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16  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Maiden's Step Flower on: 04 November 2012, 11:54:34
a) Categorisation: Flower

b) Overview: Sprouting unassumingly and quietly, Maiden’s Step (also called Maeggie’s Step) is a very small plant that blossoms in a cluster of tiny lavender flowers. It can be found in higher elevations on mountains throughout Sarvonia. From the Gathorn Mountains in the north to the Mithral Mountains in the south, Maiden’s Step has a wide territory. While it thrives on sunshine, it requires very little water and can take root in some of the sandiest, rockiest terrain.

c) Description: Maiden’s Step is a rather small plant, growing to an area barely larger than a maiden’s palm, though sometimes these plants may grow together. It does not grow very tall, but rather hugs the ground, unable or perhaps unwilling to contend with gravity, or else finding it safer to cling to the earth. It’s leaves grow no bigger than a baby’s fingernail, and are coloured a pale, dusty green. The leaves sometimes curl slightly, and are thick and waxy.

The flowers, which are almost always blooming, are about the size of the leaves, and are clustered. Each diminutive bloom contains five rounded lavender petals, which hold to the plant for weeks or even as long as a month (though occasionally, as flowers replace other flowers, it is hard to tell when one has gone and another, arrived). The plant may constantly bloom and produce seeds, which form at the base of the flower in seed pockets that eventually break. The seeds themselves, the size of grains of sand, are taken by the wind and flown across the mountain.

The stem of the plant is hidden behind the leaves and flowers, and is little more than a snaking chain connecting the leaves and flowers to the gray-coloured roots, which serve, not only to pull up what little moisture there is to be found in the earth, but to hold the plant securely in place.

d) Territory: Maiden’s Step grows exclusively on mountainsides, where the air is thin and the ground is more sand than dirt. It can be found on most any mountain in Sarvonia, from the Gathorn Mountains to the Oro Mountains, from the Nirmenith Mountains to the Tandalas, and all across the High and Lower Fores. Maiden’s Step can be found at the elevation where trees and most shrubs have stopped growing, venturing as high as almost any other plant can grow.

e) Usages: Maiden’s Step has little use to humans. Because the Maiden’s Step tends to grow in small, dispersed clumps rather than in large patches, it used to be common among some people to take someone to the hill, blindfold them, spin them about, and have them walk until they stepped upon a clump of Maiden’s Step. Based on the size, shape, and appearance of the clump, an elder or fortune-teller would tell the one who tread upon it what his or her fortune was. The practice is rarely followed today, usually only in more remote mountain villages in and around the Lower Fores and villages on the west side of the Mithral Mountains.

Maiden’s Step flowers are occasionally used by herbalists as a sweetener. Perhaps because of the drier conditions or the size of the bloom, the nectar of the Maiden’s Step flower is very concentrated. Herbalists may take a clump of flowers, boil out the nectar, and add it to potions and tinctures—particularly those for children or ones with a particularly repugnant aroma or taste. In some cases, the sweet taste and smell of the Maiden’s Step nectar can be used to mask some noxious poisons.

f) Reproduction: Maiden’s Step is slow-growing, but hardy and tough. It takes many months for a seed to get to flower. The first phase of growth involves the development of strong roots and a small leaf. Over the course of many weeks, the plant will spread, vining out and putting down roots, then leaves, before it begins to flower. It will then flower almost continuously.

Seasons matter little in the growth of the Maiden’s Step. Seeds can take root in late autumn, be stilled by winter freeze, and then start back up again when the snow melts. The Maiden’s Step can survive the winter, so long as it’s not too long, but can easily be killed if the snow melts too quickly or too slowly; too quickly and the plant will be shocked by the sudden heat, and too slow and rot or fungus will kill the plant before it can fully awaken out of its winter hibernation.

As the plant flowers, and the flowers fall away, small seed packets form, usually hidden behind existing blooms. When the packet matures, it splits, and the grain-like seeds spill out. Most will be whisked away by the winds that snake up and along the mountains, and flown to new lands to take root and grow.

g) Myth/Lore: The Maiden’s Step gets its name from the story with which it is often associated. The name of the maiden often changes from village to village; however, around the Mithral Mountains, it is almost unanimously purported to be Maeggie (or some slight derivative therein). Because the name is often debated, the story will be told here without naming the maiden:

It is said that once there was a lovely young maiden, fair and sweet and kind. She lived in a village by a great mountain, and lived peacefully with her loving parents. Alas, one day her parents died of a disease that took them both quite suddenly, and the maiden prayed to Grothar to turn her into rain so that she could wash away the tears.

The maiden became a maid to a cruel man and his jealous wife who lived at the base of the mountain. She was made to sweep the floor and launder the clothes, to cook the meals and make the beds, to wash the dishes and empty the chamber pots. And she was ever so lonely, and prayed to Grothar to turn her into a wind so she could blow away.

The man lusted for the young maiden, as she was sweet and fair. Many a night he made her share his bed, and she was miserable, for she did not love him. She prayed to Grothar to make her a cloud, so that she could float into the sky and forget everything.

It was not long before the jealous wife discovered that the maiden had shared her husband’s bed, and she was furious. In her rage, the wife threw burning coals into the maiden’s eyes, and thereafter, the maiden was blind and knew only darkness. She prayed to Grothar to make her sunlight that she might be able to know light once more.

Soon after, in the early morning, the maiden heard a voice calling her. She rose from her bed and followed the voice, leaving the house and treading up the great mountain.

