Moon-Moth Tree

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Moon-Moth Tree
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Flora
Official Name Moon-Moth Tree
Common Name Hortutor Tree
Classification Tree
Common Use Utility, Artistic
Origins Hortutor Wildlands, Teled Methen
Habitat Temperate to warm boreal forests

Moon-Moth Trees are the plant that dominates the forestry of the Hortutor Wildlands in the so-called Moon-Moth Forests found in Teled Methen. Made up of huge specimens which when grown outside of the Wildlands, have a more normal size, they are best known for their glowing sap which also allows their leaves to bioluminescence at night. This trait extends to any harvested wood from the Tree, attracting insects at night while also gleaming a faint blue, though its unique grain often attracts artists seeking to use its properties to accentuate artwork.

History

The Moon-Moth Tree is an ancient tree which, while rarely spoken of in the history of the Altalar, once held enormous importance for them. It is widely believed that the trees and the groves they created with Hortaal Moths fluttering about, were sacred to the early Altalar faith that professed faith in the mysterious Moon-well Goddess. It is widely believed that great reflective pools were set in the middle of Moon-Moth Tree groves or at the base of the tree’s roots as part of some act of communion. However, when the Faith of Estel came, these faithful largely co-opted those sites for their own use, or caused them to be completely abandoned. While this allowed the Moon-Moth Tree to expand beyond their native habitats, the ultimate end of the Consolidation saw many of these trees cut down, in huge numbers, which drove the Hortaal Moths to the brink of extinction along with them. However, when the Wildering occurred, the Moon-Moth Forests emerged in what rapidly became known as the Hortutor Wildlands, their size towering over the forest floor and creating an effective canopy that blotted out the sky. In their shadow, the state of Ol Lavei Aechir rose, and seamlessly incorporated their homes into the unique species of tree. Over time though, from the fringes of the forest, Avanthar, Ailor, Yanar and Altalar came to take the great seeds shed by the Moon-Moth Trees, hoping to recreate them only to result in normally sized trees. These tree groves, dotting across Ithania, Daendroc and other areas of Teled Methen, are where those seeking out the plant’s unique lumber turn, as there is a steady though minor market for the unique Tree’s byproducts. Still, the Moon-Moth Tree remains ever-tied to the Moon-Moth Forests, and the Hortutor Wildlands in the popular conscience.

Appearance

Moon-Moth Trees, when grown outside of the Moon-Moth Forests, stand at around fifteen to twenty feet tall, with trunks up to three feet thick. However, those grown within the Forests reach well over a hundred feet tall, and easily two to three dozen feet in width at their base. Both subgrowths of the Tree are anchored by sturdy, thick roots which often bury themselves deep, but have surface roots that can wind along the ground, uniting the species with others of its kind. The tree’s leaf canopy is formed of lobate leaves with a deep blue, almost black, color, while their bark is fairly standard. However, it is what sits within the tree and commonly leaks out at crack points that draw attention, that being its sap. Moon-Moth Tree sap is bioluminescent and attracts all sorts of insects to it, most commonly the Hortaal Moths. They cluster around deposits of the substance and eagerly eat it, making them bioluminescent. This sap also courses through the leaves of an individual Tree at night, shifting around for several days, but still ultimately illuminating the canopy with glowing beauty.

Uses and Abilities

The Moon-Moth Tree’s sole common usage comes from its lumber, which has double usage as both a unique material for artistic works, but also allows one to attract and then dispose of insects in a home or location. The Tree’s wood is a pale brown and is riddled with deep blue solid splotches of solidified sap. The wood itself also lightly gleams blue when held in direct moonlight, undoubtedly another aftereffect of the sap that once coursed through the plant. However, this inert wood can still attract insects, and should a slab of the material be coated in poison, or such poison lay nearby, they might easily cut their insect problems in half within a few nights. Others are more humane, simply leaving pieces of the wood near windows or doors so that insects in a house might naturally leave it once the sun comes up, and the wood loses its inborn power. The tree itself can also serve a decorative function, but it is rare to find outside of Daen in this role, especially given its ties to the ancient, dead faith of the Altalar.

Trivia

  • The deep tie between the Hortaal Moth and Moon-Moth Trees is unique in Aloria, leading some to wonder if the organisms were formed together as a pair by the Moon-Well Goddess.
  • Some have used the ancient sacred nature of the Moon-Moth Tree, a form of plant life, as proof the Moon-Well Goddess and Estel were the same deity, and the Goddess simply underwent a name-change with the rise of Talea.
  • The oldest Moon-Moth Tree is known as the Second Moon and sits at the heart of the Moon-Moth Forests in the Hortutor Wildlands. It is said to still have a site dedicated to the Moon Well Goddess at its base, untouched by the massive growth of roots that coat the area around it.

Accreditation
Writers HydraLana
Processors Acosmism, festiveCorvid, WaterDruppel
Last Editor HydraLana on 11/2/2021.

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