The Kitrauhre (pronounced "Kee-TROW-re", plural "Kitrauhren") is an approximately oval-shaped yellow fruit that grows in the continent of Aeruillin on a tree which is simply called Kitrauhre Tree. The fruit has a tart, sour flavour, but is valued for its fresh taste. Shiploads of kitrauhren are imported to the Kingdom of Santharia every year, where they become an exotic and expensive addition to many dishes and drinks for the nobility. Unlike in Aeruillin, in Sarvonia it commonly goes by the name of Lymmon, and its Aeruillin name (lit. "Sun-Lie") has also been translated into Styrásh as ésh'injerá (lit. "False Sun"), and anyone who has bitten into one of them, expecting a sweet, refreshening taste, will know why. The Kitrauhre belongs to the Kitranian Fruits.
Picture description. Lemon tree, oh so pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat... Image by Faugar.
Appearance. The tree
that brings forth the Kitrauhre (both tree and fruit
are equally referred to as Kitrauhre by the
inhabitants of Aeruillin) grows between four and eight
peds high, and forms a
well-rounded crown that starts to branch out at a distance of less than two
the ground. The bark of the trunk is quite smooth and of a light brown colour.
Its wood is hard, but flexible, and ideal for making
bows as well as arrow shafts. Its tiny leaves
are of a luminous lime-green colour in
spring, and it grows bright yellow flowers sporting
six petals, that permeate the surroundings with an almost cloyingly sweet, but
still pleasant smell. The leaves, when crushed, emit a fresh, herb-like scent.
The fruit itself has a thick, leathery skin that is bright yellow, and too bitter to eat (though it yields a pleasant-smelling oil) and must be peeled away. The inside of the fruit, an egg-like oval sphere, is split into a number of sickle-shaped segments, separated by a thin skin. When slightly pressed, the skin breaks, squirting out a sour, clear juice.
At the time of the ripening, a tree may carry any number from a dozen to over a hundred fruits. During this time, the bright green of the leaves and the yellow tone of the fruits, hanging in the branches like a hundred little suns, will blend together to form a beautiful image.
Territory. The Kitrauhre Tree thrives on a hot, dry climate. It grows mostly in the northern parts of Aeruillin, just short of the desert border; however, it exists also in some oasis regions. Though the plant prefers a dry climate, it requires more water than most other desert plants to sustain its juice-rich fruits. This is the reason for the tiny leaves and the smooth bark: They give the tree less of a surface to slow down its loss of water through evaporation. It is also the reason for the thick, nearly impervious skin of the fruit, which prevents it from drying out early.
Since the Kitrauhre, in spite of its small size, takes many years to grow to its full size, and over six years before it even begins to bear fruit, it is one of the most precious trees in the desert region. Even within the continent of Aeruillin, its fruit is highly priced. This is also because, to carry large amounts of fruit, the tree must be watered copiously. Water being a precious resource in the desert lands, raising Kitrauhren is a trade typically reserved for the wealthy - and a profitable trade it is indeed!
In recent decades, it has successfully been introduced in Strata an Truban, the southernmost province of Santharia, as well, thus that several noblemen there now grow their own Kitrauhren. The seatraders are already picturing themselves ruined, as they fear that a fruit native to the Sarvonian continent will easily replace the more costly imported one. However, the Stratanian Kitrauhren are still grown in too low amounts to be a serious competition to the traders, let alone become the sole supplier of Sarvonia.
Usages. The Kitrauhre fruits are harvested primarily for their juice, which is used as flavouring in many dishes and baked goods, but also beverages: The Aeruillians have developed a way of fermenting Kitrauhre juice and sandsting honey to form a variant of liqueur commonly named Kitraish (see recipe at "Dame Sausade's Cookery Book"). The rind is occasionally used for flavouring as well, but more commonly for extracting and distilling aromatic oil, which has a very pleasant scent and is included in some perfumes.
Even though the tree takes so much time to grow, it is occasionally felled; some Kitrauhre Trees have been bred especially for their wood, causing them to grow higher and larger trunks, but bear less fruit. Kitrauhre wood is strong and supple and flexible, making it especially suited for manufacturing bows.
