Santharian Development

Santharian World Development => The Santharian Herbarium => Topic started by: Felsid Greytunnel on 10 August 2016, 04:46:34

Title: Lightmoss
Post by: Felsid Greytunnel on 10 August 2016, 04:46:34
UrKurr, a luminescent growth that transforms nutrient energy into light.


The eerie green light given off by Lightmoss is closely associated with the clandestine and mystical chambers of the Theregrim. UrKurr, as it is known in the dwarven tongue, is a slow-growing subterranean plant native to almost all the underground spaces of Sarvonia. It grows naturally in damp spaces and it can be easily cultivated with just a little watering. It can be gathered into transparent containers for use as a lantern, as it keeps its glow for quite some time after being harvested. The Theregrim often line their tunnels with this moss, cultivating it on ornate lips and sills of stone. Some Theregrim families have also found use for Lightmoss as a light source for growing TolKurr wheat, the resultant bread having a number of interesting and distinct properties.

Lightmoss is a thin patchy plant reminiscent of some lichens more so than moss. The plant itself is a whitish-blue colour, although the physical colouration is generally not visible underneath the strong green luminescence that it produces. UrKurr grows at a modest pace and is a fairly hardy plant that will resist dehydration for some time before dying off; a lack of water will kill off the strong luminescence, however, although re-hydration easily brings back its verve. The moss grows thinly across beds of soil; its roots are shallow and it requires little mineral nutrients from the soil itself. Rather, a damp atmosphere – or regular light watering – is all it needs to grow. The undercarriage of the moss, typically a dense cording of black roots, sits on top of any suitably damp soil, oft-times lightly submerged, with the lighter-shaded fronds held above water.

Lightmoss, when it dries out, it blackens in colour and its luminescence recedes. When rehydrated its colour returns and the light intensifies after only a few hours. Drowning can also occur, however, in the presence of too much water and the plant will simply die, although this takes a good few days of submergence. Lightmoss is damaged by the harsh rays of natural sunlight, so it is incapable of growing on the surface.  

Lightmoss grows generously throughout most of Sarvonia’s underground spaces. Certain regions that are overly porous and lacking in a stable flow of near-surface water are inhospitable for Lightmoss to grow, thus Lightmoss grows mostly around underground aquifers and rivers. UrKurr (to use the Theregrim nomenclature) is cultivated in most dwarven homes and their public spaces across Sarvonia. It can also be found growing in basements and wine cellars and dungeons and sewers, although in sparser quantities.

UrKurr primary usage is as a source of light. The Theregrim tradition is to gently scrape a patch of Lightmoss into a glass jar, pour in a little water to keep it bright and then seal it. The Lightmoss lantern then retains a strong glow for approximately a week, and can be topped up with water, with diminishing results. These jars can be hung from belts or on the end of staves to light one’s way down dark passages. Homesteaders might also choose to filll large brazier-like pots with Lightmoss and place them in convenient spaces around their homes to provide a softer ambient alternative to torchlight or lamplight, both of which can be expensive.

The most useful feature of Lightmoss is that it’s an entirely non-flammable source of light! For the intrepid explorers of the Theregrim, who bore deep into the earth in search of riches and expanding their homes, few things pose as much danger as the toxic effluvium that is AkakiZeKoga, the anger of the earth, or simply the Rage. A hazard posed to all denizens of the underground, the Rage is nothing short of apocalyptic to the Theregrim miners. Cave-ins, silent suffocating deaths at night, the destruction of whole towns found to be built too close to a hidden hissing pocket of the Rage. Lightmoss performs the life-saving role of providing one with much need light, without incurring the hidden anger of the very mountains.

