Taqiq Trees

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“At first look, Taqiq trees look as if they are twinkling silver. Shining bright when struck by the reflective light of the blue icy caverns, making little bright figures dance along its walls. So alluring, and yet it tucks itself away, the Taqiq tree holds much beauty and fierceness with its shimmering leaves and seeping husk.”

- The Common Wildlife of the Bleakfjord, Valgerðu the Wise, E3-Y70

Introduction

Holding significance to the Luvahrin Tribes since their settlement in the Bleakfjord, the Taqiq Trees and the Ubuq Flowers that adorn them are a core part of Luhvarin culture. The white and red veined bark of the Taqiq tree is incredibly malleable due to the thick blood-like sap that runs through it, allowing it to be molded onto one's features. This process is used as a portion of a coming of age ceremony for the Luhvarin when they are old enough to traverse the Bleakfjord. Alongside its functionality as a ceremonial device, the Taqiq Tree is valued for its aesthetic properties. It is widely known as a mixture between strikingly beautiful with its glistening black leaves and flowers, while simultaneously being foreboding and even creepy with the way it slowly twists and creates harrowing noises.

Characteristics

The Taqiq Trees of the Bleakfjord range from 10-19ft in height with thin trunks and branches, red veined pale bark, inky black leaves, and are typically adorned with the silvery and eye catching Ubuq Flowers, which sprout from their trunks. Taqiq Trees have a distinct shape due to the red, blood like sap that flows through it, making its bark incredibly flexible. These trees appear like many strands of pale wire spun together and twisted up into many, thinner branches, and its flexibility allows the tree to slowly move and shift during the daytime to follow the sunlight. The pale color of its veined bark and midnight-black leaves is what allows it to absorb as much light as it can. This gradual twisting of the trees creates a harrowing noise that the Luvahrin Elves of the Bleakfjord are most accustomed to, which is described as a low creaking and splitting noise akin to ice being cracked. However, the most striking thing about the Taqiq Tree is its thick, crimson sap, which flows so abundantly through the bark that when any small cut is made upon the tree, it appears as if it is bleeding.

Properties

The pliable bark of the Taqiq Tree is the reason why the Luvahrin Elves have utilized it to form their masks which protect them from snow blindness and the cold. Due to slits having to be made within the mask to see, the masks have deep gouge marks, which leak red sap, creating the illusion as if they are crying blood that long since stained the pale bark when the cuts were first made. The wooden masks formed by the bark of the Taqiq Tree also serves as an coming of age ritual. When a Luvahrin comes of age, and plans to journey out into the Bleakfjord, a fitting cut of bark is stripped from the tree and plastered onto the elves face, after which they then dunk their head into one of the many nearby geothermal pools to quickly harden the bark to their features. Due to special chemicals within the water, the longer a Luvahrin is able to keep their head under the heated water, the thicker their mask becomes, and the more the bark splits into microfractures, creating long, jagged lines.

Distribution

Despite being fairly common, they can be tricky to locate without the knowledge of the Bleakfjord’s terrain. The Taqiq Tree only grows in shaded areas that protect it from the Bleakfjord’s unforgiving landscape, particularly in the sprawling and gigantic ice caves that can span under some of the tundra's icy caps. This is why the leaves are such a deep black in color, as it allows them to absorb the most light it can from their secluded growing zones. Because of its niche environment, it cannot grow outside of the Bleakfjord unless it is somehow transported within a brisk and bone-snappingly chilly environment.

Trivia

  • The stark red color of the sap that seeps from its bark is what has led to a common muted red theme in Luvahrin clothing, tapestries, furnishings, and more.
  • When struck with direct light, Taqiq Trees will make its branches twist and turn at a much faster and livelier rate as if to cover each leaf, creating a beautiful show of shining and circulating light on any nearby surfaces. On the other hand, this can also be easily described as incredibly disturbing as the tree creates the illusion that it's coming to life.
  • The noise created by these trees is what has led to the creation of a fictitious monster in Luvahrin culture, described as being a skinny monster hiding in the tundra with equally long fingers, crying out into the night.
  • There is a general sense of respect r among Luvahrin regardless of the appearance of their masks, whether it is completely void of any streaks, or is nearly covered in it. Although, a special case is made for a Luvahrin with a mask that is made up almost entirely of red cracks, as it can be considered foolhardy for them to nearly cause themselves to drown in the process. These Luvahrin are known as "Ukijijuk", a common insult amongst the Luvahrin people.

Location: Tundra

Rarity: 8-10

Can It Be Grown On Darroway: No

Writer(s): skullpanda90

Editor(s): Gochnipunchni