The chimeric kingdom: vedegga nut

Apologies, but we haven't got round to adding a detailed description of this species to the website. Please bear with us as we continue to develop this page.

Literary extracts

The following extract has been taken from my (currently unpublished) novel The Gods in the Jungle.

From Chapter 12: Loetopas considers the source of the city's wealth:
It all came down to the dye. Loetopas had no particular imperial ambitions for himself, though he was always happy to support his brother in his various plots and ruses to place him closer to the succession. No, for himself, the key attraction of the impending marriage had been the promise of profiting from - and possibly even controlling - the dye trade. Nobody knew how the dye was made: the Governor's upstart Clan had managed to keep that secret for over sixty years, despite the best efforts of every scion and sect in the Old City to uncover the processes involved. Oh, everyone knew where the dye came from; the vedegga nut was common across the lower reaches of the Laoma mountains, crushing the nut produced a powder which made an exquisitely golden dye. But the colour didn't last. Only the dye produced in this city, by Clan Rollue, possessed the ability to stain a cloth both brightly and permanently. People were prepared to pay a lot of money for such a dye. The flow of cash to Bassakesh had led to coin shortages in other cities. Why the Emperor allowed this state of affairs to continue was beyond Loetopas's comprehension.
From Chapter 25: Shapeis learns about vedegga nuts from a friend
"So tell me about vedegga nuts," Shapeis said. "What do you want to know?" "What do they look like? How do you harvest them - anything, really. I just want to talk so I don't fall asleep and miss out on the goat." His companion laughed. "Well," he said, "they're big, vedegga nuts. From a big tree. Some of the trees we've been walking under are vedegga trees." "So you have to hunt for the nuts when they fall?" "That's what normally happens, yes. But for our dye, we climb up the tree and harvest the nuts before they crack open. Once the nut's blown, it turns bright yellow and falls to the ground, like you said. But if you get to them before they crack, all that yellow is inside the nut." "How do you mean?" "The nut is where the flies are grown, yes? Every year around the first solstice, the nuts crack open and release the flies which go off and do whatever it is vedegga flies do - make new vedegga trees, I suppose. Then the nut husks fall to the ground. But if you want the best dye, you need to get to the nuts just a day or two before they crack." "But I thought you harvesters came up here long before solstice - is it just a couple of day's hard work and the rest of the time feasting on the Governor's profits?" The man laughed again. "That's right! We spend a few weeks up here resting our bones then trick the barby rats to pluck the nuts from the trees for us." Despite his tiredness, Shapeis found himself laughing along with the man. "No," he continued. "Our Service is not for the leisure, huh? Those trees are tall, I tell you. We spend the time climbing and roping and marking so that when the time does come the harvest is as easy as possible. And you can't drop the nuts down - they have to be carried. Can't let them crack, else the flies will flit away in a cloud of lost riches." "So is that what makes our dye better than everyone else's? Harvesting the nuts before they crack?" "Heh - I bet the Governor wished it were so easy! No, that secret's in the processing. I know the nuts get smashed in the grinders - they're kept in those sheds over there. We grind a mixture of cracked and un-cracked nuts to a paste, which then gets dried on big sheets we hang in the clearing. Then the sheets are taken elsewhere for further processing while we spend the rest of the season dismantling what took us so long to build in the first place." "Why's that?" "Well, we can't be having spies discovering which trees are the best ones. There's lots of folk who would kill to learn the secrets of our dye!"

This page was last updated on page still being prepared