Into her arms I thrust carnations and poppies, but neither did lull her to rest like the red-stained erythis flower...The dangers of magic are well-known. Kings and lords across the face of Istralar regularly have their meals tasted and checked for dark curses or strong potions, never daring to risk falling under the spell of their detractors. Indeed, there are many who live as a barrier against the harmful intent of others. It is a pity, for these fools are ever in danger of one of Gothadrun's most rare and prized of plants: the erythis flower. Despite its rarity, the flower is not unknown to those with an interest in botany - or mythology, for that matter. The erythis regularly makes appearances in Gothadruni fairytales, often functioning as the downfall of those who encounter it due to its latent magical properties. It is also one of the flowers druids and witches study during their early training, as an unexpected run-in with an erythis flower could potentially be deadly if one isn't aware of what the blossom can do. Somewhat luckily, the only current known source of erythisblumen is the Glühenwald - a thick forest located towards the southeastern edge of Gothadrun, where few have cause to go. The forest's caretakers employ serious force to ensure no foolish adventurer or traveller can wander into the area and trip across the erythisblumen. Even so, some do try. The allure of possessing one of the Living Daydreams is too much for many to handle.
In its early stages, an erythis flower is a small knot of white petals surrounded by equally pale green leaves. As it grows, the petals elongate into featherlike talons extending around a blackened centre, and the pale leaves and stem shed their light green to don a darker colour. Sharp thorns, not unalike those a rose bears, cluster along the stem to ward off unwanted predators. In full bloom, an erythis flower stands at approximately 50cm tall with leaves up to 12cm in length. The flower itself grows singly and tends to be approximately 10cm in diameter, though oversized blossoms with truncated stems and diameters closer to 20cm are not entirely uncommon. The flower is hermaphroditic, with both its pistil and stamen located in the aforementioned black centre of the otherwise white flower. At full maturity, the white petals take on a red colouration at the edges as production and emission of a red liquid occurs.
An erythis flower in its prime will emit a viscous red liquid from the tips of its sharp petals. This liquid smells incredibly sweet and intoxicating, and if swallowed, functions as an incredibly dangerous stimulant and healing potion. Those affected will crave more of the liquid and the flower itself, and will find their heart rates drastically raised as their body begins to regenerate and work at speeds rarely seen. If no treatment is sought within a few hours of consumption, the body of a consuming mortal will fail - either by triggering a heart attack, or by the regeneration and spread of other ailments already present in their system. In this matter, the erythisblumen can function as an incredible accelerant for existing poisons. Its taste, colour, and smell are, however, both incredibly distinctive and cannot be masked easily.
Ecology and Habitats
It's rude to take what isn't yours. Let them rest in their bed of choice.Erythisblumen are native to Gothadrun, and in fact can only naturally be found in the depths of Glühenwald. They enjoy the excess of water brought about by the region's consistent rainfall and flourish under the influence of the climate's warmer temperatures. Very few erythisblumen have been successfully cultivated outside of their native habitat. A collaboration between House Marchelle of the Aletheian Empire and the House of Falkenrath, known as the caretakers of the forests, lead to some of the first recent successes in external cultivation of the erythisblumen when they were able to achieve a full blossom in the year 5619. This effort was instrumental in discovering some of the plant's more obscure properties, though that research has since been ordered sealed by the combined governmental power of both Gothadrun and Aletheia.
The erythis flower is a perennial flower that blooms mostly in the autumnal months of Rova, Lamashan, and Neth. The flower remains functional throughout winter, but closes itself entirely by the first whispers of spring. When it reaches its second spring, the flower's petals lose all semblance of colour and soon wilt. Druidic magic has found some success in extending an erythis flower's lifespan, though the plant's supernatural properties grow weaker in intensity with every month it has been extended past its natural life.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
What is reality but yet another dream?Whilst the aforementioned liquid secreted by erythisblumen is incredibly dangerous, it remains the secondary danger to using an erythis flower. Breathing directly from the flower itself triggers an emission of the flower's addictive pollen, inducing sleep with extreme haste. This sleep does cure the deadly stimulant effect caused by the consumption of its liquid, but at a far greater cost than initially apparent. If the affected is able to wake up from their dreams, they will forever find reality to be a pale imitation of the dream the erythis crafted for them. The attractions of everyday life, both physical and mental, will cause them to only wish they could draw further breaths of the erythis. Should they be granted this 'blessing', they will return to the same dream that they once awakened from to continue living a second life in paradise. Even if they are only ever granted one opportunity to fall under an erythis flower's effect, the mental stain will never truly fade - not even powerful spells such as Break Enchantment or Remove Curse can cure the longing, though enchantment spells are effective in swaying attention to other subjects for a short time.
When these fantasy-creating properties were initially discovered, it was presumed that the erythisblumen would be effective at curing depressive states by rekindling a love for life. The first testers of the flower did indeed show a marked increase in happiness. But with each opportunity to enter an erythis flower's dream, their ability to wake up decreased. Their dreams began to last for days upon end, extending to weeks in those with stronger fortitude. The afflicted showed no desire to eat or drink, instead wishing for more of the flower's kiss. Where allowed, they simply never woke up. Resurrection magic was functional on their bodies, but their souls were resistant to returning. Curiously, the effect seems most impactful on those with magical ability. This has not been tested extensively, however.
This has not deterred the Gothadruni from experimenting further with the erythisblumen. Single petals and captured samples of pollen, whilst still possessing addictive and dream-altering properties, pale in comparison to the effects caused by the flower in full. Powerful sleep-assisting potions have been crafted from the erythis, and equally powerful healing potions produced from extremely diluted amounts of its liquid. The flower in full is rarely permitted to be used in recent days - though it has been requested and provisioned, under guidance, as an end-of-life care measure for certain important patients. It does, after all, enable a peaceful and painless death.
Breathe deeply. Drink of the sweet scent, and abandon that which harms you to the vulgarities of flesh.
Highly protected - gathered only by permission of Gothadruni nobility.