When the cruel man and jealous wife awoke, they did not see the maiden anywhere, but saw the front door was open. From the front of the door and up the mountain were small purple flowers growing in clusters about the size of the maiden’s steps. They followed them up and up, scaling the great mountain. However, as they reached the top, the flower footsteps left off. When they looked up, they saw her peaceful face in the sky.

When the man and his wife returned home, they found their house had been blown to bits by a strange and sudden gale.
17  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Riverberry on: 04 November 2012, 11:45:51
Talia wanted something for her fish to eat. I named the fish (Blue Flutterfish) because I wasn't given a name.

a) Categorization: Fruit

b) Overview: The Riverberry (also called the Blue Bavsberry, Water Wineberry, and Flutterfish Fruit), despite its name, does not grow exclusively in rivers. Apart from slow- or moderately-running rivers, the plant also grows in small streams, ponds, and lakes throughout Santharia, (where some motion is created by fish, frogs, or other water-dwelling creatyre) though it prefers warmer, more humid locations.

While it can be used as a dye, its generally only used for dying small stretches; it is more common for making sweet juices and sauces in small quantities. And of course, it is one of the primary foods comprising the diet of the Blue Flutterfish; in fact, the berry is often attributed as the source of the fish’s serenely blue colouration.

c) Description: The Riverberry is a fairly adaptable plant, and it’s difficult to know whether to consider a water plant or not; while it will grow out from the soils in the bottom of lakes and streams, it is also content to grow by the river- or lake-side, vining out from the damp yet submerged soil and dipping itself into the water.

The leaves are long and tendril-like, growing up to a fore long, but always remaining on the surface of the water, neither sinking below nor lifting above. It’s easy buoyancy comes from small air pockets along the underside of each leaf. As might be expected, the leaves are a bit thicker than most, and are a deep green—with, perhaps, the slightest hint of blue.

The stems of the Riverberry plant is strong and sturdy as a dwarf, capable of holding leaves and fruits against the moving waters of the river or stream in which it grows. As though to contrast the slender leaves, waving nonchalantly in the currents, the stem is stalwart and strong, coloured a deep greenish-brown, though it is sometimes half-hidden in the water. The roots of the Riverberry often run deep. Greenish-white, they dig deep into the earth and hold tight, anchoring the plant and keeping it from slipping away.

When conditions are right, the Riverberry will bud and flower in little clusters of light blue flowers. These endearing little blooms, sometimes called Riverbuds or Riverblooms, are usually about half the size of a maiden’s little finger, and they sit contently upon the water, inviting river insects and butterflies to land upon them to rest and drink. Their little pointed petals are soft and thin—and when the bloom fades, the petals drift away into the river.

Soon after the bloom has gone, a collection of green berries begins to form beneath where the flower floated, submerged in the water. Taking nutrients from the water and sunlight from the leaves, the fruit ripens and the berries get larger, growing in clusters of 10 or more. The base from which they grow is buoyant, keeping the berries from sinking. Beneath the surface, the berries resemble wineberries, though they taste a bit seedier than their land-based cousins.

The Riverberry plant rarely grows very large. It grows to the height needed to reach the surface (or the water) and if it branches, only does so twice or thrice. While one plant may create many flowers, not all the flowers will turn to fruit, and one plant can usually only sustain 3 or 4 clusters at most.

d) Territory: The Riverberry plant grows here and there throughout Sarvonia, as far as _________ and as far south as Bardavos. It does not generally grow with any great gusto, but chooses its place of growth carefully. It is as though the seed had thoughtfully considered its stretch of water and soil before putting down roots, making sure to choose a place with plenty of sun (though not too much) in a stream or river with a gentle current (but not too much) in a place where the air has ample moisture (though not too much rain) in soil that is firm enough to anchor it (but not so firm as to prevent good rooting).

While the Riverberry grows in many rivers throughout Sarvonia and especially in Santharia (such as the Thaevil), it will tend toward areas where the river is shallower and gentler. It likes little streams, particularly those near a copse in places where the weather is warm and humid. While it doesn’t mind slightly saltier waters, it refuses to grow in seawater. It should also be noted that the fruit from Riverberry plants growing in saltier waters are themselves a bit salty, and not very appetizing.

The Riverberry plant is not an overly difficult plant for a gardener to tend, provided he or she knows what he or she is doing, and makes a lovely addition to any fish pond. This plant is ubiquitous in and around fishponds in the gardens of thanes and dukes across Santharia. Recent trade with Nybelmar suggests it may be found in gardens there, too, though such rumours  (while likely true) remain unsubstantiated.

e) Usages: The Riverberry has a number of usages, though most revolve around its small berries. Despite growing in water, the Riverberry is not watered down, either in taste or colour. In fact, it seems to be more potent, as though growing in water had helped to suck the wateriness out of the berry (almost like the way a bath prunes the fingers, removing them of water).

While the berry is sweet (and a bit sour), it is also filled with small seeds. Given age, these seeds will soften and can be ground up in the juices of the berry and served in various dishes without anyone getting them stuck between his or her teeth.  Although frequently found in sauces (Riverberry sauce pairs wonderfully with taenish and pork), juices (often mixed with other juices or strong liquor), and as a garnish for stuffing (for any wild fowl), it is quite popular as a sweet liqueurs, generally served as a kind of desert wine. Because of the moderate rarity of Riverberries, the consumption of such foodstuff is often rare, or else reserved for those who have the wealth to pay.

