North American continent. Don’t forget that cherry trees have lethal flowers. I think Michigan has the most killer trees: There’s so many cherry and apple orchards, waiting for someone to eat a seed, leaf or flower and become mulch.
In the Pacific Northwest, my neck of the woods, you’ve got the killer fungus to worry about. I never thought I’d need a face mask to hike, eh?
Anyway, none of these trees has anything on the killing speed of the manchineel tree in Florida. It’s a trickster, too. It grows large, apple-like fruit and smells so good. One minute after taking a bite, your throat burns and swells shut. You choke to death, and its roots wrap around your body for a meal.
Curseweald don’t go looking to kill people. It’ll eat anything. If you get attacked, it’s simply bad luck.
So … how does a tree eat somebody? Well, it’s all about enzymes, bacteria and a little acid. Most digestion happens with the roots, but the vines and leaves can carry enzymes to start the process. It’s kinda like your spit: It’s loaded with enzymes to help your body start digesting food. For trees, you can find them in sap and the moisture on the leaves in the morning.
Once you collapse on the ground, the roots will notice a juicy bag of nutrients (that would be you) and grow into your rotting flesh. Before you know, you’ve become Miracle-Gro.
There’s a few trees that have an acidic, toxic sap. It’s very water soluble, so rain can wash it on you. The toxins will paralyze you and the acid will start burning through your skin. The manchineel tree can do this, too. I swear the Devil himself designed that bastard!
Killer Trees Today
Deforestation is the biggest threat to killer trees. As the human population grows, it needs more land to raise crops and livestock. That means cutting down a lot of old growth forests. The Amazon is especially at risk. If you didn’t know: Over 20% of the air we breathe originates there. With fewer trees to filter carbon and other pollution, we’ll see more people getting sick from toxins that normally get filtered out of the environment.
It also means we have fewer animals and insects to control killer trees. Nature provides solutions to every problem we’ve got, but it’s about a balance. When you tip it too much, then it has an effect across the ecosystem.
The pollution will cripple the regular trees, making them grow slowly or become more susceptible to insect infestation. But killer trees aren’t so weak. They get their food from dying animals and humans. Just think: humans will weaken the forests and let the killer trees dominate. Those trees will unleash their killer fungus spores, acid vines and toxic fruit.
And Mother Nature will balance things out in the end.