Picture description. Still life of the snuffwort flower along with the juicy, sour fruit of the kitrauhre tree. Image drawn by Bard Judith.
It should be noted that, though the Kitrauhre is widely used in Aeruillin, a
great bulk of the yearly harvest is exported to the
a highly profitable trade even taking into account that the sea voyage
takes several weeks. If it was highly priced in
Aeruillin, within Santharia the sea
transport makes it exorbitant. The fruit is a luxury item within
Santharia, and available only to the
nobility and the merchants.
Kitrauhre juice by the way is also on occasion used to produce blackmoss ink.
Reproduction. This tree relies on insects, mainly on the sandsting - a stinging malise-like insect dwelling in Aeruillin - for pollination (which it attracts with the sweet smell of its flowers), since the areas where it can grow are too sparse for it to entrust anything to the random wind as some other plants do.
Kitrauhre trees are evergreen, not deciduous - winter temperatures in its habitat are mild, and there is sufficient sunshine even in the cold seasons. It flowers late in Molten Ice (Smól'evathón). The time of pollination is between Molten Ice and Changing Winds (Méh'avashín), after which the flowers will wither and fruits begin to grow.
The fruits take nearly half a year to ripen, until late in Passing Clouds (Sálari'herín). When they are fully ripe - marked by the glowing yellow colour of the fruit, covering the gardens where it grows in bright gold - a gentle shaking of the branches is sufficient to make them drop to the ground. Typically, Kitrauhren are harvested by spreading out a cloth beneath the tree and shaking it, though richer farmers may have them plucked by hand to guarantee a higher quality of the fruit.
Kitrauhre seeds, teardrop-shaped and about four grains across, are buried within the segments of the fruit, from whence they will occasionally be pulled by birds picking on the Kitrauhren: Though the fruit is pricey, Kitrauhre farmers will rarely take measures to prevent this because the birds are in too low number to do any substantial harm.
To sprout, a Kitrauhre seed must be planted a nailsbreadth deep in slightly moist ground. Under natural circumstances, this means the area immediately surrounding a water hole or similar, where the birds will rest and relieve themselves of any seeds they have eaten. It will take nearly a year for the plant to grow to about a ped high, as it burrows deep into the ground with its roots in order to reach water. First resembling a shrub, the plant will eventually form a single straight trunk and grow to full tree-size.
After six cycles have passed, the tree will begin to bear fruit, and spread its seed. For farmers who have planted new trees, this time is usually accompanied by celebration, since their enormous effort in raising the tree has finally paid off.
Myth/Lore. The Kitrauhre fruit plays an interesting role in Aeruillin folklore, which is also the source for its name: Kitrauhre is derived from "Kih" and "Rahaurin", literally standing for "Sun" and "Lie" respectively (Rahaurin being derived from Ra, "tongue" and Aur, "twist"). The ‘t’ has sneaked in due to the word "Kitrani", which is the collective name given to all fruits with similar properties (thick, leathery rind, and a segmented juicy core). Kitrauhre is thus a contracted form of "Sun Lie".
Quite simply, the people of Aeruillin traditionally hold it to be some kind of "illusion", a false image of the sun. This is probably because of its apparent beautiful, glowing appearance, which quite belies the sour core of the fruit. There is even an old folktale concerning this (this writer possesses only a translated excerpt from a book of fairytales as written by the fabled Jakata the Wise, found in the great library of the Hjoria, but it will serve, hopefully).
The False Sun. Those who follow
the Aeoliran religion
tell of the battle between Nakashi
and Pariya in the early days of
their creation. The Goddess of Destruction wished for control and
leadership, her quest for it failed however. As punishment, the
Eternal Goddess of Light removed
the control of the rising of Pariya’s
gift to Caelereth, the
was the greatest insult possible to the
Destroyer; in retaliation she threatened to
let the sun burn
so bright that all on Caelereth
would die. Once again,
this time a battle between Light and Fire raged, of which Light emerged
victorious. It was only then that Pariya
conceded defeat and that she would never be
It should be noted that this is by no
means the original tale, which supposedly is a lot more gory, but rather a ‘watered-down’
version, fit for a children’s tale. Sadly, the original version is unavailable
and may indeed never have been written down.
Information provided by Arancaytar Ilyaran and Artemis