Skyreach Manuals: Life Cycle of the Primals

AltVerroakThe Primals are some of the most curious creatures of Draenor. In many ways they’re so very different from all the other forms of life on our world, and in many ways they’re also very similar. Some say the Primals are mimicking other life forms, as is often said to be the case with mandragoras and hydras, and some say they were deliberately designed in a similar way. One of the most common theories about the Primals is that they’re a Titanic creation gone haywire. The Breakers are commonly believed to be the Titanic creations, but some argue that so were the Primals. The best proof of that theory are ancient artifacts related to the Primals sometimes found in forgotten Titanic vaults. Whichever the case, the Primals are a faction of creatures with very distinct life cycle, clearly tying them all together.

The core of the Primal community and life cycle are the genesaurs, massive plant creatures with a centauric body. The botani and the podlings believe the genesaurs to be gods, for a certain meaning of the term, and venerate them fervently. Most botani and podlings would give their life for their genesaur and would never even consider questioning the orders of one of them. However, we highly doubt the power level of an average genesaur is anywhere as high as that of, for example, Rukhmar or even Anzu. Despite that, genesaurs are still extremely dangerous creatures, doubly so through their zealous followers that will swarm to defend them.

A genesaur lives for a very, very long time. It is in fact unknown if there is any age limit to them, as they can often root themselves in the ground and rest that way for centuries if left undisturbed. The oldest known genesaurs are so ancient that mention of these specific individuals can be dated all the way before the rise of Apexis. One of such impossibly old genesaurs is Tarlna the Ageless, a creature that was once feared by the Apexis but which went into slumber after their demise and only woke up twice in the intervening millennia, both times causing massive devastation among its enemies. Tarlna is currently slumbering, but with the recent upheaval it is feared he may awake again and single-handedly destroy the threat of the Iron Horde.

Genesaurs are in many ways like queen ants of their Commune – they are the only ones allowed to reproduce and possibly even the only ones capable of reproducing. During their long lives, genesaurs continuously produce seeds of varying size and power, which are then gathered by busy podlings serving the genesaur’s every whim. Podlings then deliver the seeds to the botani – the main fighting and magical force of every Primal Commune. The botani plant the seeds in a fertile ground and then cultivate them, until the creatures sprout. The genesaur produces the seeds that grow into every creature in the Primal arsenal, and is believed to be in full control of what kind of seed it spawns.

Most seeds are small and require little nutrition. Those seeds grow into podlings, the most common and most ravenous creatures in the Primal arsenal. While their main function in a Commune is to take care of the genesaur, they spawn in such great numbers that genesaurs do not need them all and care very little for what happens to all the extraneous podlings. All the extra numbers of podlings migrate across the world and sometimes create their own little communities, led by “kings”. Those podlings are said to believe in some twisted sense of honor or justice and sometimes, far from the genesaurs, they even produce their own seeds which grow into even more podlings.

One creature that is even less intelligent than the madcap podlings are the mandragoras. Mostly beast-like, these creatures superficially resemble a hydra, bearing one central trunk, with two roots modified for locomotion and three “heads” consisting of flesh-eating flowers. While most Primals require flesh of animals for nutrition (when they don’t hibernate) or for compost, the mandragoras are particularly voracious. They only grow in freshly killed corpses and even after uprooting, they continue to consume animal flesh for nutrition. The surplus of organic waste produced in their systems is channeled into particularly noxious acid which is commonly gathered for alchemical use.

Botani are probably the most characteristic creatures among the Primals. Their form is basically humanoid, but covered in thick, but strangely elastic bark. Botani are fervently religious and often serve as priests and spellcasters in the “armies” of the Primals. In fact, there is little to no difference between a Primal army and a civilian community – all botani are expected to fight for their genesaur, and most gladly would. But not all of them are spellcasters, as many are simply the caretakers of the growing seeds and freshly blooming creatures. Even those caretakers are ferocious combatants, feeling about the creatures they helped bloom like most humanoids feel about their children.

What’s particularly interesting about podlings and botani is that on their corpses brought back to Skyreach we found traces of flowers. While a podling’s head is basically a big flower, it has usually very little to do with a normal plant’s flower, not being a reproductive organ. However, on the palms of some podlings and botani one can find flowers fully capable of reproduction, including both ovaries and stamens in the same creature. It is not known if that’s an aberrant growth for a typical botani or podling, or it’s a common body part whose functionality is suppressed by the genesaur to have a better control over their subordinates. If a botani was to use that organ with another botani, they would probably be capable of spawning more botani seeds that way.

Finally, the most mysterious creature among the Primals is the Fara. Few have seen them and lived to tell about it, so we do not know what form they take upon sprouting. However what is more wildly known is their function. The Fara are like viruses, infecting other creatures, mostly animals, and converting them into a Primal. The conversion is both physical, resulting in varied levels and forms of mutation in the infested creature, as well as mental, warping the creature’s mind to the point of completely forgetting its past identity. In fact, it believed the brain is consumed by the Fara for nutrients and the infested creature’s identity is entirely coming from the plant parts.

As long-lived as genesaurs are, they are not immortal and they (as well as their subordinates) know it. Very rarely, once in centuries, a genesaur will lay a particularly large seed. The appearance of such a seed is a cause for celebration in the community and causes the Primals to venture out into animal lands and gather many animals and humanoids to feed the newly born “god”. The seed is planted and carefully taken care of by the botani, until it blooms into a young genesaur. However, once the new genesaur is fully motile, it is exiled from its parent community and expected to find fertile ground where it can plant itself and spawn the seeds of the first members of its own community. Occasionally, the botani that cared for the genesaur during its growth will follow it to its new grounds out of “parental love”, if the Primals are capable of it, but it’s a rare occurrence.

When a genesaur dies, its community often splinters and withers without their “god’s” guidance. Some genesaurs sense their upcoming doom and spawn a new genesaur to take their place once they’re gone, but it is not uncommon for a Primal community to be left without a genesaur, such as current status of the Blademoon Bloom. Many Primals in an orphaned community willingly starve themselves out of grief, but some continue their efforts in maintaining the community. The botani in such an orphaned community will continue to pray to the spirit of their genesaur to turn one of their seeds into a genesaur seed. It is believed they occasionally succeed and life in that community blooms again.

There is still much we do not understand about the Primals, and we are not likely to understand it any soon, as they’re not particularly welcoming to visitors. Most animal humanoids who venture into their lands will either be killed (and eaten) or fattened up to serve as compost for the young Primals. However, as long as they have plenty of sunlight, water and compost they will not aggressively venture into humanoid lands and can be trusted to keep to themselves (barring collisions with their ancient nemeses, the Breakers).

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About Arakkoa

Verroak Krasha, an Arakkoa druid with over 50 years of experience. Formerly from Farahlon, during the Orcish expansion relocated to Skettis, then to Sethekk Halls, then to rebuilt Shattrath, following the heresies in each of those places. Finally, he founded his own succesfull alchemy business and set out into the wide cosmos to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and boldly go where no bird has flown before. View all posts by Arakkoa

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