The North Belt|
Cold to temperate regions|
Juniper Trees have a long and deep connection to the northern reaches of Aloria, associated with comfort and safety in such cold and often hostile lands. Among the Velheim Ailor, they have long been a tree of great importance not only for their wood, but also for their berries, which have been used in the creation of many beverages and foods. However, its growth across Aloria and a wide variety of appearances also make the tree very diverse and universally appealing, as many other Cultures make use of the plant. Despite this expansion into many other corners of Aloria, the Juniper Tree has never shaken off its association with the peoples of The North Belt and it remains an iconic symbol of the Velheim Culture.
Juniper Trees are believed to originate from somewhere in The North Belt, as that is their most populous location. The Velheim impart various legends that uphold this theory, and the sheer number of them and mention of the tree dating back well over 400 years suggests that it has always been as populous as it is today in the region. Many of the most iconic Juniper Mead recipes claim to be centuries old, passed down through family tradition and making use of this supposedly native plant. However, a few believe that the plant originated on Ceardia, and was instead transmitted by the Velheim and other migrants to areas of Corontium, Essalonia and The North Belt, where it became common. Still, these claims have very little evidence and are often transmitted by scholars of Ceardian background, convinced that all Ailor inventions and more came from Ceardia as the cradle of Ailorkind. Regardless of where it originally came from, it is unanimously agreed upon that Velheim migrants through the Skagger Horde brought the Juniper Tree to Drixagh, where the Tree became much more accessible to the Regalian people once Drixagh eventually fell to the Regalian Empire. The Burning of the North did little to destroy this Tree’s prominence in the region, even as Drixagh urban centers were destroyed. Although it remains a cultural piece of the Velheim people, Juniper Trees have played an important role in many other communities and Cultures such as the Ithanians and Daendroque, used in a variety of culinary creations and wooden constructions respectively.
Juniper Trees are some of the most adaptable plants in Aloria, with a wide range of sizes and shapes. In open plains or fields, they will grow as very short trees or large shrubs, while those in colder forests will grow tall, large and strong. In general, the plant covers heights from between six to sixty feet, with a coniferous leaf structure on sturdy, and often slightly curving branches. Growing on these Trees at various times of the year (based on the Tree’s location) are Juniper berries: round spheres anywhere from one to two inches in diameter. Despite the name, they are not true berries or even fruits as most would understand them. Instead, they are merely berry-like; a fleshy cone that stores the plant’s seeds. During the first year and a half, these “berries” remain green, but they ripen and eventually fall off unless picked or plucked from the plant’s branches. They have a distinct flavor, and while rarely eaten raw, are often added to a variety of other foods and beverages.
Uses and Abilities
Juniper Trees are most commonly used for their wood, with tens of thousands chopped down every month across Aloria for use by Humans and various other Races. Their wood is often strong and ideal for a variety of uses. The secondary use is found in the Tree’s “berries”, though they are rarely eaten raw. Instead, they are utilized as ingredients for sauces or in curing alongside meats, while occasionally being used sparingly in pies or jams. Additionally, alcoholic beverages flavored with Juniper berries are incredibly common in several well-known brands and societies, from Anglian to Velheim.
- The Velheim border town of Helgvik within the Kingdom of Hedryll was famous for its mead made with Juniper berries. Unfortunately, when the townsfolk went rogue and captured Isldar scouts, the town was destroyed by an Isldar raid in retaliation, heralded by one of their Frost Wyverns.
- Some have been known to dry Juniper berries and then crush them to make crude paint, though this is no longer nearly as common as it was 300 years ago for the Ailor Race.
HydraLana, Acosmism, microwavemmm, WaterDruppel||
HydraLana on 11/9/2021.|
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