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Group Smoke in the Outskirts

Discussion in 'Rauru Village' started by Moone, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. Moone

    Moone Eccentric Inventor
    Hylian

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    Moone was quiet for a while. A very long while. One might even call it a prolonged, awkward silence without being entirely incorrect. The gears in his mind slowly turned within his mind, as he meandered aimlessly down memory lane. He remembered getting his first book on magic, a worn old tome that any mage worth his salt wouldn't touch on his worst day. It represented most of his mother's saving, and the best birthday party he could remember from his youth. It was poor kindling for a spark of magic, but then a spark of magic was all he ever had.

    He remembered the day his teacher gave up on him. A sour day tainted by hate, spite, and so much sadness. It was this first tranquil fury, this slight, that remained core to his passion, his work, his very being. It was the clockspring that drove him forward, that turned the gears of his mind in the relentless pursuit of alchemical superiority. That drove him to prove that with all but a spark, he could light up the whole world. That with only a spark, all that stood in his path would burn in the light of innovation.

    He remembered that day as the day he realized that a spark of magic was all he ever needed. And he grinned, wide and toothy in defiance of his roots.

    "Not for all the magic in the world, Squamata. Were I a mage, I'd be a footnote. A forgotten blot of ink in the pages of history. I am as I was meant to be. And as I am, it is I who will write the book."
     
  2. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Squamata looked at him a while and nodded slowly. "I... see." His answer unsettled her. "Your shame... you're saying it will bring you future glory." She gazed down at her metal gauntlet. "I... would not have answered the same." The confession was foul on her tongue, but she forced it out anyway. "If I could change things, if the chance to undo what has been done were offered... I would take it. There's wisdom in what you say, but I...." She clenched a fist. "I cannot accept it. I was a failure, and I was cast out of my home for the shame my failings brought to my people. Even if these circumstances eventually bring about glory I would never have otherwise achieved, I would still wish to be never torn from my family, from my lands, my very purpose. I would wish to never have been made an exile." She rose. "Perhaps someday I will understand the wisdom in your words, but today is not that day."

    She took a long pull from the waterskin and grabbed another chunk of meat. "I will find glory, though. Even if I'd wish it all away for a chance to make things different, I will still fight to reach heights of glory and honor I would never have dreamed of otherwise. I will be great and do great things for my people... regardless of my inner wish." Moone's words clung to her, but this was where she was. The shameful fires of regret still burned strong within her, and Squamata didn't have the inner strength to extinguish them even if she wanted to leave the burning behind in pursuit of true wisdom. Maybe someday she would be strong and determined enough to be as Moone was, but for now? Now she could only move forward, even if she did gaze longingly back. It would have to be enough.

    "When you're ready," she said, "I'd like to leave. I wasn't made to lie in bed while the world turns outside."
     
  3. Moone

    Moone Eccentric Inventor
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    Nathaniel looked out the window, gauging the time. The faintest shades of dawn were painting the horizon. It wasn't morning yet, but there was no real point to going back to sleep, he'd be up in a couple hours anyway. And besides... he had brewing to do. Speaking of...

    "Not just yet. I'm down to one kind of potion, and I need to check the Rot-glue flask for leaks... and I'm fresh out of healing potion. I need to wait until the shops open so I can get a hold of the ingredients and reagents I need to replenish my supplies. Unless you know a magic shop open on the wrong side of dawn?" He smiled at his little joke. "We can rest a little longer, I think. And use what's left of our feast for the day's rations."

    His sore limbs were beginning to loosen up. He stretched, cracking the kinks out of his bones. "But there's something you ought do while the world turns dawnward." He adjusted his stance a bit. Ready to fall backward, to avoid a potential left hook. He was unsure if the weight of his next words would bring retribution. "For just a moment, Squamata, forget your people. If only for a moment, forget the family, the lands, the purpose, everything that has been taken from you. It is time for you to look inward, and begin asking yourself the big questions: 'Who are you?' and 'What do you want?'"
     
