Kragghi is a ground-hugging, cold-tolerant vine which contains a spicy red sap
used as a flavouring by various races in
Northern Sarvonia, mostly the
Kuglimz and various
orc tribes, though its popularity is growing.
The Kragghi Vine is also alternately called Krr’ah’ghi (Orcen), Krrahghi
(Kuglimz’seitre), Krahgi (ThergerimTaal),
Kraggy (Peasant Tharian).
Appearance. A single segmented ground vine about three nailsbreadths in diameter, the Kragghi at first glance resembles a very large and ugly centipede. Its rough surface is herne (grey green) in colour and the segments are about two palmspans long, with irregular swollen joints. Several shallow root filaments, also herne green in colour, fan out from the base of each joint, holding the plant firmly against the earth. The vines zig-zag along the ground, each segment sprouting at a different angle from the next. If not harvested, the Kragghi can grow as much as 3 peds long.
It has small, thin, spiky leaves, resembling short grass blades or tulmine needles, which protrude upwards directly from the joints between segments. The leaves are a dull greenish-gray colour, slightly darker than that of the vine itself. There are usually about 15-20 leaves per cluster. Each leaf is about 1 ˝- 2 nailsbreadths long. They have sharp points but are fairly flexible. Care must be taken to avoid scratching one’s hands during harvesting.
The segments are formed of a tough, fibrous outer shell rather like yealm reed’s exterior, which is lined with a slick inner membrane. This membrane contains the spongy ‘pith’ or core of the vine, which in its turn is filled with the bright red, spicy sap. The sap is a thick, gelatinous substance containing tiny black oval seeds, usually about 8-10 per segment. It is very strong-flavoured and in its natural state, exceedingly bitter. For this reason, it has no natural predators (barring sentient races who like spicy food).
Territory. The Kragghi is a cold-climate plant that grows throughout Northern Sarvonia. It is prevalent in the Oro Hills and the Celeste Lowlands and can be found as far north as the Gulf of Oh’cant’aelwyn. It may also be found in the southern regions of Cyhalloi, and the northernmost islands of Yamalquain, though it is not particularly common there. Kragghi grow best in direct sunlight, and are usually found in fairly exposed, high altitude areas, rather than thickly forested places. It tends to grow better once it is past the tree line in the Oro Foothills and the Tandalas.
Usages. The thick spicy gel is a favourite flavouring among the Losh-Oc, the Ashz-Oc, and to a lesser extent, the various Kuglimz tribes. Once harvested, the thick sap is usually squeezed out of the individual segments and placed in sealed containers with a little added water. Thus it remains usable for several months. It is commonly just added directly to food such as soups or stews early in the cooking stage, for it has to cook for a little while to lose the harsh bitterness characteristic of the raw sap. The Kuglimz mix a little Kragghi with ale, weeprout, and various other ingredients, and cook it into a sauce which works well for meats but may also be used with legumes, or vegetables. (They creatively call it Krrahghi sauce, or "mus'krrahghi".)
A less-well-known usage of the Kragghi, among the Ashmari, and the orcs, is as a threat of punishment for bad language in Ashmari children or rebellious orclings, e.g. “If you say that word again, I will scrub your mouth with raw Krrahghi (Kragghi)!” It is a remarkably effective, if somewhat cruel way of curbing an unruly tongue. The Kuglimz tribes will also sometimes use Kragghi sap to stop nervy horses from "cribbing", or chewing on their wooden mangers, when stabled.
Reproduction. The Kragghi does not flower or produce fruit of any kind. It is a perennial plant which reproduces itself through the tiny seeds found in the sap. During the coldest months, the tough outer shell of the plant begins to break down and decay so that, in early spring, the seeds are released into the earth and begin to sprout and grow almost immediately, reaching full maturity within a couple of months. The decayed remains of last season’s plants provide plenty of nutrient rich material for the seeds to grow in. The plant is then harvested throughout the summer and fall seasons. The individual segments are stripped off, usually only a few per vine, as the newest growth is fresher and contains more sap.
Myth/Lore. The Kuglimz tell a story of how the Krr’ah’ghi was originally a gigantic worm, loosely allied with the orcs, with a savagely vicious temper.
According to this tale,
it was created by an orcish mage to aid
them in ridding Caelereth of what
the orcs call “lesser” races. It ranged
from 8 to 10 peds
long, and had boiling hot blood that would cause severe burns if it came
into contact with human flesh. The
Krr’ah’ghi worm would attack the human
settlements and prey on little children. The
All-Mother Lier’tyan, was
displeased and ordered the Krr’ah’ghi to seek other, non
human-child, prey. The great beast
refused to obey and Lier’tyan, in
distress, consulted with her consort
and they turned the worm into a plant. Its massive body shrank, its many
small legs grew into the ground and became roots, while its hot blood
thickened into the gelatinous sap. The sap remains hot and bitter today,
to provide good Kuglimz
children with an object lesson about nasty
temper and disobedience, and how the kind
All-Mother used these things to
provide something good for her children. A quick-tempered individual might
be spoken of as being “hot as a Kragghi!”
Information provided by Alysse the Likely