A strange tree in a strange place, the Truthelon, (or "Oil Beard" in ThergerimTaal) is a fairly common sight in the underground chasms of Trumatyreon. Its dark-green leaves oft look as black as the lakes from which they feed, and their inconceivable growth on floor, wall, and ceiling alike can bring about a strong vertigo in people from the surface. Nonetheless, it is a useful plant to have about, and the Trumarim Dwarves make excellent use of its features.

Appearance. Were it not for the darkness, lack of sounds, and strange, chymical smells on the air, the Truthelon would not be out of place in the deepest jungles of the Drifting Woods or Shar. Alternating long, arching stretches of ridged and gnarled trunk with clusters of densely leaved branches, the resemblance with for instance, the waterfruit tree is unmistakable. The bark is grey or deep brown, often alternating various shades along its length, while the wood underneath is an oily black. The outer bark slowly peels off into long, fibrous strands.

The leaves are leathery, dark green in colour, and grow in tufts from the crooked branches. They are absolutely inedible for most higher animals, although several insects can feed off them with apparent impunity. They can range in length from half a palmspan to twice that length.

Truthelons always grow in arcs. From their base, they slowly grow away at a fairly random angle, and as soon as the crown touches a rocky surface, it will start growing roots in this location as well. From there then, several new arcs start sprouting, and so on. In the case where a wandering arc has found its way into a tiny cavern, the Truthelon will simply use a bend-or-burst tactic. It either finds a way back out, or it will crack open a new passage due to the ever-growing pressure from the tree. If neither of these options can occur, the tree will consider the filled cave, by now a massive chunk of wood, to be a root node, and start arching again from its base just before where it entered the cave. There seems no limit as to what size a Truthelon may grow, and there are reports of these trees spanning entire lakes, not even taking into account the lost Big Tree of Matholtyr, which was said to have caverfully been tended to grow in every street and past every window of the lost metropolis.

The rock oil the tree needs for its survival is obtained from long, dangling roots in those places where it is directly over an oil lake. In other locations, the oil-roots often seek out the nearest oil pool, but if this is more than a few peds away they rarely reach it, instead just dangling along the floor, giving it its dwarven name of Oil-Beard.
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Territory. Truthelon are only found in the Black Lakes of Trumatyreon, an underground cavern-riddled region in Nybelmar's Western Bay, sandwiched between the Scepteres of Tarshiin and the Inami realms. There it thrives on the rock-oil that has given the lakes their name, a feat few other plants have managed to accomplish. The down side of this is their consequent inability to grow anywhere else, making this a little-known species outside of the region.
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Usages. Truthelon fruits can be used as lights. If plucked when ripe, the dried-out stem can be lit, and like the wick of an oil lamp, will slowly use the parfi-like substance within to burn with a pale yellow, slightly sweet-scented flame for some time between ten minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the fruit.

Truthelon leaves may be ground into a paste, and the released juices drained to form a clear, watery liquid that will remove most kinds of stains from cloth. Certain dyes however, are vulnerable to this substance as well, so it is recommended that it is first tested on a small, hard to notice part of the cloth in question.

The bark which comes loose from the Truthelon naturally can be twined into wicks, rough ropes, or weaved into baskets and containers for use on the lakes, as, when it absorbs oil, it also swells, effectively protecting the insides of said containers against any contamination.

The Darklings use Oilbeard wood as a construction material in those areas where this tree is more common than their otherwise preferred Roori vine. The smooth texture makes finishing a freshly hewn board a relatively easy task, making it an ideal material for floors and furniture.
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Reproduction. The Truthelons flower all year long in the seasonless world below Caelereth's surface, with pale grey, lily-like flowers the size of a dwarven fist. These flowers radiate a much greater amount of heat, in fact, it can often be felt at a fore or so from the flower, merely by holding out ones hand. This serves to attract insects in a world where light is scarce, and colour or shape are ofttimes overlooked. Pillagebugs and VokvakAril (also known by surfacers as "Gembeetles") are common pollinators, but myriads of other moths, bugs, and flies, both native to the Black Lakes or lost specimens from the surface can be found feeding on the sticky syrup that the flower offers its guests.

After pollination has occurred, the flower wilts, and the base starts to swell. Inside, three to seven black, bean-shaped seeds are ripening, surrounded by a viscous liquid resembling the parfi the Trumarim extract through secret means from the rock-oil. When the seeds have ripened, the stem starts growing more brittle by the day, and soon will give way under the weight of the fruit, which is now, depending on the amount of seeds inside, between five and twenty nailsbreadths long and egg-shaped. Upon impact on the rocks below, the fruit bursts, splattering the seeds around covered in the inedible liquid, which serves to mask their scent and avoid to many of the seeds being eaten before they can germinate. If the fruit falls into a lake, it will gradually swell even more until it bursts, a process that can take many months. The seeds then float on the lake until they get caught on a shore somewhere along the lake, or, more likely, until they get eaten by one of the lakes hungry inhabitants.
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Myth/Lore. According to Trumarim writings, the now abandoned island city of Maltholtyr, which was once the capital of the Trumarim realm, housed what must have been the largest Oilbeard tree in all of Trumatyreon. It is believed to have spanned all across the great city, tended by a veritable legion of caretakers to guide every shoot into its optimal position. Eventually, it was a common saying amongst Maltholtyreans to euphemise the death of a dwarf as "Not being touched by the Tree", leading to phrases as "He has not been touched by the tree for seven years now." and "The tree no longer holds her." It is important to differ between "not being touched" and "being beyond the tree" though, as the latter merely indicated that the subject cannot be found within Maltholtyr.

The Maltholtyreans would gather the fruits of the Great Tree sections that winded through or along their dwellings, and on every seventh day, a fruit would be placed on a windowstill and lit, to symbolise the Trumarim position as the caretakers of Trum-Baroll's own blood as ordained by Unphvil the Basalt Lord.

Well, us dwarves are a practical lot Master Ziron, we don't go making up myths about each and every tree we trip over! In all seriousness though, Master Miraran already mentioned this to me, and we concluded that the only truly notable bit of myth or lore would be the great tree, which will be fully featured in the entry concerning the lost Trumarim city of Maltholtyr.
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 Date of last edit 26th Changing Winds 1669 a.S.

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