THE FORGET-ME-NUT ("NO-KNOW-NUT", "NAK'S BANE", "LITHNUT")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

This putrid plant from the southern borders of the Mists of Osthemangar has but one feature which makes it worthy of mention; the subterranean seed known commonly as the "Nak-Nut". Containing the power to befuddle the memory, it has been the subject of much experimentation through the centuries, most of it dangerous and misguided. Names used to refer to this plant are "Forget-Me-Nut", "No-Know-Nut", "Nak's Bane", "Nak-Nut" and "Lithnut".

The Forget-Me-Nut
View picture in full size Image description. Padee Nik Nak, the gnomish herbologist was the first who grounded the shell of the Lithnut with his pestle and mortar and made a memory erasing powder out of it. Picture by Seeker.

Appearance. The Forget-Me-Nut bush is a rather ugly little thing which grows sparsely around the southern fringes of the Mists of Osthemangar in the northern Cartash region of Northern Sarvonia.

Seldom reaching more than a fore in height, the stunted, twisted, viciously thorned trunk and branches of this plant show a tendency to grow across the ground, in a manner which calls to mind the wind-ravaged silhouette of a lone tree growing from a mountainside crevice, and they invariably stretch towards the
Mists, as if drawn by some unseen force.

The gnarled trunk typically measures between one and two palmspans around and barely breaks the surface of the land before it splits into several similarly contorted branches. The whole is covered in a pale grey bark, which is very brittle and flakes or peels off quite easily, sometimes being blown free by even moderate breezes. These same breezes, which are an almost constant feature of the area, also cause the branches to sway about and rattle against each other, oftentimes causing them to break. This happens easily as the wood is extremely brittle.

The exposed wood beneath the bark is of a pale styruine hue, and exudes a particularly odoriferous sap which irritates the skin if touched. Everything about the appearance of this bush leads one to believe that it is, in fact, dead.

The thorns which are a prominent feature of this plant cover so much of the surface of it that it is sometimes impossible to find sufficient space betwixt them to allow one to pick-up a fallen branch. They are up to five nailsbreadths in length, needle-sharp, and contain some form of weak toxin which causes painful swelling to appear around the puncture wound. Often, the tip of a spine will break off inside the wound, and if not removed will cause the wound to fester.

Contrary to the appearance of most woody plants, the Forget-Me-Nut Bush bears few leaves, seldom carrying more than five or six on each branch, and those mostly at the very tips of the branch. They are at most a half-palmspan in length, and shaped not unlike a knife-blade, albeit curled backwards upon itself in the manner of leaves in autumn. Their colouration is also reminiscent of many leaves during the period of hibernation, being somewhere between a sickly yellow-green, and pale brown. They fall easily from the branch when touched, and have about them a dry, crumbly texture.

The flower, which appears at seemingly random times during the plantís life, is around the size of a thumbnail and consists of four individual petals which fray, curl and twist themselves into unattractive shapes. Their dirty white-brown colouration varies slightly from bush to bush, but always gives the appearance of the flower having started to wilt and die. The disproportionate stench emitted by this single flower is reminiscent of a rotting corpse, as seems befitting of any plant which grows in this festering region. Once pollinated, the flower will drop from the plant and the nut will begin to develop underground.

The nut itself grows quite slowly, taking up to three moons to reach full size. When fully mature, the nut measures up to six nailsbreadths in length by two nailsbreadths across. The shape is usually described as a flat oval, but is perhaps better explained by comparing it to a single segment taken from a kitauhre fruit. The gnomish discoverer of this twisted tree, Padee Nik Nak, described it thusly; "Imagine, if you would, taking a 'V'-shaped slice from a circular fruit. A flattened wedge of a sphere, curved along one face, with the ends rounded off....". Indeed, this shape is so characteristic of the Nak-Nut that it has entered the Tharian language. One can speak of a person's fingers, for example, as being 'nakhoid' in appearance... somewhat spatulate yet bulky.

The shell of the nut is dark-brown to norsidian in colour, and has deep ridges running across its surface. It is also extremely hard, needing several good solid whacks between two stones before it will break.

Within the outer shell can be found three or four oval seeds of the same sickly colour as the exposed wood of the main trunk. They have a spongy feel to them, a distinctly unpleasant smell reminiscent of strong cheese, and are horribly bitter or sour to taste. They have also been reported to cause burning and blistering of the lips, tongue and gullet if eaten.
Return to the top

Territory. This unattractive plant can only be found growing around the fetid southern edges of the dreaded
Mists of Osthemangar, between the Deep Winds Portal and the Cartashian Woods in northern Caelereth. Little else has the ability to draw sufficient nourishment from the barren soil of these regions and so, although small, they are easily spotted amongst the rocks and stunted weeds which make up the landscape. Return to the top

Usages. The nut seems to be the only part of this ugly tree that serves any useful purpose whatsoever, and even that is of a dubious nature. The wood is too brittle and contorted to serve as building material, and the sap it exudes confounds any attempts to ignite it. Similarly, the leaves are dry and brittle, and crumble at the slightest touch. The stench which surrounds the insignificant flower of the bush makes it worthless as a decoration, as does its faded appearance. Nor can the whole be used in any decorative manner, as the ugliness and stench thereof cause offense to all sensibilities.