  4. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Squamata crossed her arms, frustrated at the delay. She wanted to move under the open sky, and the thought of staying cooped up all day rankled her. Her legs itched to run through open grass and under tree, and she shuddered at the notion of sitting quietly in this dead house of chopped wood and cut stone. But the thought of treasure sustained her. She would need money to fund great deeds, and this was a bounty she had almost died to win. It was worth biting her tongue and waiting a day.

    Moone spoke again, and Squamata could tell by his stance that he expected her to punch him. She didn't. Instead, she laughed. "Forget? I could just as soon forget my arms." She shook her head, still chuckling. "Maybe things are different here in the drylands, but I am a member of my tribe, first and foremost. Before all else I owe myself to my family, to my people, and to my land. You are asking me to set aside all that I hold dear, all that I belong to and identify by and believe in and live for, and shrink my world so that I only consider myself. I can think of nothing more selfish." Selfish... or scary. What was she without that identity? She shoved her mind away from the thought before she fell into its cold abyss.

    Squamata fixed Moone with a steely stare. "Exile or no, I am a woman of the Sept, and my life is dedicated to the Lizalfos of the Midoran Marsh. I fight for the freedom and the glory of my people. I may be cast out, but I will not throw everything aside for the sake of myself. I will not abandon them." She broke eye contact and looked away. "I failed them before. I won't do so again."
     
  5. Moone

    Moone Eccentric Inventor
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    The hours passed quietly after that. Moone focused on doing maintenance on his gear until the shops opened, then spent the next couple of hours pestering apothecaries and herbalists and even a bewildered barkeep who was closing up shop for the day. Materials in hand, he returned to the room. He produced a strange apparatus of wires and bolts and used it to hold an iron flask over a candle's flame while he carefully poured in the ingredients. A sulfurous powder here, a sprig of thyme, a lump of something that could once have been cheese, and soon an acrid scent filled the room. He counted off the time as the final reactions fizzed away, closing his fingers one by one until a three foot gout of flame burst from the flask right on cue. He set aside the bottle with 'BLAZE OIL' embossed in flowing script, and placed another bottle on the fire. He hesitated, then set that one back down on the table. "ROT GLUE" it proclaimed, just under an ugly dent.

    "Hey Squamata," He said, by way of putting off the inevitable. "You want to learn how to make health potion by the bottle?" He held up one of the many empty bottles from last night's feast, each impeccably cleaned and awaiting new corks.

    He had everything he'd need laid out. A clean rasp and a spit of winewood, an assortment of fruits and vegetables, a jar of relatively fresh chu jelly... the list went on. Every alchemist had a different recipe, a different flavor, for their potion. Moone's was a bit more esoteric than most, but the way he measured ingredients prevented the need for a vat of sufficient size to drown a grown man, and let him stay nomadic and mobile.
     
  6. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
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    Squamata watched interestedly as Moone bustled about, but she hesitated when he asked if she wanted to learn. Brewing potions was something shamans did, it was forbidden to warriors like her, and she would be punished back home if she was found dabbling in things best left to the spiritual guides. But to be able to brew her own health potions... That would be incredibly useful in her quest. And she didn't have shamans now to guide her.

    She nodded. "Yes," she said simply. "I would."

    Even with her practical reasonings, the decision felt odd. Warriors were concerned only with the physical, and it was alien for her to engage with something of the spirits. She didn't belong with the spiritual- only the physical was relevant to her. And yet, her experience between life and death sang to her still. Like it or not, she wasn't a simple warrior anymore. She had left the living world and walked a path in the shadowlands to death, and it was impossible to return from such an experience unchanged. The spiritual journey was hers now, and she would need to embrace it or risk being lost on the path she could still feel calling to her. Something about that made her stomach twist into knots. It meant change, huge change, to who and what she was, and that frightened her. But there was no time to hesitate now. There was no denying the importance of learning to make healing potions. She could sort out what all this meant later.

