THE HUBUBAT GRAIN ("MORCHIN'S FINEST")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

Hububat is a multi-headed grain used and produced in massive quantities by the short-statured Morchini people of the Moredein Kaerath region of Northwest Nybelmar, the Hububat Grain is one of the region's largest sources of income as well as one of the Morchinis main food sources. Its purple flowers and golden seeds lend their characteristic colours to the large fields, called 'reys', covering the Kazai Morchin-i. Known to be the main ingredient for the highly alcoholic drink going by the name "Jinn", as well as the primary resource for Gida, which is the base of the Morchini diet, Hububat Grain is a very valuable plant to these people.

Appearance. Like nearly all grains and many grasses, Hububat consists mainly of a strong but slender stalk, about a ped and a half in length. The long and thin leaves typical for grasses and grains are set in pairs, and each set springs from the stem at a slightly different angle, giving it the appearance of a spiralling staircase. Starting out as fresh green shoots, the colour of both stalks and leaves rapidly darkens to a fair brown, not unlike cinnabark, as the grain matures. Each stalk bears as much as three to five heads with seeds, giving a remarkable yield per square ped of field when compared to other cereals. As the grain flowers during summer, these heads are covered in bright purple pollen that can leave remarkably hard to remove stains on cloth. Return to the top

Territory. Hububat grain is only grown on the fields of the Kazai Morchini-i, on the Moredein Kaerath of northwestern Nybelmar. Attempts to grow it without the aid of the Morchini have all failed, and it is highly suspected that this crop has in the distant past been magically altered to both ensure its incredibly high yield, and the exclusivity of growing only where there are Morchini. It is not known why it refuses to germinate without the aid of the Morchini and, naturally, they are very secretive about this, but even attempts of Ter'ei'Vikh spiritsingers have proved unable to produce a healthy plant from Hububat seeds.
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Usages. Firstly, after harvesting, the grain is tied into tight bundles, about a fore wide, which are then laid on a paved circle with a slightly raised rim. Once in place, nibakku, a local creature somewhat resembling a large tarep, are ridden throughout the circle extensively, while assistants continuously remove and replace those bundles whose grains have all been trampled loose. Every few hours the remaining bundles are shaken empty and removed, and the grain can be swept up for further cleaning and storage, while the circle is restocked with fresh bundles.

Hububat Grain can be used for a plethora of things. Firstly, like any grain, it can be ground to a sturdy dark, speckled flour known as Hubuflour, or Hufu. This yields a dark, heavy bread that does not spoil easily, and can also be used for biscuits, scones, and pies. Hufu is usually reserved for making baked goods intended for travel, as the results are more durable (albeit less palatable) than that of ordinary flours.

However, it is also the base for a potent alcoholic beverage known as "Jinn", a distilled brew not unlike scutch in preparation, but with a less distinct taste. It lends itself perfectly for mixing with various juices, infusions, and other such drinks, and many regions have their own favourites. It is one of the more prominent drinks in the Scepteres Tarshi´n, where the Tarshi´nites believe alcohol to have a spiritually purifying quality.

More important to the Morchini than either of the above, however, is the making of the single most common dish of the Moredein Kaerath: Gida. This consists exclusively of cooked eggs-and-hubuflour dough, can be found in dozens of different shapes, and the amount of vegetable mixtures and sauces used to complete the dish is simply innumerable, with almost every family having a slightly different receipt. Although there are several varieties of the base dough for this dish originating from places throughout western Nybelmar, each from different grains, Hufu-based gida is considered superior by a wide margin to all others and is widely prized for its subtle taste and pleasing texture by chefs and cooks.
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Reproduction. After sowing in early Changing Winds, the grain will usually be flowering around the middle of Sleeping Dreameress, producing a cluster of up to five long heads of purple-dusted flowers at the very end of the stalk. This purple colouration comes from the pollen, and on a very windy day, one can sometimes see the waves of windswept pollen fly over the fields, much to the dismay of the unlucky housewoman who chose to hang out her laundry that day, only to have it caught on the receiving end of the purple clouds. If this is done intentionally, the pollen may then be gathered from such sheets, and mixed with a mushroom-based jelly to produce a deep, regal purple hue that is reserved for the highest ranks among the Morchini mage-priests.

It then takes just over a month for the grain to ripen, at which time the heads turn a deep, dusty gold in colour. Near the end of Fallen Leaf, the grain is harvested, usually with sickles, and brought to the driving rings where the grain is beaten and prepared for storage.
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Myth/Lore. The following is an excerpt from the last part of a story named "The Watcher in the Rey" from the well-known book "The Hour of the Tree and other Stories of the Night", a collection of myths and fables from the Kazai Morchin-i.

Without being noticed by either, as Farmer Neroc spoke with the Wood Devils, a little Mutecessi (one of the thousand spies of the Tecessui, the spies of our lord The Hand), had been watching from the field of Hububat it was ordered to watch over for the People by our lord. It wrinkled it's little purple face with anger, and, after the conspirators departed, ran deep down into the earth to the very Hand himself. Stumbling over his own words, the little Mutecessi told all about how he had overheard the wicked farmer sceming with the demons of the great Drifting Woods.

It was not until four days later that the villagers found the wicked Farmer Neroc, covered in purple dust and dirt, lying in the middle of the rey where a large patch of ground was upturned, his open mouth filled with dirt and rocks.
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 Date of last edit 5th Passing Clouds 1668 a.S.

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