With the terrible loss of Ellidyr, Albia found itself without the presence of a Grendel. The silver lining to the cloud of death was that any new Grendels would be the children of Achren and Ellidyr: Their legacy would live on! I chose one such child who possessed an interesting genetic mutation. Slowly and shyly, Arianllyn peeped her head out into the world. She froze in place for about a minute before she trusted me enough to follow the hand to the learning computer. Her first few teetering steps were adorable!
Chemical reactions define rules for individual chemicals and chemical combinations. These genes can also state the rules for how chemicals are used up, and each reaction has a defined half-life to determine how often it occurs.
287 Emb B MutDupCut 4*Alcohol + 1*Glucose => NONE; half-life = 96
This single mutation in Arianllyn was a rather interesting one. In a standard Norn (or Grendel), this gene states that adrenaline and glucose react together to create nothing. In other words, a Norn (or Grendel) with a lot of adrenaline will burn off some glucose in order to reduce that same adrenaline. For Arianllyn, this gene mutated to replace adrenaline with alcohol. This is a double-edged sword: Adrenaline will have less of an effect on her, but alcohol could be dangerous to her. If her glycogen level ever fell too far so that an emergency infusion of glucose was needed, alcohol could slow or even prevent her recovery. This scenario is rather unlikely, so this mutation may never be truly noticed. All the same, Arianllyn was already an interesting Grendel before she broke out of her shell!
While I spent a little time educating the newest Grendel in Albia, I noticed that Llyan’s life force had dipped fairly low. Judging by her location, I could only surmise that she had tasted the forbidden fruit, otherwise known as the deathcap mushroom. Perhaps it was more of the forbidden vegetable… In any case, just as I started to check on her recovery, I discovered that she was pregnant! Little old Taran tried to hide behind Llyan, but her smile gave him away! I figured that old age would slow everyone down, but these Norns had an unlimited supply of eggs. Would anyone expect otherwise?
I wanted to make sure that Arianllyn was not the only Grendel to roam Albia, so another egg was soon ready to burst! I was in the midst of scrolling back to the incubator, and the newest Grendel was nowhere to be seen… Then I had a closer look: There was a Grendel in the music room! Apparently my scrolling transported the newborn to a different room. Adaon appeared very confused about his birth, but was otherwise in good health. I expected him to be a special needs Grendel, based on his genetics. Yet his first move was to play the harp.
Brain lobes include important information about how the different parts of the brain work, from how concepts are learned to how a Norn goes through the decision process. These genes can greatly affect the learning process.
122 Emb B Mut Lobe #=8 Cell body settings: nom=0, leak=8, rest=1, input=255
This was the gene that I thought would cause Adaon some problems. Brain lobe mutations typically carry issues with them, but this one was actually not as bad as I thought. The lobe affected by this mutation is the concept lobe, which is one of the most important parts of the Grendel brain. The rest state indicates the value that a neuron will take on when it is not activated: It is typically set to a value of zero. In Adaon’s case, his concept lobe neurons will always be active, albeit barely since the maximum value is 255. Could this make him pay a little more attention to these concepts? It seemed like this would have little to no effect, though only time would tell!
Initial concentrations define the starting values of different chemicals at birth. The most important of these genes are for glucose and glycogen, allowing babies to survive without needing to eat immediately after hatching.
148 Chi B MutDup Initial Concentration of Glucose is 159
The initial concentration genes are rather buggy, in that they only work when the embryo life stage is chosen. Adaon’s mutation appeared to state that he would receive a large influx of glucose at childhood, yet this was not the case. Instead, this translated to a glucose concentration of zero at birth: His body could only rely on its initial concentration of glycogen. A typical Norn or Grendel is born with a life force around 47%: Adaon entered life with a life force close to 30%. It was not a death sentence, though it would have been if this mutation had affected his initial concentration of glycogen. Luckily, it took a quick meal of honey and carrots to cover up this mutation.
Instincts define the expectations for certain behaviors. These genes do not state exactly what happens when the parameters are met, but rather provide the basis for Norns to base their decisions on.
134 Emb B MutDupCut Drive i/ps Boredom and I Stay => 177*RewardEcho
In the standard Grendel genome, this instinct gene states that when a Grendel is bored and he or she stays still, a good dose of punishment will be experienced. This is designed to encourage a bored Grendel to get up and do something to satisfy the boredom drive. In Adaon, he experiences reward echo instead. Does this mean he has a large cavern to yell, “Reward!” into? Not at all: Reward echo is simply a long term chemical indicator of reward. The actual reward chemical dissipates nearly immediately, so it is difficult to know whether recent positive learning has occurred. Reward echo can be used to find out whether recent reward has been experienced. The problem in Adaon’s case is that he will receive an extra share of reward echo when he is bored and stays still. Chances are that his actions leading up to boredom would not be the best, yet his brain could become confused from this unexpected source of a learning chemical. So long as Adaon is not bored, however, he should remain unaffected.
New life had burst upon Albia! And yet, there was one more moment of darkness to blot out the warm happiness. Kaw passed away at the age of 11 hours and 56 minutes. Rhun watched his friend collapse, and it was a traumatic experience for him. Kaw had lived a full life, though, and was fertile right up to his last moment! His seven children would ensure his legacy continued. Kaw could finally join Henwen, who loved him from that first moment when he watched over her. Rest in peace and happiness, little old guy.