|Official Name||Wizard’s Melancholy|
|Common Name||Magecap, Rainbow Mitre, Mournshroom|
|Habitat||Temperate forests, gravesites|
Wizard’s Melancholy is a fungus with a past fraught with old folk stories and myths propagated by the superstitious and the uneducated. The mushroom itself, however, is rather innocent, having none of the hallucinogenic or poisonous properties of other fungi. It has been a feature of the Ceardian landscape since time immemorial, however, since the Cataclysm, the only remaining historical records that mention it are tall tales brought overseas from Ceardian settlers fleeing their ruined country. However, its shocking color and odd pattern of growth fascinates scholars even today.
The original tale of the discovery of Wizard’s Melancholy centers on a witch who lived outside the Ceardian town of Lukkerdam. She lived a relatively placid existence, being a simple sorcerer who used her magic to tend to her garden rather than being any sort of powerful mage. She was well-beloved by the people of the town. One day, she met a dashing young mage in the market, who began to woo her. She fell head over heels for him, but one night, the two were embroiled in a lover’s quarrel. He slew her with her own gardening spade. Immediately, he regretted his actions. They found him holding her body in his arms. When she was buried, however, a curious phenomenon occurred. Over the next few days, a small circle of bright, rainbow-colored mushrooms sprouted on her grave. Their caps appeared to mimic the mourning mage’s hat, and so, it gained its name, reflecting the magic user’s grief. In actuality, few know exactly when the fungi were discovered by the Ceardian Ailor, but as the story is one of the oldest in the Ceardian canon, it is assumed to have been extremely early on in their history.
When Altalar explorers arrived in Ceardia hundreds of years before the Cataclysm, they are suspected of having taken samples of the mushroom back to Daen, where it quickly took root, particularly in Ithania where it remained noted by Altalar under the end of the Allorn Empire. As for Ceardia, the plant also remained there for a number of years, and the superstitions around it propelled a lack of usage by the locals for a long time. However, after 200 AC, as outsiders entered the region, the substance’s adhesive properties were discovered by alchemists. Then came the Destruction of Ceardia, and in the evacuation, the plant was next carried to Essalonia, where it has aggressively taken root in multiple local Unionist graveyards in addition to the deep forests of the continent. Today, it remains spread out, entering areas of Corontium around 290 AC, and its one use has prompted some light harvesting of the substance. However, its connection to graveyards has warned off others though such reluctances are usually made up for by unscrupulous figures who have no such fears.
Wizard’s Melancholy appears to be a small, delicate mushroom that grows to be about three to five inches tall. It often grows in “sprouts” of six to twelve mushrooms, all connected through a single base. Its stalk is incredibly thin and often bends over as the mushroom’s cap grows. The cap itself is the most notable section of the mushroom. It takes the form of a very tall conical fruiting body, that also has a propensity to fold in half, although this does not injure the fungus. It is also incredibly vividly colored, displaying a rainbow of colorations in a haphazard splatter that dots the cap while one consistent shade, either pale blue or white, dominates the cap. When it grows, it tends to grow in wide circles (similar to fairy circles) on top of graves. Some say an entire circle can sprout overnight if the conditions are right.
Uses and Abilities
Wizard’s Melancholy has few real uses. It is impossible to extract dye from the mushroom cap, and all attempts to do so result in a dark-brown substance that is wholly unsuited for dyeing. It is inedible and tasteless, causing extensive vomiting if ingested. However, if treated in a very precise method, it can be used to make a powerful adhesive. This is extremely popular in the stage arts, as attaching masks securely to one’s face is of great value, but also other objects onto a body. Additionally, the glue is favored amongst those with small children, as it is tasteless and harmless, and can be used in simple crafts with great ease. However, the glue is not an industrial level and is not used by craftsmen.
- It is hotly debated (among those interested in such things) whether the mushroom was magically created or whether it is entirely natural in origin.
- Another whispered theory is that perhaps the mushroom feeds off of the Soul Essence of the dead, hence its propensity to grow on graves.
- Gallovian immigrants often view the mushroom circles produced by Wizard’s Melancholy as “fairy circles” where haunting music is said to carry out from.