THE WATERSTAR ("BAVERAS' GIFT")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Waterstar is a water plant, often named "Baveras' Gift" due to its medical usage, its fruits are known as Starberries. Elves refer to the Waterstar as Már'miés'efér (Styrásh Már'miés'efér).

This lovely waterplant with its white petals growing just over the surface and small green under water leaves is very common. It grows in big numbers in sweet water in rivers and lakes, in a slight variation in saltwater as well. Very huge patches are found on the open sea, looking like an island from afar when flowering. The Waterstar is dedicated to the Goddess of Water, Baveras, and seen as her favourite flower. A few medical usages, all connected with the water in some way, is reason for the other name it is known for, Baveras Gift. In rare cases it can be mistaken from a distance for the tyrscaru.

From its berries, called Waterstar Berries or short Starberries, a very delicate, healthy, but expensive fruit paste is made.

The Waterstar

View picture in full size Image description: The lovely Waterstar. Pic drawn by Talia.

Appearance. This lovely plant has a bloom flowering just above the water surface, about half a handspan or less. The six petals are of a pure white, with a transparent quality, and about half a nailsbreath long. They evolve out of one base and are placed symmetrically around a small light green middle with a lot of very tiny pink filaments, surrounding three to nine anthers and a small pistil. Around this middle six little green leaves are placed symmetrically, matching the outer ones. They stay with the berry when the white petals are gone. This gives them a starlike appearance.

The blooms sit on dark green stalks which have a wreath of six dark green lance-like leaves every handspan, the top one of these circles lying on the surface of the water. These stalks are up to about three peds long, depending on the depth of the water they are floating in. The variety growing in the open sea may have stalks up to ten peds long. From one main stem several smaller derive, each one dividing itself after a certain length. The stalks of the different stems tend to grow into each other, thus forming a bunch of green underwater leaves, which can't be divided anymore. This provides shelter for a lot of smaller water animals, but makes harvesting of the evolving berries difficult. The leaves have tiny openings to take in the nutrients transported past them.

The plant has sometimes roots, but they have the only purpose of holding it into a certain place in fast streaming young rivers. The size of the plants, its petals and leaves and the number of individuals vary strongly due to the availability of nutrients in the water the plant is living from. So in fast flowing rivers which have only poor nutrients, the flower's leaves are smaller than in places with an abundance of nutrients, where they can cover an area of several furlongs in every direction or more. The seawater variety is in general a bit bigger and rougher than the sweetwater one. When the waterstar starts growing roots and how this is triggered is not yet know.
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Territory. The Waterstar can be found mainly in Sarvonia, smaller patches are reported from Nybelmar and other islands and continents as well. However, the plant seems to be native in Sarvonia and was only recently spread with ships travelling from continent to continent from here to the other places.

The Waterstar doesn't grow well in very extreme conditions, though one is often surprised in which locations it can survive. It is found in every streaming river and in lakes with water currents. However, the Waterstar doesn't like still standing water. Therefore it is widespread where the Cylian River joins the Ancythrian Sea, but there are none at its southern tip. There the transport of valuable nutrients past the intaking openings seems not strong enough. The salt water variety is found mostly all around the Sarvonian continent, for which no explanations are found yet apart that is has its origin here. But one would expect that a plant growing in the open sea for a long time should be found elsewhere, transported by water currents and winds. Some people believe the Waterstar grows only well in the neighbourhood of people believing in Baveras. This is seen as reason for their great abundance in the Cyon Sola Bay, where the Sanhorrhim Elves go fishing and near the temples of Baveras like the one around Cap Strata, where this magnificent temple represents the most southern building on the Sarvonian continent. However, the plant is found in Northern Sarvonia as well, though not so widespread as elsewhere.
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Usages. The Waterstar is valuable to the people mainly as a medical herb. All its parts are used and have special effects on the body. In general they are good for illnesses of the water system of the body. There is no difference between the salt- and fresh water varieties, though the saltwater ones have to be washed thoroughly first to remove the salt.

Not only humans or elves like these little waterflowers. For the rivermaids it is an essential part of their life - they use it to decorate themselves, binding skillfully wreaths out of it for their heads, necks or ankles. When tired of their adornments they just take it and eat it up. The Waterstar with all its parts is probably the rivermaids' most consumed food apart from fish and other wateranimals. Return to the top

Reproduction. The blooms of the Waterstar are developing all year round, where weather conditions allow it. They evolve finally, fertilised by the wind, into small, white berries with purple seeds in it, called Waterstar Berries or short Starberries. These berries can be seen for a short time at the surface of the water. Those not eaten and distributed by birds or fish drop into the water, floating within the underwater green. In regions with cold winters and ice these berries sink to the ground. The purple seeds seem to have a kind of anti-freezing liquid in them, so they are able to start a new plant again, when the water gets warmer. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. The Waterstar is firmly connected to Baveras. The myth says, that Grothar wanted to give a flower to Baveras, with whom he had fallen in love, but all the waterplants were just green without any blooms. So he asked Jeyriall for some flowers with blooms, but she wasn't very happy for she had some differences with Baveras and feared for Grothar, that he might be hurt through Baveras wild, untamed nature. But he laughed only at her words, replying, that this was what attracted him, and that he was of the same kind sometimes. Finally she gave him an armful of the loveliest white flowers she had ever made, suitable to grow in water, the blooms with a starlike appearance, with the words: "For your love, who is like the stars: Always moving, impossible to hold tight, better to look at only from afar." Thus the Waterstar was born.

Why the blooms sit near the surface of the water has two explanations. In Southern Sarvonia the elders tell their children, that as Baveras got the flowers, she was so happy, that she wanted to share her happiness with the whole world. She gave the flowers all the healing qualities they have now. And she didn't want to hide the lovely blooms in the depth of her waters. Therefore she held them to the surface of the water and does this till today, so that all people are able to admire the gift Grothar gave her.

The Northern Sarvonian variety says, that Jeyriall had designed the flower this way to help Grothar. He should be able to see his love when she admired the flowers. Baveras herself didn't see the purpose behind this but was so delighted and pleased, that she gave the plant its healing properties.

So the Waterstar is called "Baveras' Gift" as well, but it is not clear if the gift refers to her giving it to the people or to Grothar giving a gift to her.  
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Information provided by Talia Sturmwind View Profile