Smoking in Kyrenaia is a cultural practice usually associated with a cup of tea,
Much of the equipment used for smoking depends on who wants to smoke how. For example, the Qalyan is usually filled when one expects a group to join someone for the consumption of a blend, while Midwakh and Sibsi are for use by individuals, who did not expect company.
The Qalyan is a water-pipe, a distant relative of the hookah-waterpipe, working after a similar principle. Each smoker has his own mouthpiece, detachable and therefore individual. These mouthpieces may be of wood or metal, decorated or not.
The Midwakh is a short pipe, usually no longer then a twenty centimetres from the bowl to the mouthpiece. These two, and the stem connecting them, are the three parts of the Midwakh, the mouthpiece also containing a filter. Usually handcrafted and made of materials such as bone, sometimes even marble, the pipe can be decorated lavishly with precious stones or crafted to resemble an animal, while that is less common the lower the smoker's income is. The entire device can be opened in the middle and cleaned out. As of late, mass-produced steel Midwakhs get more and more common amongst youngsters. The small bowl is filled with the blend by dipping it into a bowl.
The Sibsi is a longer, up to 50 centimetres longer, version of the Midwakh, with a narrow clay bowl, the shkaff, to which a stem is attached, usually with a filter. The Sibsi is usually of clay and wood, rarely other materials are found.
Palaces and larger houses oftentimes feature specific rooms for smoking, the Smoke Rooms, which are usually well aerated, and a bit off so that the smoker can enjoy his blend in peace.
What they smoke
Qalyan-Smoking is usually done with tobacco, mostly the one grown in Kyrenaia itself, rarely from abroad.
The far more popular Midwakh has a wide variety of possibilities, starking with a tobacco blend known as Dokha, finely shredded tobacco mixed with leaves, bark and herbs. It is known for producing a 'buzz' of lightheadedness and relaxation lasting up to 2 minutes in the immediate effect.
Most people, however, prefer to smoke other things with the Midwakh, usually herbs or plants:
- The Tail of the Lioness, a close relative to Leonotis Leonurus, having a mild calming effect when smoked, relatively similar to Cannabis, but with a less potent high.
- The Velvet Lotus, which has an effect of sedating, stimulating certain drives and causing a mildly euphoric state.
- Han-’Ilat's Herb, which is known to be relaxing, gentle and sense-enhancing effects, including effects, which make it a light aphrodisiac.
- Sage, both relaxing and euphoric.
- Majoram, very calming.
- Dry Marshmallow, endemic to the Kyrenaian Dry Marshes, of the genus Althaea.
- Manat's Word, of the Genus Leonurus, an relaxing antiaphrodisiac and sleeping aid.
Following joint endeavours between Selkie-Mercenaries and Kyrenaian lords in the Kyrenaian Middle Ages,
This mostly extended to the smaller Midwakh, which was easily transportable by a cavalryman and found its adaptation by the Selkie as Píopa.
Traditionally, Selkie-Herbalists differ between three parts of the blend: A light base, a supporter for the lungs, the nervous system or with another effect, as well as something to enhance the flavour, as almost all herbs, which can be smoked, shouldn't be smoked alone, these are the three parts.
Selkie rarely smoke tobacco, but have other things, mostly herbs, which they consume by smoking, to different effects:
- The Candle, coinneal in Selkie, is one of the most commonly used bases, belonging to the genus verbascum. It is light, fluffy and a neutral base, which can also help the lungs by bringing up congestions and cleansing the lungs themselves.
- Sage, both relaxing and euphoric.
- Néal, a plant of the genus nepeta, is known for its lightly relaxing properties.
- Dream Herb. Mild sedative, that encourages lucid dreaming.
- Álainn ríon, the Beautiful Queen, known as a Atropa Regina (close relative of the Atropa belladonna, the deadly nightshade) in the rest of the world. Forbidden, frowned upon, endemic to the Free Lands and highly dangerous.
- Lemongrass is usually used for flavouring, but quite a lot of people like to leave it out.
- Lavender, both smelling good and being a good way to relax body and mind.
- Hops, which is not only used for beverages, but also for teas.
- Páiseog chorcra, or Selkie Passion Flower, relaxing the body and making it easier to sleep.
- Beathnua, the Yellow Wort, of the Genus Hypericum, a powerful anti-depressant.
- Leitís Allta, wild lettuce, relaxing and promoting sleep.
- Mian do chroí, Heart's Desire, of the Genus Crataegus, a plant known for being good for the heart, lowering high blood pressure.
- Oileánra-Hemp, of the Genus Sida, native to the Oileánra-Archipelago, stimulates.
There is no doubt about there being health hazards when smoking Qalyan, only the extend is currently unknown.
In a scientific study, the writer commented on there being less risk in smoking Qalyan over the long term then over the short term at average consumption, but defined both as one or two times Qalyan per week and 20 to 30 cigarettes per day. The great risks in Qalyan-Smoking mostly come from carbon-monoxide CO, which is ten times as strong in Qalyan-smoke as it is in a cigarette.
The major issue of such studies is, that smoking is well researched with large studies over excessive amounts of time, while Qalyan-smoking is not researched in a similar manner.
Midwakh and Sibsi
Smoking Midwakh and Sibsi, as well as their health hazards, entirely depend on what is smoked. Generally speaking, though, it is not healthy, as there is still carbonmonoxide inhaled and lungs collecting tar. It is more recommended to use teas for longer durations of usage, or to only use teas, as smoking is unhealthy.
Even if it is not tobacco.