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As flavoured lip gloss would only arise as a game detail if kissing was going on, the subject was simply silenced. In the “home” Realms, northern travellers of all races used bacon fat, plant saps, and anything else available (the jelly-like innards of the white cragberry, for instance; a juniper-like berry that grows on tiny evergreen tuft plants in mountain crevices) as lip balms in severe cold weather, to keep skin from freezing and cracking. Prostitutes (and sometimes, priestesses of Loviatar, Chauntea, and other faiths, or “just plain folks” who could afford it and wanted to do so, on wedding nights or festival nights) used various substances to dye the lips, flavour the lips, scent the lips, or impart sensations (i.e. the “glosses” - - which are called “mrathaera” by elves in the Realms, by the way, and “mrathaera” or the simpler corruption “thaira” by humans - - imparted drug effects to kissed creatures). Among humans, mrathaera are well-known in Rashemen and in the Tashalar and Var the Golden, but few other humans know how to make more than one simple concoction. Any lasting gloss (that is, anything intended to do more than temporarily dye the lips and momentarily freshen breath or impart a scent or taste lasting more than, say, half an hour) consists of active ingredients and a waxier “base” substance. Active ingredients consist of the juices of berries, essences (boiled down mixtures) of various herbs, and plant saps; the waxier bases are usually derived from certain evergreens, some berries, or even fats derived from crushing certain insects (such as the “layedur,” a species of large blue-green dragonfly abundant in Turmish, the Vilhon, and the Tashalar; carefully-dried layedurs are also sometimes worn as jewelry, pinned to hats or garments). Most lip glosses can “take up” the tastes and scents of certain powdered herbs and spices (among prostitutes, a favourite is cinammon; mint is very popular among “just plain lasses” desiring to please lovers; lavender is very popular among elves); a mrathaera intended to make breath sweeter and lips tastier but not have a strong scent or taste of its own would utilize parsley or a similar herb. Among known mrathaera drug sensations are the following: deadening the lips of the mrathaera wearer (against heat or bitterness, for instance), making a kissed person very sleepy (drowsy, slowed, or unconscious), or very excited (adrenaline rush) or very alert (all senses hyper alert; this can be useful going into battle, or when conducting stealthy forays in the dark), or bringing on hallucinations or pronounced dizziness, or imparting actual physical harm (poisons; hallucination, dizziness, and physical-harm effects almost always also affect the mrathaera wearer unless they have previously built up a tolerance to the particular substance). Among elves, family elders are usually taught mrathaera-lore, and pass it on to younger family members (usually females and usually loners or plainer, more thoughtful individuals) slowly and secretively. Gnomes, halflings, pixies, and other woodland folk usually know much of this lore as part of wider passed-down family knowledge of herbs, spices, cooking, and physics (medicine). Among humans and half-elves, herbalists/apothecaries and various clergies (druidic in particular) specialize in such lore, and there are even a few assassins and courtesans (usually beautiful females) who use the more harmful mrathaera effects in their work. Knowledge tends to spread in times of war, when armies travel outside their “home” realms, and the camp-followers (prostitutes and healers) share information with their fellows and with those they press into training as needed.

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