|Common Name||Belladonna, Almaw'iiz|
Nearly every skilled assassin and well-educated aristocrat has heard of the deadly plant known as Nightshade. Known as the “Death Blossom” among the Qadir, the plant originated on their continent and took on new meaning among the Songaskians who conquered the Sariyd Empire after the Great Storm. To the wider Alorian populace, Nightshade first came into focus after a rash of mysterious assassinations across Daen in 140 AC, and ever since then, the plant has been viewed as suspicious to own, even if one has no intention of using its dark abilities.
The lands of Farah’deen were always harsh, and many of the local plants and animals were shaped by that landscape. Among them, one of the most perfidious was the plant the Qadir still call “Death Blossom” to this day. This plant, which existed along the coastline and in the arable land of the continent along with its many oases, was toxic to many forms of life and became associated with gods of death and tricks in the vast pantheon of the Sariyd. Over time, the plant also became tied to the Black Desert Dragons of Farah’deen, with claims that the plant’s spread was caused by the shedding of the beast’s scales. This has no basis in fact and was merely a propaganda tool of the National Qadir to help turn the populace against a group they saw as a threat. This unfortunately only had the opposite effect as those zealous Qadir might have hoped. Avoiding death, the Dragons gathered and unleashed the Great Storm which killed millions. But, the insidious Nightshade survived and in fact, flourished. While it was ripped from the interior, it came to ever more frequently populate the coastline, at least until the Cataclysm. But, it is widely believed that in that 100 year period, the Qadir that fled abroad to Hadrityas elsewhere brought the plant with them, likely by accident or if on purpose, soon lost control of them.
In that 100 year period, the plant also gained notoriety among the Songaskians as it became known as the “Death Kiss” or “Damin’s Gift.” Damin-Ouilia was the so-called Life and Death-mancer of the Black Desert Dragons, and Nightshade evolved into a plant to represent this Dragon. It also came to represent the Death Mages that emerged across the local population and remains in effect to this day. The outsiders of Farah’deen, the Regalian Empire and others, were unaware of these connections and did not notice the spread of Nightshade until a series of assassinations in 140 AC. Who perpetrated them is unknown, but all of the methods involved the use of Nightshade, alerting many in positions of power to the plant’s ill effects. The plant, which had long been rumored to cause illness, was feared by many Ailor across the world, and because over half of the victims had been Altalar, their principalities also reacted with disdain. To this day, Nightshade has gained an infamous reputation, and while it is not illegal to possess, suspicion will always grow of those who tend and keep the plant.
Nightshade plants stand at a little under a foot tall, with a system of thin, pale green water-retaining roots that allow for its survival in humid or arid climates. The plant has a small droop to it with a curve at the top, the length of its form infrequently dotted with the small rounded leaves it possesses and sprouting its easily identifiable flowers. These flowers are small, barely half an inch long when measured, and are bell-shaped with a deep purple coloration. They always droop downwards. Along with these flowers are clusters of the plant’s berries, bright green, red, orange, and pale yellow fruits clustered together. The largest, about the size of a grape, sits in the middle while all around it the others, as small as peas, are situated.
Uses and Abilities
While the entirety of Nightshade is toxic, the roots are known to be the deadliest. When consumed, the toxins flow slowly throughout the body and begin the process of shutting down various bodily functions. Victims of Nightshade poisoning usually experience immediate sweating and headaches, though, after two hours of having the toxin in their body, they are known to exhibit vomiting and diarrhea. Though very uncommon, victims have also been found to have hallucinations. On top of all of this, it has been recorded that the skin of many victims of Nightshade slowly turns a ghostly pale white, and small blue dots begin to form like freckles all over the body. Four hours is all the time needed by the plant to render the person unconscious and after this point, only administrations of antitoxin substances can prevent death or serious problems. Nightshade is most effective when induced orally, though individuals with stronger immune systems are more resistant to its effects. Sickly people, children, and the elderly are more susceptible to its effects. Those who survive Nightshade poisoning are sometimes marred by skin scarring where their blue dots were, or forever more have respiratory issues. Others suffer constant pain from their lower sides, such as in the liver or pancreas areas.
- Through small amounts at a time and plenty of antidote on hand, Nightshade is actually one of the easiest poisons to prepare a body against.
- Some believe that Nightshade was spread to wider Aloria far earlier than is often assumed, perhaps as far back as the first wave of Qadir who left their homeland several centuries before the Cataclysm rather than just in the final few decades before that event.