|Common Name||Asha Tree, Metallock|
|Common Use||Utility, Artistic|
Ironsonias are huge, dark-lumber trees with a deep connection to the Asha and the Dewamenet Empire. The Elves who came after ignored the tree, despite vague claims of ties to some of their gods, and the Asha would eventually reclaim the plant when they freed themselves from slavery three centuries ago. Ironsonias now populate the Ashal Islands, renown for their iron-level strength and long-lasting nature, and have been turned into many treasured objects over the years which have withstood the test of time.
The Ironsonia has been associated with the Asha for millennia, as they cultivated and spread it through unique groves and forests purely for its lumber not for its aesthetics or to spread it into the wild. Some have claimed the Asha held a special connection to the tree, with some tall tales of old claiming Living Metal was infused into the first Ironsonia sapling at the dawn of the Dewamenet Empire. Others state they found the tree to be the only thing their Living Metal could not easily cut through, and so decided to make use of it from that point on. Whatever the case, the wood was extremely hardy and was broadly incorporated into their architectures and machinery as a source of wood finish. But the ancient Elves loathed the tree, or at least loathed the Asha’s possession of it. While some Elves today claim it was a gift from their gods, given its union of an underground mineral (Iron) and a plant, the Allorn Empire largely ignored the tree after they had enslaved the Asha, possibly due to its heavy affiliation with their now conquered enemy. Groves were cut back when needed, but the tree went well, and dwindled in number as it did not thrive well in natural environments. As the Empire declined though, some particularly irreverent Elves came to greatly enjoy the strength the tree offered, but largely in cruel implements of pain or suffering where wood with the strength of metal was a benefit.
When the Wildering came, the Ironsonia was not spread or grew in vast abundance like other trees. Some believe that what groves remained were too few in number to be as affected by the Magic of that event, or were located outside of the territories afflicted by the disaster. As the Asha moved toward freedom, the tree’s saplings were sought out by the animal Race, and brought with them in their trek to the Ashal Islands. Once there, using what they had brought and the engineering marvels of Living Metal architecture, great groves of industrial Ironsonia harvesting were formed to build or reinforce ships for the growing Ashal Kingdoms. Kharkoor in particular has come to dominate the growing of Ironsonias in the modern day, its vast nurseries seeing dozens sawed apart a day by Living Metal, and then further divided for artisan and utilitarian uses. It also grows in a few locations beyond the Ashal Islands, scattered among Asha communities abroad, and also growing along the coastline in portions of eastern Westwynd.
Ironsonias are towering trees, reaching anywhere from twenty to fifty feet in height based on growing conditions. Their trunks are extremely thick as well, reaching as much as nine feet in width, with a singular, thick taproot beneath the earth serving as its root network. The tree grows incredibly straight, without much winding or twisting except when artificially forced upon it, with a covering of smooth, black-gray bark which grows in layers as the tree matures. The tree lacks branches, except close to the top, where several dense networks of slightly curved branches sit at different points around the tree and on top of it. Ironsonia leaves are whorled with a dark green coloration and palmate shape.
Uses and Abilities
Ironsonias have many uses in modern Aloria, as their impressive strength is a benefit to the naval Asha of Aloria. While no ship is wholly made from Ironsonia wood, lest it sink as the tree’s wood is still dense, reinforcing planks, strips, and certain boat features are made of the material to help them last. The tree’s wood is also used for general utilitarian purposes, construction being the most significant as some regions use entire Ironsonia trunks as columns for buildings, or central support structures, alongside planks from the hardy material. They can also be used to make weapon shafts or other handles for tools. Then, at last, is Ironsonia’s use in decorative or artistic objects. While hardwood, the material doesn’t require the tools of metalworking to alter, and some Ironsonia trees believed to be centuries old still hold carvings from their earliest years. They are most commonly used to make furniture or portions of furniture given their long-lasting, strong structure, and have also been used to craft statuettes or toys.
- Ironsonia wood cannot be sharpened to be used as a weapon. However, some training weapons, particularly among the Asha, do get made entirely from the material in an effort to show or better represent the weight or strength of a weapon.
- Some of the oldest known Ironsonia artifacts are a set of striking sticks, carved from an unknown Asha statue whose details are just barely perceptible on the rod’s surface.
- Ironsonia trees are capable of going into long periods of dormancy when deprived of water.