THE THORN MOSS

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION

It has 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.

Appearance. Thorn 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.
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Special Abilities. 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.
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Territory. Thorn Moss is found almost exclusively in the Hovel Frond, a dangerous Northern Sarvonian forest, growing both wild and cultivated by the enigmatic Frond elves. There is a small amount grown in New-Santhala for 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...
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Usages. 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 New-Santhala 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.
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Reproduction. 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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 Date of last edit 5th Sleeping Dreameress 1674 a.S.

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