Annual Checkup, by Dan D'Alimonte

Story name: Annual Checkup
Author: Dan D'Alimonte

Date: Summer 706 CR
Location: Metamor Keep


Dan does his yearly inspection of Laracin, to his annoyance.


Sometime in the summer, Dan has some free time to perform his annual checkup of Laracin. Laracin does not enjoy these checkups, but resigns himself to Dan's inspection. After calculating his new height and examining every inch of him, Dan notices a patch of yellow in Laracin's foliage. Concerned that the branch might be infected, Dan says he will prune it. Laracin refuses to allow him to "amputate" his limbs without good reason. Dan asks if it will hurt, but Laracin does not feel pain. Rather, he is tired of being treated like a plant, something to be looked at and modified on a whim, rather than treated with courtesy. Dan carefully says that he has to treat Laracin's body as a tree's, rather than as a man's. There will be little he can do if the discoloration does turn out to be serious, so he advises removing it immediately for his safety. He puts away his tools while Laracin makes his decision, and allows him to cut it.

Dan returns to his workshop to study the branch. As he tidies up the area, he notices the cupboard of Laracin's wood samples is labeled "Tamarack (Larch) / Human Hybrid". He scratches it out and replaces it with "Human / Tamarack (Larch) Hybrid", now understanding the importance of semantics.


Main characters:

  • Dan: A grasshopper morph, and a caretaker of the Keep's plantlife.
    • Among the tools Dan uses on Laracin: a hand magnifier, a ruler, a notebook, some writing charcoal, a small blade, some calipers, and a fairly new clinometer.
    • In his workshop, he has a few tables containing plant samples, papers, and instruments — many of which are for Laracin.
  • Laracin: A tamarack tree morph. He is tired of being thought of as a plant instead of a human being. Very few people will talk with him besides Dan.
    • As a tree morph, he experiences sensations differently. Though he can see and talk in a ghostly voice around the area, he does not feel pain, only a sense of stress in an area.
    • Dan mentions a dwarf mistletoe infection that Laracin had a few years ago — much worse than his current sickness.



  • Laracin stands in the center of the small courtyard that separates the Lower Keep from the Duke's Palace, surrounded by plant beds and shrubs.
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