You see a fire steadily boiling a cauldron of dark materials. You don’t know what it is, but it has a sharp smell. Above the fire on the shelves are bottles of various alchemical mixtures.
This is a golden brown, flammable oil derived from decomposing amber under high heat to produce amber colophony and this pinewood-smelling liquid. It can be burned in a fragrance lamp, carefully mixed with spirit of niter to create the peculiar-smelling earth musk, or distilled to make turpentine.
This is a lamp oil distilled at very high heat from stone oil. It also causes skin irritation, and the fumes cause difficulty breathing and unconsciousness. Ingestion is often fatal.
This is a pale green liquid made by dissolving iron in spirit of salt while passing muriatic air bubbles through the mixture. Also known by its ancient Arukan name of narill, spirit of iron is primarily used to reconstitute gold that has been dissolved by royal water to make auric acid. Master Arasemis said it was also used to make serpent varnish for glyphblades.
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Laboratory cabinets contain a large stock of alchemical ingredients. Much of it is labeled, but you wonder how Master Arasemis remembers where everything is.
This is a pungent paste made from smoked garlic that is used in cooking and many medicinal and weapon alchemical mixtures, including popaver, ditch fume, and verasse. Distilling garlic balm produces sulfurous air, and condensing this creates a sticky residue used as glue for glass and ceramics.
Ahh, honey. A sweet, thick, sticky substance produced by honeybees, along with beeswax. Before you came to Thorendor Castle, you thought honey was just a food, sweetener, and main ingredient of mead. From Master Arasemis’s alchemy teachings, you have learned it can also be used as a salve that prevents infection and heals wounds and burns. It can even be used as a cough suppressant.
Conversely, honey made from the flowers of mountain laurels is toxic, causing dizziness, weakness, vomiting, and rarely death. Finally, honey is a preservative. Objects stored in honey have been found to be preserved for centuries.
This is an expensive little jar. The venom is harvested by honey bees by provoking them to sting a glass plate which has been rubbed with amber. The plate is then scraped of venom and collected. Used as an ingredient in shroud eggs including slow sleep.
These are cages for birds, mice, and other small animals that Master Arasemis uses to test his alchemy.
You see a dark liquid with a deep, pungent, earthy scent derived from carefully mixing amber oil and spirit of niter. Resists fire, despite the flammability of its constituent parts. For this reason, it is also called cancelling water. It can be used craft the fire retardant cindermony.
These wriggling water worms are interesting to watch, if also disgusting. Master Arasemis keeps them for two reasons. First, they are used by many physicians to enable blood-letting, which can help cure patients of disease. Second, Master Arasemis says leeches can be used to predict the weather. He says he noticed that leeches in a jar become agitated and attempt to escape prior to the arrival of thunderstorms.
You thought this was just a tale. But Marlan told you that Arasemis drew a schematic for what he called a tempest prognosticator. A dozen leeches would be kept in a jar without lids. When they successfully wriggled out, they would land on a scale that tipped a hammer that struck a bell. The more leeches that escaped to strike the bell indicated a higher certainty of a coming storm. Marlan said Arasemis sent his designs to a friend to evaluate, but he never actually built the device.
This is a large chunk of fossilized tree resin. It is translucent when polished and may have plant, insect, feather, spider web, frogs, hair, or other inclusions. Master Arasemis keeps the best ones with interesting inclusions upstairs in the library. Aside from those, which can be used to study ancient life, amber has many alchemical uses. It is used in crafting amber oil, amber colophony, and earth musk. Although weather-resistant, it can be dissolved by turpentine.
Amber is also used in jewelry, perfumes, ornamentation, and to flavor liquors. Amber is abundant and can be found on the ground in forests, along beaches, or mined from rock.
One of the most interesting properties of amber is that it can create static sparks and a pine-like scent when rubbed vigorously with silk, wool, or fur. This effect, which alchemists refer to as the amberspark force, can even be used to light fires. Amber rubbed in this way also attracts leaves and dust to the stone, a property that is not yet understood. These properties have gotten attention beyond alchemical laboratories. The sparks and attraction are sometimes used by jesters for court tricks, for example.
You see a large wooden trough that is divided into sections, and several large flasks of a black muddy sludge. This was among the first alchemy lessons Master Arasemis taught you and the other students: how to make tar, tar water, and similar valuable mixtures.
Tar is a thick, flammable, sticky liquid obtained from the destructive distillation of coal, oil, wood, or peat. This distillation is done in kilns, dry limestone ovens which are typically built near forests to be close to sources of fuel. Aside from the tar, turpentine and charcoal (carbun) is also produced.
