Canelvous is a rare brewing herb grown in scarce amounts by the
humans in the
Elverground. Because of its ability to
soothe and relieve pain it is sought after by many people in the southern part
of the continent. The leaves are sold almost all over the
Santharian kingdom and are mainly found in
the markets of New-Santhala.
Appearance. The Plant: When the plant first starts to sprout leaves they are a light green and will grow to about 1/2 a palmspan in 3 months after planting; this is when bright red blotches begin to appear here and there on the plant. At first the leaf shape is very rounded, like that of a tree but on a smaller scale. This kind of leaf is useless to brew, as it is extremely bitter and its healing properties have not yet developed, so nobody bothers picking it.
In a range of two to four weeks the leaves grow to their full size, about one palmspan long by two or three nailsbreaths wide. The red blotches cover the plant's leaves until no trace of the green remains, apart from the stalk. At this stage the leaves begin to grow longer faster than they do wider.
After the leaves turn completely red they will stop growing and begin to mature. When the plant is matured it has dark reddish brown leaves.
The stalks are always the light green of the original leaf and are about a nailsbreath long. The full grown leaves begin in a semicircle the entire width of the leaf, then begin to move inwards and end at a point. Each plant sprouts ten to fifteen long leaves. The seeds are about a grain in size and are light green, just slightly paler than the stalk.
The Brew: After the leaves have been sun-dried into a pale, chalky greyish-brown colour they are brewed into a dark, bitter infusion.
Territory. The rare plant is grown in small patches by (very) wealthy human farmers in the Elverground. They normally farm in traditional ways, such as sheepherding, and use the herb as a way of bringing in some extra money, as there are risks associated with growing the plant.
The plant can only grow in the Elverground because it can only survive with very little water and would drown in normal rainfall. The high winds of the Elverground dry up the soil quickly enough to stop the plant drowning and thus allow it to grow and develop healing abilities.
Usages. Canelvous brewing herbs are brewed into a hot drink, which, although it tastes extremely sour, can sooth and relieve back ache, headaches, bruises, sprains and pulled muscles. Because of this many rich merchants and nobles that suffer from such problems are willing to pay vast amounts to be rid of their pain. It is rumoured that mixing the brew with some brandy can cure pain for the long term but this has never been proven.
Canelvous is sold as individual leaves, at a cost of a copperbard a leaf, as well as the finished infusion known as 'Canelbrew', which is normally about 5 copperbards, and is supposed to be much more effective than homebrewing.
Because of these claims some suspect that the brewers add another secret ingredient, but the brewers obviously deny such allegations; they prefer to say that they are highly-skilled, and that the superstitious common folk brew their leaves wrongly.
Reproduction. Something strange about the reproduction of the Canelvous brewing herb is that the light green seeds which are in the stalk must be manually removed. Each plant contains only two seeds; this is thought to be the reason for their rarity, and the plants must be tended to very frequently as they are very fragile, another factor affecting the rarity of the herb. How the plant reproduces in the wild is unknown, but possibly the stalks are grazed on and the seeds carried elsewhere by animals like the deer, as is common with some berries.
Myth/Lore. A few Nehtorians who reside in the Elverground say that the Canelvous is a gift from Nehtor, the God of Healing, but few common folk believe this.
A more widely-accepted story in the area about the origin of the herb is that a golgnome experimented vigorously with cha leaves and finally created a strange red leaf still bearing the characteristics of the cha leaf. He then used alchemical and magical techniques until the leaf became fern-like and gained strange abilities.
Researchers. Grutus Brewleaf, a self confessed cha-fanatic, was the brother of a botanist and had an obsession with almost every healing herb. He was the man that documented almost everything known about this remarkable herb, Canelvous.
Another fan of the warm drink was another human, Druido Grife. At the age of seventeen he chose small-time farming as his profession, growing carroots and such in a small patch of land outside his humble dwelling. He was hit by a horse-drawn carriage at the age of twenty-five, and suffered constant agony from the poorly-healed broken bones and torn muscles for the next thirty years.
At the age of fifty-five he came into a substantial sum of money after a winning bet at long odds on a Cockfight. With this he bought enough Canelbrew to last him for six months. After about a month of taking the infusion he appeared in public at Brinsley with Grutus Brewleaf, claiming a complete recovery and freedom from pain. Praising the herb, and Master Brewleaf for publicizing it, he attracted a great deal of attention to Canelbrew.
Unfortunately, Grife died a month after his speech, supposedly from severe heaves. Some cynical folk who have tried Canelbrew and found it had only a minimal effect on their problems, claim that Druido Grife's miraculous recovery was no more than publicity stunt funded by the Canelvous herb farmers to trick them into buying their product. Yet many others have found relief from aches and pains - so who can tell?
Information provided by Norkin