Damiana, the dirty botanist herself, has shared some of her personal research notes for all to read! Here you can learn a bit more about our models.
"Auricus is a member of a very peculiar species (tentatively named Olearus Sapiens). I was hiking through a dark, humid forest when I stumbled upon their village. I had come in search of a specific variety of bioluminsescent fungus that myself and colleagues suspected might be found here. In fact I did find one such species-but it was no mere fungus.
Auricus and his people are members of a symbiotic relationship between sentient, humanoid creatures and bioluminescent fungi. Like all members of his species, Auricus has many mushroom-like growths that appear to be part of his natural body. The fungus grows on these, creating the look of bioluminescent mushrooms on his skin. He tells me that the fungus helps camouflage them, while also helping them gather nutrients from their environment. In return, the fungus is protected and its propagation is guaranteed. In fact, these two organisms are so intertwined that one cannot live without the other."
"I had the pleasure to meet Caesion during a visit to my Alma Mater for a guest lecture series. It was truly an honor, as their species tends to be very secretive. I'm embarrassed to admit that I did not recognize Caesion as anything more than a strange potted plant when we first met. I had seen images of their species in textbooks of course, but nothing compares to seeing a large plant slowly stand up to reveal itself as a sentient being in person.
Their bodies are large and bear-like. They grow vine-like strands of vegetative material instead of fur and have limited control over many of the larger of these growths, which seem to function similarly to prehensile tails. It was their ability to appear as nothing more than plants that allowed them to remain unknown as a sentient species until recent years. Their discovery shook the scientific world. Caesion now works as an ambassador for their species, which prefers not to have any more expedition teams seeking out their settlements in the deep rain forests they call home."