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Ethynroot

Ethynroot is a marvelous plant. It gains very little credit outside of our communities, for those who can spellwrite are easily able to do without it. But for us, it is vital. And because it is vital, it is sacred.
— Thespian speaking to a young child
  Ethynroot is a small, bush-like plant, that grows in abundance across the continent of Mythia. Treated by many as a weed, especially those in urban areas, ethynroot is near-revered by the Thespians people for its incredible versatility as both a curative substance and a deadly poison, depending on its preparation.  

Appearance

 
Ethynroot-Journal.jpg
by Andrew Booth
Ethynroot typically grows to about half a metre high, and can spread near-indefinitely if not constrained by a lack of available ground or other means, such as active control by humans. It is characterised by its distinctive clumps, almost looking as though it is made of multiple smaller bushes, and its red-brown leaves. As indicated by the name, however, the roots of the plant are its most useful part. These roots are easily observed to be just below the ground, and often form small ridges of dirt showing their paths. When exposed, they are thin and spindly, and quite pale in colour.  
I've never truly understood the fascination the Thespians have with such a weed. Perhaps, like much of the rest of their culture, it is a fascination with primitive methods, in order to overcome their inability with spellwriting.
— Keskeret Tea, Elitist
 

Properties

Ethynroot can be used in multiple ways. In its raw form, all parts of the plant are mildly poisonous - consuming the unprocessed leaves or roots will cause minor food poisoning symptoms and prolonged contact with the skin will leave a pink tinge, that will develop into a mild rash over the next three to four days. This form is of limited use, being unsuitable even for most poisons, but it is believed to have been used before by those who wish only to remove targets from a situation from a small amount of time.   The most common way that ethynroot is used is as a curative substance, particularly among communities that have little access to ailmentwrits such as small rural villages or Thespian troupes. Both the leaves and roots can be used in this way, but the preparation methods differ slightly.
 

Leaf Preparation for Medicine

  The leaves are collected using a sickle and care is taken not to touch them with bare skin so as to avoid a rash. Once collected, they are crushed using a mortar and pestle before being heated over a fire for between two and three minutes. During this time, an acrid vapour rises from the leaves and they wilt, changing from dull red to greyish-black. After cooling, the leaves are mixed with water (and occasionally honey, to sweeten the taste), and dissolve, producing a gritty solution. This solution can be imbibed, and is useful for a variety of treatments including those of respiratory illnesses and some forms of dysentry.
   

Root Preparation for Medicine

  The roots are typically used differently, although if prepared in the same manner as the leaves can provide the same curative properties, albeit less strongly. More often, however, they are ground up into a fine powder and combined with honey and various forms of crushed amber or raw tree sap, in order to form the liquid base for a poultice. When applied to open wounds, the mixture can prevent infection - some theorise that the poison damages the demons that bring infections, while others believe that the smell scares them away. There are also those who hold that the mix increases the speed of healing, but there is no clear consensus on this property.  
First, do no harm. Second, if the Sovereign tells you to, ignore that first rule.
— Therran Espionage handbook
 

Preparation for Poisons

The exact method of preparation of ethynroot into a strong poison is not officially recorded anywhere. It is assumed that Thespians pass the knowledge between trusted individuals across generations. However, it is commonly known that the first step is combining both the leaves and the roots together and heating, due to the risk of doing so when preparing multiple treatments from the plant. The poison's effects are similar in nature to those of the raw plant, but much more severe; ethynroot poison induces severe food poisoning symptoms and a full-body rash, and will kill the afflicted within 3-5 days unless treated adequately. Most stock treatments for poisoning don't work on ethynroot, and a greater ailmentwrit is typically required. Ethynroot poison is known to have been used in several high-profile poisonings over the years, especially in the Plains kingdoms. These events are typically tied to a rise in hostility against Thespians due to their cultural association with the plant, despite the fact that there is never any clear evidence for their involvement.  

