THE TERIRAIS TREE

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Terirais, a small, fruit-bearing tree, is named after the Tiraelhon Dietrae, Terira, the Goddess of Curiosity and Nature. The Terirais is a favorite fruit of the Tiraelhon, which is often used for flavouring. It can be found mainly in the savannah between the Theranian Sea and the Sea of Tardulan in Southern Aeruillin.

Appearance. The Terirais is a firm, fleshy, lime-colored fruit derived from the receptacle of a small white or pink flower. It consists of four long, stout limbs supported by an unyielding, bitter-barked trunk. Each of the four limbs has five leaves that form a protective circle around the blossoming flower. The leaves are broadly oval in shape and are somewhat woolly on the undersides. The woolly under siding of the Terirais has been discovered to give off a slight mint taste when allowed to saturate over a previously cooked meal. The flowers in bloom have a rounded appearance, some blossoms are white, but the majority of the blossoms have stripes or tints of pink.

All of these trees have exactly four limbs that fan out in various directions. At the ends of the branches are wide green leaves, which shield the sour fruits from the savannah's heat. These leaves usually curl in when they lack moisture and cup the small four or five Terirais fruits growing within them. The plants don‘t need fertile ground, just enough water. therefore it grows very deep roots, in order to reach out for the water if they are not planted near any irrigation ditches. The trees often reach a height of about 2 peds and the branches usually reach out 2 fores from the trunk.

During its early stages the tree is a fat, green stub. The plant is so thick because it stores water in order to produce sweet juices and help grow its leaves and branches. That is why many young Sand Elves race to gather the baby Terirais because they taste much better than the mature fruits. After a few months out in the sun the plant will suddenly grow thinner and taller, revealing small green leaves that will eventually grow into long curl-tipped leaves. A few days after most of the leaves have grown, small pink berry-sized fruits will grow in the middle of a hand of leaves. Those fruits will eventually grow quite bulbous, and will turn a lime color. The juices inside the fruit will sour, and seeds will grow within the plant; thus the plant will have matured.
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Territory. The Terirais is found only in the savannah between the Theranian Sea and the Sea of Tardulan in Southern Aeruillin. It can usually be seen around many Tiraelhon settlements in clusters of twos or threes.
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Usages. This plant is mostly used for its juices which can provide flavour to any meal. If gathered young the Terirais can provide a sweet delicacy with juices running down the consumer's lips. If gathered when ripe, the fruits will give a sour taste causing the consumer to purse their lips. However, if soaked in water for two to three days after ripening, the fruits will once again become sweet.

The leaves of this plant can be used to wrap foods after they have been cooked, and they give off a slight mint flavoring due to the marginally woolly underside.

The bark of this tree is used to weave baskets and other items. The bark is not pleasant to eat because of its dry and bitter taste. But if it is plucked when the tree has yet to mature, the tree will be full of life-giving water.
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Reproduction. The Terirais reproduce through the use of small black seeds that begin to grow once the plant is mature. Consumption of the Terirais is vital in order for the plant to reproduce. The plant cannot expel the seeds on its own, so it requires other beings to do so. This can be in the form of animal feces, or a picky human or elf who dislikes seeds in their Terirais. The seeds must land on relatively fertile ground, and eventually roots will grow that will pull the plant deep under the earth. From there it will begin to form into the Terirais, using the soil's moisture and the sunlight to fuel this process.
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Myth/Lore. The Tiraelhon believe that Terira, the Goddess of Nature and Curiosity, provided them with this sweet yet sour plant, when they were wondering about before settling in the Sands of Maechalan. The Goddess blessed the plant to be forever sweet during its youth and turn bitter sour when left to age. It is said that she also gave the plant the gift to slow the aging of women. Young girls and old women alike will often go to feast on the plant during its youth to test this legend.
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