Seeking the Dragon Fruit Tradition / Ritual in Adazuri | World Anvil

Seeking the Dragon Fruit

Near the border of Kudinyana Kingdom, close to the Perennial Woodlands, is a village of dragon kindred humans whose branches are far removed from their original clans. During the birth records, the Bongiba (bon-GIB-a) Village rarely reports magical kindred. However, at the age of 15 many arrive for recruitment at Jugonshi Academy.  

Dragon Fruit

  The Bongiba inhabitants derive their magical abilities from Dragon Fruit, a magical food with a silver peel that resembles opalescent pearl dragon scales. The green fleshy pulp within contains no seeds. Those who eat the dragon fruit cannot place the flavor. All describe it differently. Like the spring dew gathered in the first light of sunrise. Or the chaste lips of a first surreptitious kiss. Dragon fruit, which can only be found in the Perennial Woodlands, are extremely rare. Their trees only bloom one fruit a year. Dragon fruit trees never seem to be in the same location twice.   Eating the full dragon fruit infuses folk with draconic magic. Once a day, they have the ability to sprout moonlit ethereal dragon wings and gain a fly speed equal to their walking speed for one hour. They can use a random 1st level spell (such as good berry or faerie fire) as a cantrip, but also gain a permanent weakness (such as losing the ability to swim or vulnerability to fire). Only a wish spell can remove the weakness, but in doing so, the user also loses their magic. Eating a second dragon fruit will remove the draconic magic, while maintaining the weakness.  

The Journey

  At the age of fourteen, Bongiba inhabitants undergo a coming-of-age ritual to discover if they have the strength to sustain draconic magic. At sunrise on the day they turn 14, Bongibas venture into the Perennial Woodlands with no weapons, subsistence, tools, or shelter. They can return with pride, a dragon fruit in hand, or after a full year with the demoralizing truth that they will never find true strength. Many never return, whether from shame or death.  
Those who have tasted the Dragon Fruit recall strange dreams of ethereal locales during their travels in the woodlands. Some believe that those who never return are actually swept away to the Outcast Rondure of the Fae. Of course, this could be wishful thinking from mourning parents.
  Few who enter the Woodlands return with a dragon fruit. The woodlands are brimming with dark and dangerous creatures such as the intelligent, magically-inclined oni who enjoy the taste of human flesh. Furthermore, those who enter must learn to live off of what the woodlands provide. The journey's primary purpose was once to train as hunters. However, the magical appeal of dragon fruit have uplifted many families through their children marrying into wealthy or powerful clans.   Finding a dragon fruit tree is an exercise in futility. Finding one in bloom, next to impossible. When a young Bongiba human discovers a dragon fruit, they are quick to keep it hidden from any other people they encounter. In the Woodlands, the young seekers are at odds with one another. It is not unheard of for a child to kill another that has possession of a dragon fruit. Some will even attack others in order to reduce competition.   Those who are successful in finding a dragon fruit recall it was not through their endless seeking that they came across the tree with bark as bright as the silver of a full winter moon. Rather, the pathway freely unfurled through their dreams. A message of longing and hope for the future. A world so strange, yet so beautiful that it haunts their dreams decades after returning.  

The Return

  Those who find a dragon fruit must return to Bongiba in silence. They are sequestered for three days. On the first sunrise, they eat their dragon fruit in the presence of the village's oralist. Their family waits outside of the sequestered building, fasting and hoping to hear their newly-infused child regale the tale of finding the dragon fruit. The oralist repeats this tale only to the choreographer, who has one day to shape a performance. During the second sunrise, a magical elder enters and provides training, ensuring the dragon fruit infused spellcaster can control their power and helping them discover their hidden weakness.   On the third sunrise, there is a celebration. A feast is held; the hunters prepare a large bear for all the village to share. Trained dancers and bards perform a special ceremonial dance, which lasts for hours. The dance, set to finely crafted string music and drums, relates the newly-infused adult's personal journey in finding the dragon fruit and the trials they overcame along the way. At the end of the night, the newly-infused adult displays their powers for the village to behold during a mock battle with the magical elder.   Those who return without a dragon fruit are still regarded as adults in the village. However, there is no celebration. Rather, their families begin to make preparations for them to marry somebody else within the village. Marriage for dragon fruit infused adults is delayed so that they can attend Jugunshi Academy and develop stronger ties with other clan members who attend.
Imagine a roll table here. Roll one d20 for your first level spell that acts as a cantrip. Roll a second d20 for your permanent weakness. Would you take a bite of the Dragon Fruit?

Cover image: by Upklyak


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