Fire Silk Harvest Physical / Metaphysical Law in Nideon | World Anvil
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Fire Silk Harvest

Alaj is famous for its many types of silk, but none are so striking as Fire Silk, a type of fabric spun and woven from fibers of all different shades, usually in red, orange, and yellow. The effect is a shimmery color-shifting fabric.
Fire Silk Moths are a type of migratory moth native to the Major Continent. In Alaj there are two major migrations each year. In the month of Elden, one group migrates south from northern Saas, and in the month of Saulen, a second comes north from southern Feren. But to the moths' white, fuzzy wings, these migrations are sometimes referred to as "Alajan snow."
Fire silkworms eat only the leaves of the Madu Plant, so Alajan silk farmers will cultivate fields of them in order to attract the moths, who will lay their eggs there. Once hatched the caterpillars spend about a month eating, and then spin conccoons. When the moths emerge, the farmers collect the cocoons and prepare them to be spun into silk.
While other species of silkworm typically spin cocoons in yellow, to blend in with dead leaves, fire silkworms get their name from their variety of brilliant silk colors. Some biologists believe they developed this trait alongside their migratory habits. With so many cocoons of different colors in one place, the effect resembles a fire. This is enhanced by the fact that some silkworms will raise and lower their cocoons on a thread they have attached to a leaf or stalk. Some farmers are able to carefully wind these threads and re-attach the cocoon to the leaf directly to increase the amount of silk they collect.
Some scientists also speculate that the caterpillars born outside of the migratory season do not spin such a variety of colors. Though little research has been done on the subject, early efforts to farm them in captivity were quickly abandoned when the silks became monochromatic. This also led to an early adoption of ethical silk farming. Instead of boiling the cocoons with larvae inside, farmers had to develop a technique for harvesting the silk after the moths had emerged. Otherwise, they feared, they might kill the moths, which they apparently could not raise in capitvity.
The migration of the fire silk moths has increased tourism in Alaj, particularly during the last few days of the cycle, as the moths are emerging from their cocoons. While some farms remain closed to tourists, others have taken this in stride, tracking the weather and offering their best guesses to the "peak emergance" days. Visitors at this time have the opportunity to see not only the firey cocoons, but also the "snowfall" of hundreds of moths.
CW: harm to animals

Cover image: by Molly Mar


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