|Common Name||Absinthium, Armoise, Slippyroot|
The small, silvery-green swirled herb known as Wormfern is a plant that has been farmed for years, dating back to the arrival of Nelfin slavers in Ithania. Initially used by the some Altalar for cooking, the magical uproar of the Cataclysm altered the plant in such a way that its minty taste wasn’t its only asset. To Vampires, Werebeasts, and those of Infested Abberancy and above, Wormfern carries a disgusting taste and smell rivaled by little other. This has made the drink very popular in the military sector as well as the commercial, as a means of excluding unwanted guests.
Wormfern has a curious history in that it is one of the few plants that the Allorn Empire actually discovered first. While the specifics are vague in Altalar records as to where exactly it originated from, Wormfern was found to grow naturally in only one small area of Ithania. A simple and unassuming herb--very close in appearance to useless grasses--Wormfern was soon seized and cultivated in areas across Daen by the Allorn Empire upon the discovery of it's pleasant, Mint-like taste. Unfortunately, over time careless cultivation methods mutated the plant to prefer less fertile earth and more arid temperatures than Daendroc could provide. By the Night of the Weeping Stars, it had almost vanished completely from Aloria, and in the chaos of the Cataclysm it was assumed extinct. Fortunately, the plant had survived elsewhere. Up in the north of Ithania, the spread of Void Essence had just barely touched the plant and altered it slightly, though not enough to transform it into any of the monstrous creations past invasions had created.
The plant was rediscovered in 30 AC by Ailor in Ithania, who in turn carried it back into Daendroc where it took root near the rocky and humid coastlines. Its minty taste again proved a hit with the locals, and it was added not only to food (as was common during the Allorn Empire), but into drinks as well. Gradually, usage of Wormfern transitioned almost exclusively into beverage and alcohol-making. In 58 AC, following the fourth phase of the Great Vampire Wars, reports emerged that the alcoholic drink had shown effective in sending Vampires into a coma. While these reports were exaggerated, the drink was determined to effect not only Vampires, but a variety of all aberrant individuals, which led to the substance growing ever more popular in conservative sects. Today, Wormfern is widely used by alcohol makers across eastern Daen and is sold both commercially and charitably, often as a cheap and ineffective repellent for Vampires and Werebeasts.
Wormfern appears as a short, fern-like plant that grows in rocky areas. Fine, silky white hairs facing outward cover the stem of the plant while curled leaves fold out above this like those found on a fiddlehead plant. These leaves are swirled white and green from the fine hairs and the plant’s natural color. Small, globular flowerheads, bunched together in groups of five to seven are arranged at the top of the stem which holds the curled leaves. These flowers range in color but are commonly light blue and yellow, with violet being the rarest.
Uses and Abilities
Wormfern has had a variety of uses throughout the years. It can be used to season foods with its minty taste when mint is not available, or as an additive in fruity drinks. It can also be used to flavor alcohol, and many regional brands in eastern Daen are particularly well known for their Wormfern-flavored beverages. While once thought to be an effective means of detecting Vampirism, Wormfern has since been shown to have no devastating effects on Void-afflicted individuals. Instead, beverages made with Wormfern have only been found to smell and taste abhorrently bitter to Infested Aberrants and above, making it an effective way of dissuading them from taking root in an establishment, but ineffective in detecting one. Many Vampires and Werebeasts have learned to reluctantly hide their disgust and nausea to varying degrees, though few can stomach more than a single glass. This is aided by a broad range of people who dislike the taste of Wormfern in drinks and foods, meaning that many false positives over the years have seen all but the most superstitious of people dismiss its ability to "detect" Aberrants.
- Some of the most famous brands of Wormfern alcohol are drinks like Absinthe and certain spiced mead, as well as Bitters, Vermouth, and Pelinkovac.
- Daendroque gave the plant its name of Slippyroot because the plant looks vaguely like an upside-down root and is slippery like a worm.
- Food with Wormfern in it barely affects Vampires, only giving their throat a slight tickle when going down and thus is similarly useless in identifying them.