Pinkspitters, Lions, and Doxbells

flower with many stamens. Close up. Monochrome.

The people of the Coast seek many methods of ameliorating their woeful lives. Among these methods are a variety of drugs, both exotic and benign. Some, like pepperelle cigarettes, are hallmarks of civilized living. They are available on any corner store. Others, like the sweet petals of blush tulip, are obtainable only from fournisseurs of the highest caliber.

Coquelicot

Coquelicot is a concentrated, thick pink paste made from the blood of the lion-poppy. It is a powerful narcotic and muscle relaxant, and is enjoyed as a leisure drug.

When heated, it burns at an extreme temperature, and can only be smoked from very long pipes (three feet minimum) to avoid burning the mouth and lungs. These pipes produce a thin, heavily-scented ribbon of oily pink smoke. Coquelicot dens are usually shrouded in a veil of the stuff, which takes an age to dissipate. These dens are filled with lounging, barely lucid individuals, who become quite useless after just a few whiffs of smoke. Only when someone starts hallucinating does the calm of the den become disturbed.

Coquelicot is sometimes mixed with gum and sugar, and then held in the mouth against the gums. In this form, it is called Coquelicish, and it causes the gums to darken and the skin to break out in pink freckles. Habitual users are heavily freckled. Coquelicish is used more frequently, as its effects are less intense. It is popular amongst the Ragmen of Alagorian ports, who are called "Pinkspitters."

Overuse of either form of Coquelicot causes a person to become horribly somnolent. They may fall asleep at any time (for a very long time) and suffer bizarre, twisted dreams.

Lion Poppy

The lion poppy of Corvoy grows on short, hefty stalks. These stalks always grow atop carcasses (animal or human.) The bloom is ribbed, multi-layered, and quite heavy. Come pixie season, it removes itself from the stem and begins to hunt.

This lion pixie is a powerful beast. Its soft, red flesh it supported by a multitude of hard stalks, like bones. These stalks protrude in places, lending the beast claws and teeth. A "mane" of layered, bright petals surrounds an encephalized stalk, which serves as a head.

A lion poppy is a capable hunter. It will seek out a single target and assault it with abandon. It is an especially dangerous opponent, as it will not flee from combat, even if grievously wounded. The lion will readily die in the act of bringing down its prey.

After slaying its target, the lion will sleep atop it. Quickly, it will wither away, leaving nothing but poppy seeds and husk of dried flower petals. This continues the lion poppy's life cycle, and provides the seeds with a fertile carcass to grow on.

The lion poppy is hunted for its blood. In late summer, groups of hunters enter the steaming jungles of Corvoy, armed with clubs, intending to attract and bludgeon a hunting lion poppy. They will beat the poppy to prevent loss of blood. This is a woefully dangerous task, as they lion is quick with its claws and teeth. Many poppy hunters will not live to see the fruits of their labor.



Blush Tulip

These squat, pillowy blooms are a luxurious intoxicant. Their juicy white petals are plucked and eaten like artichoke segments. They are crisp, and hold a sweet, purple pulp.

Ingestion causes a warm high, which delivers a surge of confidence and libido. A tingling grows in the cheeks, which flush with blood. The plant is known as "blush" for this reason.


Any Empereauxean soiree worth its salt will feature a side-lounge furnished with tulips. They are served on ice, drizzled with honey. Such lounges usually degenerate into sticky debauchery within a few bites of tulip.

Excessive consumption of tulip causes several side effects. Habitual usage eventually causes the the veins of the hands and feet to stand out and become dark, as if stained by flowing raspberry juice. Critical usage causes the veins of the user's eyes to turn a deep purple. Dependence on crimson lotus causes a person to go mad, and desire nothing but to gorge themselves on lotuses for the rest of time.

Tulip Mounds

Blush is expensive, as it grows only in the Tulip Mounds of Illa Phé. These mounds are communal growths of thorny tulip-bush. They are riddled with natural tunnels, wherein the blooms themselves grow in dim light. Navigating these tunnels is a deadly task, as they walls are rife with thorns. An anticoagulant venom drips from these razor spines. A clumsy tulip-hunter may be cut to bleeding ribbons by one false step.

Tulips are nearly impossible to harvest, come pixie season. Once the blooms become motile and begin to fly, they make the tulip mound exceedingly difficult to navigate. Despite this, some prefer to consume blush pixies, as they are believed to convey a superior high. As a result, living, wriggling blooms fetch an obscene price on any market. They scream softly, when eaten.


Pepperelle

This luscious, wide-leafed vine is widely consumed on the Coast. It's dark, oily leaves are grown on trellis rows in the warm fields of rainy Sicáda. There, it is air-cured in open barns or fire-cured over smoldering fires of hickory and ash.

The smoking of pepperelle leaves is enjoyed throughout the Coast. In the South, cigarettes rolled from paper and leaf are the favored means of pepperelle consumption. In the North, long-stemmed pipes are more popular, and are enjoyed by all sorts. In the Wilderness, pepperelle is obtained and smoked however possible, to provide some comfort to offset the oppression of the horrible wilds.

When smoked, pepperelle relaxes the nerves and brightens the mind. It's smoke carries a peppery flavor, thus the name pepperelle. Habitually smoking it eventually bleaches one's teeth an opalescent grey, but also leads to a nagging dependence. This dependence is usually a nonissue, so long as one can afford the steep price of more leaf, and doesn't mind being surrounded by a cloud of flying Doxbells.

Pepperelle is toxic to älves, and älves themselves tend not to know this. Stories abound of clever humans who, in order to banish a pesky älf, beguile it into taking a draw from their pipe. Again, an älf probably wouldn't know or care about this, and would rather steal your snuffbox for a laugh.

Doxbells

These are a species of dusty, grey, moth-like creatures who lay their eggs within pepperelle leaves. Their eggs only hatch when lit on fire (as doxbells are native to the excitingly-volcanic slopes of Mount Rubitus.)

Smokers of pepperelle tend to amass a cloud of juvenile, flying doxbells around their heads. These creatures are harmless when small, but become quite a nuisance 
when fully grown, for the adults are possessed of hands and enjoy tipping things over. At this stage of growth, they are called "topples."

Faced with a lack of living pepperelle plant, topples are prone to lay their eggs in utterly annoying places, such as peoples' ears. They are regarded as a necessary evil of civilized life. No one stops smoking, of course, so doxbells keep maturing into topples, and the topples keep tipping over peoples' lamps. It goes without saying that topple exterminators make a fortune.


Doxbells, by @Marrethart 


Author's Note

This one's a distant item on the rewrite list. Needs stories.


Benton

Chief Producer of Typos at Incunabuli.com.

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