|Official Name||Shadow Weed|
|Common Name||Warped Bloom, Fes’ännar|
|Common Use||Culinary, Medicinal|
|Habitat||Planar Essence-saturated areas|
The Shadow Weed was once a plant used to represent the Drovv, and later a symbol of Altalar dominance over that distant Race when the Allorn Empire grew it in their gardens. Over centuries it was abandoned, becoming little more than a weed until the extreme magical energies of the Fifth Void Invasion altered it. It is now an agricultural crop of both the Kathar and the Sihndar and exists in two different, but not dissimilar, environments where it serves medicinal and culinary roles in those two different societies.
Shadow Weed likely began life as a species of flowering water flora native to Drovv lands. Attested to as “Drovv Water Blooms” when translated from Allorn Altalar records from the height of the Allorn Empire, the plant was sent across the Altalar lands as a unique visual flora of a conquered people. However, as the Cults grew in power, this symbol of domination over a foreign Race grew in significance in the lands the Void-aligned dominated, which eventually became localized in Rokhara. However, even this proved a passing fad, and by the end of the Allorn Empire, the plant was growing wild and as common as a weed. This was also true in Drovv lands, as earlier symbology was discarded with time to focus on more martial imagery, as it seemed the Drovv could sense the danger the world was increasingly in. Thus when the Fifth Void Invasion took place, Shadow Weed was truly known as such, a weed not native to Daen and The Far West where it had taken root, and dismissed by those in its home territory.
But the Invasion changed things for the species. For one, it grew in size, altering its color scheme while likely boosting nascent traits within the substance. Why the plant was not morphed into something like the Reaper is unknown, but what is certain is that the force that altered it was at play both in Drowda and in Rokhara, as the plant underwent the same changes in both locations. Following the Cataclysm which reshaped the world, it took time for the Shadow Weed to be noticed by the different societies suffering and undergoing their transformation into the modern Kathar and Sihndar known today. Who discovered which traits first is known, but among the Kathar, both are said to have been discovered by a follower of Lumeria, Sire of Want called Keshan’rahnor, while for the Sihndar it was a female member of their society called Jaxan living in the terrain dominated by Torama who learned the plant’s healing properties before her son, Xorrot, later discovered its culinary potential. Since that time, Shadow Weed has been cultivated in both regions for these varied uses, with some exchanged with outsiders for different supplies. However, it cannot be naturally grown in other areas of Aloria without specific transplantation and growth conditions being met, making it a rare plant to see in full beyond the Essence-soaked lands it hails from.
Shadow Weed is a slim plant that can grow up to two feet tall, extending up from small, thin tubers in the ground from which its roots sprout. Above this grows four spear-shaped leaves with parallel veins, with the plant’s central stalk growing out of this bush. This stalk is peppered with minor leaves barely an inch large at most and peeled stalk coating from the plant’s gradual growth into maturity. The pod, also sometimes called a “flower,” which grows at the top of the plant is peculiar, with a diamond or shield shape with the same texture and span of colors as the leaves, from pinks to purples to tainted oranges, along its thin membrane walls. The pod often remains closed, with a net of sticky, stringy fibres ending in the plant’s other well-known product: its seeds. Shadow Weed seeds, which can be harvested from the thin-walled pod with ease, are shiny and black with spots of purple.
Uses and Abilities
Shadow Weed has a pairing of uses much like other flora in Aloria, one in the sphere of healing and Alchemy and another in the culinary scene. Shadow Weed roots and their large leaves have uses in general healing practices, from natural remedies to alchemical creations to sometimes even wrapping an injury in the large leaves themselves. The culinary use for the plant, on the other hand, comes from its pod and seeds. The flower-like pod can be used to make a relaxing tea, capable of calming nerves, while the seeds can be ground up and are often used in recipes calling for poppy seeds or similar agricultural products.
- Rumors persisted for years that the plant was toxic to non-Sihndar and Kathar, all after an Ailor got food poisoning from a meal with a Shadow Seed loaf involved, when it was instead the poorly prepared oysters. This myth has largely been squashed in the modern day.
- Some claim there are varieties of the plant which exhibit heavy Exist-centric alterations in color and form within the most Essence-soaked areas of Drowda.
- It is unknown if Torama played a role in creating Shadow Weed, but the Lesser Demons that are in his service are rarely seen to twist and make use of Shadow Weeds in their plant-like bodies. Those that do are often brightly colored with deep purples and strange growths.