The Loongliu is a unique plant said to be the result of knowledge shared with the Sihai people from the Loong Dragons. These trees, once confined to the terrain around the mountain temples, were later transplanted successfully by the scholarly and studious members of Sihai society and can now be found in gardens all across The Far East. As a short species of willow, the Loongliu can still reach impressive sizes and serves as a reminder of the bond between the Sihai and their Loong guardians. The tree can also provide wood and is often used in special walking sticks and canes for the elderly or disabled members of Sihai society.
The Loongliu has a deep connection with Severena, known to the Sihai as Saaima. While much of the origin of the plant is a mystery, superstitions about the Dragon and her role in early Sihai society have been used to fill in this gap. It is said that as she flew through the air at the dawn of creation, liquid moonlight bathed her scales, and the Sihai she created sought it out wherever it fell. One of the greatest places this was found was at Saaima’s Rest, her former Great Temple located in the Sheng Empire. The peak and slopes of this great mountain were peppered with Loongliu and the Sihai took to transplanting it to other Great Temples across the land, where they became symbols of Loong benevolence, and a tangible gift granted to the Sihai people. While none were allowed to cut them down, when nature felled them or the tree began to die, they were immediately carved up, their properties much appreciated in the objects created for the use of others. As Zhong was discovered and colonized, the tree spread to this land as well, placed around its Great Temples and shrines. Following the Cataclysm and the slumber of the Loong Dragons, these trees became even more significant, and are now found commonly across Zhong in gardens both of nobles and public venues, as well as religious sites. They serve to remind the people of the presence of the Loong Dragons, and of Saaima’s original gifts to the Sihai people.
The Loongliu 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, usually over the span of eight years. It is a spindly plant with a twisting trunk and branches covered in smooth bark of a tan or pale gray color in reflection of the long, serpentine nature of the Loong Dragons. This surface may 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 Loongliu have a pale green color and are similarly long, with a serrate formation. The trees keep their leaves year-round, though they can easily shed and regrow their branches, sometimes even whole limbs. The trees also sprout flowers, which are short, fuzzy catkins that resemble caterpillars and grow alongside the leaves. Finally, Loongliu have impressive root systems that grow thicker and more extensive than their crowns. They are often visible above ground as a network that entangles the surrounding rocks or earth.
Uses and Abilities
Loongliu are used in the creation of special ritual or personal objects for the use of many in Sihai society. Warriors who perform great services may gain a Loongliu-wood-handle weapon, while religious figures or the elderly gain carved staffs of the substance, while yet more common people of devotion and great examples of the Loong Virtue will receive carvings of the material. But, just as often, Loongliu stand as symbols in shrines, town squares, private gardens, and temple grounds, their presence a looming ever-present representation of the Loong at the heart of Sihai society. Loongliu wood is not simply easy to cut, or culturally significant, but it has some innate power. Loongliu will glow a pale white when exposed to moonlight, appearing brightest during a full moon, with this power also carrying over to the raw timber of the plant used to create the aforementioned artifacts.
- The Sihai enclaves in Aloria often have a single Loongliu resting in a well-guarded and isolated area where it can be protected after a 219 AC incident involving Dragon Worshipers who sought to extract Primal Essence from the tree.
- Loongliu leaves have been known to be used in purification rituals by Sihai priests and Sihai enclaves in wider Aloria.
FireFan96, BillyTheScruffy, MantaRey||
HydraLana on 07/29/2023.|
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