Those who enjoy consuming the berry occasionally must compete against those preferring to use the Riverberry as a dye. It soaks and sets quickly into fabrics and has a bright blue colour. Again, it’s rarity generally reserves it for detail work, though it is said that in the 1300’s a thane from Voldar once had a tunic and cape dyed completely by Riverberries. Its use was specified, not only because of the brilliant colour, but because of the sweet aroma of dye, which perfumed the cloth exquisitely. It is said the thane wished to woo a noble lady—and indeed, succeeded.

Apart from the better-known uses for the Riverberry, the plant itself has some use to herbalists. The leaves are particularly useful in the treatment of rashes—particularly rashes that burn or otherwise feel hot (it should be noted that this does not included rashes actually caused by burns, but rather rashes that feel as though they are burning). When the leaves or torn, the tear excretes a thick, gooey substance that can be applied directly to the skin to help cool it. The substance is gentle and safe, but should not be used on large gashes in the skin or around (ahem) sensitive areas. For those kinds of burning, higher-level herbalists will be able to treat the leaves for safe use or recommend some other remedy.

The Riverberry is often used as a decorative plant in many gardens, particularly in those paying some tribute to the goddess Baveras, and it is often grown in ponds and lakes that house the Blue Flutterfish. Consumption of the deep blue berries is attributed as the reason for the colour of the Flutterfish’s brilliant cerulean scales.

f) Reproduction: The Riverberry’s seed sews itself into the fertile, moist bottom of a shallow stream or lake, or else in the rich bank. It requires a great deal of water, and so usually grows most quickly in the spring, when the snow of winter melts and once-dry riverbeds flow again. Rarely will the river-level rise more quickly than the Riverberry plant; it can grow with great haste to meet the river.

In late spring or early summer, many Riverberry plants will begin to bloom. Not all blooms result in fruit, and so it may be that the Riverberry may bloom for weeks—even months, and only produce a dozen or so clusters in that time (though never more than four at one time). As long as it is warm and humid, as long as the weather is sunny and fair, the Riverberry will bloom and grow: in many parts of southern Santharia, the Riverberry blooms and produced fruit from late spring until early autumn. Under the careful hand of an expert gardener, the Riverberry will bloom and produce fruit all year long.

When a fruit-producing blossom has faded, and her petals have fallen away, her base will sprout a collection of tiny, bright green berries. Over the course of several weeks (sometimes as long as a month and a half in some places), the berries will plump and darken, ripening to a deep blue.

What fish—or deer, or other woodland creature—could resist? These creatures often gobble up the berries when they have ripened. When overripe, the berries drift away themselves, pulled from the stem by the current of their watery home. Whether by fish traveling upstream or currents moving downstream or deer venturing to another stream entirely, the seeds wander. Once dropped by their host in a suitable location, the seeds wait until suitable conditions propitiate their growth.

Many wild RIverberry plants will die when their streams dry up. In warmer places, where such things are more likely, the Riverberry grows with greater haste. In colder places, where the streams may stay wetter longer, the growing period may be slower, and it may eventually be the chill of winter that kills the plant. However, in a garden, where a green thumb may nurture the plant, the Riverberry may grow and thrive for many years before it wearily expires at last.

g) Myth/Lore: The Blue Flutterflish, because of its colour and environment, is deeply connected with Baveras, and is found frequently in her shrines and temples. Because the Riverberry is not only a favorite food of the Flutterfish but also the source of it’s striking cerulean hue, it has, too, come to be associated with Baveras, growing in her temple’s garden ponds and streams to feed her tranquil Blue Flutterfish.

However, in some villages in the southeast of Santharia, there is a tale associated with the plant that more deeply tied it to Baveras. It is as follows:

It is said there was once a young man, well-loved by all, who fell in love with a young maiden who had dedicateed herself to the worship of Baveras. The young man pleaded to be accepted by the young maiden, but though she loved him dearly, she refused him.

The young man was distrait and heartbroken, and wept bitterly, Baveras (in some tales, Grothar), taking pity on the man, turned him into a stream so that his sorrows would no longer harm him, and he might find peace in bringing peace to others.

Whe the villagers discovered what had happened to the young man, they were outraged, for he was well loved by all of them. They turned against the poor maiden, accusing her of using foul magics to seduce and then injure the heart of the poor young man. They refused to believe her protestations to the contrary, and bound her, and tied a stone to her ankles, and threw her into the stream.

But Baveras had pity for the poor girl, and as the maiden sank into the water, the Goddess of the Sea transformed her into a Riveryberry plant. In this way, the young maiden and the young man were together at last.

The Riverberry can also be found in a myth amoung the Eyelians.  That story is as follows:

It is said that long ago, when the sky were still new and the earth had not yet known the blood of war, Grandmother Eagle dined heartily on the fish in a stream. She would soar above with her eagle-wings, and watch the currents with her eagle-eyes, then catch fish with her eagle-talons and devour them. And she was well-fed.

Then, all at once, she could not catch fish. She would be soaring with her eagle-wings, and would see the fish with her eagle-eyes, and grab at them with her eagle-talons, but catch nothing by which to feed herself.

So Grandmother Eagle settled herself down near the bank and called to the Grandfather Fish: “Why is it I cannot catch you?”

The Grandfather Fish looked up at Grandmother Eagle and said, “Have you not thus far dined well?”

“Yes,” she said. “Until now, I have been blessed by many fish.”

“Great blessing requires great sacrifice,” said Grandfather Fish.

Grandmother Eagle then understood. And she pulled out six feathers from her wings and tossed them in the river. Then tore one of her talons, and tossed it into the river. Then she removed one of her blue eyes and tossed it into the river. “These are my sacrifices to you for the blessings you give.”