Cultural Significance

You're not to tell anybody else of this place. Understand? The knowledge that is contained in here is given by Ionzsa. To us, and nobody else.
— Thespian Herbalist, to their protegé.
In Thespian culture, ethynroot is one of several sacred plants. Oral histories of their people indicate that it was one of the first curative plants discovered and used upon their arrival on the shores of Mythia, and many common tales deal with the discovery of the plant by a prophet, although the name of said prophet varies based on the ancestry and location of the teller. Some even say that the discoverer was Ionzso in earthly form, in one of his few voyages among the Thespian population after they had arrived in Mythia itself.  
drawing.jpg
Drawing by Andrew Booth with Wikimedia (1) (2)
Due to the sacredness of the plant within Thespian culture, its collection and use is done in a very controlled and reverent way. Typically, only those who are elders of a troupe are permitted to collect the plant, and do so in reverent ceremony using a sickle set aside for the express purpose of collecting it. Ethynroot is almost never collected by Thespians for purposes other than medicine, except in the case of making strong poison for dangerous predators.   Typically, Thespian campsites are set up within walking distance of a sample of ethynroot. Because they must also camp near a town to ply their trade as entertainers, this conflicts with the fact that the town's inhabitants typically treat the plant as a weed. Thus, Thespian campsites are typically near the edges of the town, so that they can be near an uncontrolled supply of ethynroot. If a Thespian sees someone unnecessarily removing a sample of ethynroot, they will often offer to take the plant off their hands before taking it to be used - most see the waste of the plant as the waste of Ionzso's gift, and therefore sacrilege.

In Literature

Other than the oral histories of the Thespian people, ethynroot is immortalised in a poem, often set to music, describing the love affair between a Plainsman and a Thespian.
  Take a while
To see me smile
I cannot follow
Where ethynroot grows
You take the bush track
While I walk the road
I cannot follow
Where ethynroot grows
You know the sacred place
You know the grove
But I cannot follow
Where ethynroot grows
  The name of the Plainsman is lost to memory, but it is thought that the Thespian may have been one of the original settlers, Thein Dance-Weaver, known for their exceptional versatility in the Thespian community as both a performer and a prop-maker. The wider tale deals with the protectiveness that many Thespian communities have around ethynroot, going so far as to exclude outsiders from the areas where they cultivate it - this is often born out of a belief that the outsiders will sabotage the cultivated beds just as they do with many of the wild plants.

Medicinal use outside of Thespian Culture

  Although most have no need for the plant due to the large variety of ailmentwrits now available, some herbalists still use it, particularly in small rural communities where paper or other writing implements are scarce. Its use is typically limited and some, particularly elitist spellwriters, avoid it, believing it to be an inferior herb to others due to its association with Thespians.  

Farming

  The plant is available in the wild in large quantity, such that farming is typically not needed. Thespians especially do not farm the plant, due to their nomadic ways. However, it is in theory possible to cultivate the plant outside of its typical growing areas - all one would need is a patch of earth and a sample of the plant or some seeds. It is theorised that most of the plant kept for poison use is grown in this way, to avoid dependance on external crops.

Related Articles

Thespians
Ethnicity | Oct 1, 2020
Herbalist
Profession | Dec 27, 2020

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Comments

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27 Mar, 2021 04:24

I really like the history and cultural significance of this plant as well as your poem

- Hello from Valayo! And Happy Summer Camp!
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
27 Mar, 2021 10:08

Thank you! I had to think quite hard in this one, I'm glad to see it paid off!

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
27 Mar, 2021 10:19

What a great article! I like the way the plant has impacted the culture to the point that they even set up camps near patch of ethylroot. The process of creating the ointment and the medicine from the plant was also well thought out.   But above all the use of the song really makes this article stand out! Very nice read!

