THE ANEMONEL FLOWER ("AELVÁSH MERÍN")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE - ORIGINS

The Anemonel, also called the Aelvásh Merín ("White Wind Flower") in Styrásh, grows primarily in the forests of Northern Sarvonia. Although the plant is poisonous, if prepared correctly, it can serve as a powerful aid against natural poisons and allergic reactions. In the spring, this small plant grows in great waves and clusters in shady forests and woods, turning the originally eerie wood into peaceful fields of thousands of small, white flowers.

The Anemonel
Image description. The five thin petals of the starlike flower of the Anemonel. Picture drawn by Quellion.

Appearance. Cast on a slender stem that waves gracefully in Grothar’s Changing Wind sighs, the Anemonel grows as a white, star-like flower of refined design. Five thin petals, growing from a dusty rose at their modest base to snowy white at their tips, form the tiny, two-nailsbreadth blossom from whose center a tuft of lightly-scented stamen, white as the petals, protrude timidly. These flowers bloom through mid-spring to early summer where they blanket the ground in waves of white between the thick forest trees of the Shaded Forest.

The little blooms are sensitive to water, and thus, in the night, bow their heads as though in prayer so that the coming dew does not harm the insides of their delicate petals. Such is also the case when day turns cloudy and starts to rain: the little blossoms turn their faces downward and the raindrops slip from the flushed back of their petals with ease. Ask any Injerín child and they will tell you that little winged faes hide within the blossoms for protection when it rains, and for a dry place to sleep when evening creeps in from the east, and claim that, in the night, their little lights cause the fields of Anemonel to glow dimly, while others will claim the moonlight tricks the eye.

The secret to Anemonel fields lies in the long, creeping root that grows rapidly just below the surface in moist soil of wood and thicket. It twines beneath the ground as a rather thin yet tough root, pushing unbranching stems into the shady forest air. These produce gray-green leaves of a lobed variety, which seem to carry no pattern in the shape or style of the leaves, which are often four-nailsbreadth in length. At times, a rosy colour may seep into the edges of the leaves. The stem eases into a similar rosy hue as it reaches the petiole of the extending leaves. Rarely do these modest shoots exceed half a fore, with a palmspan height being most common.

As spring shifts invariably into summer, the white petals fall, and, having been fertilized by the wind, the flower becomes a developing, single seed. The ground turns to white with the fallen petals and, when the breezes blow, puffs of white dance like phantoms through the forest. The seeds, now grayish-brown, grow heavy, and the laden stem bends to eventually rest the seed upon the ground as stem and leaves begin to wither away. The fall comes, and with it the dry air that leaves the fields of Anemonel barren while, hidden in the ruin, little seeds await the end of winter.
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Territory. The Anemonel grows in forest regions in
Northern Sarvonia, though small tufts of them have been found in Calmarios, where they are said to have grown with great vigor during the better years of the Cyrathrhim, but since the tribe’s disappearance, the little flowers, too, have seemed to grow sparsely in their wood.

The greatest concentrations exist in the Shaded Forest, where they are said to grow in vast fields, around trees and bushes, such that the ground seems white with living snow, and sometimes stretch out for dashes. However, they also commonly grow in Shadow Lands, and as far north as the Themed’lon Forest.
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Usages. The Anemonel is a poisonous plant in its raw form, especially the insidious leaves that protrude tenderly from the stem, and for this reason, some tribes, especially orcish ones, attribute the Anemonel to disease and death, and tend to steer clear of it or else destroy what fields of it they find. Ingestion of the leaves can cause headaches, fever, diarrhea, stomach pains, and in some cases, even death. The poison of the leaves works quickly, and usually, if consumed, will begin to take effect in the first few hours after. The quickest recorded fatality occurred two hours after ingestion, while the longest pushes about a week.

However, if properly treated, the plant can serve many beneficial purposes. The Injerín elves are masters of the art of Anemonel preparation, and these secrets are generally unknown to most of the other inhabitants of the North. Preparation includes drying the leaves, usually over a hearth, and crushing them with soaked Anemonel petals before mixing in variation of other herbs that help neutralize the poison and bring out the less deleterious characteristics of the plants. The end product is a liquid of rosy colouration, which many healers carry in their medicine bags.

This liquid, called Aelvásh’már after the elvish name, often aids in reducing or reversing the effects of other natural poisons, such as those from other animals and plants, including its own. They can also help lower fevers, heal headaches and stomach cramps, and even reduce hives and swelling from sometimes fatal allergies. The dosage of Aelvásh’már ingested for particular health needs varies, and one should take caution in both the preparation and the application of this medicine.
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Reproduction. The majority of pollen transfer is done through wind, an element with which the Anemonel seems naturally affiliated. The breezes that slip between the trees during the blooming months - from Changing Winds (Méh'avashín) to Rising Sun (Dál'injerá) - carry the white pollen from one flower to another. However, pollination often occurs with the help of insects. Moths, especially, seem drawn to the flower, though butterflies and, less commonly, malise will also aid in pollination.

