|Official Name||Bitter Spear|
|Common Name||Fungal-Reeds, Mère-de-Roches|
|Habitat||Feet of volcanoes|
Walking along the volcanic bases of Fendarfelle, one could come across a peculiar looking herb known as Bitter Spear. This odd-looking stalk emerges around shaded regions at the feet of volcanic activity. It is believed the plant emerged shortly after Ithanian explorers ventured further into uncharted territory around 205 AC. One of the most staggering details they noticed was its strange appearance, resembling a tall, solid stalk with a mushroom-like tip protruding at its peak. Travelers attempted to experiment with the plant for consumption in stews, however it became quite apparent the plant was far too bitter. Instead, explorers discovered its ability to fend off allergic reactions, and it has been valued ever since.
Bitter Spear was not discovered for many years; it is located in distant Fendarfelle and apparently unknown to any Race prior to 205 AC, the year that Ithania began pushing explorers onto the continent. The herb caught many of these explorer’s gaze due to its strange amalgamation of grain, mushroom and herbal features (at least how they saw it). Explorers initially assumed it was a poisonous flora, causing it to be avoided until 221 AC. A brave traveling cook, low on food and interested in experimenting upon Fendarfelle flora, including the Bitter Spear, tested its properties by feeding it to his pet crow, later discovering the bird was entirely unaffected. He followed in consuming it, only to realize its horrible bitter taste. Expectorating the revolting bitter plant, the exploring cook attempted to integrate the mushroom-like spear sprouting from its stalk into a stew ingredient, only to find the stew was completely bitter and ruined. His party each tried and failed to integrating the flora into a consumable item, yet were keen on discovering a secret curing strategy to improve its taste.
Rather than integrate the spear tip in to a new foodstuff, the party mistakenly discovered a different effect: the plant’s ability to deter allergic reactions. One member of the party often received hives, being allergic to the cook's pet crow. However, after tasting the horrid stew offered, the hives dispersed. Being satisfied with their discovery, the party continued on, gathering what seeds and stalks they could along with a few pots of volcanic soil. The discovery was met with great interest back in the Fendarfelle Colonies as well as wider Aloria, with a thriving trade growing up around the cultivation and harvesting of the plant. These efforts were unfortunately hindered by the Bone Horror Crisis when hundreds fell to the Bone Horrors. In the last few years following the event, the region has gradually recovered, and the plant can be found, albeit at a high price, in most apothecary shops or supply stores.
Bitter Spear is a rather odd plant but does possess discernible features. The plant is based around a central, light green stalk varying in length from one to four feet in height including its capped top. A mushroom-like growth can be found bulging out of the top of the stalk. The growth is narrow and rigid near the bottom, though points upward in a spearhead like fashion which gives the plant its name. The cap is often a deep brown or purple and the best explanation currently given is that it is somehow an alternative version of a flower. Several broadleaf evergreen leaves protrude along the midpoint of the solid stem and up, tucking hardened black seeds along the crevice between the stalk and leaves of the plant. The leaves are linear, reaching lengths from 15 to 20 inches with a midrib down its center. When in hot conditions, the seeds will be obscured from view. However, in more humid environments, the seeds will extract outwards and reveal themselves. The root system of the Bitter Spear includes nodes, usually seven to eight inches below the soil's surface. This is to keep the plant’s foundation extremely secured. Along the number of nodes the plant possesses, the depth they reach is on average two to two and a half feet.
Uses and Abilities
Upon grinding the Bitter Spear’s tip, one could consume it to gain a deterrent to allergic reactions. The Spear’s tip can be removed by merely breaking the top of the stalk free from the plant. The seeds of the plant may also be consumed for similar effects, but are far too hardened to grind with a mortar and pedestal. To grind the seeds, one must first soak them in water for fifteen minutes, after which the beans will then soften to a suitable state to grind with the mortar and pestle. This also means by placing the bitter beans in one's mouth, they can indeed soften after an accelerated time of eight minutes. In contrast, heating the beans will only harden them, making them much more difficult if not impossible to grind or destroy.
- Wild fauna do not find the seeds or tip to be bitter, often consuming its protruding parts directly after a rainfall. Even most Gor and Magus races seem to shrug their shoulders when consuming these parts. These Races include Asha, Allar, Eronidas, Urlan, Slizzar, Yanar, and Maraya.
- A legend states that an Asha cook came across the plant to experiment other cooking methods to reveal a more creamy taste. It is said they came up with a simple stewing method using several fungal ingredients and Barnacle Trout, but the account was nullified given the cook couldn’t taste the bitterness to begin with.