    She looked over the ingredients and frowned. She recognized most of the plants, but what was Chu jelly for? Did warriors really eat that stuff to survive? She wanted to ask but held her tongue, afraid to shame her with her ignorance, and stayed quiet, waiting for the lesson to begin.
     
  7. Moone

    Moone Eccentric Inventor
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    Moone could tell she had questions... probably a lot of them judging by the look on her face. Best to explain while he worked, and let her inquire when she needed to. He started by opening up the jar of chu jelly, releasing an acrid yet fruity aroma into the air.

    "The base for most health potions is chu jelly. Its important to keep it sealed when not in use, so it doesn't congeal," he explained as he tipped the jar carefully. A thin ribbon of red ooze flowed down the neck of the bottle until he had about a finger's worth at the bottom of the bottle. "Chu jelly is a digestive, it helps break down the rest of the ingredients for a smooth consistency. You can make it with any edible acid, but you have to stew it for days to break everything down. And even then it'll be a gritty lumpy mess." He sealed the jar again.

    "Next, we need a magically charged substance. A lot of people use lesser fairies or rare fungi for this, but I have a source that's easier to come by." He lifted the rasp and the spit of wood stained a deep purple one side. "I call it winewood," he said as he began to grind the spit into sawdust. There was a lot of alcohol absorbed into the wood, the room soon smelled like a vineyard... a really good vineyard. "The barrels they use to ferment alcohol are full to the brim with Forest magic. They're basically marinated in fruit or grain or and living yeast." He swept the fragrant dust into a neat mound on a slip of parchment, and carefully poured it into the bottle. "If you don't have time to grind it, or the tools, just lop off chunk and let it steep for a half day or so." The red liquid began to fizz and bubble where it met the powder. "You need one part winewood to two parts jelly."

    He dragged forth what initially looked like a bowl of salad, and began plucking fruits and vegatables and greens from them and chopping them into haphazard pieces with a knife. "What's already there would heal you, but it'd knock you right out. If you don't give it material to work with when it heals you it'll take what it needs from your body." He said. "You need a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Try and get something in every color except blue." He got the pieces small enough that they fit down the neck of the bottle and began dropping them in. "You need to mince these REALLY fine if you don't have chu jelly, it does a lot of the work for you." The bottle was hat full of chopped vegetable matter when he was done. Passing over what once was cheese, he plucked a clean chicken bone from the night before from a platter and dropped it in as well. He poured clean water in until it was just at the base of the neck, and corked it. He shook it, mixing the water and the jelly and all the juices together around the chunks. He pulled the cork out again, and placed the bottle on the fire.

    "Now all we need to do is let it simmer, so the heat can help the jelly break everything down. Once everything breaks down, we'll bring it up to a boil to denature the jelly and stop it from being digestive, and that's really all there is to it."

    The preparation took only a few minutes, and as Moone spoke the reactions began. The solid matters seemed to fade away slowly into a vibrant ruby elixer that bubbled gently in the bottle. And it smelled surprisingly appetizing. Not unlike a sweetened stew. Moone carefully picked it up and sloshed it from side to side, eyeing the cloudy liquid. Satisfied, he focused on the candles, and guided all the heat they could produce straight through the bottle and into the potion itself. It reached a boil in seconds, and stayed there until Moone took it off the fire with a thick leather forge glove. He corked it, and held it up to the light.
    "When it comes out crystal clear like this, you did it right."

    He took a step back from the table and gestured to it. "Give it a try."
     
  8. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
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    Squamata looked at him uncertainly before stepping up to the table. She ran her eyes over the hodge-podge of stuff on the table, trying to remember everything he'd done. This was so different from anything she'd learned before. On the one hand, the unfamiliarity of the work made her uneasy. On the other hand, the novelty was thrilling. This was something entirely new, a secret process that would make her able to heal any injury sustained on the battlefield. Potions were forbidden to a simple warrior, but that just made the work all the more exciting.

