|Official Name||Djew Sheney|
|Common Name||Mountain Hair|
Djew Sheney was once widely spread across the surface of the Ashal Islands, its growth unmitigated, and it was readily available and widely domesticated. However, with the fall of the Dewamenet Empire, the centuries of isolation left the growth on the isles unchecked, allowing more invasive species to overtake and vastly reduce its growth. Now, it has become a relict crop that seems only able to grow safely near the Living Metal tubes of the Ashal Islands, though with the recent efforts of the Asha, it has slowly begun to reach its former point.
Djew Sheney’s ties to the Asha are ancient and reach back to the time of the Dewamenet Empire. It is commonly believed this was the first plant the Race cultivated, and they came to greatly rely on it for their early meals. As their knowledge expanded, its role changed, no longer as central as before, and instead being more commonly used to feed the wide array of animals the Asha gathered around themselves. Still, bread and baked items made of Djew Sheney were important for the Asha, as were the earlier alcohols they made possible. The legendary Khem-Henqet constructs, though, raised the profile of the grain again a few centuries later. Some of the first Living Metal machines built, these automatic mills made the grinding of the often tough grain shell easy, and a new age of Djew Shenney cultivation began. But these mills, and the grain they processed, were some of the first to be destroyed by the Allorn Empire when they began their war with the Dewamenet. Not only did it deprive food to the enemy, it was a denial of Asha ingenuity and intellect, for mere beasts could not have cultivated such plants, and so competently processed them.
By the end of the war, Djew Sheney survived only as a wild grain, and even then, it was deemed a weed by the Allorn plantations which moved to cover the ruins and former fields of the ancient Asha, now tended by Asha slaves rather than Living Metal. The Race rapidly forgot the plant’s role in their society, its role replaced by other grains of Allorn or Ailor origins. Yet among the free Asha, it remained alive. It is known today that one of the few places the free Asha hid were in and around mountain caves, and at these feet and slopes they grew small, semi-wild variants of Djew Sheney to keep the plant alive. These brief forays from the deserts or seas that were their major home kept the plant alive for millennia, until the fall of the Allorn Empire. With the freedom that millions of Asha gained, the free Asha took all they had and carried it with them to help lead their relatives to freedom on the Ashal Islands. There, ancient Khem-Henqet mills sparked back to life, and modern seeds were mixed with ancient preserved stores to create modern Djew Sheney. It now lies in vast fields across the Ashal Islands, tended by Living Metal as in the days of old, and is exalted as a key part of their cuisine.
Djew Sheney is a form of medium-height wheat which can grow up to five feet tall in the best conditions, and as short as three feet in less ideal soil, or when found in the wilds of Westwynd. The plant has a thin, pale yellow stalk which reaches up to a spiked tip of around twenty to thirty large heads, each head holding a few dozen seeds. The bristles toward the edge slowly lengthen and straighten out during the evening, though at the coming of night they slacken and stretch out. This particular oddity allows for the self propagation of the plant when the seed head falls from the grain itself. The entire grain holds a yellowish gray color, and when the seedheads open, the insides appear to be a stark white, giving an appearance similar to a snow capped mountain.
Uses and Abilities
Djew Sheney serves as one of the primary grains used by the Asha for a myriad of culinary uses, from breads to alcohol. The grain holds no particularly notable taste, but is known to be particularly useful when made into flatbread, as such loaves soak and hold leftovers better than other types of bread. Djew Sheney is also used in the feed of many Asha animals, from normal animal feed to small, baked treats suitable for the most intelligent creatures of the Ashal Islands.
- Djew Sheney still grows wild in some small corners of Westwynd, most commonly on or around mountains in the south of the region, which tends to fall out of the control of Ithanian and Elven powers.
- Djew Sheney alcohols are well known for their unique flavors, as the base grain is so limited in aftertaste, the Asha tend to make greater use of additives in their alcohol creation.