Thursday 9 February 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #40: Stop and Smell the Flowers

Two hexes north, two northeast of Alakran.


It wouldn't be a desert hexcrawl without a lot of empty hexes. Or are they so empty?

A list, or table, of three desert flowers known also on Earth, and three known only on Mittellus.

1. Colocynth gourd, or vine of Sodom. A vine adapted to very dry climates, it blooms with five broad and pointed yellow petals. The yellow melons are orange-sized, and though bitter, are known to desert-dwelling peoples for their edible white pulp, while the seeds are ground for flour and oil. The gourds also have uses in medicine; laxative when eaten, or healing insect bites and the eczema of camels if applied externally.

2. Desert sage: A gray-green shrub, growing waist to chest height, and abundant in purple flowers with long yellow pistils. Bundles of the leaves and stems are blessed by Sandwalker druids, whose religion forbids wasting water, and the smoke from these bundles works similar to holy water.

3. Claret cap: Looks undistinguished, low, and spiny, until it blooms in the spring, unfurling bright vermilion cone-shaped flowers that later give way to red fruit with pale spines. The fruit's white flesh, spangled with black seeds, tastes somewhat like strawberries.

4. Eye of Hurru: A dense short shrub with almost-black leaves, whose flower petals are creamy white with the black lozenge-shaped center that gives its name. Its roots are said to be never-ending and reach down to the very River of the Dead.

5. Day-ghost bloom: This small plant hides beneath the sands entirely by night and at noon. Only in the dawn and dusk does it spread its succulent leaves to drink in the sun, and present its shy, round-petaled blue flowers for pollination.

6. Vulture's lament: A tall, reedy plant with long vertical leaves. Its floppy yellow blooms, flecked with mauve, emit a carrion stench that repels herbivores and disappoints scavengers. With a few simple alchemical transformations, the petals can be made into a sensual essence that parfumiers of these lands treasure.

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