THE LANTERN FLOWER (INJÈR'CÁL'MERÌN)

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - MYTH/LORE

The Injèr'cál'merin, or just plain "Lantern" in common tongue, is a plant mostly found in deserts. It has adapted itself to the hot and dry climate of these places, so that it is one of the most common flowers in certain deserts. The Lantern has a close relation to the Purple Lantern, or "Arryi", which lives only in certain unique climates. Whereas the Purple Lantern is a rarity, the common Lantern is one of those plants which does not attract too much attention by travellers. It has never been regarded as one of the most beautiful plants, but at least a poet named Frigord the Weird once composed a poem about it. Until this very day travellers still laugh about that poem, since it shows exactly what the plant does; it makes things look more beautiful, and Frigord certainly experienced that while writing his poem.

Appearance. The Injèr'cál'merin grows to about one ped tall, its size depending on the conditions it is living in. Because the Lantern uses the scant moisture of the desert, it will grow taller when situated near a watersource and smaller when in the midst of a patch of dry land. The Lantern looks like a small patch of grass with some longer stems protruding from it. These stems are full of smaller branches which make the plant look bigger than it really is. These smaller branches are the main source of water for the Lantern, as they use their own drought to suck moisture in from the air around them. Unlike its cousin, the Purple Lantern, the Injèr'cál'merin does not have very long roots, so in times of extreme frost there is a great chance that the plant will perish. This however is often countered by the fact that the seeds from the Lantern do usually survive the freezing winter, so that in springtime, these seeds can flourish and become new Lanterns.

From about a half ped up, small flowers hang from the stem; they exist of three or four petals, with curled edges, resembling lanterns. (For a proper idea how it looks like, look at the picture from the arryi.) The petals seem to be made of parchment, bleak and frail. This in account of the drought they have to endure, these petals do not rely too much on moisture. One Lantern usually has about ten to twenty flowers, and they are seen through most of the year, except in winter, when the plant resembles a skeleton more than a plant because all the flowers are gone and the only thing remaining are the stems. - Unlike its cousin the Purple Lantern, which flowers have the ability to survive the extreme frost.

The plant blooms in spring, when there is the most moisture in the air, it then sucks up as much water as it can, so that it might survive the following dry summer, autumn and winter. This is why the plant seems completely dry all through the summer, because it is surviving almost solely on water it had amassed during the spring. When it has had too little moisture, its flowers wither and fall to the warm desert sand.
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Territory. As mentioned before, the Lantern is a true desertflower, so it will be encountered in almost every desert in our world. It has been sighted at the Ráhaz-Dáth desert in southern Sarvonia, but is also known to grow near the Stone Fields of Peat. Almost everywhere where drought is a normal occurrence one can encounter this plant. It has been tried to transfer the plant to a more normal climate, but then a strange thing happens: the plant starts gathering moisture, but when no drought is encountered, it bursts its stems, the whole plant seems to crack and burst, and soon the plant will lie lifelessly on the ground.
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Usages. The Injèr'cál'merín is one of those plants not known for any beneficial attributes, but it does have its uses. The petals of the flowers are a treat for the tongue and when chewed relieve the mind somewhat. The person who eats it will feel a bit light-headed for the next couple of hours, in which everything appears nicer and better than it would otherwise seem to be. We have reason to assume that the poet who wrote the complimentary poem about this plant had at least consumed two whole plants to get to the state of mind he was in.
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Myth/Lore. The Lantern is not a very remarkable plant, a bit ugly actually, certainly not appeasing to the eye, and certainly not the stuff of legends. There is however one thing very unusual about this plant, namely, the poem “Petals of a Lantern” by the poet Frigord the Weird. It seems that the poet had become enamoured by the plant and he devoted an entire poem to it. It was only after the “usage” of the plant was discovered that the poem began to make any sense. The poem itself is not one fit for legends as its metrical form is completely inconsistent. This however shows in full colours the effect that this plant can have on even the best poet:

Petals of a Lantern

A myriad of colour
Informs the perfect shape;
A hundred blending hues to form
A lovely woven cape.

The beauty of the light,
It’s holding me in awe;
It is the thing I love the most;
Amazing what I saw.

As touched by holy rain,
The petals are so bright;
I can’t believe my eyes no more,
I’m crippled by its might.

Lost in that one view,
begone is woe, despair.
A ray of sun in darkening times,
This flower oh so fair.
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 Date of last edit 17th Awakening Earth 1667 a.S.

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