|Uses||Clothing of the elite|
Silk is one of the most luscious materials in Aloria, smooth, sleek, and complex to produce. It was once exclusive to the lands of Jadeheart but was able to make its way west where the Allorn Empire made great use of it. It was they who spread knowledge of it, and after their fall Silk became a product of many peoples, either produced or coveted. Silk comes in a whole range of colors and is produced by a species of worm that feeds on a variety of different tree species while also being affected by Magic, which can sometimes result in different effects or traits for the end product.
Silk has perhaps one of the deepest histories in all of Aloria, and has also expanded its reach far from home to the point most would likely believe it is native to their own homeland, or some other location equally far away. Silk began with the Sihai millennia in the past. Exactly how far back is unclear, but it is known that by the time the Allorn Empire reached the land of the Sihai, it was a common feature of their society. Some even claim nearly all Sihai wore Silk, even the lower classes, though in lesser amounts to those above them. Myths cloud the historical record at this stage, and various tales are told of what happened next. The most common versions say that upon encountering this material, the Elves immediately desired it. They sought to trade everything from raw exotic materials, to magical secrets, to their very best slaves, and the Sihai leadership allowed a fraction of the material out of their lands. However, it was not enough, and efforts to gain more were thoroughly blocked by the Sihai leadership. Silk was produced by unique silkworms under their protection, large, metamorphic creatures bathed in transformative power thanks to the strange properties of Sheng. The Sihai did not trust the Elves with these secrets. In the end, the Elves gained living specimens of the silkworms, though they still kept the deception of trade for many years.
Just how the Elves gained the ability to make Silk is unknown, as the myths claim so many variations, but perhaps the oddest is that the silkworms could speak and might have even been some form of Lesser Race who sought to flee what was almost servitude, if this version is to be believed. The most common version says that an exceptionally cunning Teledden, a worshiper of the Estelley goddess Sapphora, acquired living silkworms, but put them into stasis within a grand, elaborate headdress, keeping them hidden for many months during her time among the Sihai. Regardless, it is clear that by around 4000 BC, the Allorn Empire was producing Silk and it was here where the first divergences began from the Silk of Sihai. While the Allorn initially sought to foster the silkworm on the same plantlife that the Sihai had access to, some specimens invariably escaped, and there was cross-contamination in the plantation-gardens. New plants, as well as likely exposure to Allorn Magic, caused these silkworms to transform and alter their end product. It is said that by the end of the Allorn Empire, there was a type of Silk for every principality of the great nation, such that the markets were overflowing, rendering the Fabric nearly useless.
It is fortunate that for the modern wealthy of the world, the Wildering and Cataclysm thoroughly trashed the Silk production industry. While members of the silkworm species survived, their numbers were cut down extremely low, and for a long time, the labor and often Magic required to upkeep them was difficult to acquire. Jadeheart returned as the epicenter of Silk exports, though they still limited its shipment overseas. With time though, other regions recovered their Silk production abilities or invented entirely new industries from nothing. Some regions even became more open with time, and revealed they had been fostering Silk for generations in hiding or secret. Today, while Jadeheart remains an epicenter of Silk production, it has been joined by several others. Silk continues to remain rare as a result of the labor and skills required to tend to the now extremely diverse silkworms that make the material, as well as the plants they feed on, on top of the harvesting and weaving of Silk itself.
Silk is a thin, smooth material whose very name has given rise to the term “silky” to describe a similar object. Produced from the spinnings of the unique silkworms once exclusive to the Sihai, further variation in the types of Silk comes from this element of the creature. Be it Magic, diet, or climate exposure, these silkworms change and produce Silks of varying appearances or characteristics, while the types of Silk also have a range of smaller characteristic
- Sihai Silk: The original, and the baseline for all others. Sihai Silk is often marked by this feature, but also for possessing woven patterns and imagery of Jadeheart applied prior to shipping.
- Allorn Silk: The first derivative and now one of the rarest to acquire since the return of the Allorn Empire in the modern age. Allorn Silk is noted for its sleek appearance, a slight stretchiness in the textile, and for frequently shining as raw Silk does.
- Suvial Silk: Suvial Silk was created much later than the others, and is also rare in the modern day due to the extreme ecological destruction produced by the Kathar in their war with the Suvial. However, Suvial Silk is best known for its resistance to wear and tear, as well as strains and liquids.
- Kathar Silk: Like derived from one the ancient principality Silks, Kathar Silk today is known for its quality, sleekness, ability to shine, resistance to wear and tear, but almost always sheer (semi-transparent) when finished. The Kathar use this to full advantage in their fashion.
- Osteier Silk: The most recent of all the Silks, Osteier Silk is best known for its use in brocade, and is thus almost purpose-made for that industry. This variety of Silk is also well known for its resistance to liquids.
- Isldar Silk: Isldar Silk, also called Starlight Silk, is perhaps the only uniform style of Silk in Aloria, produced and woven without alteration. The end product is a translucent dark purple, fabric speckled with white dots that end up resembling an evening sky. It is more common among the Death Isldar now, but some Life Isldar still use it for camouflage, or when away from the homeland.
Silk has been nearly uniformly used for one thing in history: clothing. Be it intricate, high fashion trends of the Ithanians or the upper class of Elven society, or simpler pieces, scraps perhaps gratefully acquired by a lucky commoner once in a lifetime, Silk has decorated the bodies of Alorians for uncountable generations. The other uses of Silk, such as to upholster furniture, or even serve as bandages, are of greater rarity but do still appear. Silk bandages are often enchanted as well, the fabric deemed worthy of holding holy or magical words by the Elves, priests, and others who create it.
- The silkworm species used to make Silk has so divided and diversified, that the different subspecies tend to look like totally different insects from each other.
- While the process of Silk production once required the death of the silkworm, boiling it before removing the corpse from the cocoon, a growing portion of Silk production methods instead harvest the material without the insect’s death.
- Ithania absorbs eight of every ten shipments of Sihai Silk to wider Aloria, as the material is an intensely important part of their native fashion culture, and they only seek the best, straight from the source.