Garuda Stalk

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Garuda Stalk
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Flora
Official Name Garuda Stalk
Common Name Blinding Bark, Sweetmilk Stalk
Classification Reed
Common Use Utility, Culinary
Origins Dexai
Habitat Jungles

The Garuda Stalk is a unique, bamboo-like plant from Dexai known for two uses. One is innocent, for sweet and delicious culinary creations, while the other is more malicious. The plant’s “bark” can blind people for periods of time based on how it is ingested, and was a tool used by the Sihai War Dynasty in the past to weaken their enemies. Today, the criminal element of wider Aloria makes use of the plant mostly for this malicious purpose. As such,the more honest denizens of the Sihai community must be wary in who asks about their Stalk. Are they a cuisine-focused friend or a cruel and blinding foe?

History

Garuda Stalk has been known to the Sihai for centuries, ever since the first rise of the War Dynasty during the Early Kingdoms Period. It is said that the plant’s blinding properties were discovered when members of the War Dynasty were camped in unfamiliar territory during the pursuit of a large group of “blackened creatures.” Seeking to add seasoning to their poultries and field dishes, they struck down the unfamiliar cane in the jungles around them and rejoiced to find the “Sweet Milk” inside. Thinking that this plant’s bark would produce a sweet tea, some troops ingested such a substance, only to wake up the next morning with “dulled eyes.” The effect soon wore off, but further exploration and investigation of the plant by the War Dynasty prompted further revelation to the floras power. Over the next several millennia, it became their favorite tool of subterfuge, and came to develop cultural significance with the Sihai. Famously, the War Dynasty used it on various rulers and leaders in the chaotic Interlude Era, claiming that they were unfit for serving their people as they were blind to their needs, literally, but it also became figurative. The suggestion served to link the Lova with poor or wrong council, and was ultimately a reason given by the Zuge when they overthrew the Lova puppets for their own Dynasty. The substance underwent a drastic change under Zuge Tegu, who some claim grew special varieties of the plant tainted by powerful herbs and Magic in the soil. He would then feed the augmented stalk to those in his court who displeased him. This rumor faded with the rise of his truly monstrous and unearthly actions. When he was finally dethroned, the plant’s reputation was essentially restored to the relatively neutral connotations it once had. It has retained that balanced view to this day, with many honest men and women making a living through growing the plant for its sweet, enjoyable milk, but they should always be careful of how they dispose of the emptied stalks. Many more individuals enjoy to use it for its more nefarious purposes, especially the criminal underworld of wider Aloria.

Appearance

Garuda Stalk is a plant very similar in appearance to bamboo, with a tall height of anywhere between seven to ten feet in mature examples of the plant. The differences between bamboo and the Stalk is primarily its color, that being a dull or dirty yellow, as well as a total lack of serrate leaves save for at the base of the Stalk, where they are clustered heavily.

Uses and Abilities

There are two major uses of Garuda Stalk. The first is culinary, as by the age of ten, the plant’s core is commonly filled with “Sweet Milk,” a slightly viscous white substance that is sweet to taste and can be combined or used to top a number of rich dishes. To access the Milk, the Stalk must be cut at either the top or bottom, as anywhere else beforehand is more likely to cripple the plant’s structure and thus lead it to fall apart. The second use is generally more sinister, and it involves the plant’s “bark” or thick external skin. The yellow substance can cause temporary blindness when ingested orally, but how long this lasts varies. If a piece of the bark is directly eaten by someone, they will go blind for a full 24 hours, with an added two hours at the end of the blinding effect that resembles a scotoma-like effect of “fuzzy” and unfocused perceived areas through the eyes. If ingested with other food or a liquid that is not the Sweet Milk, the effect lasts only 12 hours, with one hour of unfocused eyes. The shortest time occurs when the substance is directly made or used in drinks, particularly tea. It only lasts eight hours, and has an immediate emerance period with no waiting for full sight to come back. However, if this variety of the dark is drunk alongside the Sweet Milk found inside of the Stalk, there is no blinding effect.

Trivia

  • Garuda Stalk is named for the jungle on Dexai that the plant is thought to have originated from.
  • Garuda Stalk beyond Dexai is rare, as it spoils fairly fast when removed from soil. Generally the only place to acquire it is either on the black market, or in Sihai communities where it is grown primarily for culinary creations.

Accreditation
Writers HydraLana
Processors AlphaInsomnia, PapidaCarrot
Last Editor HydraLana on 10/24/2021.

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