|Official Name||Shen Itja|
|Common Name||Deceiver Vines, Fruitbane|
|Habitat||Arid and temperate regions|
The Shen Itja, or Deceiver Vine can be found around the Ashal Isles, and at first glance, it seems to be no more than an innocuous growth that has withered and died on the trees scattered across the desert. However, those who know the true nature of the vine tend to steer clear of the foliage in question and choose to only to focus on the vine. It has maintained its usefulness for travelers and explorers seeking a replacement for rope in a tight pinch, with the vine being much sturdier than it seems to the untrained eye.
The Deceiver Vine has been known to the Asha for most of their existence, though their wariness of it was never vigilant enough to prevent all potential mishaps. When the first Asha began their long treks across the desert, individuals would harvest the fruits from the pomegranate trees that were wrapped in these vines. Soon, those that went to consume the fruit unfortunately discovered that the insides had gone completely rotten, leaving only an inedible fruit in its place. The vines, meanwhile, always seemed rigid and fastened to the tree itself, despite their withered appearance. It wasn’t until one Asha grabbed a Deceiver Vine to try and escape a hoard of Torat-Nekh that he discovered what exactly had happened. The Vine itself, when attached to the tree, would slowly expand and extend to the tips of each branch, siphoning out the energy and liquids of the tree itself to foster its growth and existence. As a result, this led to the fruits upon the trees becoming rotten and the tree itself slowly withering whilst the vine continued to grow.
After this realization, many attempts were made to cull the growth of the vine, cutting it from each tree it was found on, aiming to cease its parasitic lifestyle. However, it was soon discovered that the Deceiver Vine when bound together could make a rather sturdy rope, allowing for an additional source of production for the Asha. While the Dewamenet Empire was at its height, the Asha collectively culled the Deceiver Vine, limiting its growth to select groves to prevent any disastrous amounts of spread across the isles. When the Allorn Empire did defeat the Dewamenet Empire and enslave most of their people, the Shen Itja gained a chance to grow unabated, and on the return of the Asha to the Isles post-Cataclysm, once again were the trees overtaken. Now, the vine is marketed and sold primarily to the Asha Corsairs as a far sturdier and more reliable rope for their vessels.
Due to the Deceiver Vine’s nature, its appearance is that of a gnarled pale brown, each strand appearing ready to flake or break off at a moment's notice. However, unlike other vines, the central vine is located toward the main trunk, or stem of the host, its position anchored in place by the branches it wraps around. A vine that has fully siphoned off a tree can be as thick as up to three inches in diameter, though the range and size diminish quite rapidly as it extends outward. It has a rough exterior, though it is incredibly pliable and can bend quite easily without breaking. The primary difference in appearance comes when removed from the tree, the side that is attached to the trunk is usually a smooth white color with a series of thick barbs that press into its host, contrasting rather heavily with its outward appearance.
Uses and Abilities
The whole vine has no particular chemicals that cause it to be useful, however, its natural pliability, as well as durability, have made it rather desirable. When two to three pieces are bound together tightly, it can be used to create a form of rope that tends to be a lot more flexible, causing it to be of interest to certain machine creators as well as sailors seeking a cheaper alternative to rope.
- Certain Asha parents will attempt to warn their children of taking strange fruit, stating that the Deceiver’s Vine could curse it and suck the life out of their own body. This, of course, is entirely untrue, but it does keep children safe and quiet.
- Some individuals have tried eating the Vine, but unfortunately the nutrients that were absorbed from the tree do not seem to maintain their taste in the vine itself.