The feathers became long green leaves. The talon became stem and roots. The eye became a blue flower, and all of them became the RIverberry plant.

“Your sacrifice has been accepted,” said Grandfather fish, and he disappeared into the water. From that day on, Grandmother Eagle was blessed with fish.
18  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Re: Pale Frogstool on: 04 November 2012, 11:39:12
Change made. Thank you, Ath! And I write them when I am at home with no internet (sometimes no power). But they really don't take very long to write, as long as you're making it short and sweet.  :)
19  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Re: Cerubell Squash on: 29 October 2012, 16:17:42
Hi Talia! It has been a bit chilly lately (particularly this morning, probably because it was the morning after a snow). Entries are usually relatively easy to do in the evenings (if I have time), since I don't require an internet connection to write them. I work with the stored Santharian knowledge I have to fill them out.  ;)

[BTW: I just posted a new blog about pet culture; the content is a bit sad, but there are lots of cute pictures of mini mew  :D]

purple-blue is a color. It is purple mixed with blue. Or blue mixed with purple.

The frogstool probably wouldn't do as food for your blue fish, as your fish are very, very blue and the frogstool is a bit away from the water. However, I might be able to conjure something up to feed your fish. Do they have a name? They are quite lovely!

I'm not sure how available I'll be, at least the beginning of this week. We're doing a lot of (fun) stuff for Halloween. I'll post pictures on my blog so you can see.  :)  We also have a seminar coming up soon I have to prepare for. Crazy busy! I hope things are going well with you.  hug
20  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Re: Pale Frogstool on: 29 October 2012, 12:42:46
@Arti: All changes made except the second 'little' in 'little girl'. This is something of an epithet in this situation, so I would like to keep it, if that's all right. I also need help with a Kuglimz-Seitre translation for 'River Shroom'.

Thank you for your comments!

@Seeker: Per your suggesting, I added a sentence regarding the blandness of the mushroom: "It is, however, a rather bland-tasting mushroom in general, and isn't a common food source for this reason." Thanks for the suggestion!
21  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Re: Durblud Flower on: 29 October 2012, 10:31:31
The problem is getting a poison concentrated enough to take down large prey--or even small. I have added it and mentioned the difficulties in the theory. Thanks, Mina!
22  Organization and General Discussions / Project Proposals / Re: Guilds - Collection of Ideas and What's There on: 25 October 2012, 11:52:17
I wasn't really thinking about doing an entry, per se, on guilds, but having a list of common guilds would be helpful for the development of specific places. Mina answered my question, I think:

I might be wrong, but the impression I get is that each medieval guild is typically associated with a specific city, so a guild's traditions and practices are probably limited to that city's area of influence.

I'm thinking about the guild environment of Vardynn. If guild practices are uniform across all of Santharia, than more inter-developmental discussion would probably be required before I really put anything down on paper. However, if guild practices are provincially unique or at least relatively autonomous/independent, then this is something I can begin drawing up for Vardynn.

Mina, do you think all of Vardynn would likely have the same guild practices, given its history? The Erpheronian Kingdom controlled the whole area for quite a long time, and with the Erpheronians being as disciplined/militaristic as they are, I assume that they would have compelled some sort of conformity.

As a note, I'm still of the opinion that a list of Santharia's guilds might be useful. People could choose what guilds might operate in their city, and perhaps it might spark inspiration among some developers to write up a description for individual guilds.
23  Organization and General Discussions / Announcements and Web Design / Re: RP side down? on: 25 October 2012, 11:36:22
I get something a little more specific:

Warning: Something's Not Right Here!

www.santharia.com contains content from www.iws-leipzig.de, a site known to distribute malware. Your computer might catch a virus if you visit this site.

Google has found malicious software may be installed onto your computer if you proceed. If you've visited this site in the past or you trust this site, it's possible that it has just recently been compromised by a hacker. You should not proceed, and perhaps try again tomorrow or go somewhere else.

We have already notified www.iws-leipzig.de that we found malware on the site. For more about the problems found on www.iws-leipzig.de, visit the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page.

My guess is hacked again.  :(
24  Organization and General Discussions / Project Proposals / Re: Guilds - Collection of Ideas and What's There on: 24 October 2012, 17:52:29

Should the color-coordination be the same across the Kingdom? Or would the colors change as you went from, say, Voldar to New Santhala, or Nyermersys to Bardavos? I assume that there might be some variation across regions as kingdoms shifted and changed.

The tidbit about the liliac color is really interesting! I wonder how widely that was practiced.

Would it be useful to make a list of trades from which guilds might potentially spring? You already mentioned butchers and leatherworkers--maybe bakers, smiths, tailors, cobblers, hat-makers, clock-makers, jewelers (/lapidaries), fishers, sailors (and/or shipbuilders?), carpenters, etc.? I assume that these would, in general, tend to define artisans from peasants or farmers...
25  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: Gamosh-Ra Demon Pic on: 24 October 2012, 15:36:49
Wow! A hulking mass of muscles and charred skin, for sure. I like the patterns on the charred skin. I wonder if the thick blood seeping from gnashes in the skin might be made a more blood-red (they look a bit orangey). What are the dollops of red on the shoulders, coming out of the gray things?

The mouth is truly terrifying! Can the eyes be a bit larger? Perhaps they can remain pupil-less, but the poor guy looks a bit blind with his eyes no bigger than slits.

