|Official Name||Chrysant Flower|
|Common Name||Cermin Bunga, Zaalaanzaal’s Blessing|
|Habitat||Coastal and river waters|
The beautiful Chrysant Flower was once one of the most populous blooms of Hadar, growing plentiful on the region’s many islands and appearing as an important symbol of the Slizzar to the wider world. By the time the Chrysant War had come to an end, however, the flower had been transformed into a symbol of victory for the Regalian Empire and a reminder of the past for the Allar and Slizzar. To this day, the Regalian Empire proudly uses this flower as a constant reminder of their victory, despite the fact that the Regalians nearly drove the flower to extinction. Despite this, the Slizzar cannot let go of this most favored flower due to its key uses and symbolism in their faith and society.
The Chrysant Flower has been part of Slizzar society likely for untold millennia, but their cyclical destruction of records ultimately leaves this detail shrouded in mystery. It is clear that at least since the Fourth Void Invasion, the Slizzar have fostered the growth of the Chrysant Flower across Hadar, great water gardens in their holy capital of Sassrakkand producing beautiful arrangements just as those growths in nature have. Strangely enough, the flower is seen as a sort of sensor or eye for Zaalaanzaal, the Slizzar’s Dragon deity, as the flower’s reflective core allows them vision wherever a Chrysant Flower grows. The flower is also edible and marvelously fragrant, which contributes to the plant’s popularity. When the Allar arrived, they took to the plant as well, some claiming guidance by the Yellow Sea Dragons to large groves of the plant floating in the water. This wide spread across the lands of Hadar was compromised by the Cataclysm, but the plant was rapidly able to recover by the efforts of the Allar, and rapidly outreaching Slizzar. There is often recorded a degree of desperation on the part of the Slizzar, for, after the Cataclysm, their god vanished, leaving them to perform many acts seeking them out; one of which was the extensive tending of the Chrysant Flower, which is considered a gift from the now-vanished Dragon.
This fervor died down after 100 AC, but the plant's spread across the lush islands of Hadar was all but complete by this stage. Over the following century and a half, the Chrysant Flower gained new significance, its sparkling center serving as an ingredient in Adarrajya, the Mirror Tincture, crafted by the Slizzar alchemist Phanasya Lompa in 129 AC. The Chrysant Flower also became a common symbol of heraldry across Hadar and soon, outside forces like the Regalian Empire took to naming the collection of Allar nations across the islands as the Chrysant Kingdoms. But beginning in 250 AC, a powerful Slizzar Mage named Mananya-Manya rose to prominence and later, great power, commanding a host of Slizzar and many thousands more Allar in a project to unite the Chrysant Kingdoms into the Essa Empire. The sigil for this new power featured a stylized, top-down perspective of a Chrysant Flower, and so the plant remained a symbol even with the end of the Chryant Kingdoms. However, when the Regalian Empire attacked, they actively sought to destroy any Chrysant Flowers in the wild, with fears of unique Magic giving the Slizzar the ability to view the flower’s surroundings, but also for the more pragmatic destruction of a key symbol of the nation the Regalians wanted to take down. By the end of the war, an estimated 80% of Chrysant Flowers had been destroyed in Hadar. Since that time, they have slowly been recovering, though they remain a rare symbol of a Race often disliked across Aloria.
Chrysant Flowers are large plants capable of surviving in a range of aquatic surroundings. They can broadly be considered a type of Water Lily, though have many distinguishing features that differentiate it. Chrysant Flowers grow from rigid stalks that anchor themselves to the bottom of the body of water the flower is found growing in, and commonly have an interlacing root system with other surrounding Chrysant Flowers, creating dense clusters of the bright blooms. The stalk is a pale green and grows in stages, producing ridges along its surface and slight curves in the plant’s upward trajectory. Their greatest possible length is thirteen feet. The crown of the plant features the water-soaked Chrysant Flower itself, which can grow up to a diameter of two and a half feet, but is commonly found smaller than this. The crown’s structure is dense, with several layers of overlapping petals. The first set, which lays against the water, is narrow and elliptic, followed by a second layer of less narrow elliptic petals before a third layer, of spatulate shaped petals, before the final central cluster of five, curling deltoid petals around the plant’s shallow pistil. This pistil is a pure white, with similarly white pollen, though its six to nine anthers end in a piece of the dark, prismatic reflectively gleaming material called Chrys Shards. The overall color of the plant varies between hues of blue and purple, the outer layer of petals having the darkest hue, while those closer to the middle have lighter shades.
The Chrysant Flower only blooms at sunset and into moonlight. When the sun returns with sunrise, the plant folds up its petals and sinks slightly under the water due to this weight, but always re-emerges at sundown unless blocked. The plant smells marvelously when in bloom and apparently can even be smelled underwater. It often wilts soon after it is plucked during the day, but if done during the night and then immediately kept in a small bath of water, it will remain flowery for a full week. During this time, the Flower’s colors will shift from darker shades, to paler shades and finally to an intense red just a day before they rot away. During this time, its pleasant scent will remain, only to grow abruptly pungent when the petals go red.
Uses and Abilities
The Chrysant Flower has many uses, though is largely only enjoyed within Slizzar society due to its heavy ties with that Race. Its primary role is to serve for decorative purposes, thriving in the many water features that dot their holy city, but is also used in the alchemy projects of some Allar settlements dotting Hadar. Some exotic locales, such as gardens in Ithania and the Regalian Archipelago, also feature Chrysant Flowers, but often around the celebration of the Chrysant War, and using it as a visual detail to symbolize victory. Its second most common use is as an alchemical ingredient, the plant’s Chrys Shards used to make the religiously significant concoction called Adarrajya. The plant can often survive the removal of around half of its Shards, but most Slizzar prefer to only take one or two to ensure the plant can survive, and regrow this key part of its body. Chrysant Flowers have several remaining minor uses, from its petals being eaten by the Slizzar as part of significant meals, to its use in fragrant perfumes.
- Metallic jewelry made for Slizzar sometimes mimic the blossom and the interconnected root system of a Chrysant Flower, commonly using the religiously significant gemstone of Sapphire for part or whole of the plant’s petals.
- A Regalian scholar produced a Chrysant Flower-strawberry plant hybrid in 302 AC, resulting in an aquatic, harvestable berry plant, with small dull yellow Chrysant-style blossoms on it. The plant requires high maintenance though, and is only popular in Ithania or among the wealthiest nobles of the Regalian Empire.
- Chrysant Flower groves are often places of great diversity in animal-life, though other plants rarely last in the flower-dense areas unless they are parasitic or hardy.