Another usage of lightmoss, considered somewhat unusual by most of the Theregrim, is as a source of light for growing their TolKurr. The heavily matted, thick moss, often referred to as “Dwarven wheat” by surface dwellers, requires only a low intensity of light to grow, and it is usually supplied with sunlight via fluted reflective tunnels that funnel down from the surface. Because of this, growing TolKurr at any great depth quickly becomes a chore, as light intensity fades and tunnelling requirements increase. Some crafty Theregrim green-thumbs had the bright idea to grow TulKurr moss under the soothing green gaze of lightmoss beds; the inception of the idea was met with mutters and consternation, partly because it requires very large quantities of Lightmoss arranged in stepped paddies. Ultimately, lightmoss-grown TolKurr attains a somewhat greenish hue, as is the flour that is extracted from it. This flour, called Krrkheen, retains a sliver of the Lightmoss' luminescent properties and will begin to glow faintly when the ingredients necessary to make the bread are added. The Borwul (bread) produced in this method is referred to variously as Gnome’s Bread (BorwulZeUndewirreli), Candle Bread (TheenBorwul) and sometimes simply Undemi, "clever"; the consensus being that whoever came up with such an ingenious method of growing TolKurr must have been very clever. Gnome’s bread is softer and expires faster than regular Borwul, although it retains the light green colour and will glow faintly in the dark. The taste is considered sweeter, almost like a cake, and goes well with chopped fruits and doch nuts. Aside from bread, the various other recipes that make original use of TolKurr are each transformed in some way by the mystical Lightmoss.

A certain usage of lightmoss native to the Thrumgolz dwarves of the Low and High Fores is in a distilled liquor called HorzilAnul, or crystal water. A hellishly potent drink with a very strong, sugary flavour that is typically added to steins of stale beer left over from a night’s celebration. Many believe that the gently glowing, syrupy liquid acts as a medication for hangovers, and so the beleaguered dwarves greedily add a dash of crystal water to their booze in the hopes that it’ll ease the pounding. The drink is produced by brewing large amounts of Lightmoss in copper pots until it has reduced down to a thick dark blue syrup, which is then distilled over a few times until the result is a small amount of clear, very bright, teal coloured liquid. HorziAnul isn't very nice on its own, taken straight it will burn the mouth and leave a nasty aftertaste - this never stops young drunkards from testing their might, of course!

Cultivating Lightmoss is a process made easy by the simplistic nature of the plant and its procreative features. Suitable temperatures will ensure the moss remains in a stable breeding state; essentially, a healthy state. Moisture, either from damp soil being hydrated by a constant source or from ambient wetness in the air, is essential for this. Stable temperatures - such as those common under the ground - are also necessary. If a patch of Lightmoss succeeds in maintaining a breeding state, then the thicker undercarriage of the moss will continuously release puffs of spores outwards from the plant. In this way, Lightmoss can achieve a wide spread in a notably short amount of time; perfect for the Theregrim who wish to collect large amounts of the glowing stuff!

Despite the queer Lightmoss’ inconspicuous and enchanting presence, it fails to invoke much of that magic-fearing despair that sets so many Theregrim to chewing on their whiskers. Most dwarves regard it with fondness and ease, welcoming the placid glow as an augur of homesteading, family and comfort. To the Theregrim Lightmoss holds no cabalistic meaning at all – with that said, it’s not as if such a thing could pass under the collective gaze of the Theregrim storytellers. There are plenty of stories, thought up by bored earth-guides or delirious denirims; as to their credibility, one can only imagine.

The Thrumgolzerim of the High and Low Fores have a whimsical story about the day the Lightmoss glowed pink! Whilst it happened far before living memory, many Thrumgolz relate the tale with a fondness only a dwarf could understand. For it had been just a regular day, a day of hard work toiling in the mines, a productive day of crafting, drinking and dozing – the air had been crisp and not too stuffy and everyone had been in a jovial mood. Later that day, when the men had laid down their picks to wipe their brows and hunt for a drink and something to eat, they noticed something strange; of course, it had been the children who saw it first. The tunnels erupted with excited chatter and laughter! The sweeping mossbeds and low-hanging sills of Lightmoss had switched from its verdant green to a maiden’s blushing pink. The women all giggled, the men as smiled and the children dashed about, exultant and excited. Not a single dwarf feared the supernatural incident. The denirim smiled knowingly and the clan chief had been simply bemused.

It had been AkotUozil, they had surmised. Dwarves from a few mountains over, coming to visit, thought they had all turned mad. Pink Lightmoss!? Nonsense, they had all cried. Still, to this day, the Thrumgolzerim speak fondly of their blushing beds of moss, their little blessing from TrumBaroll.