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
27 Mar, 2021 21:02

Thank you so much! It's nice to hear that people are enjoying the song :D

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
27 Mar, 2021 10:42

Great article! I love your poem and rendition of it.   You drawing is also nice, though it's a bit too small to read without clicking on it - but I don't know if you want to bother changing the format of the article for that since its fine if we just click on it. I like the format of the page as it is, it looks nice with all the images. You could also change the related article to show them as blockquotes to fill the empty space left and to highlight them.   I like the fact that everyone is dismissive of the plant except the Thespian who are super protective of it :D   I also love the different theories about how/why the medicine is effective.   I don't think you've explained the effect the plant has when prepared as a deadly poison. Is it distinctive enough that people would know for sure it was what was used? Since the Thespian were accused.   I'm not sure about the logical link in this sentence: "Typically, Thespian campsites are set up within walking distance of a sample of ethynroot, hence why they are often on the outside of settlements where the plant is treated as a weed." Whoa re treating the plants like weed here? Not the Thespian right? And if they are closed to the plants, why would they be close to a settlement? Unless the plant grow next to settlements?

Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
27 Mar, 2021 21:00

Thank you so much for all this feedback!   I agree that the image is a bit small - I might switch it out with one of the larger ones in the article for readability. Blockquotes is also a good plan, I'll have a look at that.   Effect of the poison is a good point - one of those cases where it's in my head but I've forgotten to put it on the page haha. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the symptoms of strong poison prepared from ethynroot are similar to those of the base plant - it appears like a particularly severe case of food poisoning, accompanied by a full-body rash. The poisoned person, if left untreated, will die within 3-5 days of initial ingestion. Ethynroot poisoning is unique enough that many common poisoning treatments don't work on it, so generally the use of ethynroot can be determined by process of elimination.   And yes, that sentence is confusing, I will rewrite. "Typically, Thespian campsites are set up within walking distance of a sample of ethynroot. Because they must also camp near a town to ply their trade as entertainers, this conflicts with the fact that the town's inhabitants typically treat the plant as a weed. Thus, Thespian campsites are typically near the edges of the town, so that they can be near an uncontrolled supply of ethynroot." Or something, I'm sure I can make it a little shorter :P   Again, thank you for all the feedback, and I'm really glad you liked the article!

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
27 Mar, 2021 13:09

Hello! thank you for your contribution. That was a nice article, and the poem on the sidebar was a nice addition.   You mentioned the plant is used as a poison against particularly large creatures. I guess that makes them inedible?   It is also interesting to see the plant is considered both sacred by some and a weed by others. How are Thespians considered by other cultures? Since they camp outside settlements, are they unappreaciated by others, rejected by society?   Also, is it possible to farm the plant?

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
27 Mar, 2021 21:10

Oooh, I hadn't thought about farming. Most Thespians would just use the abundance of the plant that grows in the wild, seeing as it does have weed-like properties, but there's certainly nothing to stop you growing your own supply - you'd just need to transport one of the plants or seeds of the plant.   Thespian social status is... complicated. The article on their ethnicity has more details, but suffice it to say that they are the only ethnic group who can perform plays or read stories without the risk of complications, as they are genetically unable to spellwrite.. So, they are valued for the entertainment that they can provide. However, many who believe that spellwriting is a core part of Mythia shun them as outsiders, and they are often excluded from traditional society because of this.   And yes, the poison would make the creatures inedible, although there are stories of those who, when starving, have prepared the animal in the same way as they would prepare the base plant and lived to the tell the tale.   Thank you so much for the feedback, and I'm glad you liked the article!

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
27 Mar, 2021 22:42

Thanks for your answer. I'd suggest you add a few references and tooltips throughout the article to continue this. As for farming, it was a suggestion: the extent at which it is worth it is uncertain, though. A nomadic people wouldn't really farm, especially if the plant is already present everywhere ;)

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
28 Mar, 2021 18:01

Mate.. I adore this article for the delve into Thespian culture and literature (and of course the added layer of social/cultural tension a simple plant can cause) and the rendition of the poem genuinely makes this such a unique experience. Fab work!

