Spine Fruit, Orc Blood Fruit, Crown Plant|
Sometimes called the ‘king-among-fruit’ for the spiked crown of leaves that protrude from the top of the fruit, the Shurbakal is an orcish plant originally cultivated in the western portions of Daen. Often overlooked at first due to its hard, spiny exterior and deep crimson coloration, the blood red flesh of a Shurbakal is surprisingly sweet and has been a favorite treat among Orcs since their domestication. Believed to have been brought from Guldar as one of the few non-aggressive plants by the Orcs as they migrated to Daendroc, the fruit quickly took to the soft soils of its new home. Its popularity among the orcs grew ever higher once they began not only eating them but using them as a spined club with which to beat the wildlife. Finally, despite the Shurbakal lacking popularity among farmers, as it is difficult to grow, the sweet fruit and juice it produces has seen rising popularity among Ailor and Nelfin, leading to more and more farmers across Daendroc attempting to produce the cash crop.
Nelfin and Ailor scholars are in agreement that Shurbakal originates from the distant, hostile shores of Guldar. There is no evidence among Imperial Elven records that indicate that the fruit was present in any cities in the region of Daendroc before the Orc’s arrival. The plant's thick shell and spines also indicates a natural affinity towards what most scholars know of Guldar’s natural habitat. After the Orc's arrival, they began planting their first crop, which took to the more fertile soil with ease. After that point, they simply spread seeds whenever they established a new camp and the fruit continued to grow on its own. There are some patches of the coastline that are too thick with the plant to even navigate without receiving a number of cuts and bruises. It wasn’t until around 243 AC when Ailor plantation owners got their hands on some seeds that the rest of the world realized that the plant was more than just a spiky bush. Over the next few decades, a few farmers would begin planting Shurbakal but most limit the amount they plant because the species is known to quickly overtake as much land as possible. With the recent Ailor-Orc alliance, a handful of Black Iron Orcs have begun trading the fruit to Regalia in exchange for some higher quality metals. Whether this deal will last, however, is up in the air.
The plant grows to be roughly a meter tall when with fruit, or a half meter without, and up to a meter across. At the base of the plant is a thick, woody stalk from which the long, green, fluted leaves of the plant extend outwards in all directions around the stalk. These leaves have a series of small thorn-like hooks along the sides that often snag passersby. Without fruit, the plant is relatively short, with most of the leaves hanging to the sides instead of shooting upwards. Twice each year, once around March and again around August, the budding of one to three flowers forms at the center of the plant. These flowers resemble a bell and are a bright pink coloration with a deep red base. After a few weeks, these flowers begin to turn into the initial stages of the fruit, which take roughly two months to grow to maturity. The fruit of the plant is roughly a half a meter, with the fruit being a quarter meter length and the fronds of the fruit another quarter meter. The outside of the fruit is a deep crimson color, and covered in a hard spiny skin. This skin is incredibly durable and takes a large, sharp implement to break open. The flesh of the fruit is an equally dark crimson color, and is rather stringy. The center stalk of the fruit is a harder texture but is said by those who manage to chew through it to be sweeter than the rest of the fruit. The fronds of the plant are a light pink in coloration, similar to that of the flower of the plant.
Uses and Abilities
Shurbakal has found two primary uses; one as a food source, and the other as a beating implement. In cooking, the flesh of the fruit is incredibly sweet, yet tangy, and offers a unique flavor. It can be cooked to caramelize some of the natural sugars, however most Orcs prefer to simply eat it raw. The skin of the plant offer minor nutritional value, but the fronds are occasionally boiled into tea as a means of easing minor headaches. The central stalk of the fruit is considered a delicacy among Orcs, as it is stores a majority of the sugar of the plant. They have created a special dish, known as Shur-Drak, which is the dried central stalk cut into thin strips. These are often brought on campaign and used as an energy boost on long marches. Some non-Orc farmers have even begun drying it as well, but instead of slicing it, they grind it down to produce sugar, finding that the tanginess of the fruit carries through to the finished product. In combat, the fruit has found use among the orcs as a cudgel. The thick skin of the fruit allows the wielder to hit a number of softer targets without breaking the fruit, and the spines cause some additional damage. This method of combat, however, rarely sees actual usage in warfare, but instead is used when hunting or as a last ditch effort.
- To say that Orcs “farm” Shurbakal is like saying that Regalians “dabble in” war. The most tending they do with the crop is the initial throwing of a bunch of seeds onto the ground, after which they simply wait until the crops grow to maturity.
- Shurbakal are an invasive species in Daendroc, and have quickly claimed large patches of fertile land along the western coastline. Since the orcs do nothing to tend to the plant, it grows unhindered bar the occasional wildfire that sweeps through the region.
- Shurbakal juice is occasionally kept in bars to be mixed with a dark rum. The resulting beverage is called a “Setting Sun”, as the Shurbakal juice mixes with the rum creating a similar appearance to the sky at sunset.
- According to rumors, a clan of Orcs have carved out the core of a Shurbakal and replaced it with a stick of dynamite, which they lob at their enemies. They’ve taken to calling them ‘exploding pineapples’.
HydraLana, Enkiduu, LumosJared||
HydraLana on 10/8/2017.|
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