And Yu-Shan Wept
The rare Astra Desertus is a flower of crystal that shifts in color over its life cycle. Young Astras are typically a dull red or sickly yellow and emit light little brighter than a candle. The light burns from the core and radiates throughout its veins into the clear petals of quartz – the whole flower flowing with that ambient light. During the day guard petals of black obsidian open and absorb the light of the Star of Day – humming with mototic energy. When night comes, these same guard petals close over the core like a jealous lover – trapping the harvested light and Wyld derived energy. Only the least light shines from cracks between these petals. At night the Astras are akin to a blanket of stars twinkling across the floor of the desert – a sight by which they claimed their name
After a decade the flowers will grow brighter with harvested light and grow hotter than even the blistering Southern winds. When the flower begins to vibrate and release a harmonic keening tone – its life cycle is only hours from the end. The core reaches a critical capacity of mototic energy and begins to crack under the strain. The sight of an Astra germinating is quite a sight, a quick dimming of light and suddenly a blinding flash of white that melts the surrounding sand to glass. It is from this light seared glass that the next generation of Astra’s will bloom.
It is important to note that water is poisonous to the Astra – resulting in a guttering of it’s life spark. Dead Astras litter the desert around Gem and other Southern environs – appearing as little more than dark glass statuary. Only in the Boarder Marches, where rain is unheard of, do Astras reach maturity with any frequency.