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Sweet Grass

It is fortunate that Eseret produces much Sweet Grass for the empire. Without them there would be much more flow of money to the Taurien or LizardKings in trade for their supply. It is a most wonderous crop- producing sweet taste, fiber and alcohol. It is pleasing to all and much desired. The Minotaur seem to have perfected the production, though they do so in small amounts. Thus Minotaur grass is always in demand and commands a premium price. Of course many try tricks to pass off lower quality or even fake grass. The stalks soaked in a wash of Sweet Grass juice to make them seem sweeter. Look close for the film of fine white or yellow dried crust as the tell tale. Beside the risk of cheat, there is the Rage.  Wipe the leaf with a clean cloth. Any sign of red dust should be cause to reject the whole shipment as contaminated with Rage. One red leaf spoils the bundle!

Basic Information

Anatomy

Sweet Grass is a cane grass that grows to about 1 meter tall. It has a central thick stalk and spiral pattern of long leaf shoots that become closer as they reach the top of the stalk. The leaf is green and the stalk brown with green streaking. A germinal flowering seed stalk will grow from the top after about -7 months in good weather, sometimes shorter in warmer climes. The seed stalk flowers are yellow and the seed a drab light tan.

Growth Rate & Stages

The grass grows rapidly - after sprouting it will add 1 cm a day or more.  As the plant ages the stalk becomes thicker and more fibrous.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Fresh Sweet Grass stalks are sectioned and eaten as a mildly sweet treat or used as a mild sweetener (such as stirring Dhoeen ) . They are frequently ground to a powder, chopped fine, or into crunchy chunks to be added as sweetener. Sometimes chunks are added just for the crisp pleasing crunchiness of the chopped stalk. The extraction of pure sugar is done by first soaking stalks in water, then chopping and then pressing to extract the juice which is condensed and purified into crystals and cubes of sugar. The stalks become thicker and more fibrous with age and lose sugar in the last year. The leaves and stalks of old plants are frequently used in basket weaving, some cloth, carpets and even cordage or rope. Dried, it may also be used as stuffing for pillows or mattresses as the plant gives a pleasant crisp scent. It is frequent that every other year the crop is allowed to go to seed. Sometimes more frequently when the seed are harvested for oil. This oil doesn't burn well and is used for cooking and brings a bright sunny, crispness to the things cooked in it.

The juice is also used to make alcohols like Grog and rum.

It is widely believed that Minotaur produced Sweet Grass and sugar are better quality and flavor. This makes it more valuable and causes some to pass fake Minotaur Sweet Grass products.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Sweet Grass is native to the plains of the East. The Taurien kingdoms and Eastern Eseret. It is too cold in Olia and too wet in most of The Core Torga isles and Golam lands. It does grow in the southern Golam provinces, The Fae Commonwealth, and the lands of the Lizard Kings (Peransaar).

Average Intelligence

The plant is mindless, but has a Ko  spirit which will cover a dozen or more plants. The Ko is generally sunny, happy and enthusiastic, if simple.

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

Sweet Grass is subject to insects and animals feeding upon it, and infection with molds.

There is a mold or smut infection called Rage. Rage is a fine, faint red colored dust that may grow on leaves and stalks. Sugar or chopped Sweet grass infected with this can cause those who ingest it to become irritable, angry, difficult and hostile at small doses and at higher concentration become consumed with a berserk mindless rage. Minotaurs, some herbalists and alchemists or apothecaries will actually cultivate the Rage infected Sweet Grass in small plots and use the Rage.

Minotaur especially engage the Ko or rage spirits with rituals and other practices. A Rage crop will be used as a place to vent anger and hostility- feeding the rage spirit. It is not so strange to see Minotaur of a settlement or tribe swearing, cursing, stomping, kicking, swinging at or throwing things and yelling in these Rage infected fields. Conversely Minotaurs will play music, sing and hold happy festive events in their Sweet Grass fields to encourage the positiveness of the Ko. Centaurs do not hold with this sort of practice, believing that the Ko should simply do it's designated functions. The Centaurs do fight Rage infection and it is standard practice that infected fields be burned and fields burned after harvest to kill any rage or other pests.