You also learned that natural tar can be mined, which is called bitumen. Or made from tree resin or oil, which is called pitch. Master Arasemis showed the students how to make this out in the forest, then use the pitch to make torches.
Although the students initially scoffed at making tar, Arasemis reminded them of its use as a siege weapon, poured down from castle ramparts onto attacking soldiers. He also said Candlestone’s typical use of merchant and tradesmen disguises demands that students learn about tar as part of their disguise. Tar is used as a sealing wax, candy flavoring, incense, and water repellant for sails, roofs, buckets, leather, and innumerable other things. Alchemists also dilute it to make tar water and believe it to be a primary ingredient of a panacea.
…As such, this poison breaks the ephemeral clock of the body. It leaves no trace, and kills the victim within 20 days. To properly form, it must be left to sit in a cave for 20 years, evaporated to dust-layered and preserved until only a small residue remains…
Master Arasemis has shown you and the other students how to use a variety of heating tools as part of alchemical processes, including torch bowls. These can be used to singe, roast, or burn ingredients. They can also be used to gently heat alembics and other containers.
…Earlier I mentioned mixtures and alloys, and the processes of careful attention. Not everything can be combined to make something useful, and many things combine to simply create rot or some unusable substance, or something dangerous to the maker. The objective for the alchemist or metallurgist is to follow a recipe or be willing to expend time and resources to experiment and find a new thing of use. A process chain is the method that an alchemist or metallurgist uses to document a recipe or experiment using standard symbols for substances, inputs, outputs, and conversions so that the recipe or experiment can be reproduced…
The fronds of the gill fern are used by the Order of the Candlestone as breathing filters inside masks, which convert fixed air or breathed air into common air. The fronds must be replaced as they become saturated, otherwise the fixed air will build up its toxicity within the mask.
Of Naren-Dra origin, these ferns were used in masks that protected their faces from frostbite, provided breathable air while mining, and to protect themselves from their own shroud alchemy during battles. Later this fern was used in masks by alchemists during dangerous experimentation. Today, these masks allow Candlestone to do all of these things. Although native to the Narendra Mountains, the gill fern now grows in much of Donovan, Austveeden, and Calbria, and parts of Toninbern.
You see a cluster of glassy blue-green cloudgems, a crystal composed of common-aired silic with trace copper impurities, similar to the Naren-Dra shulmel crystals used to make the optical lenses of Candlestone masks. However, cloudgems have a lower melting temperature so they do not require crushing before heating. Cloudgems also require less time under heat than shulmel, but result in more fragile lenses than shulmel. The cloudcarry nullifier can also be produced by crushing, powdering, and boiling cloudgems (60%) and carbun (40%) in fruit acid and collecting the resulting white cloud.
Cloudgems are found in the Naren-Dra Mountains, the mountains in Nydenland, and a few other places. Master Arasemis said the cloudgem is a symbol of the null alchemy pacifist school, which has its origins in Nydenbern. He tends to disparage null alchemy but also says that school has made significant contributions to the study and practice of alchemy.
This crumbly crystal cluster exudes a strong rotten egg odor, but it is an important alchemical ingredient. Sulfur corrodes most metals and other materials, earning it the alternate name of brimstone. It is used to make potent acids, fertilizers, and medicinal balms to ward off parasites, fungus, and insects. It is a component of ditch fume, oil of vitriol, cinder, coal, phlogiston, and grimgold.
In shroud alchemy, sulfur is used as an illusory to hide a scent on a path. Importantly, sulfur is one of the ingredients that Marlan used to craft his Banebrand alchemical flame sword using alterlocum and glading methods under Master Arasemis’s direction. When burned, sulfur produces a blue flame, melts into a blood red liquid called molten sulfur, and produces sulfurous air. Sulfur can be found in many types of ores worldwide, and in pure form within salt domes.
You have been absolutely entranced by the properties of this black liquid. It burns holes in stone walls, floors, and earth, but does not work alone. The varnish must be painted or splashed onto a surface, then activated with copper, either a powder or bulk pieces of the metal. Copper-bearing alloys, such as brass or bronze, can also set it to work.
The reaction of void varnish is evident from purple and blue flames that spread across the applied varnish. You have seen how the copper liquefies on contact with the varnish, reaching for the flames as they sprout. The copper will even slide up walls.
This reaction has proven to be intensely corrosive to stone and earth, with hissing and a white, harmless, sweet-smelling mist of water vapor released from the stone and earth. If touched, the resulting copper scum will quickly desiccate flesh as well. When the flames die away, the remaining stone and earth have withered into a porous, sponge-like skeleton structure which is easily shattered and passed through, as a void.
