|Common Name||Lightmoss, Healer's Moss|
|Common Use||Illumination, Medicinal|
|Habitat||Dark, warm, humid environments|
Brightmoss is a glowing plant native to the deep caves of Ellador. Without sunlight, the moss acts as a parasite of the various fungi also found within its native caves. Its most popular use is by the ground-dwelling Dwarves, who use Brightmoss as natural signposts to guide travellers through their cave systems. The moss is also known to have antiseptic qualities that can be used to prevent wounds from becoming infected, earning a firm place among certain field surgeons. Today, the moss is an uncommon herb used mostly by healers and alchemists and can be found sparingly in specialized botanical gardens across Aloria.
Brightmoss was discovered a few centuries before the Cataclysm by the Dwarven hold of Skorr, which was known for having the deepest mines. It was initially discovered in a deep cave system which led to a grotto with an accompanying subterranean pond; a variety of glowing patches of moss were seen spread all over the walls and stalagmites. Without any sunlight to feed them, the moss was hypothesized to act as a parasite to the various fungi that were also settled in the cave.
After its initial discovery, Dwarven herbalists began cultivating Brightmoss with the intention of creating natural signposts and guidance lights. They mostly served as emergency lights, used whenever one became lost without a light source of their own. Simple trails of moss were placed to lead back to nearby holds or settlements. Sometimes more complicated signs, including text and runes, were created by shaping and trimming the moss into the desired symbols. Constant upkeep was necessary to make sure the moss didn't outgrow their intended shapes.
A few decades after the Cataclysm, after the Dwarves had opened their doors to outsiders, Brightmoss was taken and studied by various alchemists from realms abroad. The moss was soon found to have antiseptic qualities that could be used to prevent infections or to purify alchemical mixtures. Its use in medicine was rare at first, largely due to the difficulty in cultivating a parasitic moss that depended on live fungi culture. Eventually, however, the growing methods were improved enough that the moss could be easily produced by dedicated herbalists.
Today, Brightmoss is considered an uncommon herb due to its stringent growing conditions. In Ellador, Dwarves still occasionally utilize it as guidelights inside their holds. Outside Ellador however, it is mainly found among healers and alchemists who cultivate it as an ingredient for potions and medicines. The moss is usually obtained from large-scale suppliers as this has proven far more cost-efficient than small hobbyist venues.
Brightmoss, much like other moss, consists only of leaves and roots which anchor them to their growing surface. The leaves grow up to an inch tall in smooth, dense clumps. They give off an aqua-green glow that can be seen clearly in the absence of light, though nothing that is significant enough to light up a room or cave. Brightmoss thrives in warm, damp environments and can only live in darkness. The moss cannot tolerate light; torchlight will not harm the flora in short bursts, but sunlight will immediately result in severe sunburn, withering, and untimely death of the plant. Rather than using light for energy, the moss is a parasite that relies on various types of fungi for its survival.
The pale roots of the moss not only act as anchors, but also penetrate into the white mycelium of specific fungi in order for the parasitic moss to sap their nutrients. The fungi itself requires rich nutrients to thrive and can live in either packed soil or soft rock surfaces. The fungi used to feed the moss have no names of their own and are generally referred to as Brightmoss Fungi. In fact, usually no distinction is made between the moss and the fungi to the point that both are considered a single being.
Brightmoss can double in size within a month under ideal conditions, and is quick to spread where fungi is available. The moss will start losing its glow if growing conditions deteriorate however, whether lack of humidity, exposure to light, or a diminishment of the host fungi. The plant turns into a dark, ashy jade color when dead.
Uses and Abilities
The original use of Brightmoss was illumination, given its characteristics of an aqua-green glow. Denizens of Aloria's cave systems still use natural Brightmoss, as well as transplanted specimens, to act as checkpoints for navigating. For signs with words or symbols, the moss may occasionally be trimmed back to avoid overgrowing into unrecognizable shapes and confounding navigation.
After being introduced to alchemists, Brightmoss was found to have antiseptic qualities that can be used to prevent infections on cuts and injuries. The moss is usually washed of its fungi first so as to remove unnecessary debris from the herb. After being cleaned, the moss can be wrapped directly onto a wound or ground up to expose the antiseptic liquid inside and applied as a wound dressing. Poultices or potions are often created to make application easier. In alchemy, the moss can be added as a purifier to cleanse contaminants from water or other mixtures. Fresh Brightmoss is more potent for any purpose, though harvested moss will retain usefulness up to a month if properly sealed in a container and stored.
- Dwarves have attempted to brew Brightmoss to make glowing drinks, but the moss would degrade and lose its glow during the brewing process. Sometimes taverns keep fresh Brightmoss and simply grind them and throw them into mugs of ale to give them a temporary glow.
- Potions made with fresh Brightmoss initially have a slight glow that fades away after a day.
- Brightmoss has a cool, minty taste, though offers little nutritional value.