Green Protomancer

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While its ancestor was a saprobe, feeding on dead or occasionally just dying Tudeeps, the Green Protomancer can handle somewhat stronger hosts. Tudeeps weakened by disease, or whose enzyme-producing, fungal cores are mostly hollowed out, are a favored host. They secrete enzymes into their host and suck in soft, pre-digested fungal flesh, pumping in more enzymes as necessary. In their parasitism of live Tudeeps, it’s picked up a little genetic material from the Tudeep itself, such as enzyme-making genes which, ironically enough, help it expand cracks in Tudeep shells. It’s also picked up a few genes that produce pigments and molecules that protect DNA from extreme heat, as well as light. These genes give it a greenish color, as well as weak photosynthetic ability based on infrared and far-red light, of the same light range as the Tudeep.

Lower-resolution microscope image of two specimens attached to a fragment of decaying Tudeep shell.

It has a complicated relationship with Lava Coinstacks. Lava Coinstacks, being protected by their symbionts’ tough cell walls and their silicone, are practically invulnerable to the enzymes emitted through the crystals of Tudeeps. By happening to grow on Tudeeps, they can block the Tudeep’s access to light, weakening it and making it slightly more susceptible to disease. If it becomes ill, that makes it easier for Green Protomancers to grow on it in abundance, and being ill also makes it easier for Crystal Suckers to hollow it out, which in turn provides even more habitat for Green Protomancers. However, in high densities Lava Coinstacks can threaten the entire population of Tudeeps on which the Green Protomancer depends, and threaten the habitats of Crystalsuckers. Were it not for a rare few Seawater Krakocians and the more common Mustache Detritis eating Lava Coinstacks, their habitat would (very slowly) be overtaken by Lava Coinstacks.