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,
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.