Ing'm'te See'ie'ha Tree|
Sihai harmony gardens, the Laoyan Dragon Temple|
The Laoyan Tree is a unique plant said to be the result of knowledge shared to the Sihai people by the White Loong Dragon Laoyan. These trees, once confined to the terrain within and outside his temple, were later transplanted successfully by the scholarly and studious Lova and can now be found in harmony gardens all across Dexai. A short species of willow, the Laoyan Tree can still reach impressive sizes and it serves as a reminder of the bond between the Sihai and their great guardians, the Loong. The Tree can also provide wood; often used in special walking sticks and canes for the elderly or disabled members of Sihai society.
The Laoyan Tree has a deep connection with one particular White Loong Dragon, Laoyan. While much of the origin of the plant is a mystery, superstition about the Dragon and their role in early Sihai society has been used to fill in this gap. It is said that Laoyan was the Loong Dragon who helped teach the Sihai farming or, at the very least, taught them how to improve their farming methods so that they could flourish in their simple lives. Because of this, it is said the Sihai gave back to him in the form of breeding a special type of tree in his honor and they used it to populate the slopes of the mountain his temple was located, as well as the structure’s garden. He was thankful and pleased to see that his lessons had been taken to heart and for the next 2000 years, it remained there. But, under the Lova Dynasty that emerged in 2111 BC, the plant was finally transplanted to other areas. Part of the reason the species of tree hadn’t moved or spread naturally was because it seemed bound to the mountains in and around the temple to Laoyan. Any saplings that were taken from the site withered and for years the Sihai were denied seeing the plant unless they travelled into the eastern mountain ranges. Some say it was hubris to transplant the tree to other regions, which is what ultimately doomed the Lova Dynasty, while others believe it was merely an outgrowth of the desire for the Lova to expand their knowledge and understanding. Regardless, they did it, though they made a key choice to only transplant the Tree into harmony gardens, claiming it would enhance the harmony of these spaces and further tie their people to the once-again slumbering Loong. To this day, that is where the plant remains if found beyond the eastern mountains that holds Laoyan’s temple, planted within a place of distinction in a large Sihai community’s harmony garden.
The Laoyan Tree may be technically classified as a species of willow tree, possibly one of the shorter varieties of willow in Aloria. They grow anywhere from fifteen to twenty feet tall once they have reached maturity, a process that takes eight years. It is a spindly plant with a twisting trunk and branches covered in smooth bark of a tan or pale grey color in reflection of the long, serpentine nature of the Loong Dragons. This surface may even appear sleek or shiny, as if covered in a layer of wax. When young or new branches come in, they are bright yellow, almost golden in color. The limbs of the tree can come in many shapes, whether it be branches swept in one way by the wind, or draping down from the forces of gravity. The vegetative branches, where the actual leaves grow out, are long, thin and very flexible; much like standard willow branches. The leaves of the Laoyan Tree have a pale green color and are similarly long, with a serrate formation. The trees keep their leaves year-round, though they easily shed and regrow their branches, sometimes even whole limbs. The Tree can also strout flowers, which are short, fuzzy catkins that resemble caterpillars and grow alongside the leaves. Finally, Laoyan Trees have impressive root systems that grow thicker and more expansive than their crowns. They are often visible above ground as a network that entangles the surrounding rocks or earth.
Uses and Abilities
Laoyan Trees have no inherent uses beyond decoration though for a lucky few, they can be a utility. The Trees exist both in manicured settings in Sihai harmony gardens and on the grounds of the Laoyan Temple, but also in the wild on the slopes of the mountains surrounding the Temple. In these places, they serve as a reminder of the bond between Sihai and the Loong Dragon, and how one influences the other in mirror of the tale told of how the tree was made. This can go even further sometimes. Usually when branches fall off, this is because of rot or because the branch is broken, but sometimes a whole, healthy branch falls off the Tree. These rare good branches, if they are of a sufficient size, are then often carved into canes or staffs for the elderly or otherwise impaired in the local Sihai community. These rare Laoyan staffs are often carved with the symbolism of the White Loong Dragons, for obvious reasons, and can be quite beautiful works of art.
- There is said to be one single Laoyan Tree in wider Aloria, taken by a group of Lova supposedly now living in Ithania to help serve as a connection to their homeland. Apparently, Dragon Worshipers are fascinated with getting their hands on it to see if any Draconic power can be extracted from it.
- Laoyan leaves have been increasingly used in purification rituals by those towns closest to the Southern Wall that keeps the Dark Dynasty out. These rituals are not magical in nature, but are thought by the Common Sihai to produce a “cleansing odor” that invigorates the spirit and weakens evil. Prince Cedromar claims the smell is merely “musty.”
HydraLana on 10/24/2021.|
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