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check my Summer Camp ramblings out here
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
29 Mar, 2021 03:58

Eeeee thank you! Glad you liked it :)

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
29 Mar, 2021 01:51

All of the information is suepr detailed and ingrained in the world. However, there are a few things design wise that I can better comment on:   The way in which you cite your images is a bit odd and leads to some peculiar formatting. Take the first image in the main body of the leave; because you used col-md-6, or the [col] tags, you had to manually allocate the room for the image. I would suggest using the built in apollo feature to cite the location from which you borrowed the image. The copyright specifics aren't important. Then using the format of [img:ID|FLOAT|SIZE], you can automatically warp the text around it with the "float" component.   I didn't look through the other comments much, but in my brief scroll through them I believe I saw others mentioned this: including more quotes and other breaks in the text will make it a bit easier to read. This does require splitting your paragraphs up more, but this isolated the information in more contained areas.   Anyway, this is a really great addition to the likes of the articles submitted to the Peculiar Plants Challenge. Good work!

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
29 Mar, 2021 04:04

Some awesome design tips in here, I will absolutely try and implement those! Thank you so much for all this feedback, glad you liked the article :)

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
29 Mar, 2021 13:41

This is a really interesting plant! I loved the sections touching on the thespians and their culture, especially the snippets and quotes you've included.

Author of Interarcanum.
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
29 Mar, 2021 19:36

Thanks! Glad you liked the article :)

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
2 Apr, 2021 16:20

OOOO... Beautifully done my friend. I love the depth you go into and the inclusion of the plants cultural impact. The poem is particularly well done I might add. I think my favorite bit is how each part of the plant has its own set of qualities, from the roots being ground into powder for an antiseptic poultice to the leaves more direct medicinal qualities. Well done

Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
2 Apr, 2021 21:59

Thank you so much! Very happy you liked it :D

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
4 Apr, 2021 06:24

This was a really interesting plant. I enjoyed the different cultural views and uses.   However, there was something unexplained: ailmentwrits & the need to know writing. While I can deduce that ailmentwrits are some sort of written magic scroll that heals, I have no actual idea of what they are. Nor why writing is important for whether you use ethnyroot or not. I think a tooltip would help a lot to fix this.

Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
4 Apr, 2021 21:22

Haha, I do tend to forget that other people don't know my world as well as I do... I'll pop a link or two in. Good tip, thanks!

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
9 Apr, 2021 10:43

No worries, glad to help! I 'm afraid I have another tooltip-related tip: The white colour of the text in the tooltips is very hard to read. If you know CSS, I would suggest modifying it for ease of reading.

Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
10 Apr, 2021 00:10

Always a pleasure to get readability advice! I have had a tinker - been a while since I've done CSS, but there's a handy example on the codex haha. Should be much more readable now :)

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
10 Apr, 2021 06:29

A lot easier now :D

13 Apr, 2021 18:35

Keskeret Tea can bite me, the elitist trash. -_- "Oh boohoo a cheap useful cure, let's bash it and its users."

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
13 Apr, 2021 21:22

Hahaha yesss, exactly the reaction I was going for. Still gotta write about the elitists properly, this is the first article I've written that includes them! Thanks for reading :D

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
16 Apr, 2021 22:34

Hey Monkos!   Nice article! I like the inclusion of images throughout your article, and the "if your Sovereign tells you to ignore rule one, you do" made me laugh. The inclusion of a poem, culture and history are also nice touches. It would be interesting to see you expand this article out in the future with some of the referenced high profile poisonings and maybe even some information on how to treat the poison with something 'special'. Great work!

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
16 Apr, 2021 23:14

Ooooh those are very nice ideas! Will definitely think about adding those in at a later date. Thank you so much for having a read and I'm glad you liked it!

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
16 Apr, 2021 23:27

Just don't go all elven shoes on it! (if you're not familiar, it's a term for don't build excessive detail you'll never need) but have fun!

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.