I really like the lightning in the background! And I like the textures on the demon's form. Nice work!  thumbup
26  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Undertoe on: 24 October 2012, 14:56:48
a) Categorization: Flowers? Medicinal Plants?

b) Overview: The Undertoe Herb is a lanky plant with lobed leaves and a thin form. It most frequently sprouts near the base of trees, preferring pines and other evergreen trees. For this reason, it can most commonly be found in Santharia’s wooded areas, be they larger forests or small copses dotting the countryside. The plant has shallow roots and usually a slightly minty scent. The small berries are often used in dyes, whilst the leaves are most commonly used in the treatment of foot odour problems.

c) Description: The Undertoe Herb rarely grows higher than a grown man’s knee, but appears taller because of its delicate stem and apparently over-sized leaves, which grow on average to a palmspan in length. The leaves are a bright, summer-green in all seasons, even in early winter before the snow chokes them out. They are lobe-shaped, being wider at the ends that at the base where they are connected to the sturdy stem. The leaves drape a little, generally being too large to stay stiff and erect. The leaves are thin but not dry.

The Undertoe Herb generally has but one firm stalk; branches don’t often diverge from the solid stem. When they do, they are short and brief, usually diverging for the purpose of budding additional flowers when late spring is beginning to warm into summer.

The flowers of the Undertoe Herb are small and white, dainty and star-shaped. They are hardly more than a nailsbreadth or two in length, and one plant will usually only produce four or five flowers; however, Undertoe tend to grow in small groups of three or four, and create a lovely scene with their white flowers blossoming together in floral camaraderie. The Undertoe blossoms for a few weeks until finally falling away in mid-summer.

The base of the flower swells, then furcates, usually into three or four smaller bulbs. These continue to swell and deepen into a deep blue. The berries rarely find their way into a pie or cake, being a bit sour, but tend to be preferred by many woodland creatures, including deer, rabbits, and birds. Such creatures will carry the Undertoe berry to other places in the forest to sprout.

d) Territory: The Undertoe Herb grows in many forests throughout mid-Sarvonia. It prefers slightly colder climes where evergreen forests are more common, and can therefore be found in forests such as the Shaded Wood, Thaelon, and Bolder Forest. It can rarely be found farther south than the Goltherlon Forest. In addition to the larger forests, it will commonly occupy small wooded areas, so long as it is shaded and wooded enough.

The Undertoe seems to prefer growing at the base of evergreen trees for reasons yet unknown. In some cases it has been known to grow at the base of a wooden house built of evergreen trees. Its roots are shallow and so do not disturb the trees around which it grows. As it is a fairly common herb, it is not often found in gardens.

e) Usages: The Undertoe Herb has a couple of common uses. The first, and most well-known (particularly among the sartorial or painter community) is as a dye or paint. It is very popular among Caltharian weavers and dyers. The deep blue berries are often crushed and treated to make a bright blue colour. Because of the nature of the berries, the dye or paint it creates can be easily mixed with others to create other colours, and it is therefore often used in the creation of purple and (particularly) green dyes and paints. However, it must be treated thoroughly or its longevity will suffer. The best quality dyes created out of the Undertoe are created by the Caltharians and occasionally exported to other dyers as far south as New Santhala.

The Undertoe leaf has a pleasantly minty scent and is often used in the treatment of foot odour. Simply plucking a leMany herbalists will crush the leaves by mortar and pestle, combine them with alcohol and/or vinegar, and work them into a paste that can be spread on the inside of the shoe or directly on to the foot to decrease the potency of the smell. This method is usually more effective and longer-lasting.

f) Reproduction: Like many plants, the Undertoe Herb starts life as a little seed, usually deposited with a number of other Undertoe seeds in a fertile collection of dung, preferably at the base of some tall and sturdy evergreen tree. It will sprout little roots, then a little stem and leaves, usually when spring is just shaking off winter. It will grow at a moderate but respectable pace, enjoy the season, growing taller and taller as it soaks up spring rains.

As spring is preparing for repose and summer is peacefully waking, the Undertoe begins to effloresce, its white flower blossoming in the lazy summer shade of the forests. It may attract a malise or butterfly or two, but the flower seems perfectly content to wave its little head in the zephyrs strolling through the thickets.  When summer’s youth has gone, the flower will be gone, too, but leave the beginnings of a berry in its wake.

And the single berry will turn to two or three or four, and molt out of its greenish hue, darkening until it ripens to a deep blue. Its deep colour flirts and coaxes the forest creatures to dine, and deer and rabbits may come to nibble at the small berries, or a little bird may come to gobble them up. Carried in this manner, the berry’s seeds will find home in another part of the wood, where it will sprout come spring.

Autumn will come and go without much change to the Undertoe, but winter will quietly steal it away, though it may rise again when the snow melts at last.

g) Myth/Lore: [None to speak of. No stories or associations—unless, of course, you can think of one!]
27  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Durblud Flower on: 24 October 2012, 10:34:00
Name not preferred. Suggestions welcome.

a) Categorization: Flowers and/or Medicinal Herbs > Poisonous Herbs

b) Overview: The Durblud Flower is a haughty-looking flower growing hardly a handspan from the ground. Its long, leaves appear almost like pieces of curled parchment of dusty green, and bend under their own weigh. As such, the Durblud’s folds of leaves fall around its draping about its slender stalk like the folds of a petticoat. Despite its elegant design, the Durblud’s leaves are quite poisonous, and the root, which is commonly used in nefarious potions, has a bitter taste.

c) Description: The Durblud Flower is a fairly simple plant, blending into the hills and plains where it commonly dwells, preferring the drier soil. The leaves, reaching out nearly 2 handspans at full length, appear to be rolled parchment, becoming more and more creased and withered near the tips. The younger leaves sprout from the plants center, little finger-nail sized nubs that, as they lengthen, becoming pushed down by other leaves as the plant grows. The stem behind these leaves can only be discovered by tearing the leaves from it, at which point the stout, tan stem appears. The stem, at full length, is a little shy of a handspan tall, and hardly a nailsbreadth across.

