been said that nothing in the Hovel
Frond, a dangerous forest just north of the
Tandala Highlands, has been
untouched by the corruption of the
Diorye'oleal's magic, and the Thorn Moss is
a strong argument for the validity of that statement. A fibrous mass of dark
tangles and poisonous thorns, it is thoroughly unnatural in appearance, one
could go so far as to call it nightmarish, and most definitely it's quite unlike
any other known moss. The elves of the
Hovel Frond harvest the moss for
its poison and various alchemical uses.
Moss can be, for the uninitiated, hard to find and identify. Preferring the
darkest and wettest nooks and crevasses, it is unlikely to be seen in the first
place, and appears so removed from what moss should look like that it more often
thought to be a bush. Thorn Moss is a dark green in colour, appearing black from
a distance, and very thick. The individual fibres can become as thick as a man's
finger, and clump together in a tight mass that can, in the largest specimens,
spread for peds and rise half a
fore. Often they grow in and around objects, weaving about trees, rocks and
various bits of detritus.
The thorns from which the moss derives its name grow haphazardly from individual
fibres, but they are small, only about a
nailsbreadth long at most,
hooked and very fragile. They are almost impossible to remove without causing
tissue damage to oneself, or, worse, breaking them, which releases the deadly
poison contained therein. The poison itself is a clear liquid with a yellow tint
and has been compared to bile more than once, and is about as viscous as honey.
The plant's root system is shallow and thin, but closely packed together. Thorn
Moss grows in very wet places, and doesn't need to reach very deep to attain the
water it needs, nor does it have to be
solidly anchored to the soil due to the protection of the forest from heavy
winds. Due to the configuration of the roots,
it is very easy to uproot entire sections of the moss and plant them elsewhere,
assuming, of course, you manage not to poison yourself.
As previously stated Thorn Moss is incredibly poisonous, capable
of inducing fever, sweats, hysterical delusions, convulsions and death (never
soon enough). With the exception of the
Diorye'oleal, no species,
sentient or not, bothers with the plant and most denizens of the
Frond steer clear of it - those
that don't are usually dead. Lesser known is the mild hallucinogenic effect of
the moss fibres, discovered by accident in the research halls of
New-Santhala; it is unknown if these
effects can be caused by ingestion, as no one has been willing to test it, even
in the name of knowledge.
Thorn Moss is found almost exclusively in the
Hovel Frond, a dangerous
Northern Sarvonian forest, growing
both wild and cultivated by the enigmatic
elves. There is a small amount
research, from which much of the specific information recorded here was gleaned.
On a darker note, a sizeable amount of the research population went missing
during the preparation of this article; one can only assume what may happen if
samples fell into the hands of unsavoury characters...
The Frond elves harvest the moss for the poison in its thorns, which they put to
various uses; in a diluted solution it is used to bring their
Ash'mari slaves to the heights of
maddened battle rage. The Moss's poison is also used to coat weapons and arrows
in a deadly poison for war and hunting, and, it is rumoured, for recreational
and ceremonial use in extremely diluted doses. Dark rituals, decadent parties
and worse are said to require the use of the poison, but this last use should be
taken with a grain of salt, as the information was taken from prisoners and
fighters during the Kuglimz Wars, and
may be a piece of propaganda meant to rile anger.
The use of the moss fibres as a recreational drug have been confirmed and
validated by various other reports and investigations, including
Diorye'oleal prisoners who
were questioned during the Kuglimz
Wars. Experimentation with the effects in
yielded various results; for elves, the fumes cause a pleasant 'airy'
experience, thought to be caused by that race's connection to
Wind. In humans,
the effect is less pleasant, causing headaches, sweats and paranoia.
Dwarves and orcs have proven, rather
predictably, to be impervious to its effects, and (perhaps wisely) no
experiments were undertaken to determine its effects on the smaller races.
Thorn Moss reproduces asexually by spores. In the late spring, as temperatures
begin to warm again, the fibres begin to enlarge and sprout small spore pods,
about the size of a dwarf's thumb. During the
warmest months these pods release spores, which seem to hang in the air at
times, and form mock dust storms at others. Wherever these spores end up,
provided the environment is moist and dark enough, the moss will grow and
thrive. Thorn Moss's method of reproduction is thought to have been influenced
by its arcane origins. The lifespan of Thorn Moss seems to be indefinite. As
long as the root system remains, the moss will continuously regrown and attempt
to spread further out.
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