The fertilized flowers begin to lose their petals in late Rising Sun (Dál'injerá) and early Burning Heavens (Efér'ypheró), during which time the head of the stem grows large with the developing seed. At first, this seed is of a greenish colouration, similar to the colour of the stem. As is grows larger, it shifts to a more rosy hue and then, slowly, into a brownish-gray. It is fully developed when approximately a nailsbreadth in diameter. These seeds begin to grow in mid-winter, though very slowly compared to the quickness of their growth when the snows have thawed. If not devoured by some forest creature, the seed will have grown a strong root just below the surface before the end of Awakening Earth (Avénni'modía).
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Myth/Lore. The Anemonel, in the elven culture, is commonly associated with positive, magical, and often times mysterious phenomena. One of the most popular beliefs shared amongst children is that the flower houses faes who journey through or live in their forests, and that when the night comes and the blossoms bow their heads to protect against the coming dew, little faes hide inside the flower. Many have even claimed to see the tips of wings inside the little flowers, but others say that these are merely the wings of moths, and the light they claim to see about the little blossoms is a trick of the moonlight.

Many elves also associate the coming of these flowers with the wind. It is said that the flowers grow when the first breezes of spring begin to blow away the freeze of winter. Some believe that the breezes which bring about their growth are sent by Eyasha, and that the quantity and health of the Anemonel is an indication of how prosperous or gentle the coming spring and summer will be.

In some human and orcish cultures, the flower is closely associated with disease, both for its poisonous qualities and also the white and flushed-rose hue of its petals, which seems to parallel the colour of the skin of those suffering from disease or illness. For these tribes, just being around the flower is thought to bring about bad luck and the possibility of disease or death, and as such, the fields of Anemonel are avoided.
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Origins. Mystery glazes the origins of the Anemonel. The story of their creation survived through time by way of oral traditions, and had, for some time, been completely forgotten until, in 798 b.S. a scroll transcription was discovered in a stone box nestled in the corner of a cave in a remote region of the Shaded Forest. The scroll, along with its companions, was not dated, and the name of its author had faded into indecipherability. The story explained the creation of the flower. A translation of that text is given below:

Eyasha and the Aelvásh Merín. The Tree of Life grew as Avá dreamt and the world sprung into an ephemeral harmony. The twelve Gods arose and taught the creatures there the beautiful and frightening and mysterious possibilities of life. They came, bearing gifts of knowledge, light, and love. And lived the creatures happily for a time. And yet, beneath the harmony swelled suppressed chaos (Coór), and in his ebony awakening came unnatural death that burned the mind and twisted the body.

Eyasha wept to see the fracture of this peace, and though she could not undo the curse upon the land, she grew from out her loving tears the Aelvásh Merín (Anemonel; “White Wind Flower”) of white petals and gentle leaves to heal and ease the suffering of the creatures. She hid the flowers deep within the forests’ twilight where the chaos would not see, and let them grow in beds as white as snow, as pure as light, and there they lay for use.

But in the final bloody days of that great kingdom (Fá'áv'cál'âr), the tumor-like chaos grew to recognition and discovered the white flower deep within the elven forests, and it grinned to poison their leaves, to fatalize their flowers. So it was that only those with wisdom could unlock the gift of the Aelvásh Merín. And many tried and failed to find the gift, and disease starved the populations that now called the Aelvásh Merín “Terquvásh Merín” ("Ill Wind Flower"), and the centuries passed with great darkness.

It was in the midst of the War of the Chosen that the world seemed at its worst, and an elven village in the Shaded Forest struggled for survival against the darkness. In its midst, an elf, Anémonél (Key; last name not given), lived in relative happiness despite the death of her mother by disease soon after Anemonel’s birth. When the disease stole the life of her father, a healer, she was so fraught with sorrow and loneliness, she ran from the village and, weary and frightened, collapsed in a field of Aelvásh Merín. It was there she prayed and prayed to Eyasha for guidance and aid, and she prayed until the tears drowned her in sleep.

In dream, Eyasha came and shared with her a riddle for the cure. From waking from that dream she wandered through the fields of Aelvásh Merín and pondered on the dream, recalling it again and again. She did not eat or sleep for four days until at last the realization came just as she felt the disease that had murdered her mother and father wrap about her heart. She prepared the flower and drank of its juice and felt the disease burn away.

She passed on the secret to those in her village, and so it was the flower returned to its former name, and all who know of the secret and the story do not fear the white-petaled Aelvásh Merín.

After the story became more widely known to other races, many humans began to call the flower by the name of the girl who discovered how to properly prepare the plant, but most elves have clung tightly to the original name. Return to the top

Information provided by Rayne Avalotus View Profile