Padee Nik Nak, the late Sarvonian gnomish Herbologist, discovered the unusual effects of the Nak-Nut whilst looking for new spices. Having ground the shell with his pestle and mortar, he took a sniff of the resulting powder and spent the rest of the day sitting at his bench, staring at the bowl before him with a puzzled look to his face, according to his apprentices, and nor could they rouse him from this stupor.

After awakening from his trance, he took one look at the powder before him, and took another sniff! His apprentices decided to take the bowl from him before more harm was done.

There followed many years of intense study and experimentation, culminating in the presentation of his parchment "Natural Sarvonian Soporifics" to the Sage Council of Lorehold. Unfortunately, precise details of the dosages required to achieve the various levels of amnesia which are the mark of this unusual powder are held under strict control, and therefore are prohibited from publication to the general population.
Return to the top

Reproduction. Unlike most plants, the Forget-Me-Nut bush does not flower every year, in fact much of the workings of the reproductive cycle of this wholly remarkable plant remain a mystery even today. All that is known is that at some point in its life, each bush will produce a single small flower at the tip of one of its branches (an event of which the timing appears to be entirely random).

Due to the lack of birds and insects in this hazardous region, the bush must rely on larger passing animals to brush against the flower and transfer the pollen in a similar fashion to another plant. This is a particularly random occurrence, due to the scarcity of wildlife around the fringes of the
Mist, and may explain, somewhat, the rarity of the bush.

Another reason why the Nak-Nut is so scarce can be found if one examines the soil around the roots of the plant. The sap, which is produced in prodigious quantities, leeches from the wood into the soil, and seems to taint it to such an extent that no other plant, big or small, can survive in it's environs. This includes the Nak-Nut itself. Whilst the parent bush is young and strong, the toxins it produces in it's sap are equally robust and prevent even the nuts developing on its own roots from growing. However, once the bush reaches a certain age, the toxic qualities of the sap begin to abate, thus allowing any developing nuts to gain a foothold from whence they can begin to grow into a new, healthy bush.

Once a flower has been successfully pollinated, the petals will soon drop away and the fruit, or rather the nut, will begin to develop. Anyone looking to find this single nut where the flower appeared will be somewhat befuddled, however, as it grows not on the branch, but underground as an attachment to one of the straggly roots.
Return to the top

Myth/Lore. Widely accepted as the discoverer of this bush, Padee Nik Nak was certainly the first person to research and describe the effects of the powdered nut-shell. His pamphlet on 'Natural Sarvonian Soporifics' is still regarded as the definitive text on the subject, and is taught even today in herbology classes disc-wide. Unfortunately, there is little modern research done into this potent hypnotic, as over time an accumulation of accidentally inhaled powdered shell invariably leads to researchers forgetting where they left their notes, or what the notes actually mean, and in severe cases, who they are and what they were doing in the first place!

Nak's findings are still the most complete record of the body-size/amount/effect ratio, and also include a basic easy-reference table, the product of many years of intense trial-and-error investigation. This table is, however, missing from the copies of 'Natural Sarvonian Soporifics', as it is thought too tempting to allow students and those of a less than sociable nature easy access to this potentially dangerous information.

Only the original copy of the pamphlet, held in the secure vault of the Lorehold University Library, contains the table, and access to it is only given to selected Herbmasters, and even then only under supervision by a member of the Sage Council.

Padee Nik Nak himself managed to avoid the worst effects of the powder by realizing early in his research just what the outcome may be if he continued to expose himself to it. He soon employed a small team of trusted pupils and tasked them with testing the powders effects on as many different races, sizes and ages as possible, in order that he may create his reference table. Some undertook their task in a properly scientific manner, paying volunteers to subject themselves to varying amounts of the drug, and noting their reactions. Others sought a quicker, and altogether cheaper way of completing their work. They went out into the most impoverished of areas and waylaid lone travelers, drunkards, and even children, blowing the powder into their faces and then following them to note what occurred. History does not recount what fate befell those poor unfortunates who were given what amounted to huge overdoses of this drug.

When Nak discovered what had been going on, he became enraged and ordered that the students who had been performing these dangerous tests should now suffer the same fate as their hapless victims. He had them bound and brought before him one-by-one. He then exposed them to measured amounts of the powder sufficient to erase their memories of their time at his laboratories. After this, they were deposited at the nearest crossroads and left to their own devices.
Return to the top

 Date of last edit 21st Molten Ice 1669 a.S.

Information provided by Tharoc Wargrider View Profile