THE VINTERBERRY VINE ("CORPSEBERRY")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Vinterberry is a red-wine berry found over most of Santharia, with a small variation of poisonous black berries (called Corpseberries) found in the Paelelon. Its name comes from the sweet berry and juices it produces, and the Eophyrhim name for it comes from the poisouous black berries the tribe cultivates for festivals and their own wine.

The Vinterberry Vine
Image description. The red-wine berries of the Vinterberry Vine in the Sharadon Forest. Picture by Eshˇh K'ryvvlen.

Appearance. The Vinterberry grows in small bushy clusters at the bases of tall trees. Some of the older, stronger plants have crawled up and around the tall trees, to get better sunlight. A single Vinterberry bush is about two fores tall and just as wide, with span-length dull green leaves. The leaves have at least three points, one at each side of the vein and one in the middle. The older a Vinterberry bush, the more points its leaves have. A sign of a Vinterberry bush capable of growing black Corpseberries is the leaves; its leaves have small curling tendrils at the points and are covered in fuzzy black spots.

The life cycle of a Vinterberry bush can be quite long if taken care of. In early spring the flowers of the Vinterberry (pink on the Vinterberry bush, purple on the Corpseberry variation) open up and the male flowers spread their pollen through attracting bugs and insects with their nectar. Harvesters also assist the Vinterberry flowers by rubbing small wooden wands in the flowers' openings, spreading pollen successfully. - A week later, the female and male buds lose their flowers; the female flowers creating berries while the males die. Berries take about a week and a half to ripen to full-taste. They are then either dropped to the earth, taken by forest animals or harvested.

Seeds that make it to the earth take about two weeks to sprout, and another year or two to create berries of their own. The average lifespan of the Vinterberry bush is anywhere from 10-30 years.
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Territory. The red Vinterberry can be found all over Santharia, in cool woodsy climates, it is very common e.g. in the Sharadon Forest in Southern Santharia. It lives at the bases of tall trees, where the earth is softest and their shallow root system can take in nutrients without being killed off by the larger tree.

The Black Corpseberry seems to only grow inside the Paelelon, or at least it is cultivated there. It grows in much the same way as its tasty cousin.
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Usages. The Vinterberry is not widely used in Santharia. Most use it as a snack-food, and vinters use the tasty berry to flavor up their wine. If the Vinterberry is fermented like wine should be, it loses its sweet flavor and is useless.
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The Eophyrhim have solved the fermenting problem alltogether by using the black Corpseberries in combination with the sweet Vinterberries. Using 4/5 vinterberry and 1/5 Corpseberry, the Eophyrhim can make a drink that intoxicates like wine without losing the flavor of the Vinterberries.

Myth/Lore. The Vinterberry has been growing in Santharia and used as food as long as anyone can remember.

But the Black Corpseberry variation was discovered in 6288 b.S. in the Paelelon, when a harvester picked the black berries, assumed them to be over-ripe and fed the black berries to her pet. The hound died within a day, and sparked the first Queprur festival.
Some assume the black Corpseberry bush to have sprung from the abdomen of a buried Coˇrean priest, but time has caused this particular fable to be unfounded.
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