The production of void varnish is expensive and lengthy due to its complexity. First, a mixture of slaked lime (65%), pyrum powder (20%), stone wax (10%), and starved carbun (5%) must be distilled. Then the distillate must be exposed to common air until it turns white. This liquid (50%) is mixed with spirit of salt (40%), flare powder (5%), and copper patina (5%), then exposing to flammable air until it turns black. Then it is ready for painting or sloshing onto a targeted surface. Care must be taken however, because even before being lit by copper it will cause severe skin irritation followed by painful crusty black rashes.
This is a dangerous substance indeed. Oil of vitriol is a viscous, odorless, non-flammable liquid that is denser than water and will not boil. It dissolves slowly in water, and in this diluted form can be used as a cleaner. But is otherwise strongly corrosive to many metals and other materials, and must be stored in glass only. Oil of vitriol causes severe burns to the skin, blindness, and is often fatal if swallowed even small amounts. It is also used to reconstitute anchiclade that has been dissolved by royal water. Master Arasemis showed you how to produce oil of vitriol by burning sulfur with silic in the presence of steam water vapor.
You see a brownish, milky, fermented liquid that becomes luminescent when heated. It is crafted by grinding wireworms, the larvae of the click beetle, into a paste that is heated. The distilled juices are pungent and mildly acidic. Overexposure causes vomiting and breathing problems. Boiling the juice until evaporation creates a faint residue of pure fosforus and small amount of dead air.
You recognize this silvery liquid as bessic acid, made from dissolving anchiclade metal in royal water, which also produces flammable air. Bessic acid can be in liquid form if all the royal water is not boiled away, or if it is, the acid takes the form of a silvery grain-like crystal powder. The liquid and solid forms of bessic acid are very corrosive. It is a strong eye and skin irritant that causes flesh to die under prolonged exposure.
The exact amount of anchiclade in the acid can be reconstituted by completely boiling away any remaining royal water, then repeatedly heating the bessic acid powder residue in spirit of salt and oil of vitriol. This will create molten anchiclade until the liquids are completely boiled away, leaving a pure anchiclade lump to cool or be poured into an ingot mold.
This is a failed sword, and you witnessed how it happened. Master Arasemis was instructing Fetzer on how to glade the blade with pyrum and other materials. The sword was intended to be a demonstration on alchemical weapons, without causing too many sparks to leap from the blade. When Arasemis wasn’t watching, Fetzer added too much pyrum and gold, thinking more was better. Fetzer also feared Arasemis was continuing to delay what Fetzer viewed as his rightful time to have a sword akin to Marlan’s Banebrand.
The effect was immediate. The soaking liquid in the slurry barrel began to boil, requiring Arasemis to tip over a bottle of cloudcarry and everyone evacuated the laboratory. When the mists had cleared, everyone got a good look at the sword. The gold had risen to the top of the barrel and then slid up the blade, depositing frost-like patterns on the blade and hilt.
Although beautiful, the steel of the blade was significantly weakened, rendering the expensive weapon useless. Arasemis banished Fetzer to his quarters for three days, but Fetzer stormed off into the woods. He allowed Fetzer to sneak back into his room the following day, but kept the ruined sword here as a reminder for everyone not to deviate from instructions.
This short sword was made before you arrived to Thorendor Castle so you don’t recall how it was made. But you have tried it out. Unlike most alchemical weapon glading or treatments, this sword does not have a modified blade. Instead, the hilt and handle were gladed with materials that absorb and therefore nullify the vibrations of the blade when struck against another. This steadies the user and reduces fatigue. Master Arasemis has pointed to it as an example of creatively using alchemical properties for benefit.
This is the primary slurry barrel used for treating weapons with alchemical soaking mixtures. This was where Marlan’s Banebrand sword was crafted, a process that can take many weeks, depending on the attributes desired. Master Arasemis has only allowed two students, Marlan and Bertwil, to craft alchemical swords, much to the displeasure of Fetzer.
This is a common and simple mixture of tar and water that is used to flavor alcohol and candy, spice foods, prepare cosmetics, and scent saunas. Master Arasemis has also shown you and the other students how to use it to make the star curtain shroud egg.
Arasemis showed you and the other students how to poison wine without leaving a trace of scent or taste. You are in the process of learning the ingredients and proportions.
This key is full of vinegar, which has many alchemical uses because it is a mild acid. It cleans steel and drains and can be used to polish copper, brass, bronze, and silver. It is an ingredient of seven thieves vinegar, and is used in cooking, pickling, and mixed with honey to make beverages. Vinegar can be used to kill certain plants and treat jellyfish stings. Vinegar is easy to produce from soured grapes, fruit wines, and grains, and was among the first liquids that Master Arasemis taught the students how to craft.
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