    "Okay," she said, leaning on the table with her hands, "first we need the base." She took the Chu and doled out a portion. She poured it slowly, keeping an eye on Moone to know when she'd gathered enough. "And we need it because... it helps mush and mix everything together so it isn't all clumpy. What are other acids that are safe to eat? Even if they don't work as well, I may need a backup." She capped the bottle of Chu jelly and turned to the wood station.

    Squamata took up the wood file, examining it. Did she need to find such a tool, or would her iron arm guard work just as well? She noted the rows of small teeth on the rasp. Her arm guard didn't have anything like that. She doubted her gauntlet would do more than crush the wood. She wanted to travel as light as possible and didn't want to be weighed down by anything she didn't need, but if this tool was necessary to produce health potions, she would have to sacrifice for it. It wasn't too big a tool, so it wouldn't be that inconvenient.

    She picked up a chunk of the purple-sided wood, turning it over in her hands. "Winewood, you called it? But anything magical will work, right? Carrying logs of wood around seems impractical." She began to grind against the wood with the tool, clumsily at first but quickly gaining confidence in the motion, until she had a fair-sized pile of sawdust to scoop into the bottle. She flinched when the Chu jelly sizzled at the contact, half-expecting the thing to explode in her face, but when nothing else happened she continued on. One part wood to two parts jelly, so there should be twice as much jelly as wood. When it seemed that she'd poured half as much sawdust as there was jelly in the bottle, she stopped. There was still some dust left on the table, and she grimaced apologetically at Moone. "Sorry about that."

    The next part was easy. Squamata had been preparing her own food since she was old enough to gather it, and she had the vegetables chopped and stuffed into the bottle in short order. "I never thought potions would be magic meals," she said, "but I guess it makes sense." She gave the potion as much variety as she could, but she passed over the spinach as it was bad for her kind. Finally, she topped the bottle off with water and shook it until everything floated together. She put the bottle on the fire, almost forgetting to pull the cork out, and waited.

    When she couldn't see any more chunks she picked it up carefully and checked it. "Looks like it's all melted," she said. She hesitated. Moone had used magic to bring it to a quick boil, but Squamata had no such tricks. "I guess I have to put it back on the fire and wait for it to come to a boil," she said. "That won't mess with anything, will it? You did it all at once."
     
    #48 Squamata, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  9. Moone

    Moone Eccentric Inventor
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    He watched her work, ready to stop any mistakes... not that there were any bad mistakes to make, the whole reason he used this recipe was because he'd pared it down so far. He'd seen recipes for health potion that took up an entire book on their own. He'd taken a lot of trial and error to sort out what actually worked. He answered her questions in turn.

    "Yes, it breaks down the materials we're adding so we don't have to stew it like most of the traditional methods." He said, while she poured the chu jelly. "Things like citrus juice will work, vinegar, or strong alcohol. Something served in a shot glass. Most of the alcohol will cook out while it simmers, but it will still be slightly alcoholic when you finish." He smiled. She was asking the right questions. She might make a passing alchemist yet.

    She began filing the winewood. "Not exactly, you need to make sure its the right element. Forest magic is what you want for a healing potion. That or Spirit, but reagants that carry that are rare and expensive." He said, filing away the idea of tweaking the elements in the recipe for later. She apologized for the waste. "Don't worry about it, winewood's cheap, usually free. Most brewers don't really care about old broken barrels."

    Heh. Magic meals. "You don't know the half of it. I've seen a recipe for fish stew that passes for health potion. Remember, its entirely possible to perform alchemy by accident." He chuckled. "Just try to write it down if you do."

    "No, it'll be fine. I just cheat to save time." He smiled. "Its not hard to do if you've got a little magical talent, but I think I'm the first to bother trying. He had no idea if Squamata could do any magic, so he left the offer unspoken as the liquid began to bubble. "Congratulations Squamata," he grinned, as the liquid finally began to clear. "You're an alchemist."
     
    #49 Moone, Jun 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018 at 5:16 AM

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