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What is your world's equivalent to tea or coffee?     People all over the Garden drink dawnwine to help start their day. Though not brewed, and containing no alcohol, the herbal tea is called "wine" due to it's invigorating (and in high doses intoxicating) effects. Much like true wines it has some health benefits in moderation, but too much can be dangerous and there is cultural understanding that overconsumption is bad.   The tea is brewed from the leaves of the dawnberry plant, and can be made purely of those leaves or mixed with dried fruits or other herbs to change the flavor to the consumer's preference. Some blends, like the spicy No Shadows from the Catlands, are very localized, using ingredients that can only be harvested in those regions. The taste of the straight tea is slightly grassy and buttery, with an odd metallic aftertaste. Honey and sugary tree saps are the most frequent sweeteners.   Dawnwine blends can be purchased at general stores in villages large enough to have them. Truly remote outposts stock up when merchants selling it come through town. In large cities, some merchants devote their entire stores to the stuff, selling a wide variety of qualities and flavors to appeal to the broadest range of customers possible. The highest quality leaves are produced in the Serpent Swamps and "hot harvested" (see below). Plantations of note include Green Delta, Thunder's Folly, and Dragonhorde Isle, all of which have bred unique varities with subtly different flavor profiles, and they guard their secrets jealously. The prices, of course, reflect all of this.   Children are introduced to dawnwine carefully by their parents, at different times. In remote places where children of all ages work on the farm, mums mix a little into fruit juice or milk at breakfast, making a watered-down "Wake Up Juice." In larger villages and cities where children attend school, dawnwine is typically given to them when they are older, as studying at home begins to affect their sleep. Common wisdom states a juvenile should only drink half-strength dawnwine until they are of age, though irresponsible parents tend to skip this phase as it creates extra work for them.   As such, poor children in cities have a high risk of dawnshock- an overdose condition in which the consumer becomes feverish and shudders uncontrollably until the body has processed the dawnwine's compounds. Medical intervention is almost never required for this condition, though it does affect the child's ability to perform in school or at their apprenticeship. Someone suffering dawnshock needs to rest until it passes; they should be moved away from sharp objects and ideally should sit in a chair with high arms or laid down on the ground to prevent a nasty fall.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

The dawnberry plant has evolved to develop a number of compounds in its fruit that attract animals to eat it and spread its seeds. These compounds elevate the heart rate, dilate the blood vessels, and bond to melatonin in the brain (which stops it from signaling sleepiness to the consumer). The overall result is that, when eaten, the berries of this plant wake up and warm up the animals which eat it- an effect that has been observed as desirable to several species.   Unfortunately, only very large animals can receive this effect from the berries, as the concentrations of these compounds are deleterious (even deadly) to human-sized creatures and smaller. However, these compounds are also present, in smaller quantities, in the leaves of the plant. As such, humans can still wake themselves up by brewing tea from the leaves.

Manufacturing process

Shortly after harvest, leaves are dried in low-heat kilns. Great care is taken to ensure no smoky aroma or flavor penetrates the batch. Upon full dehydration, the leaves are sold in bulk to merchants who may either sell the leaves straight, or make blends to appeal to their local clientele.
Item type
Consumable, Food / Drink
Common worldwide, though quality varies. Highest quality varieties can be found most easily in large cities or in the Serpent Swamps, where it is cultivated en masse.
Raw materials & Components
Leaves of the dawnberry plant, sometimes flavored with other dried vegetation or fruit.
Dawnberry leaves can be harvested easily by hand without special tools, although the highest-quality (most potent) leaves are "hot harvested" using a thermal scythe. This small, curved blade is heated from within and cauterizes the cuts as it makes them, reducing sap loss during harvest and preserving the potency of the leaves.

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