A rare and
valuable plant, the Gunthreed is a fairly large inhabitant of
Nybelmarian riverbanks. It can grow to over
two peds tall, and develop
quite some mass. Prized for its medical applications, most noteworthy of these
being the ability to soothe the mothers' pain at childbirth, the Gunthreed is at
many places cultivated by the local inhabitants.
Like many kinds of reed, the Gunthreed is a long and slender
plant, consisting of a great number of long stalks originating from a single
bulb-like root. It can reach a size of over two
peds, and has stalks about
as thick as a human finger, with a slight
ridge every span. It has, a rich, vibrant green colour when the stalks are
younger, but as it becomes fully grown this fades to a brown or yellow hue, with
the sole exception of the ridges along the stalks. These maintain their green
colouration, making for a fairly decorative sight.
The root bulb as the base consists of tough, dry fibers and supports multiple
points from where the bundles of stalks and leaves can sprout. This bulb grows
beneath the earth's surface and can become
fairly large, often the size of an adult human's
The leaves are almost a full ped
long and grow at the base of the plant. Each stalk has three or four leaves that
wrap around its base like a sheath but bend away only a few
nailsbreadths from the
ground, giving a Gunthreed plant a tangled appearance.
On top of the matured stalks, the Gunthreed blooms. There are two ways how a
Gunthreed can bloom, and there is never more than one type of flower in any one
plant. The first way is rather inconspicuous, and consists of a small,
reddish-brown tuft of hairs, no more than eight to ten
nailsbreadths long that feel
slightly sticky when touched.
The second type of flower is much larger, a fair two to three
palmspan long plume and has
a deep purple hue. They are quite easy to spot, and one of the fastest ways of
determining if a stretch of river has Gunthreed growing on its banks or not.
Gunthreed grows on sunny riverbanks in many places on
It prefers clear streams with a dense growth of other reeds and grasses, which
makes the Gunthreed quite hard to find when it is not in bloom. Places where the
Gunthreed can be found in relative abundance include the Chunite Plains, the
entire eastern coast of the continent, and the Moredein Kaerath. It does not
grow along the larger rivers of the continent, and, unlike most other reeds, it
will not grow in marshlands or other muddy waters.
As is to be expected, even the clearest brooks in the
Venlaken Enclave will have to do
without this particular reed as well.
Gunthreed is particularly known for its medical usages. A
tincture of the dried leaves will soothe pain, in particular those of
childbirth. Would this tincture be used in a salve, it can be applied to the
mother's belly, causing the muscles to relax strongly, reducing the strain of a
Also, chewing the fresh marrow of the central stalks will provide a slight
increase in strength for at least a few minutes, and lasting up to half an hour
at most. It has been reported that this works better as the user is more tired,
so it is suggested that the plant might not actually give greater strength but
instead restore the user's strength rapidly.
Like many reeds and grasses, the Gunthreed has a fairly simple yet efficient
method of reproduction. The smallest, female flower, develops into a bundle of
dense fibers after being pollinated, usually without interference from insects
as the wind seems to be capable of performing
pollination. This bundle then slowly elongates throughout the next two months,
and, usually around the end of the year, falls apart into thousands of tiny
seeds, each fitted with a hairy fiber that acts as a sail, enabling the seeds to
drift many strals before
touching down again.
As mentioned before, the Gunthreed has multiple medical usages.
It is noteworthy however that prolonged and repeated usage of the strengthening
application can result in a serious addiction to the Gunthreed. This eventually
causes severe strain on the body, and can lead to various signs of extreme
exhaustion, such as blackouts, unconsciousness, or even death, as the addictee
starts using more and more of the marrow in order to sustain his addiction.
There is no real cure for this affliction. In the early stages of addiction,
simple withdrawal usually proves to be effective, but when outside interference
does not occur fast enough, the process of withdrawal will often cause severe
damage to the mind, making the victim mentally unstable, or incapable of
understanding more than the simplest of thoughts and ideas.
Therefore, the heavily addicted are usually allowed to finish the traject on
their own, and die from their over-usage, both as a lesson to others, and
because forcing them to withdraw would kill them just the same, and in a much
more unpleasant way.
The medical applications, especially those related to childbirth, are also the
reason the Gunthreed is exported to Sarvonia, where it is sold as a very
expensive drug to various noble families where a child is expected. With no way
to get the fresh marrow to Sarvonia before
it loses effect, the strengthening factor, as well as the addiction to it, are
unheard of in those parts.