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Canon
The Haarstryke Kalt, aka Rustwood Tree
RustwoodTree
Branch, Nut, Tree, Resin, Cross Section
Size 30 - 45 m
Areas found Dense forests
Distribution Sub-alpines of Sovakier
Description Large nut bearing tree
Seed Description Smooth, oval
Germination Time 8 days
Time till harvest 12 years
Water requirements High
Common diseases Rot, Fungus
Medicinal Properties Iron deficiency, dizziness, burn ointment
Local Uses Building and tools

The Rustwood Tree, also known as the Haarstryke Kalt (Har-strik Kelt) in the Sovakien language is a large, dense, nut bearing tree found widespread in the sub-alpines of Sovakier, and select regions around it. It receives its name from the rusty color of both the resin and the wood of the tree itself.

The tree consists mainly of the thick trunk, or bole, which can be over 91 cm thick depending on the age. It may extend upwards of 30-45 meters in order to receive sufficient sunlight, as the trees are constantly competing for light with one another. Depending on the age, light, nutrients, and the water levels of the area grown in, the Rustwood Tree may grow vertically at rates of nearly 17 cm a month, or about 2 meters a year. However, growth slows down as aging increases, and takes the average time of a Earth year to develop a new ring. The smooth, grayish-brown bark of the tree can be up to 5-7 cm thick in order to protect it from both bugs and fire damage.

The wood of the tree has many unique properties unshared by other Natkian trees. Such properties include its incredible strength, density, and various colors, ranging from deep reds to yellows. The density of the wood is so high, arrows shot with even the finest bows have a difficult time sticking into the wood. It is unknown what gives the tree this property, though scholars speculate it may be because of altitude, or possibly iron and/or mineral content in the soil, though it is just a speculation. It also seems to be nearly incombustible, which allows it to be made into incredibly strong and safe ships and houses. However, though it is not easy to burn, the tree can catch on fire after persistence, and will burn for days after. It is thought to have this property because of the high density and water content of the wood.

The orange-yellow leaves of the Rustwood Tree are medium sized, about 7 cm in width and 12 in length. The leaves are flexible, and hard to tear; because of that some insects find them difficult to eat. Each twig has usually 6 leaves, with 2 smooth, oval shaped nuts and the tip of the twig. These are only about 1 cm in width and 3 in length. 

Local Uses

Resin

Because of the Rustwood's incredible strength and density, the only thing that can cut through the tree are axes made of its own resin. The process to make such an ax is long, and very dangerous. 

The resin begins to form in large amounts, enough to make the axes in the late winter. The snow melting gives the tree sufficient water to begin the process of forming the resin, which is then collected later in the early spring when most of the snow has melted. The bark of trees are tapped, but even this requires precision. While the bark is thick, a simple iron spigot can tap it. However, if it is tapped too deep, no resin will flow; tapped too shallow and the spigot will not stay in the bark under the weight of the bucket filling up, and the resin will be lost. One full bucket of resin (about 30 cm deep and 20 cm wide) will be sufficient for two ax heads. 

There are about two buckets per tree, on each tree over 4 years old. Once almost all the buckets have been filled with the resin, the process of heat treating and curing may begin. This is incredibly dangerous, for many reasons. The resin must first be cured for about 3 weeks, too soon, the resin will crystallize and splinter during the heating process, too late and it will be too hard to heat treat. Then it must be heated to incredibly high temperatures with indirect flames in order to harden it, which is a very big fire hazard. The actual heating process is incredibly toxic, as the resin gives off fumes when heated. These fumes are also highly combustible, so there must be two weeks of waiting in between each session with the fire so all the fumes may disperse. If put back onto the flame too early, the house will explode. 

Because of these safety hazards, makers of this resin have two choices. One, they may craft high up the mountains in designated locations (so the fumes can rise, and can't poison any people above them) which is very dangerous. If they choose not to, they must be sent away from the cities or any people nearby to do the work, in case there is an explosion. However, bandits commonly are caught lurking around the houses, waiting for the resin to be finished so they can steal it.  

After the Resin is completely cured and heat treated, it's red as rust and nearly as strong as steel. The workers then pack up, and leave to transport the resin to the next set of workers, who cut and sand it into an ax head. However, if the resin would be used for a blade or armor, it would be treated once more, surpassing the strength of steel. Once the ax-makers receive the two chunks of resin, pre-cut by the resin workers, they will slowly chisel and sand it (using other resin pieces) down into the shape of an ax head. A hole will be made through the the back, where a handle can be fitted into it. Any discarded or broken pieces of resin will be thrown into a pile to use as shrapnel, or to tip saws or pick axes. 

Finally, after the resin is shaped an sanded, it is handed over to the sharpeners who will use stronger pieces of resin to chip away at the sharp end (as only stronger things can chip it), leaving it with an obsidian-like edge. It will be sanded once more to smooth the now uneven edges, then it is tested to see if it will break. If anything during any part of the crafting went wrong, the ax head will shatter into hundreds of pieces. If it completes the test, it will be sold to at the beginning of the logging year. The axes, depending on how much they are used as well as the maker, can last anywhere from 5-14 years. 

Logs

The Rustwood Tree's wood is sought after by many civilizations for its strength and near incombustibility. Teams of anywhere from 6 to 15 people (depending on the size of the tree) must be used to not only cut the tree down, but lower it to the ground without damaging it or the people around it. While anyone can choose to either cut the tree down, or lower it, some people are designated either role based on skill or experience. At the beginning, huge ladders will be placed reaching where the trunk meets the crown of the tree, and ropes will be tied to it to help later ease the tree to the ground. After the ropes have been placed, the cutters will begin chopping the tree with the resin axes; when the cut reaches about halfway, half of the cutters will continue cutting, while the other half grabs a hold of the ropes alongside those set to lower the tree. One or two strong kicks from the opposite side of cut usually will set the tree into motion, where the remaining cutters will grab any extra ropes and help set it down. 

After the tree is safely lowered to the ground, the entire team will either pick up the tree if it is small enough, or use the ropes to drag it back to the main logging facility. Workers at the facility will use smaller axes on the crown of the tree to remove the twigs and leaves only leaving the branches and trunk of the tree for the next workers. The next set of workers will come and harvest the thick bark to use as insulation for houses or furnaces, for they are difficult to burn. With the wood now bare, it may finally be refined into logs or planks using resin tipped tools, and used for building or for trade. 

Replanting

Depending on the time of year, the twigs of the Rustwood Tree will be sifted through after being cut down to harvest the edible nuts (growing on the end of the twigs) to either use for food, or to use to replant the crop. Workers (usually Uskalt boys and girls) will gather the twigs and sort through them, putting them in two piles. Broken or damaged twigs will be put into a reject pile which will be used to burn as fuel later, and instead the nuts will be used to plant. Twigs that are usable will be kept for replanting later into designated areas, and the nuts used as food.

Designated planters (again, Uskalt boys and girls) will gather up the usable twigs and plant them as saplings in large empty groves, where Rustwood Trees existed the previous year. Those trees just replanted will not be cut down until they are at least 12 years, but will be tapped for resin when they are 4 years old.

Medicinal Uses

The bark of the tree, once striped and steeped with boiling water, is useful for iron deficiencies, as well as dizziness or light headedness.

Leaves of the tree can be ground with clean, hot water to produce a ointment that heals, as well as relieves the pain of burns.

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