Civilization and Culture

Common Myths and Legends

It is said that Sweet Grass is a favorite of the Lares - minor spirit beings like Fairy, Gremlins / Tien, and Brownies. Offering of the grass or purified sugars is believed to gain the favor and friendliness of these beings.

Some hold that the bright, happy and sunny disposition of Sweet Grass makes the fields repulsive to Undead. The chopped stalks may be found added to salt in purification to repel ghosts or ghouls.
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Sweet Grass field
Lifespan
4-5 years.

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Cover image: https://azgaar.github.io/Fantasy-Map-Generator/ by mutterwolf

Comments

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9 Mar, 2021 20:47

Do Minotaur actually make better sweet grass? Or is it just marketing to increase their prices? Fun article all around. A lot of fun tidbits that really make the plant feel real.

12 Mar, 2021 05:07

That is a good question. Contented spirits make for better plants? Maybe!

11 Mar, 2021 16:01

Hello! Thank you for this nice little article. I liked the wide range of information you gave on this domesticated plant, its diseases and uses.   I am not exactly familiar with your world's spirits, but in the only article I found on the subject, I didn't see information regarding some Ko spirits. What are those, and do they influence the plant's growth, behavior or aspect?   Because I am a visual person, if I were to make a suggestion, it would be to add one or two additional pictures representing the plant and its disease (of course, if you do so, make sure to indicate the original artist of the pictures otherwise the challenge entry may not be valid)   Overall, that was a nice read and a good entry!

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
12 Mar, 2021 05:15

The Ko mention in The Spirits article needs some highlighting. The spirits. Ko are "swarm" spirits that might cover or be the life-force motivation of insects or a group of small plants where one spirit is fettered to many physical forms, maybe dozens or hundreds. Likewise a spirit of Gravel or pebbles encompasses a multitude of small stones while a boulder would have just one - if any.

17 Mar, 2021 14:36

Thank you for your answer! I did figure these would be some form of "group" or "swarm" spirits.

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
17 Mar, 2021 14:12

Oooh really interesting article! Loved the details throughout the article. The Rage is also a very nice touch! Nice work :D

Author of Interarcanum.
29 Mar, 2021 21:49

I liked the different uses for this plant and how it is an important part of the economy. I also liked the addition that it helps keeping undead away. I read in another comment about the spirit but perhaps this could be added as a tooltip or article link in the article itself? In all nice article!

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
31 Mar, 2021 04:53

Thank you for the time and attention. I have created a new Ko article just to address the Spirit classification.

11 Apr, 2021 05:30

This is a pleasant crop and I like how you've included the difference in growing practices between the minotaurs and the centaurs. I wonder what the minotaur do with the crops from the rage fields or how they use the rage.   I enjoyed reading this, but do think it would be much easier to read with an extra line between paragraphs.

- Hello from Valayo! And Happy Summer Camp!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
11 Apr, 2021 19:04

Great article :D I love how many uses you've found for that grass! And the different way they interact with the Rage is also super interesting :D   With such an important crop, does it have some political impact too? Or can the Rage be used as weapon? I'd imagine it could make some damage during a diplomatic meeting…

11 Apr, 2021 19:20

Once the event is done, I'll make the edits. Rage is basically capable of just low anger and hostility in low doses.....say if you want to provoke a fight you may sprinkle it in a drink or food. The Minotaurs use it to invoke the Rage Spirit for a berserker state of increased attack, accuracy, damage and shrugging off the effects of all but fatal wounds while under the Rage.

16 Apr, 2021 19:03

Oooh, this sounds like it's really in danger of a plague eliminating it, since they're extremely depending on a mono-crop. o,o

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young