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Deadbane

Written by EmperorCharlesII

"From the earth we are made, and to the earth we shall return." the congregation of berilar say as they lay their fallen brother into the trench they dug in the ground. They then begin to cover the body in small plant buds, scattering them in the trench with a sense of care.   You watch, not fully understanding the practice. You turn to your interpreter again and ask her what they are putting in the grave.   "Yanës'logär." she says under her breath, sniffling a little. "In your tongue, they call it deadbane."   You look in surprise. Back home, the plant usually came in cakes of dry buds that were often crushed and thrown onto funeral pyres. Of course the wood elves would have access to fresh plants.   A shudder passes through you despite the sweltering heat of the Slagetil Forest. You just remembered what deadbane is for. And that means even in this sylvan paradise the locals worry about the scourge of Yanüs...  

Description

The plant colloquially known as deadbane is actually the buds of the plant; the entire plant is a fern-like shrub that contains several long serrated fronds surrounding the central stem. The buds grow along the central stem, with the length of the stem giving an indication of the age of the plant.  

Habitat & Ecology

Humid environments are ideal for this plant, with long rainy periods giving it adequate water to grow its long leaves. They often grow at natural breaks in the forest canopy, their long fronds providing shade to small woodland creatures or frogs. Many grow near ponds and rivers as well, where they can shelter fish eggs.  

Uses

Most notably, the plant is used in rituals warding against the undead. If a singular bud is placed in the grave of someone, a necromancer or lich is incapable of raising the body. For that reason, it is heavily used in funeral traditions regardless of culture and distance from the natural growing area of the plant.   In berilar culture, if you receive a deadbane flower as an anonymous gift, you certainly have an enemy; it is often a portent of death, to the point where the dark blue colour of the flowers is often associated with death.

Deadbane
  A berilar naturalist's rendering of the entire plant, flower and bud.
Lifespan
A plant may live for decades.

Distribution and Sale

Deadbane is native to most of the equatorial forests of Sedesta, as it requires that humidity and rain to be able to survive year after year. Due to its demand outside those areas, it is often dried and ground or baked into cakes.  

Seasonal Change & Growth

The plant is perennial, so the seasons have very little effect on it. There is still an effect however, as the buds are only available for a short time at the beginning of spring. After that they flower and their magical effect is lost, although the dark blue flowers are still very beautiful regardless.
Art Credit: emperorcharlesii (me!)

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