Lume Material in Nideon | World Anvil
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Lume (lu'me)

Lume is a deep purple dye made from boiling the bark of the Thoov Tree. It gets its name from the Epaluno word for purple because the Pelan have used the dye to color their Ibi'ans for centuries. It is also produced and exported in Brightland.
Though the Thoov tree grows in many places on Nideon, it is always located near volcanic activity, making it a somewhat difficult plant to obtain. It is most famously located on the islands of Igbi and Lowoni, of the southern coast of Xye, but also notably found in Brightland and southern Feren, where it was utilized by the Pelan. When heated, the bark turns purple, giving the landscape where thoov trees grow a distinctive hue.
There is evidence of the proto-Pelan tribes using this dye as early as the 3rd century. The nomads developed rituals around returning to the southern mountains each spring to harvest the bark from what they called the Goddess Tree. Though they most notably dyed their famous headscarves, it is likely that many tribes dyed other clothing as well. Outsiders sometimes referred to them as the "purple people" due to the way the dye would sometimes discolor their skin. It was not until they began to move further north that the Pelan incorporated a wider variety of dyes, though they continued to purple for their ibi'ans.
The dye has not been produced in Brightland as long as it has been used by the Pelan, but it was discovered separately. At first, it was a novelty used only for very important people, as the bark was limited, but when Brightlindish scientists discovered how to activate the seeds by briefly placing them in a fire, the country became the first to grow thoov orchards, from which they also collected fruit. Purple dye and purple cloth remain two of Brightland's biggest exports.
Brightlindish dye manufacturers make lume in two different ways:
Method 1: This method involves boiling the bark and straining out of the liquid after it cools. This is also the method typically used by the Pelan. Made this way, the lume is best used immediately, though some Brightlindish manufacturers have methods of partially dehydrating it in order to create a purple concentrate that can be either thinned or mixed with other matials to make things such as purple paint or even food dye.
Method 2: This method requires the maker to carefully heat the bark until it turns the desired hue and smash it into powder. It is difficult because if the bark does not get hot enough, the purple color will not remain, but if the bark is heated too much, it could burn. Nevertheless, when done right, this creates a purple powder which is easier to store and ship.

Harvesting Responsibly


Locating Dye

As the Pelan moved north, the journey to the original Goddess Trees grew further and further. Different groups handled this in different ways. Nomads who remained within the borders of modern-day Feren harvested larger amounts of bark, which they could trade with other nomadic groups in the winter. Others located thoov trees elsewhere, and even more found different sources of purple dye, either from other plants, or in markets where lume was imported from Brightland. Some Pelan took to wearing different colored ibi'ans, but this was usually for unrelated reasons, as Pelan in Linakra wearing blue headscarves to mark their identity as mages
Because the Goddess Tree was an important part of Pelan culture, the Pelan tribes took care to harvest the bark in a way that would not ultimately damage the trees if no volcanic activity was expected. There is some evidence that the early Pelan developed methods of tracking likely eruptions and would sometimes cut down whole trees where they predicted eruptions, as adult trees would almost certainly be destroyed anyway.
In Brightland, similar precautions were taken, though they did not develop a system for tracking eruptions, which very much limited the use of the bark before they learned how to grow orchards. When Thoov trees were discovered in Igbi and Lowani, Brightlindish merchants began to make deals with Xye to purchase trees that are likely to die in upcoming eruptions. They have also been known to purchase Xyen trees that die for other reasons, if the bark is still usable.
Due to the care the Brighlindish manufacturers have shown the trees, most Pelan are in support of lume orchards located there. There are still Pelan who live in Feren and sell lume and lume dyed fabrics, either from harvesting it via traditional methods or by growing smaller orchards. They have little competition with the Birghtlindish merchants because they typically sell to other Pelan, especially because most of them also run tusked sole farms and sell sole wool.

Cover image: by Sharon Mccutcheon


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