“Welcome guests, Oh, my you’re a tall one.” “Thank you, High One, I am Hamburg, and this is Maelle, we are visiting from third circle in Megamisama.” “So glad you could join us, Aumhavar Hamburg.” “I am not as high as many in here, please, I will be just Hamburg. Who is blessing Tcha in this august assemblage?” “I see a tall head right behind you, so I suspect that is Aumhivina De Byzance.” “Thank you, I shall take my place, but I have brought a ritual gift for her, do let me know when it is proper for me to give it to her.” “Welcome Maelle, I see you serve the elements and also in Meihomei’s Navy?” “Thank you High One, yes, it is my privilege to command KEMS Yesugai, second ship of Meihomei’s Own Megamisama Fleet.” “Second? But I know a little of Yesugai, a very famous ship, what ship could it be second to?” “Why, to EMS Great Kagome herself, Meihome’s own flagship.” “Glory to them both, I’m sorry to be brief, but I will expect some tales over tcha.” “I will tell what I can, but some must remain secret.” “Welcome Aumhava Kimi.” “We are not in Mountain Home, I am not Mei here.” “You’re being silly, we are in Dunkehl, certainly that is part of your Aumhavar.” “I must insist, no, we are not, Highest here is your son, Dan, Silver Law, Earlmage and First Centre.” “I am still honored you made the trip, I would make the return trip in a heartbeat, to drink Tcha from Mountain Home.” “That’s why I’m here. I let you take some from Temple Guardian, so obviously, I want a taste.” “Welcome Aumhivina.” “Aumhava Dunkehl-for-life.” “Oh, posh you, get yourself a seat, we expect you to work for your tcha. And Hamburg says he wants to honor our Tcha especially today.” “Oh, and who’s Hamburg?” “One of the few persons taller than you, tonight, I expect.” “My, not just tall, whoever put him together got nice moves. I’ll go sit.” “Assalina, I’m told you are to be tested.” “It won’t hurt… wil it?” “No, silly, if anything, you can slap your husband silly right back, if he tries to get fresh.” “Posh, I already do that…” “Well, not every wife is as confident as you…” “Welcome Trini, with your wife being tested, I expect you to be on your best behaviour.” “I… thought I’ve been… lately.” “Yes, do keep up the good work dear.” “Stop that Assalina, just because she calls me dear is no reason to be jealous, she calls everyone on the carpet dear if they come often.” “I’m just grabbing your butt dear, I’ll be able to return the favor now, won’t I?” “Well, nothing stopping you, least of all me.” He gave her a lascivious look. “Now, now, this is High Tcha, not a debauch, do keep your clothes on you two.” “Aw, must we?” “Yes, you must, well Assalina might need to wear something less warm, but that’s it.” “What? Why? I’m comfy like this.” “First manifestation sometimes gives a woman a case of the vapours dear. Just so you know.” “Oh. And we’re trying to induce this manifestation?” “If you can manifest, you’re a sorceress dear, if you can’t you’re mundane. Please do have a seat, I don’t think I’ve had so many guests for Tcha in a long time.” “Oh?” “Well, for a manifestation, we invite at least a full circle, but I’m counting more like a high circle right now.” “High circle?” “Over thirty people, just to keep the explanation short.” “My.” “Welcome Jaimee and Jarrod, so nice of you to join us.” “We brought some scones since it seems they go well with the Tcha.” “You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar, scoot, go sit, I can’t believe how many guests we have, we might need a second carpet.” “Way ahead of you, my wife, I’ve set up Tcha on the second floor, with that huge golden carpet we keep for grand occasions.” “Oh, thank you Tan, so considerate.” “Nyakki, and guest?” “Thank you, Meiho, I brought my man-candy, Mailmaster Varley, I hope I’m not imposing.” “Your guests are always so very well behaved Nyakki, I’m sure he’ll do fine.” Varley just bowed. “So very polite.” “Xiang, is that you?” “Yes, it's me, and I’ve brought a guest, hope it’s not an imposition.” “First Sword Tollborg, so nice to see you again.” “Meiho, you honour my name.” “I’m glad to see you in a bit less formal circumstance, you’ve defended my life so often.” “It was my duty, but also a privilege, no one thinks we did anything but a fantastic job since you’ve lived long enough to retire.” “Mirsala, so good to see you.” “Exalted.” “Now now, you’re exalted too, and practically living here.” “I’d live here if Dan didn’t… Honestly, I find it awkward he doesn’t have his own place.” “What, that he’d walk in on you?” “Heck, I’d find it awkward if he walked in on you, and I had to hear about it.” “Ok, you got me there.” “Assalina’s testing is a step on the future of the circle, you know that you were among the first ones I ever tested.” “I remember, I had such a huge crush on you, even then.” “Hush, and go sit, not in the centre dear, that’s Sothlee’s job today.” “Honored one.” “Bameita Mikhala. Do have a seat, hopefully, we won’t have Tcha you’d rather throw away.” “I’m sure it’s fine, I had some of Clovertcha before, and it was quite good, I’m looking forward to trying little green.” “We can’t have any of the three, not for a resonance testing, I’m afraid.” “Oh, no?” “Only Temple Guardian is elementally neutral enough.” “Temple guardian? That forest of thorns people insult me by calling a single bush?” “The very forest itself. I had to get a special dispensation to cull it with my family, and only Pom didn’t get horrible bleeding prickles.’ “She’s already seated in the middle, I can see her from the stairs, no worries.” “Carmine, so good of you to join us, any upcoming movies?” “No, well, nothing I could show your family anyways.” “Oh dear, well you can show me, and I’ll decide if it’s family-friendly enough.” Doka winked. “Oh, probably not, make that, surely not, it’s more something for a lover with a nice mosquito net.” “Just one?” “Well ok, if you got more, it’ll do, watch the heat though, it’s… gotten me quite involved and bothered just making it.” “Oh, that’s just what I had in mind. Let me know the details later, I certainly will want to watch it.” “Mei, Mishal, you’re just in time! Rei and Sosua too.” “Sorry, I didn’t know I had to bring a gift.” “Silly boy, if we expected you to supply the gift, we’d have let you know. Our guests from afar have priority.” “Keia, Firrson, please do take a seat. Do I need to separate you from Mishal?” “No, no, he’s apologized.” She lied. “Ok, you incredibly loud people, simmer down, I’m only going to say this once!” .. noise subsides “Thank you, Jarrod for the offering of scones, we’ll pig out on them and won’t make you the insult of having any to bring back home. As for you, Hamburg and Maelle, you mentioned a gift?” “Err, yeah, Aumhivina De Byzance, please accept this gift.” “Oh, my, this is heavy.” She unwraps the small gift, revealing a silver-coloured plaque, bearing the words: “Ten demons, and counting.” “Oh, my, how did you hear about that, way over in Megamisama?” “We have our ways. So we didn’t miscount?” “No, although I did reach eleven last night, thanks to an assist by Demon Huntress Rei. No way you could have heard that in time for the plaque” “Eleven! Amazing!” “Ok, now that we’ve given the gifts, take your ritual assigned seating. Assalina, sit in front of Sothlee, in the centre of everyone. “Ok, and?” “And wait…” Rei sat in Sothlee’s lap, revealing what Doka had been suspecting for a while, that Rei was Sothlee’s weakness. Mirsala sat in Dan’s lap, which… made Doka twitch, once. Jarrod seated Jaimee in his, balancing her carefully, Nyakki barked a command, and Amicus Varley sat her gingerly in his. Kimi sat in Trini’s lap, her Qipao barely long enough for polite company. Pom sat by herself, Xiang sat in Tholborg’s, Misty and Mikhala sat alone, Doka sat in Tan’s lap, Maelle sat in Hamburg’s, he looked a bit nervous. “I could wear that dress better than you do, Meiho.” “Why didn’t you? It would have power for you, just as it does for me.” “What? It’s just a thing from my homeland.” “Here, it is foreign and exotic and entices the men quite a bit. Oh behave Trini, I’m not trying to make your wife more jealous than she already is. Just trying out the power of the dress.” “Hmm, should I change?” “If you can change by magic, it would certainly settle which element is yours, but if not, we can’t stop the ceremony for it.” “Hmm, so what am I supposed to do?” “We will perform rites of each element, if you feel a twinge of recognition, of sympathy, you will know the feeling, and let us know, and we will stop, and explore your link to each element. We will start with Jaimee and Jarrod.” “I love you, I’ve missed you Jarrod.” “You’ve been out of my arms just n hour.” “It’s enough for someone from Union dear.” “Hmm, no I’m not feeling anything, should I?” Assalina answered, feeling the looks of everyone at her. “Keia, can I?” “We’ve certainly been through enough dear.” Without further ado, Keia kissed Firrson, whom she had known for years, carrying on a crush on him for some time. “Still nothing.” “Jealousy is only pretty with people from Union, but that’s just my opinion.” Said Doka. “You may touch me, my servant.” Nyakki said to Amicus. Nothing. “Hey Sensei, I’m not chopped liver, you know, you can touch me when I’m in your lap like this…” said Maelle to Hamburg, who awkwardly grabbed her behind. ‘Ok, I’m feeling something now, what does it mean?” Nyakki added: “It seems you’re a submissive leading from the bottom, you expect our strictures, but you won’t impose them on others usually....” “Do we stop now?” “Oh, no, just because you have a reaction doesn’t mean you can’t have a stronger one, later. We go through the whole circle.” “You like this, don’t you Trini, this exotic dress, from your homeland, and with markings of a priestess there