Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Represented here is a specimen of braungal, a perennial tree native to Mrabr, the homeworld of the Mraboran. The braungal is one of the more common species of numerous trees that contribute to Mrabr’s mottled purple and green appearance. It is worth noting that for some inexplicable reason, the artist chose a much lighter and more vibrant shade of purple than how the trees actually appear in real life. Perhaps an artistic liberty taken to highlight the exoticness of the trees to those from planets with exclusively green foliage.
The tree is rather ubiquitous on Mrabr, its range spanning the entire planet save for the southwest planes beyond the Graram Mountains, and the polar regions. Most braungal reach the height of about 40 to 60 feet, while the more majestic subspecies in the far north can grow as high as 100 feet. The tree’s thick lower fronds are only a few feet off the ground and can serve as adequate shelter during a storm. Caution should be taken though as a swampy area with a thick concentration of these fronds may indicate the habitat of a Mraboran meatgrinder.
The pink slightly translucent fruit of the braungal are edible to most sentients but unremarkable in its taste. The flesh of the fruit is firm and mostly flavourless with slight sour notes, while also containing a large quantity of small white seeds that are bitter when bitten into. Braungal fruit rarely form part of the diet of the largely carnivorous Mraboran, though it is often included in livestock feed for animals such as the agmari.
The braungal occupies a special cultural significance for Mraboran as well. Mysterious strangers often wait for folkloric travelers under the braungal and the tree is closely associated with Lorz, the goddess of the hunt, one of the more prominent deities in the Mraboran pantheon and one of a handful still revered in a society that has grown largely agnostic.
Although the planet has been united politically for thousands of years, braungal trees continue to be strongly associated symbolically with the northern hemisphere, as braungal fronds used to serve as the national emblem of the royal house that had dominated there prior to unification. Primarily for this reason, prominent northern families ensure that their estates have a healthy braungal grove, and breed varieties whose leaves approach the colour black as a sign of prominence and wealth.
To see where the Braungal tree is referenced in The Bloodlet Sun, please see here.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.