An offering favored by The White Witch, Algis
. Offerings of good melons are rewarded with powerful boons.
The melon, though hardy, is exceptionally sensitive to variations in soil, temperatures, moisture, and light -- all must be managed with great care in order to create the delicate sweetness and complex flavor favored by Algis. Failed melons can range from bitter to sour or even develop a sickly off-white/yellow color. The most bitter of melons are used as a nutritious (if unpleasant) supplement to the standard Templar diet, while the more acceptable melons (semi-sweet to sweet) are considered rare and wonderful gifts. These are usually reserved for Templar who have made exceptional contributions to The City
in the line of duty or died with exceptional honor (for example, defending a satellite city
). In the later case, the highest ranking member of her unit receives the gift in her stead. After an appropriate ceremony honoring the dead, the melon is then divided between the closest sisters of the deceased. Seeds are normally dried and kept as a token of remembrance, but some sisters return these to the garden.
Origin of Melons
Long before The City was The City, it was the garden of the White Witch. From distant worlds she gathered many seeds in advance of the coming Dark.
The Great Hall
contains vast records of fantastic plants and creatures supposedly housed within The City -- why only humans
, melons, and a few variety of grasses, vegetable roots and fruiting trees remain is a great mystery. Perhaps the White Witch's garden grew feral? Or perhaps there was an accident during The City's long voyage to this world? The logs
of the 44444th captain, the most complete record of events prior to The Landing, do little to shed light on this matter... but perhaps such questions were already ancient in her own time. In any case, her logs confirm that the melons find their origin somewhere in the distant past, long before the first captain held the very first melon offering festival. Perhaps the first melons were planted by Algis herself, on a cool dewy morning, under the light of a star that bled its last ten thousand million years ago.