too, I checked.” “Hmmm, yeah” “Is this necessary?” “Concentrate, your being jealous might mask sympathy…” “What, you mean…” “If you feel how attracted she is to him she makes him, that would trigger the jealousy..” “Oh, I do.. Damn, this is normal for you people?” “We try not to let it get in the way, and I certainly expected a different element, knowing Trini, really.” “What?” “Trini’s getting into trouble with you so much with Pom and Misty, I expected one of those.” “I’m next after Ami, Auntie, so don’t give up on forbidden either.” “Ami? What’s different about you today, I can’t put my finger on it…” “What, you can’t tell?” “Hair?” “No.” “Change of glasses?” “No.” ‘What is it?” “Top is shorter than I usually go for… I guess you’re not seeing much cleavage, cuz I don’t have any…” “I’m seeing some of that, but… is it wrong that I want to show off how much more I got?” “It’s not very polite if you did it Assalina, but yes, that’s definitely resonance.” “Oh.” “Pom’s next.” “Get off him Kimi.” “That harridan!” “Hold your horses, we’ve been over this. Just calm down.” “You like it when I do this, don’t you Trini?” Rubbing her behind against him, teasing him in front of everyone. “What, of course, I see it, damn, I’m not getting a twinge, it’s a full-body shiver.” Pom just walks off him. “Stop this Rei, I’m not ok with you kissing me in front of everyone.” “Too bad.” She claims a kiss. “Ok, I’m feeling that too. Why are we doing this twice?” “Because we have people of these elements there, if we had a full three-ring circle, we’d have more Dominance, Union, Serendipity, Lucre. Dominance is here thanks to our guests, but we’d still try for more.” “Mirsala, why are you here?” “Hmm, I just couldn’t help myself…” “Hmm,, stop that, not in front of everyone.” “You can’t stop yourself either.” “I’m feeling… I’m feeling them both, what about the male elements?” “We almost never have so many, and in such variety dear, but honestly, I don’t know if we can test for resonance properly in that case. With Dan being Forbidden, I’m not surprised you feel them both, but I’m counting it as his Forbidden, not her Duty, or his Gallantry either.” “Why not?” “Because, well, as a woman, it’s a bit rarer for you to identify more with the man over his male first elements, although it could happen. Also, he’s not acting very gallantly right now.” “It did, but he wasn’t, I mean, I felt some resonance, but with her, even If I wanted to be in his shoes.” “Oh, well I’m fairly sure Master Varley is a mundane though. Maybe we can redo the test later.” “How?” “We’ll ask Nyakki if there’s a sorcerer she’s comfy dominating. Or being dominated by. You didn’t feel it when Hamburg did you?” “Hmm, I.. got something from both of them then, I think. What does that mean?” “Usually means you’re a switch, in terms of raw dominance, but maybe you like a gallant man resisting temptation as well.” “That was him resisting?” “Yes.” Maelle was laughing. “What does he do, when he’s not?” “I usually can’t get him to that, my aunt gets all of the goods.” “He’s… your aunt’s lover?” “Well my aunt adopted me, so I guess… he’s my stepdad?” “And you’re strongest in Dominance, not Forbiddden?’” “First Dominance, second Forbidden. He’s fairly strong in both.” “Oh.” “Seems you are somewhat strong in Forbidden, Fetish, Dominance so far.” “Is it common to have many?” “Four or five is usually the limit. Like Sothlee here.” “Five?” “My five strongest are physical, fetish, duty, serendipity and dominance.” “How strong is your sixth?” “My lucre is much lower than my dominance, that’s how we know.” “Hmm, such a good looking man you are Tholborg. Hmm” Tholborg was returning her caresses. “Hmm, no, although they’re so good looking, I’m getting a purely physical thing.” “Yeah, and that’s normal, and it’s important for this testing that you tell the two apart, good job.” Misty just walks into Trini’s lap, kisses him hard, and walks out. “What? I just felt like it.” “Nothing… Well I want to punch her, but that’s not magical.” “Glad we got that out of your system.” “Doka, am I chopped liver?” “Don’t be silly dear, I feel like a fraud sometimes, because it’s never just duty with you, you’re too ridiculously good looking for that.” “Look who’s talking, I’m surprised your element is duty, you could pass for Physical any day.” “Flattery is just going to confuse the issue dear.” “Nope, nothing. What was I supposed to get. I just don’t understand those two.” “Them and Mirsala have duty binding them to each other, they’ve been working together, in politics, for instance, for quite a while, and felt their duty prevented them from being together. Mirsala’s attraction to Dan is pulling her away a bit, or they’d be sitting both on his lap.” “Mikhala, stop that, you know you can have it, but not in front of everyone.” “I’m giving up so much to do my duty, sometimes I just want what I want. Can’t I get