The Ivy

House of Cards

A long, long time ago, a gardener lived happily in a little kingdom. He worked for the king and tended his garden, the most beautiful garden in all the land.

One day, when the gardener was weeding, he noticed a little sprout, no longer than his littlest finger poking up from the most soil. The gardener, thinking it was a flower, watered it carefully every day.

The sprout soon grew, and showed itself to be not a flower but a vine of twisting ivy. It spread is emerald leaves to the sun, as plants do. The gardener, who had grown fond of the little sprout, was thrilled to see how it had grown. He continued to care for it, watering it daily and checking its leaves for pests.

One day, the king who owned the garden and all the plants within it saw the Ivy whilst strolling through the shade. He believed it to be an overgrown weed and ordered it be removed.

The gardener, who loved the Ivy now, refused to harm his friend. He continued to care for it more fondly than before.

The king, exasperated with his incompetent gardener, hired a second gardener to finish the job. Armed with shears as sharp as knives and a shovel stronger than steel, the second gardener walked up to the first and demanded he step aside. The second gardener then studied the massive tangle that was the Ivy, and readied his shears.

”No, ” the first gardener said, raising his own shears. ”I shalt not step aside. ”

”Very well, ” said the second. ”If you shall not step aside, I shall make you. ”

The gardeners charged, attacking each other with their tools. The Ivy, dismayed, tried to stop the enemy gardener by wrapping a vine around his ankle. It knocked the second to the ground and released him, once again as still as a plant should be.

The first Gardener moved to help the second to his feet, extending his hand. The second Gardener hoisted himself to his feet, smiled, and once again headed to cut down the Ivy.

Again they fought, and again the Ivy stopped them, until the second gardener, tired and raging, lunged for the first, shears aimed at the heart of his enemy.

The shears met their mark, and the gardener fell with a scream, blood soaking into the earth like rain.

The second Gardener then wiped his shears on the dirt, his back turned to the writhing, angry mass that was the Ivy.

It lashed out, leafy vines curling around the second and dragging him closer, shears left behind in the flower bed. It squeezed and squeezed until the gardener was ready to pop, and then he vanished, absorbed into the plant.

The Ivy then lifted the body of the first gardener gingerly, and absorbed it, too. Armed with the spirits of the gardeners, it grew, headed to the castle. it climbed up its walls and curled into windows, shaking the building to its core. The people nearby fled, but not before the Ivy found its first victims.

Then the Ivy kept growing, powered by the souls it consumed. It grew to the very stretches of the ocean, encroaching on the people and chasing them from their land. It herded them all into a clearing, The Clearing, where what is left of the humans live even to this day.

It is said that any foolish enough to step within the Ivys Vines will be absorbed, food for the rising mass that had consumed the continent.

Even stranger stories say that the Ivy has its own people, who it cherishes as much as the gardener who helped it grow, people with shimmering wings who consider the Ivy a blessing, and worship it as a god. But those who sought to find these people were never seen again…

Only the Ivy knows if the tales are true. These days, the story of how the Ivy grew is not but a fable told to scare children into obeying their King and avoiding the Ivy, which is very much alive. Not as a plant should be, but as a person, with thoughts, perhaps even emotions…

There are those that say that the Ivy, being self-aware, is capable of both uncontainable damage and unwarranted mercy. Perhaps well never know, but for now, we live here, in The Clearing, where we suffer, lonely and hungry.

Never enter the Ivy. Never leave The Clearing. Never touch the leaves. Do not eat its fruit. It is all a trick.

The Ivy will kill us all.

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