THE MÁR'KÁL ("WATERFRUIT", "DEMONFRUIT")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Már’kál (Styrásh for "Waterfruit"), also sometimes referred to as "Demon Fruit", is one of those desert plants which contain moisture and is often used by the nearby fauna as a water source. A paradoxal plant, for its hostile appearance often wards travellers away while it is in fact one of the most handy plants in the desert. The thorny plant has fruits which look like small dark pompions which contain drinkable water. The plant is often found in the Ráhaz’Dáth area, but is known to appear in other desert-like territories as well, such as the Zhunite desert in Nybelmar. The Már’kál is mostly used by desert creatures, who have become accustomed to the harsh conditions of the sandy dunes of the great deserts. One of those creatures is the sandroller, in whose life the plant fulfills a great role.

Appearance. The Már’kál simply looks hellish. The plant usually grows to a height of one fore, and is often overlooked by hurried travellers. A dark stem, wrought with thorns, flowers which look like they have been through the fires of Foiros and had been twisted and corrupted by the Dark One himself. Its fruit is in the shape of small lymmon-like objects, but, unlike the lymmon, the Már’kál fruit is not readily taken for a harmless fruit. The fruit itself is dark red, a sinister colour indeed. All across the fruit are veins of blackness, like the veins on a leaf. This only adds to its dangerous appearance. This “Demon Fruit” usually is a little short of one palmspan big.

The Már’kál has a short lifespan, as it thrives in the desert. It usually only lasts a couple of seasons and then withers away. This short span is balanced by the number of seeds the Már’kál bears. The seeds are situated at the edge of the fruit, so that if the fruit falls or is bitten off the seeds get scattered. The Már’kál carries approximately two dozen of seeds per fruit. You can imagine that this is one of the causes why the plant still manages to survive in the desert.
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Territory. The Már’kál is a purebred desert plant. Therefore it is predominately found in desert conditions only. The area where this plant is mostly known is the Ráhaz-Dáth Desert, but the Már’kál has also been found in other desert-like areas, being the deserts on Nybelmar and other regions with the same climate and conditions. Another example of this are the Nyvian Plains in Aeruillin, this region also has the prerequisites necessary for the plant to live. In those regions there is no real specified location as to where the plant thrives, being near a watersource or in the heart of the heat and the sand. The only thing known is that if you spot one of the Már’kál, you will likely encounter more in the immediate vicinity, which is due to their rapid reproduction.
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Usages. The Waterfruit, as the name suggests, is used for its water-filled fruits. Because of its hostile appearance, the Már’kál is usually only consumed by the fauna which lives nearby. Travellers are often just frightened by the appearance of the Már’kál, which has earned the plant its other nickname: "Demon Fruit". The lymmon-shaped fruit is filled with water. How it comes by such an amount of water will be explained in the Reproduction section.
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Reproduction. The Már’kál has a strange way of living. Its lifespan is very short, due to the fact that it kills itself by letting all its water flow into its fruits. The plant is very adapted to the desert, and, without its fruits, should be able to survive a long time. But when the Már’kál is ready to bear fruit, it sucks itself dry in order to fill its fruit with water.

This short lifespan is however compensated by the number of seeds which are scattered every time one of the fruit is pulled of the plant. This made sure that the plant has survived this far, and that it has become one of the ever-present elements in the world’s deserts.
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Myth/Lore. The Már'kál does not have an elaborate history or myth. It is often spoken of as the "Demon Fruit" though and many travellers who have not yet seen the plant often ask why this name has been given to the Már'kál. It is considered sport amongst the people of the desert to conjure up wild stories about demons and blood, horrible tales of slaughtered villages at the places where the plant grows, etc. This is however seems purely due to the imagination of storytellers. The plant is simply called the "Demon Fruit" because of its hellish appearance.
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 Date of last edit 17th Falling Leaf 1666 a.S.

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