Ether-flake is the by-product of the Etherus worm, a mucous-like secretion made by the females in heat and also by the males during mating. When harvested naturally, it is thin, silky to the touch and white. Most use it as a material for clothing; when treated with wheat paste, it hardens into a sheet-like fabric form that is nearly transparent and quite iridescent. A rare few nobles and wealthy individuals see the Ether-Flake as a delicacy. They will boil it in soups or wrap a fine piece of meat in the stuff. As untreated Ether-Flake is difficult to find (one may have to collect it on your own in order to keep it untreated) it is a delicacy not seen often. Some worshippers of the God of Lust consider Ether-Flake to be an aphrodisiac as well.
Usage. Ether-Flake is gathered at any time of the year, usually late moring. This time is perfect, for the female worm has just finished making the Ether-Flake mat, and still has time to make a new one to attract males once the first is harvested.
The stickiness of untreated Ether-Flake makes it hard to gather in large quantities. A harvester will only collect one mat on each trip, at most three mats a day. Some Ether-Flake harvesters have come up with a more efficient process of collection, but the worms they collect from are getting scarce, for the mats are essential to the life of Etherus worms.
Once the mats are harvested, they are pulled taut across a rack. These racks are like small shelves, 7 to 10 Ether-Flake sheets can be stored one on top of another in these racks. The wheat paste is then applied on one side, hardening the Ether-Flake into a usable fabric. The drying process takes 2 days.
Once the sheets are dried, they can be sewn or dyed. In this state, Ether-Flake sheets can be sold for a rather high price. Considering the size of the sheet (only a fore square for the average worm) several sheets are always purchased for garments.
Dying of Ether-Flake is much the same process as hardening the flake. The colored pigment is spread on the same side as the wheat paste. The pigment soaks into the first layer of paste and the ether-flake itself, making a beautiful, transparent fabric that shimmers in the light. Another layer of paste is applied over the pigment to seal it in. The dying process takes another 2 days to dry.
Sewing of treated Ether-Flake is relatively easy, Much like regular fabric sewing. However, one must be wary of the edges, as they are seldom treated properly. The untreated side of the Ether-Flake sheet is meant to face outward when sewn, the glue and pigmented side against the skin. An Ether-Flake tunic takes roughly a day and a half to sew and takes about 8-10 panels of Ether-Flake.
In high-society circles, Ether-Flake is a delicacy enjoyed by the most eccentric of nobles and well-to-do bretheren. It can be stewed into soups, where in it dissolves and makes the broth sour to the taste. Vegetables and small chunks of meat are added to the broth to soak up the flavor. Ether-Flake is also used to wrap expensive meats after cooking; much like a glaze or garnish.
Some Etherian worshippers believe Ether-Flake to be an aphrodisiac, using it in religious festivals; as it is the secretions of two wild animals during the mating process...
Origin/History. Ether-Flake has been used for various purposes as long as there have been people to harvest it. Ancient times saw people using it as netting against bugs, burial shrounds and hunting nets (coated with many layers of wheat paste). But once harvesters discovered the money and ease of collecting and dying the Ether-Flake, things changed. Some still use Ether-Flake for the primitive uses listed above, but they are dwindling.
Information provided by Viresse