This, of course, changes come late summer. As the hottest part of the summer is yellowing the grasses and withering the delicate flowers of the plain, the Durblud is readying its bloom: it grows a long, thin stalk tipped with a bud that appears brownish-red. Petal by petal, it blooms the way a rose might, but with none of a rose’s bright luster. The petals seem almost withered before the sunlight can touch them, and each are colored a dark, brittle, brownish-red.

The bloom does not last long. The petals fall away like dry tears, and the base of the flower begins to swell and brown, forming a little pocket full of tiny seeds. The seed pocket swells and grows as the seeds within mature, and the stem bends under its weight. In early autumn, it bursts, and the seeds blow out across the hills and plants to find fertile ground in which to sink its roots.

And the roots are what make the Durblud such an innocuous, though it has yet to gain much notoriety for its capabilities. The leaves may appear as shriveled parchment, and the flower, like a withered rose, but the root is fleshy and colored a deep, blood red. It is from the roots that fell potions are made.

d) Territory: The Durblud Flower can be found sparingly throughout Santharia, particularly in the Heath of Jernais, the Aurora Plain, in the Alianian Hills and even in the foothills of the Tandalas, the Fores (both Higher and Low), and Mithral Mountains. It is sometimes scattered on the outskirts of cities like New Santhala, Bardavos, and Nermersys. As long as the air and soil are dry enough and there is plentiful sunlight, you are likely to find the Derblud Root growing somewhere amidst the tall grasses or even the craggy rocks.

The Durblud Flower is usually only found but one at a time. It does not grow in clusters, being rather solitary and preferring its own space. And in fact, other plants seem willing to give it the space it demands; usually Derblud roots have a small perimeter where nothing but withering grasses or a scraggly heath-flower will grow. It is generally assumed that the Durblud’s roots sucks away nutrients and water from the soil, and perhaps even poisons it a little; when a Durblud Flower dies, it is common for nothing to grow in its place for a season or two.

e) Usages: The Durblud has very few positive usages. At its most benign, the root and leaves may be mixed to create a potion for killing sick or dying animals, with the benefit that it kills them quickly enough that they feel little pain and the poison becomes inactive after a day or two in the bloodstream (and after being cooked) so that the meat can still be safely consumed. The leaves are usually dried and preserved in vinegar. The root, meanwhile, is crushed to collect its juices. Once enough of the juice is collected (usually a pint for a horse, cow, or other large livestock animal), it is mixed with the leaf-soaked vinegar and fed to the unsuspecting animal, sometimes mixed with sugar or fruit to make it more appetizing, The juice weakens the animal (usually rendering it unconscious) and the leaf-soaked vinegar kill it.

Durblud Flower is often used as a way to weaken people. It is not preferred as a sleep-aid, as it generally leaves the consumer feeling achy and weak in the morning, and these effects can last for days. Durblud Root juice, when treated and combined with a select other herbs, becomes a potion which, consumed over a long period of time, has an aging effect: it whitens or grays the hair, wrinkles the face, thins the skin, and turns the bones weak and brittle. Consumed over a month or two, it can age a person ten to twenty years. It should be noted that these effects only occur if the juice is uncooked; boiling it eliminates these effects—though juice itself is bitter and has no place in the kitchen!

The leaves and petals of the Durblud Flower can be used as poison. Durblud leaves and petals are usually dried and crushed into a powder than can be applied to food or drink. Usually a thimble-full is enough to kill someone, though some claim that there is a way of distilling the poison such that only a few grains will do the trick. The method, however, is mere rumour and shrouded in mystery.

f) Reproduction: The Durblud Flower begins its life as a small seed, about the size of a grain of sand. Once it finds a suitable patch of ground (and spring is on the verge of dying into summer), it sinks its tiny root into the earth like a miniature claw, and sprouts a tan little stem and pale leaves. It grows slowly, deliberately, almost meticulously, like an assassin planning his next murder. It bides its time in the summer heat, and when the season is senescent, it sprouts its flower-stemmed tipped with a bud, and begins to bloom.

It blooms for a week, maybe two, and then resigns its withering petals to the wind, focusing its efforts on growing its packet of seeds. The weeks pass and the womb grows full until at last it bursts and the seeds take to the wind, carries wherever the zephyrs take them. Despite where they land, they will remain inactive, quietly and patiently waiting until spring is on its deathbed before beginning to root.

g) Myth/Lore: The Durblud Flower, despite its malignant capabilities and uses, is not much-regarded by most folk, who see it as little more than a heath-shrub or unappealing plain-flower. Among those who know of its uses, it is somewhat associated with Queprur or (occasionally) Arvins, though the reason for the latter association is lost to history. Some researchers hypothesize that poisons derived from this plant may have once been used in hunting; however, there is not yet any feasible theory to explain how hunters were able to concentrate the poison enough to take down prey.

