There is a tremendous variety of plant life on Gaia, as varied as the topographies that support it. There are several varieties of grasses, each adapted to their own particular environment. This is true for almost all types of vegetation. There are great forests of hardwoods, including giant redwoods and massive old pines, mosses, and lichens that grow on the rocks and trees, even in the highest meadows. Some tough, drought-resistant grasses and plants such as cactus thrive in the desert wastes.
The various races have domesticated many plants. There are numerous varieties of fruit trees that have been cultivated and nurtured. Several types of wild grape are farmed and grace the dinner tables in the form of wines, jams, and jellies. A hardy winter wheat has been turned into a yearly crop by farmers. Along with these items, there are several varieties of potatoes that grow quite well underground even in the harshest winters.
Numerous varieties of coffee and teas are grown and traded as well, although, to date, only Harkania March produces the fine coffees as well as a one or two of the stronger varieties of black tea. The majority of teas come from Stygia and Xia, as do the common coffees.
Also known as Blood Tips, merasha is a fleshy tubular plant native to the tropical regions of Gaia. It can be cultivated in hothouses, but it is not easy to keep it alive under artificial conditions.
Merasha has long been used as a medicinal plant because of its opiate type sedative properties. It is the most powerful painkiller known on Gaia for the Menfolk races. For Cymry, it has other properties that can be mild to deadly poisonous.
Compounded and administered correctly, merasha can affect those with arcane abilities to varying degrees.
The oil in the plant’s leaves is at its most powerful when the tips of each tube turn dark red. Piercing the red tip and gently squeezing the oil out is the best method of extraction. Cutting the leaf and draining the oil diminishes its effectiveness. Extracting the oil before the tips redden renders its medicinal qualities inert.
Drops of the sweet tasting oil can be added to various solutions such as tea, wine or water for ingesting as a painkiller or as a nefarious way to get merasha into the system of an unsuspecting Cymry. It can also be added to food without losing its potency. Adding it to creams or rubbing a bit of the oil directly on the skin makes it an effective topical anesthetic but it will be absorbed by the skin thus still rendering it effects on some magic users.
Many Cymry use a compound of merasha and black lotus as a recreational narcotic. Prepared properly and combined with other ingredients, it also works as a form of birth control.
Effects and Uses
Effects: painkiller, topical anesthetic, sedative; no severe side effects. A large enough dose of the pure oil will kill.
Uses: dull or eliminate pain, put a patient to sleep for surgery or other medical procedures.
Effects: hallucinogen, magic inhibitor, poison, birth control. Merasha disrupts a Cymry’s abilities to use any of their powers for a specific period of time based on the dosage administered. It can also cause severe hallucinations. Cymry that use it as a recreational narcotic call its effects Dream Tripping.
Uses: poison, power inhibitor, disorient, birth control (must be combined with other ingredients). An infinitesimally small amount goes a long way. A needle dipped in merasha is all it takes to cause at least mild disorientation.
During a Cymry’s arcane training, they are exposed to merasha and its effects so they can recognize it and, to a small degree, cope with its effects. No Cymry can totally withstand the effects of merasha.
Effects: causes vivid nightmares, slightly poisonous. Sidhe can die from the oil because it disrupts the flow of their fea.
Effects: inebriant, painkiller. Merasha oil eliminates pain but also causes severe inebriation.
The Graysteel oak is a large tree, native to Elderwood. It is distinguished by its evergreen foliage and the spreading tangle of its limbs and branches. Once the bark is stripped, the wood of the tree is a dull gray color but can be polished to a metal-like silvery sheen. It also holds a razor-sharp edge.
Many of the very traditional Sidhe prefer to carry bladed weapons made from the wood of the Graysteel. The wood is too hard to be used for bows although archers prize arrows with graysteel shafts.
Distribution: Kingdom of Elderwood, Saramaganta Mountains, Chyra Alaya.