THE TEAR FROST FLOWER

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The tear frost flower has long been considered one of the most rare and beautiful plants in all of Northern Sarvonia. The delicate looking plant is unique in that it thrives in extreme cold climates and permafrost soils. The flower is a very hardy plant, despite its appearance, and can withstand the powerful gusts of mountain blizzard wind that it frequently experiences. The most remarkable aspect of the tear frost flower is its snow white coloured stalks, transparent leaves and multi-hued blooms of blue and purple pedals. Once a year, the flower produces a "fruit", which is a tiny crystalline bulb that resembles a tear, hence the plant's name.

The Tear Frost Flower

View picture in full size Picture description. One of the most beautiful flowers of Northern Sarvonia: The marvellous Tear Frost Flower. Image drawn by Seeker.

Appearance. The Tear Frost Flower is a small plant that grows very slowly over a period of several months. Its root is a long conical shaped bulb that grows deep within the hardened, frozen soil seeping up nutrients from below the ice line. The root is rough in texture and a dull white in colour. It is also quite difficult to pull out of its soil.

Above the surface of the soil line, the flower grows into an almost entirely white colored mass of stalks, between five and ten in number. Each one is stiff and slightly moist and extremely cold to the touch. A thin layer of fine white dust coats the stalks that gets released into the air if touched.

Each stalk is between two to three palmspans in length and from a half to one nailsbreadth in width at its base becoming thinner towards its outer point. Upon each stalk grows exquisitely beautiful leaves that are entirely translucent. Each leaf is smooth as glass, yet has the similar texture of an otherwise green leaf of a temperate climate plant. When examined closely, the leaf contains a complex structure of veins that are a soft blue in colour. The rest of the leaf is almost entirely clear and see-through. Each stalk contains only six to seven leaves.

When the flower blooms once per year, typically in the month of
Frozen Rivers, soft shaded petals of blue and purple open up. Each bloom produces a delicate flower of eight to ten petals. The petals are generally six nailsbreadths in width and length and are triangular in shape. The petals are also quite tough and chewy when eaten. The flavor of the leaf is said to be slightly bitter and dissolves quickly in the mouth.

Growing in the center of the petals is the flower's seed, a crystal like tear that resembles a multifaceted gem. After two months, the petals die and fall off the plant. The tear seed is fully visible and remains attached to the stalks for several more days. The tear frost seeds are very hard and cold like a tiny piece of ice. With enough hand pressure, they can be burst and broken. Usually, the winds carry the seeds away to other areas where they land atop the snow and ice where new growth begins.
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Territory. The tear frost bush is a delicate looking shrub, but extremely hardy. It grows primarily in very cold climates in permafrost soil. The far northern reaches of the peninsula of Caaehl'heroth are known to be the primary growing territory for this cold born plant. Specifically, the Icelands of Aeh'os'th'er'oc are sufficiently cold enough for the bush to grow along the mountain sides and valleys of the area. The nearby islands of Kalta'Goor and Karma'Goor, are known to grow the tear frost bush along the island's steep mountain sides with a few growing along the shores. The snow drake researcher Ihea Miwone discovered that the bush grows extensively in areas where the snow drake leaves its droppings. She has theorized that perhaps the bush utilizes the snow drake's bodily waste for food and energy.
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Usages. The tear seed has also been discovered to be of some use in recent years as a reagent in the casting of frost based water spells. The tear is cold and hard with a sufficient amount of water and earth ounia to base several frost spells from. Spells such as Lance of Frost, Frostbolt, or Icewall can be cast by low level magi with a tear frost reagent. The difficulty of obtaining a tear, however, makes its use as a reagent rare as most Ximaxian or Thalambath magi never find their way so far north in their lifetimes. It has become more common in recent times that only the most enterprising and wealthy of magi can afford to send expedition teams to these northern reaches for this reagent. The tears are known to fetch a high market price in Ximax.

Miwone's Osther-Oc guides recounted some lore surrounding the flower. The orcs have sometimes used the tear as a sort of jewelry and decoration upon themselves. The tears are attached to clothing to provide a decorative sparkle during certain winter festivals and rituals. Some orcen clans are said to believe that the tears contain special divine powers of healing certain illnesses. The tear is put into the mouth of a victim of a sickness or disease, or the tear is dissolved in a liquid to be drunk. An old name for such a curative method is "Traak'mul Puush" or "Frost medicine".

Another tale tells of the plant's leaves providing a nutritious supplement to starving explorers. The orcs believe that the leaf is rich in energy and is a divine gift that increases strength and stamina. The leaves are quite edible, if bitter tasting, and even Eleanna claims that they do indeed give a short boost of energy to the limbs.
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Reproduction. The flower possesses a very hard and sharp root system that finds its way into the permafrost soil to feed on nutrients deep below the ice line. The seed falls from the plant and begins by slowly pushing its way down into the soil. As a result, the tear frost flower is very slow to grow and mature and one will never find a naturally abundant field of them.

Once the seed takes root in the ground, the root digs deep for many months, sometimes taking years to fully reach nutrients underground. Once done, the tear begins to grow a white stem until it reaches about a palmspan in height before branching out into many shorter stems. It is during this time that growth and the absorption of food is critical as this is just before the plant grows its transparent leaves.

It must be noted that the soil must remain sufficiently cold enough for the bush to grow. Should the ground become too warm (although still quite cold by human standards) the pods will not produce tears.

The tears are spread by wind or by falling off naturally. Strangely, a tear frost flower will not grow within six to eight peds of another flower.  It is thought that this is because the first bush has taken to all of the surrounding nutrients within this range and no other bush can grow within it.

The flower lasts a short time once the tears are born before it begins to die. The summer months bring warmer weather (warm for the plant, but again, not necessarily warm by human standards) and the flower begins to shrink and turn a dark shade of gray colour. Much like the tears that turn gray also in the warmth, the plant shrinks and becomes easily broken before falling apart completely.
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Myth/Lore. The snow drake researcher Ihea Miwone first discovered these wondrous flowers during her journey to the island of Kalta'Goor. Her expedition found several of the tear frost flowers in various states of bloom along the mountain sides and shores of the island. Although not a herbalist herself, she was able to bring back a tear to show experts in southern Sarvonia. She was able to convince one such explorer, the gnome botanist Eleanna, to accompany her on an expedition. The gnome was able to bring back more tears and took the opportunity to study the plant in its native habitat. Miwone and Eleanna both observed that the flower grows in greater numbers in drake territory where the drake's droppings were localized. It is thought that the flower uses the droppings as fertilizer. Eleanna was not able to discover any known consumers of the bush as the pinnip seals and drakes are both meat eaters. Perhaps in the higher reaches of the mountain peaks there exists an as of yet unknown plant eating creature that feeds on the bushes.
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 Date of last edit 10th Passing Clouds 1669 a.S.

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