There are no known creation stories explaining its existence, or any stories where the plant is mentioned specifically; there are, however, some half-historical, half-mythological stories documenting kings, queens, or maidens who were cursed by rapid aging. Whether the cause of this aging is linked to use of the Durblud Root remains unconfirmed—though the knowing herbalist will tell you that a connection is likely.
28  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Honeynut Squash on: 24 October 2012, 10:12:05
a) Categorization: Vegetables

b) Overview: The Honeynut Squash is a common squash grown throughout the Kingdom of Santharia, though it prefers the moderate temperatures of Xaramon, Enthronia, and Vardynn. The squash itself is long and bulbous in shape, a little plumper at one end than the other, and is usually orange or orange-yellow in colour, though it may also come in orange-brown. Honeynut Squashes are commonly harvested in autumn and used in any number of dishes including casseroles and breads.

c) Description: The Honeynut Squash plant, like many squash plants, is a vining plant. From a single seedling it creeps across the earth, releasing roots to burrow into the ground for nutrients. Honeynut Squash is a hardy plant that can expand easily, growing into a 2 ped by 2 ped plot quickly.

The roots, pale in colour, are shallow, so Honeynut Squash is often grown in close proximity to corn, whose root system does not compete with the squash. In addition, the Honeynut squash’s large leaves shade the ground, helping to prevent weeds from cropping up. The leaves are a pale or dusty green colour, and can expand to nearly two palmspans long. The leaves are five-lobed with pointed ends and rough edges, but are very soft and supple. The undersides are covered in a fine fur.

Come late summer, the Honeynut Squash plant produces large, orange-yellow flowers, not unlike lily flowers. Five-petalled and occasionally freckled by small black or brown spots, the flowers can expand to the size of a large man’s hand. They are lovely and it’s tempting to pluck them to decorate one’s dinner table or place it the kitchen window, particularly as they are rather sweet-smelling. However, to do so would be to rob oneself of the delectable treasures to come.

The flowers wither away by early autumn and begin to form into fruit. The left-over base of the flower grows larger and larger, turning from light green to yellow to Sor'inyt orange and swelling until it is a fore and a half long!—though of course, they can get much larger. According to the Dogodan Honeynut Squash Competition Historical Registry, the largest Honeynut Squash grown among the tribe was a few nailsbreadths shy of a ped long!

The Honeynut Squash is usually harvested in mid to late autumn, though it will keep all winter if stored in a cool place. Cut into it, and you’ll smell the reason for the squash’s name, for its aroma is sweet and nutty (an apt reflection of its taste). The seeds of the Honeynut Squash, located in a hollow pocket in the plumpest section of the fruit, are several, usually about half a nailsbreadth long and orange-coloured.

d) Territory: The Honeynut Squash can be found throughout the Kingdom of Santharia, from the warm farms bordering Bardavos to the magical gardens of Ximax Academy, from the rolling hills of the Dogodan Hobbits to the peaceful grounds of the Duke of Nermeran. The Honeynut Squash is an adaptable plant, and will grow most anywhere provided the land isn’t too shady and the soil isn’t too wet.

Though many Honeynut Squash seeds can be sown at once, the average gardener doesn’t generally plant but a handful per season (usually in mid-summer). Particularly in mid-Santharia, where the squash grows with great fecundity, it’s a waste of seeds to plant more than a few a time. With the Honeynut Squash, the most important tip is not to over-water it; most gardeners don’t need to water it but every other day while it is sprouting, and then leave it alone until harvest.

e) Usages: Perhaps the most obvious use of the Honeynut Squash is as a food item. Because of its prevalence, it has worked its way into all sorts of dishes. For the lazy cook, roasting bite-size pieces of the squash over a flame is a satisfying autumn repast; a baker might find a suitable use for the squash as an addition to breads and muffins. Those for whom cooking is a métier may work the Honeynut Squash into a flavourful casserole, a frabjous stuffing, or a soothing soup. The squash can even simply be cooked, mashes, and served with a bit of butter (and just a splash of citrus!) as a compliment to roast teanish or cured ham.

Ingesting the Honeynut Squash is assumed to have some positive somatic benefits: it is generally assumed to kill or weaken internal parasites, such as worms. For those who suffer mightily from such deleterious pests, it is recommended you see your local herbalist. He or she will likely have some sort of salubrious mixture that includes Honeynut Squash seeds that have been roasted, ground, and mixed with oils and a dash of lemon juice. Depending on the progression of your bodily infestation, it will likely be recommended you take a bit of this concoction 2-3 times a day. And consuming a bit of the squash itself on a regular basis couldn’t hurt either!

f) Reproduction: The Honeynut Squash has a fairly well-observed lifecycle. From a small seed, planted in the good, dry soil in early or mid-summer, a seedling will sprout in about a week, and quickly expand into curious tendrils moving over the ground like a leafy fog. In mid- or late summer, the flowers will blossom, inviting malise and other insects to bathe in their pollen before they depart.

In early autumn, the squash has already begun to swell, growing larger and larger (and oranger and oranger) until they reach maturity in mid to late autumn, when they are harvested. If kept in cool conditions, the squash can last all winter, though they have come to define the colours of autumn, and are happily consumed during this season. Farmers may collect the seeds, which will last until next season, when they are planted and the cycle starts again.

g) Myth/Lore: While the Honeynut Squash has not particular stories connected to it, it’s worth mentioning that the squash has strong associations with Jeyriall. Whenever Jeyriall is depicted with a harvest, there is almost always a Honeynut Squash among the corn and gourds in her cornucopia. The squash itself has, in some ways, helped to define the autumn season, and many hobbits say that winter comes not until the Honeynut Squash is roasted (or the Honeynut Squash bread is baked, or the Honeynut Squash casserole is cooked… I suppose it really depends on the hobbit).
29  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Re: Death Shroom on: 23 October 2012, 21:41:30
Thank you!

