Fushena

(Fu-She-Nah)

Summary

A type of flowering vine that grows in Nerzin and Votyoger, principally around mountainous areas that are rich in fire-aspected mana. This often correlates to volcanic terrain, but not always. The vine itself is a charcoal-black looking growth, easily confused for dead or ash-covered vegetation. Its flowery bulbs are tightly wound, hard-as-rock spindles that could be confused for human fingers.   While many other flowers have long, storied histories to them, the fushena hangs shyly in the background. Due to its native environment, generally heinous looking appearance, and growing nature it was seen as an irritating weed. This changed substantially during the era of the Imperium. Flowering fushenas were brought to the imperial capital by volcanic dragons. There, the huge flowers and their brillant petals dazzled the nobility. Shimmering with fire mana, brilliant reds, oranges, yellows, and whites danced in the long, seven-petal cauldron that formed the flower's figure. Inside awaited bountiful amounts of mana-rich nectar that insects craved, and hence would carry its pollen.   The fushena's durability is what allowed many kinds of insects to survive in otherwise inhospitable environments. It also acts like a sponge, absorbing vast amounts of mana in order to bloom. So long as a mature plant is fed a constant stream of mana, its flowers will stay open. This makes cultivating it rather expensive to do, and so its seasonal blooming coincides more to mana currents than weather. Volcanic dragons, which exude copious amounts of mana in the form of heat, are very good nutrition sources for them.   Since their introduction to noble culture, they're regarded as a tempermental, but highly skillful plant. Romantics especially caught onto it, admiring its ability to persevere while only blooming under strenuous, high-maintenance conditions. This caught the fancy of many dragons, who found such mannerisms mirrored their own pretty well. All sorts started wanting fushenas for themselves, and actually having a gardener who could tend to the blooms became a staple job. The fancies of nobles being what they are, such jobs came and went according to trends.   This led to a funny turnabout in its fortunes in Nerzin, however. Its fussy nature made it an ideal plant for meditative practices for fire magic users. By carefully utilizing their arts, they could motivate the plant to 'wake up' and bloom. Keeping that going became a form of training, albeit a minor one. When the courts started demanding flowering fushenas for fashion, it blew up the market virtually over night. With its nature revealed in full, the fushena became a flower for those who are "stubbornly fussy and demanding, but endlessly beautiful when attended to".   All sorts of positive and negative connotations hang around it, depending on how the name is invoked.
Geographic Distribution