a kiss, at least?” Their lips met. “Ok, not this one either.” Carmine just walked up to Jarrod, kissed him, with his wife still in his lap. “What’s the meaning of this?” “I’ve had a few instances where a couple with a union as strong as yours hired me before, wanting to spice up their nights.” “Oh, so you’re not just offering yourself to him?” “Should I offer myself to you too? That costs extra.” “Hmm, how much extra?” mumbled Jarrod. “Jaimee just slapped him behind the head. “Behave.” “Hmm nothing, although I do get the attraction, on a physical level.” “What do you mean?” “Hmm, well if me and Trini do make up, we might need to invite Carmine over.” “Oh, you lush, that won’t be free, just to be clear.” Carmine was blushing. “I expected nothing else. So, verdict?” “Strong in Fetish, Dominance, Forbidden, usually elements of air water and fire are not in a single person, it’s fairly rare.” “Do we have the right people to evaluate her powers here?” “No, and it sometimes changes as a person starts to use them. Let’s let her be for a while, and retest her in half an arnd. ..Elsewhere in the house, about an hour later “What was with the blushing, earlier?” “I just felt like an idiot for not pegging that Assalina might be into this.” “Her and Trini are mercurial enough, it’s not surprising, half the time we’re worried they’ll run out of crockery, the other, they’re lovey-dovey like Jarrod and Jaimee.” “Why so changing though?” “Hmm I think it might be that their elements weren’t in balance, partly because we didn’t know which elements were Assalina’s, so they’re always fighting.” “And Assalina’s elements are not the quietest either.” “Well, Fetish and Forbidden are in our defensive ring, so that should be stable.” “Yeah, but Dominance would be in the offensive, didn’t we hear someone joining for exactly that job?” “Yeah, Layla, apparently an uppity lil pixie of a Dominant who writes books.” “You’re not telling me everything about that blush, Carmine.” “Oh, I.. I guess I was more attracted to Assalina than Jaimee, I felt bad for thinking it, but it’s true.” “She has that ruddy vitality Jaimee’s put away since she married Jarrod.” “What’s with those two?” “Oh, they’re growing into each other, even if Jaimee isn’t growing away from Dan, either.” “How close are they?” “Dan and Jaimee?” “Yeah.” “Jaimee’s in his top four, no idea how, but I suspect I’m just not invited to whatever she does that he likes.” “Same here, I mean, I’m not invited.” “I think it has something to do with Pom, Misty, Jaimee and Nyakki all growing up with him, and Jaimee’s the only one of them who’s not in the Aixpee-Nyakki family.” “She lives in the same four-house corner of an alley, too, they’ve practically grown up together.” “Oh, so not adult feelings, necessarily, but the closeness of childhood.” “They’ve never really grown apart. They’re barely apart, period. No wonder they’re close.” “Jaimee’s getting along with his parents?’ “Auntie Doka gets along great with the whole circle, you know that.” “And the gift, Jarrod and her bringing it is usually a family friend thing.” “Yeah, Mirsala’s a bit harder on Jaimee though, but she’s lived with Tan and Doka less, so their friendship carries the most weight.” “What’s with that?” “I guess Mirsala’s a bit angry that Union is making her partnership with either of Tan and Doka unequal.” “Her Forbidden tryst with Dan would have me concerned too.” “I don’t think they knew, not for sure, until today.”
Growth Rate & Stages
All specimens grow without stopping for their entire lifetime. An exceptional specimen can reach 6 meters tall, and a four-metre diameter at the crown, over its first four decades of life. There is one particular specimen whose 200 years old, whose "bush" covers a 200m x 200m square and reaches 8 metres tall. Its boughs, heavy with spines, can kill any mammal dropped on it from puncture wounds.
Ecology and Habitats
Small birds hide within the spiny boughs, avoiding predators. Smart predators larger than a mouse avoid these bushes, but some scorpions and birds developed hunting tactics that protect them from the spines and let them hunt the smaller game that hides in this plant's sheltered shade.
Dietary Needs and Habits
This plant needs much the same as a common tea-hybrid rose you can find at your local greenhouse.
Tcha has no natural predators, insects avoid it as its alkaloid content is a near-perfect mix of insecticides. Birds sometimes target the seeds, whose vitamin content is quite nutritious, but arndans seldom let the flowers reach that stage, for they have found many uses for the medicinal compounds in the flower.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
- The flowers are used in medicine
- The leaves are used in drink
- The fruit is eaten by birds and used as a lure for birds and fish
- Dead plant matter is used as fertilizer for tomatoes, Oranges and other Tcha plants