From the Book, The Southern Reaches - of Savages and Silver, a travel log by Admiral (ret.) Saveth, noted Naturalist
"When travelling between the Hanaset towns of Setahal and Timuhal I noted a strong odor of rotting plants emanating from our trusty Hanaset guide Sehetuma. Now, the Hanaset are a fastidious people and I was somewhat surprised by this. However, I kept my own consul, seeking not to offend.
The source of the smell became clear when we had the first rest stop of the trip. Sehetuma removed the large Ralu quill basket that I had though was serving as his backpack.
He opened the top and I could see within a large quantity of rotting vegetation. He reached into the mess and extracted two rather large, pink grubs, each a handspan in length and grotesquely fat. After carefully wiping off the creatures, he skewered one on a Ralu quill and set it over the fire. The other, he removed the head, gutted and began to eat immediately. Noticing my incredulous stare, he smiled and gestured to me as if asking if I wanted one. Now, I normally pride myself on my ability to take local customs in stride, but that day I could not bring myself to sample his repast."
Full Item Description
A Ralu quill basket sufficient to hold a bushel of material. It is generally decorated in Hanaset style with much beadwork and patterns painted onto the quills.
The basket is filled with rotting fruit, vegetables and other assorted plant material, and within the mess can be seen large, pink, grub-like creatures.
The jungles where the Hanaset live are not the most hospitable of places, and so the Hanaset are forced to travel far when foraging and hunting. Some of these trips take days, and the hot humid forests will soon spoil normal foodstuffs.
To answer this need for food, they needed something which would not spoil. The Hanaset found that the larva of one of the giant beetles which called the jungle home would survive for many days if given a steady diet of decomposing plant matter. Since the jungles are pretty much giant piles of rotting plant matter, this means of storing ‘food’ serves the Hanaset well.
The Hanaset refer to the grubs as Timusalu and the adult beetles as Musalu.
Each of the Grubs contains .25 lb of usable food if eaten raw. Cooked, they are worth .2lbs. They can be used in recipes similar to jumbo shrimp, but have an earthier taste. A typical basket can contain up to 2 dozen of these.
The adult beetles (Musalu) are remarkable only for their size (nearly a foot in length) and for their venomous bite.
The pain-causing venom is harvested for use in the Velasu ritual. (See the Ralu entry for details on this ritual).