Arc 721, 22 Ashan
The excursion into the strange forest a few trials before had been interesting, to say the least. Having poked around the area outside the Serenity Garden, Elisabeth went to what she affectionately called the ‘Baron Books’ and began nosing through to find information on their finds of the trial. Lounging on the sand bed that she and Balthazar had created after their excursion into the woods - she had insisted on getting rid of the cots and return to sleeping together – she flipped through the pages, collecting information. Luckily, most everything was contained within the pages that she was searching for. The Baron, it seemed was quite thorough about his research and Elisabeth was grateful to have the books as a guide.
Grabbing the book, her notes, and sword, the young mage stepped outside the tent she shared with Balthazar, moving with purpose towards the Munny Farm. A trial prior, she had stopped by to talk to Delilah and her parents about the discovery of the strange trees, as well as introducing them to the strange little bioluminescent flowers she had found on the water’s edge. Delilah had agreed to accompany Elisabeth into the wood to collect what they needed for baby trees and help the young woman establish a baby tree farm, so she was on her way to collect the Munny daughter for that excursion.
Elisabeth had a few other ideas for the family to consider as well, thanks to the Baron Books. A prolific writer, he seemed to enjoy describing things extensively, including surroundings and things he saw. That trait benefited those that read the books greatly, especially people looking for inspiration in answering questions or problems.
Almost to the farm, the raven-haired mage noted Balder up ahead, talking to another settler. Good. She had hoped to see one of the guards before leaving the settlement. “Balder! Can you let Balthazar know that I’m taking Delilah out to the forest to collect the items for baby trees? He’ll understand. We shouldn’t be gone too long.” Balder nodded as she called out to him, and Elisabeth was back on her way.
Reaching the Munny farm, Delilah was ready to go but Elisabeth asked her to see if her father, Edward, was available to talk for a few moments. Within a few bits, the young woman walked back with the Munny patriarch, and the made launched into something of an idea. “I was reading these books writing by the late Baron, and he mentioned that in his travels around Scalvoris, he noted several times seeing the use of what he called a ‘Cado’ system. He goes on to explain that it is a system of using barrels to collect rainwater for use in gardens and cooking. He said he noted it mostly in underdeveloped areas that used it as a main source of water. I know Balthazar is working on something right now more permanent, but I thought we could use those barrels that brought supplies to Haven at the beginning – which I believe are stored here – open them up around the farm, and perhaps it would be enough to help ease the issue with fresh water until Balthazar is done with his system. You could store the water for days when there is no rainfall and people could come and fetch water to use for cooking. Purifying it wouldn’t take anything other than boiling it and then it could be stored for drinking as well.”
Edward was a serious man so sometimes it was hard to get a read on what he was thinking. It took a few trills but he finally replied to her thoughts. “I think that could work. I am more apt to say that splitting up the barrels would be a better idea. Half here at the farm and the others could be scattered around the settlement for the settlers to use so they don’t have to come out here. I can get William started on that totrial.” Smiling, Elisabeth nodded. “Thank you. I will update Balthazar when I see him. I’m sure he’ll be happy that we found something that will help with the water issue for the short term.”
Saying goodbye to Edward for the time being, Delilah and Elisabeth swiftly made their way to the edge of Serenity Garden. Iustitia slung to her back, she quickly drew out her notes so that she could bring the other young woman up to speed. “Alright. So, the main objective is figuring out what we need to make baby rainbow trees. The Baron calls this place “The Ashwoods” although I can’t be entirely certain that it’s speaking directly to this place. The Badlands weren’t here…but he says it’s on the edge of the Garden so I’m making an educated guess.”
Walking up to one of the trees, Delilah gave it a quick look and consulted her own book. “I’ve never seen anything like it before, but it looks similar to a tree they have back in Scalvoris.” Inspecting a low hanging branch, she nodded, giving Elisabeth a smile as she plucked something that resembled a nut off, but not saying anything yet.
Elisabeth continued. “I looked for information on them in the Baron Books and he describes something called the “Phoenix Tree”. He’s only ever seen it on Faldass and suspects it might only grow here due to the volcanic soil. He also states that it is fire resistant but other than that, doesn’t say anything more. Ideas?”
Delilah nodded again, showing her the nut. ”This is what we need for your baby trees. I’ll have to ask my parents, but I suspect, like almost everything on Faldrass, the fertile, volcanic soil tends to play with plant life. It makes things grow faster and more out of season than most places, due to the warm sand almost everywhere in the soil here. We need to collect as many of these acorns as we can.” Looking to the ground, she noted that some had been dropped by the tree as well, pointing them out to Elisabeth. “Those are easiest, but some may be too old to sprout. We can collect them all and there is an easy way to determine which ones are viable. I’ll show you when we get back to the farm.”
The two spent several bits collecting nuts to take back to the farm, stowing them all in Delilah’s pack. It was then, stooping down to grab another that Elisabeth noticed something sticking out of the ground where one of the trees had fallen over, disturbing the earth. Kneeling, she inspected what looked to be a molten ball of…something? Hesitantly, she reached out to touch it, noting it was warm. “Hey Delilah, come over here a second? I’m not sure what this is.” Striding over to where she was, Delilah kneeled next to her, considering the find. Grabbing a knife from her pack, she stabbed the item a little, noting it to be fairly solid. Then, without touching it, she cut the curiosity in two, noting the white flesh inside. Both picked up a half of the item, inspecting it before Delilah spoke. “Well, it reminds me of a potato, to be honest. Smells like one, texture is like one…just looks weird.”
Grabbing her pack, she pulled out what appeared to be two small shovels. “We should see if there are any more and take them back to the farm.” Both dug around the area and found a handful of varying sizes of the ‘potato’, filling both their packs with the finds. There was a keen desire to show the Munny parents and see if, once again, they could replicate them at the farm instead of always foraging.
With ‘potatoes’ and nuts in tow, the young women headed back to the settlement quickly, making their way to the farm to discuss their finds and make a plan for the next step.
Delilah grabbed a pot with some water in it, dumping a handful of the nuts they had collected into it. Smiling, she pointed out what was happening to Elisabeth. “See there. Some of the nuts are rising and some are falling to the bottom. The ones that are floating are no good. We will throw them out. The others? They will soak for a bit and then get planted. I’ll collect some of the sand off the beach and make sure to plant a copious amount of it with the trees in case the Baron was right about the volcanic soil being a key."
With that solved, Delilah went to fetch her mother, Jolene, to inspect the strange lumps of ‘potato’ they had found. She eyed, felt, and cut a few up before proclaiming that they were, indeed, potatoes of some sort. The strangest potatoes she had ever seen, but potatoes. She asked for Elisabeth to leave all the samples they had collected so they could plant those as well and see if they could grow a crop out of them, to which the young mage readily agreed.
Saying her farewells to the Munnys, Elisabeth made her way back to the settlement and in search of Balthazar and thinking about how grateful she was for the books the Baron left behind.
Thank you, Baron Smooglenuff. You are still watching over Faldrass.