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Felsid Greytunnel on 10 August 2016, 04:51:01
Just can't get enough moss in my life, apparently.

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Artimidor Federkiel on 25 August 2016, 02:38:35
Another very interesting entry, Felsid!

I especially like the thought out Usages section - cool thing to have a non-flammable source of light! :D Also cool is the AkakiZeKoga, the Rage-thingy. This would even be interesting for an own entry in case you are bored. BTW: I wrote two dwarf-related short stories about magical phenomena (the fairy tale "The Only Friend" and the rather philosophical thought-provoking "Beyond the Rift") if you're interested. At any rate there are some possibilities for interesting entries there.

Light source for growing TolKurr is also a neat idea, and so is the distilled liquor!

You're really developing into a dwarven expert, Felsid! Very creative and unique ideas all around... Maybe a few lines on reproduction still... Myth/Lore isn't alway necessary, but you might have something there with the AkakiZeKoga which you could mention in a story or so. At any rate: Aura +1 for your dedicated work!

Oh, and:

- "generiously" isn't a word as far as I know.. ;)

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Felsid Greytunnel on 28 August 2016, 09:02:43
If you'll allow me to say, those two stories were absolutely beautiful, Artimidor. Beyond the Rift held such salience and provocation, and I've (quite frankly) bookmarked The Only Friend for posterity. A truly pleasant surprise  :grin:

With that said; I haven't checked the stories against the compendium yet (search function is bust atm) but for reference, would it be permissible to just lift a character from the text and develop it? Would you be ok with me plucking Little Mook out and plonking him in his own article, describing how he rose to the ranks of Denirim some 30 years later (hypothetically)?

I think I have some more work to do cleaning this article up, and I'm sure I should grace it with some tasty myths  :thumbup:

Thank you!

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Artimidor Federkiel on 28 August 2016, 14:28:45
Glad you liked the stories, Felsid! :)

I don't think that there are any references in the Compendium to them though, they were just written as stories, not as historical facts (yet). Ah, and I see the server transfer indeed killed the search feature... Oops... I've reported the issue to the support guys to fix this.

Anyway, if you want to develop Mook in a historical figure, be my guest :) Mook for president! Or the dwarven equivalent of it... :lol: So yeah, no problems there, I guess it would be cool if we'd have an entry that connects an actual person with a story, always welcomed to connect things!

Looking forward to the additions on this entry and then to preparing it, Felsid!  :cool:

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Artimidor Federkiel on 04 September 2016, 14:40:12
Oh, and BTW: Don't forget to post when you're done with the entry, Felsid! If you only edit the entry it won't show up as something new to others in the post history at the right side of the Forum!

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Felsid Greytunnel on 05 September 2016, 05:23:27
Thanks for the reminder! x)

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Seeker on 05 September 2016, 08:55:00
Nice moss entry Felsid.  I don't have any suggestions or criticisms, Today I am just here to enjoy the new entries and find some inspiration.  Well done.

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Artimidor Federkiel on 05 September 2016, 15:36:24
Nice to hear from you again, Seeker! Hope things are fine there over the Big Pond... :wave:

@Felsid: You still working on this? You seemed to have filled out all the sections by now, so...

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Felsid Greytunnel on 05 September 2016, 22:26:33
@Felsid: You still working on this? You seemed to have filled out all the sections by now, so...

I was deliberating on adding some more, but I think this one's finito. All good!

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Artimidor Federkiel on 08 September 2016, 03:13:27
A very complete entry now, Felsid, and great additions to round off the entry with nice bits of Myth/Lore... Guess the entry now truly serves as a prime example of how to do it - you're really hitting your stride there! Great work all around!  :thumbup:

Oh, and don't forget to fix Theregrim  --> Thergerim ;) Guess you got used to the wrong spelling by now... :lol:

Title: Re: Lightmoss
Post by: Artimidor Federkiel on 11 September 2016, 22:58:56
Ok, fixed that little things for you and prepared the entry now for next update!  :thumbup: