|Common Name||Drow Wand, Harbinger|
|Habitat||Forests and subterranean areas|
Empairina is a strange fern known for its unique physical structure which many attribute to the Fifth Void Invasion that took place 300 years ago. However, this plant is far older, perhaps dating back to the Meraic Civilization, and always looked as it does now. Disliked as a source of food, it instead has great symbolic value for its ability to recoil in the face of extradimensional Essence.
Unlike other plants native to the Forsaken Continent, Empairina looked as it did even before the transformation of the world of the Fifth Void Invasion and the Cataclysm. It may have even existed before the Altalar altogether, in the time of the Meraic, due to scant records from the Vaults of that long-dead Race. What is known for certain is that the Drovv considered the plant a harbinger of Essence, as the plant naturally recoils from Exist and Void Essence in any form it exists, from the Afflicted to other flora, to even Sorcerers. They also saw it as a warning against “The End” which was a vague concept in their cosmology that was part of a battle for the end of the world and its rebirth in a new form. As a result, the plants were actively cultivated, though they provided little to no nutrition or real practical benefit beyond a pleasing aesthetic. When the Altalar warred with the Drovv, it was said many Drovv citizens escaped the approaching front lines by the reaction of these plants to the approaching magical prowess of the Altalar. As for the Altalar, they considered the plant some sort of failed creation, an outcast from Estel’s vision for Altalar dominion over the world, and it was attributed to corruption by Demons rather than any of the Pantheon deities, or even the more negative Unwritten Gods.
By the time of the Cataclysm, however, the plant was growing wild from years of the intermingling of trade and meeting between the Ailor, the Altalar, and more within Drovv territory. It is said that when the Veil tore open, all Empairina across the world recoiled harshly as if a shockwave had swept the globe, yet only affected them. They appeared to wriggle and writhe in pain for many weeks as the Invasion continued, before almost all examples of the plant burst in a pop of light. What caused this pop is uncertain, but many suspect that it was the combination of so many magical events on top of each other. This event essentially eradicated the plant from its spread across Aloria, but the plant survived in Drowda for unknown reasons. As the decades wore on after the Cataclysm, the plant appeared more frequently on Drowda, capable of the same effects and embraced for its role as in the days of old. As the Sihndar moved beyond their shores, Empairina went along for the ride, both intentionally and not, and is now clustered in areas surrounding Sihndar enclaves across Aloria. While some view it as no better than a weed, others plant it and hope to keep themselves safe as the Drovv of old supposedly did.
Empairina can grow up to two feet in height and have a fairly mundane structure. Their root network is small and made of several short tubers, with one central pale green stalk emerging from a bulbous base growth that serves as the anchor point for the plant. Three to five smaller offshoots emerge from the central stalk, each generally slim and short with a curled or curved straight shape alongside faint purple veins and dark green coloration. The top of the central stalk splits into four to six thick and mossy petal-like protrusions, from which emerge a bushel of thin, anther-like growths, each tipped with several fibers that glow in various shades of blue. These fibers are often dim during the daytime but grow more intense at night, enough to even light the way in some situations.
Uses and Abilities
Empairina primarily serves as a decorative plant, and while it can be eaten, it has little to no taste, even upsetting some stomachs. It can also be used as a source of illumination, but this is very rare as individual members of the species glow in different levels of intensity, and based on their growth location, might not be useful to light pathways. The plant does have one ability which it is well known for, and that is its reaction to Planar Essence. In the presence of Void and Exist Afflictions, Mutations, and essence-influenced individuals, Empairina actively recoils away, its leaves curling up while its luminescent fibres retract. Note: If Empairina exists In-Game, it can only exist in a purely aesthetic way, and cannot be used to out an individual hiding Essence-related traits or any Afflictions. Instead, only when an outwardly and clearly Essence-ridden individual approaches and consents OOCly can this plant bend at their approach. Any player at any time can also give consent to having the plant bend toward them should they have hidden Exist or Void connections.
- Empairina convulsions have grown in frequency in the past several years as a myriad of magical events have exploded across Aloria. In fact, they have grown to be so frequent that some view their ability to warn of coming disasters or arcane forces to be useless, triggering many false positives across Aloria.
- Empairina is based on the Altalar name for the plant, which roughly translates to “Rejection of All.”