THE KHOMILCHFRUIT TREE

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Khomilchfruit is a relatively uncommon tree located in the Jungles of Shar. Whilst most of Shar’s people would pass a lifetime without seeing a Khomilchfruit (which was an incredibly long time for a two hundred year old Krean) the remarkable fruit with ‘milch that tastes like chocolate’ was famous particularly in the days of the Krath Empire, where affluent Zhunite merchants of the Southern Coast would pay through the nose for a tankard of the delightful foodstuff. Known for its remarkable similarity in flavour to the prized Khofúhsháti (Krath Chocolate) but with additional antivenomonous and reinvigorating effects, Khomilch (literal ‘Brown Milch’ in the Krath tongue) was treated as more valuable than any precious metal.

Appearance. In comparison to the gargantuan trees that dominate the canopy of the Jungles, the Khomilchfruit was like a pebble to a mountain. Generally standing little over a ped and living in the shade of the greater forest giants, the Khomilchfruit was particularly easy to miss- especially when travelling at high speeds on the back of a Greater Hummer. As perhaps a blessing from Ankriss to not make this plant totally inconspicuous, the bark of the Khomilchfruit Tree is completely white in hue, allowing it to be distinguished from the typical browns that decorated the exterior of most trees in the continent’s seed garden, though its growth in the shade means that even this advantage doesn’t permit easy identification from a distance.

Due to the sparse sunlight that reaches the forest floor, the thin drooping branches of tree are adorned with huge, wide leaves - each adopting shapes similar to disproportional teardrops. These leaves throughout one half of the year stay an uninspiring green, though with the advent of spring they go through a radical change in colour. Whilst usually considered a sign of malnutrition in plants, once the Khomilchfruit begin to ripen the colour of the leaves gradually transforms into a warm, lustrous brown with beautiful mixtures of the two in the stages in-between.

The fruit itself adopts a similar shape to the leaves, though in a three-dimensional context. Appearing as completely still teardrops hanging off of the branches, like remnants of a shower of chocolate rain, each fruit is about as large as a typical pail of water and has similar volumes of Khomilch inside. The fruit also exudes a pungent aroma greatly reminiscent of roasting Síríorá beans, the most common type used in production of Lillivear chocolate. As such most Krathi foragers when looking for Khomilchfruit are told ‘Follow the smell of the Kavrúhúlmá (Roasting of the Beans)’, meaning patches of trees near regions known particularly for Khofúhsháti manufactre (such as the estates of the Shkárffýn family near Sihitara) are left unpicked, foragers not being able to distinguished what in fact is causing the smell.
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Territory. Though the magically chilled ox-carts of Dearanic times allowed Khomilch to be distributed as far as the realms of the Tiquaitan or Morchini near the Northern tip of the Western continent, Khomilchfruit itself has only ever been grown in the Peninsula of Shar. Most Krean scholars assumed that the climate of the region was a strong influence on the plant’s growth, but had no possible way of investigating it in other regions. The only area of similar to Shar within a few periks was the Drifting Woods, but the reclusive and territorial Vikhari (the Vikh ancestors and residents at the time) would have been less than willing to participate in the experiments of outsiders.
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Usages. Khomilchfruit, though being multi-faceted, is known primarily for the juice of its fruit. Due to its great similarity in consistency to the milch of goats and cattle, the juice itself, with the remarkable flavour of chocolate, is referred to as ‘Khomilch’- literally ‘Brown Milch’. While the most common image attributed to Khomilch is young Lillivear boy drinking it chilled from a glass, Khomilch proves to be a very versatile foodstuff. The Zhunite men were probably the most inventive with their usage of Khomilch as an ingredient- whipping it into a cream to add to cakes or even making the famous ‘chocolate butter’. Khomilch was also much superior to a blending of chocolate and milch due to its ability to keep for longer without spoiling, as well as the fact that the natural richness of it meant that (despite its prices) it was usually a cheaper alternative when you considered how much chocolate would actually be needed to recreate the flavour.

Aside from its culinary applications, Khomilch was also known by consumers for acting as a base for various antidotes to many jungle poisons. Though it required the Tiquaitan to blend their own knowledge of medicine with the nature of Khomilch itself, the results produce what was at the time called ‘Khociramel’ by the Krath (or ‘Brown Wonder’ in Tharian). Though having a variety of effects - including curing around forty common poisons (including lukrinam venom) – Khociramel was also used as an antiseptic for wounds and could be included in further esoteric Tiquaitan formulae to create an effective form of local anaesthetic, applied to the relevant areas by sponge.

Furthermore, when Khomilch is mixed with the powder of its dried seeds and warmed a head soothing drink with vigour-giving qualities could be made. Though slightly sour, the drink was favoured amongst the Tarshiinites who often awoke with severe headaches after hard nights of drinking and was seen at almost every table in the morning - even the children of the family desiring a relief from their own ale-induced hangovers.
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Reproduction. The Khomilchfruit itself, in the same recess of the fruit where Khomilch is stored, has around five seeds floating amongst the chocolaty fluid. Appearing very similar to miniaturised dochnuts, the seeds themselves being quite hardy, growing in most soil. Though the most climates support the growth of the tree if the seeds a planted in spring, it seems that only the climate of Shar causes the tree to fruit. Many a customer has been misled by a merchant who has sold him a handful of the seeds with promise that they will bring the invaluable Khomilchfruit along with it.
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Myth/Lore. Though not attributed all the properties of Khofúhsháti, in healing the Lillivear priestesses do usually accompany their patient's ‘treatment of the mind’ with both chocolate and Khomilch to induce feelings of happiness. Khomilch is also, by the Marmarrans, associated with bad luck - since it is strongly affiliated with antivenins, foiling their numerous plots against themselves and others.
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 Date of last edit 21st Molten Ice 1669 a.S.

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