And yes, I could see some animals accidentally consuming the mushroom. I assume that if the spores were consumed, then they might sprout once the carcass has deteriorated enough to allow sufficient oxygen to permit growth. However, I don't think the mushroom would try to get itself consumed.

I have made the change you pointed out, Ath. Fortunately it is small and near the top of the entry. Internet is terribly slow here!
30  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Cerubell Squash on: 23 October 2012, 10:13:41
a) Categorization: Vegetables

b) Overview: The Cerubell Squash, despite the name, has no relation to the Cerubell flower save for in color. While the leaves of the Cerubell Squash are deep green, the squash itself is a deep purple-blue color with darker stripes. The squash is a finicky plant that requires lots of water and sunlight to grow, and is cultivated primarily in the mid- to northern areas of Santharia.

c) Description: The Cerubell Squash is a vining plant, its tendrils creeping out across the soil and laying down roots. It may attach itself to the bottoms of trellises, but is not a climbing plant, preferring to press itself against the sweet, nurturing earth. A single Cerubell Squash plant can occupy a fairly large space, sometimes as large as two peds by two peds, though it is often difficult to define where one plant ends and another begins.

The leaves of the Cerubell Squash look much like large maple leaves, having five lobes that come to a point and rough, jagged edges. The leaves, however, are fairly flaccid, and have a gentle underside, leading to the notion that Brownies might use the leaves as blankets in the autumn (an unfounded supposition, it should be added). The leaves are of a dark green, touched with a bluish hue.

Before bursting with squash, the plant first produces a small flower, usually in late summer when the heat is just beginning to relinquish its grip. This flower, bright yellow in color, stands out among the dark-hued leaves and attracts malise and other insects to the bloom. The flower is small, no bigger than a maiden’s ring finger, and has five long, silky petals that each come to points. The flowers last a few weeks before the wind blows the petals away and the squash begins to form.

The Cerubell Squash turns from light green to light blue-ish green to light blue-ish purple, ripening to color. It has darker stripes decorating its hard exterior, and grows as large as a fore, being roughly oval-shaped (though some form into melon-like spheres). The inside is lighter, more akin to the color of the Cerubell flower, and fleshy. In the very center is a pocket for the seeds, which are long, narrow, and colored a light purple-gray. The Cerubell Squash is harvested middle to late autumn

d) Territory: The Cerubell Squash grows in selected regions, primarily In the province of Vardynn, Nermeran, and Enthronia, but also in parts of Xaramon . Expert gardeners have even managed to grow it in the province of Sanguia though the squash are generally smaller and not quite as flavorful as in the north.

The Cerubell Squash can be a particular plant, requiring a lot of sunlight and plenty of water. Too much shade and the squash doesn’t ripen properly. Too little water and it withers. The best, most healthy Cerubell Squash tends to come out of the Silvermarshes and villages along the Vandrina River where water is easy to come by and sunlight is abundant.

e) Usages: The Cerubell Squash is consumed primarily as a food item, particular by humans and hobbits. Harvested in mid to late autumn, the squash is most often used in baked goods, like breads and pies, where only a little sugar is used to supplement its already sweet taste. It is also occasionally serves mashed, usually with butter and sometimes with a little extra sugar to taste (for those with a sweet tooth). It’s worth noting that the Cerubell Squash tends to require a long cooking time to soften it; when harvested, the fleshy insides are often pretty tough, but after a few hours cooking, they soften and are great in any number of delectable dishes.

In a medicinal sense, Cerubell Squash is supposedly good for removing toxins from the body. Ingesting it is regarded as helping remove toxins from body. Some people (particularly women), will apply warm, cooked Cerubell Squash to their skin to soften it and remove toxins. It is sometimes used as a facemask, and other times used over rashes, though the effectiveness of these measures is questionable.

Many herbalists will instead tell you that the rather bitter seed of the Cerubell Squash has more benefit for the body. Herbalists will collect these seeds, mash them up with mortal and pestle, and create a paste that they insist is more effective at removing toxins—particularly the toxins found in bee stings and insect bites. When applied to fresh stings or bites, this paste can help to cool the skin and draw out toxins.

f) Reproduction: Like many plants, the Cerubell Squash springs from a seed planted in the fresh, moist soil. It is best to plant seeds in mid-summer, and space them at least a ped and a half apart to give each seed space to grow. Particularly when first planting the squash, it is important to water it frequently: most gardeners will tell you to water it 2 to 3 times a day to ensure it is properly hydrated.

The seeds begin to sprout soon after planting, and if properly watered and given sufficient sunlight, can vine out with amazing fecundity. In late summer, the plant will produce its yellow flowers, little beacons of nectar for malise and other insects. In early autumn, the petals fall away and the squash begins to form. Usually by mid to late autumn, the squash is ready to be harvested, and the seeds inside can be saved for the next season.

g) Myth/Lore: The Cerubell Squash is not widely connected to any story or myth, but is connected to some unfounded beliefs, including that Brownies use the Cerubell Squash leaves as blankets. Among others, it is not Brownies by Domovidges that use the leaves as blankets or clothing, and that the little creatures use the squash itself as houses, barns, or carriages pulled by tareps or other woodland creatures. It should be noted that most of those who hold this belief have never actually met Brownies or Domovidges.
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