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Tho'rahl'shothan

Species on To'ul'h Prime which yields a potent drug

Tho'rahl'shothan land sponges
Image from Steve Bowers
Tho'rahl'shothan land sponges, made visible on the dark surface of To'ul'h Prime by their phosphorescent glow

Tho'rahl'shothan 1 is a species of landsponge found in the vicinity of the Narrow Sea on the planet To'ul'h Prime, commonly consumed by the To'ul'h xenosophonts during the Pre-Eruption and Pre-Contact Epochs as a form of recreational drug. Although highly toxic to unaugmented humans, the effects of consuming tho'rahl'shothan are considered highly pleasurable to To'ul'hs, comparable to that of certain opiates found on Old Earth. Ingesting more than three sponges all at once is often fatal, and a minority (roughly 10%) of To'ul'hs are unable to handle tho'rahl'shothan at all, dying within minutes of consumption. Prior to Terragen contact, there was no known way of telling if one belonged to this minority, thus, tho'rahl'shothan was often known as the "chance drug". One noteworthy example of a To'ul'h dying due to an inability to cope with this drug is Hath'jo the Younger, one of the Six Great Poets of Sh'lakh'sh 2, and Shol'nath, a noteworthy historian of the First World State, and Keeper of the Library at the Isle of 'Thisha.

Tho'rahl'shothan is one of the oldest recreational drugs used by To'ul'hs, and is thought to have been used as far back as the Necropolis Civilisation (a.k.a the First Ones), the earliest society to emerge on To'ul'h Prime, c. 72,500 BT. The drug is also noted for its religious symbolism, comparable to the hypothesised entheogen soma from India of Old Earth, with numerous cultures believing the drug to be a gateway to the spiritual realm (hence its name). One Pre-Contact religion believed that tho'rahl'shothan was the food of the gods (similar to ambrosia in ancient Earth legends), which a mortal-friendly deity gave as a gift to the To'ul'hs. Supposedly, the addictive nature of the sponges was a result of mortalkind's inability to handle the intense pleasure, and the well-meaning deity was banished to the hellish upper atmosphere. The ancient 'Nal' Empire of Kh'ht, a minor polity which emerged following the fall of the Empire of the Unending Dynasty, punished those who ingested the drug with execution, believing it to be one of the Temptations to Be Avoided important to their religion.

Due to the highly addictive nature of tho'rahl'shothan, it has been outlawed in many states throughout the planet's long history. For example, in a series of events known as the so-called "War on Tho'rahl'shothan", Blo'falda the Elder, ruler of the Gla'shoo'ath Kingdom 3, is remembered for his harsh laws concerning those found consuming and selling the drug. It is believed that these laws stemmed from the death of the king's son, Blo'falda the Younger 4, who belonged to the unlucky few incapable of handling a small amount of tho'rahl'shothan. From that day forth, any caught in the possession of the drug would be forced to consume a fatal amount of sponges. On more than one occasion (earning him the nickname "the Hypocrite King"), Blo'falda the Elder went as far as to import the drug from foreign countries for the purpose of punishing those found possessing it. Those killed in this manner would not be buried in the traditional Gla'shoo'ath fashion, instead being fed to animals (considered the highest dishonor in Gla'shoo'ath culture).

In the Post-Contact Era of To'ul'h history, as with many addictive drugs of Old Earth, tho'rahl'shothan has largely fallen out of favor, with most spacefaring To'ul'hs using artificial drugs produced by Terragens (designed specifically to cater for their alien biochemistry). However, tho'rahl'shothan addiction remains a problem for the primitive inhabitants of To'ul'h Prime to this day, and the drug can be found on a number of less-advanced colonies and baseline To'ul'h reserves maintained by the Metasoft Version Tree. However, genetically engineered variants of tho'rahl'shothan (with all addictive properties removed) may also be used on more advanced To'ul'h worlds and habs.

Footnotes

1: Named for the legendary lost gateway to paradise found in a number of Pre-Contact To'ul'h religions. Older names for this drug include beautiful curse (K'bakh'tho society), and waking dream (Unending Dynasty civilization).

2: Best known as the author of the epic poem, The Great and Terrifying Journey of the H'kal'sha Brothers to the Summit of Mt. 'Thass'thon'.

3: Located in what is now Kaze'hntis, the Gla'shoo'ath Kingdom was an early polity to emerge following the 'Thass'thon' Eruption (c. 37,500 BT), which was ultimately conquered by the K'bakh'tho Empire.

Described by historians as "rebellious beyond belief"
 
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Development Notes
Text by James RogersInitially published on 29 June 2016.

 
 
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