• Solo • Smoke's Poison, Part 3

Stronghold of education and learning, this fortress is in one of the coldest areas of Idalos and home to many knowledge seekers in a variety of disciplines. However, unknown to most, below the city are those who suffer for the sake of science. While all are welcome, not everyone will be treated as they expect.

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Doran
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Smoke's Poison, Part 3

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Part 1
Part 2


Zi'da 10, Arc 719

A couple of trials had passed since the son of Ziell had first heard about the mysterious woman named Smoke that had been supplying the people of Viden with all kinds of different drugs. Most of her victims – her concoctions had severe and sometimes life-threatening side effects – were already on the mend, but he was no closer to finding her than he had been in the beginning. He only knew that she was some sort of shapeshifter, not unlike him.

It seemed as if he would have to make use of the abilities that his Immortal blood afforded him after all, at least if he wanted his search to be successful. He only ever used his abilities as a last resort, if everything else failed, as he was not particularly fond of the side effects.

Finding the woman and getting rid of her would put him in good standing with those that ruled Viden and finally enable him to focus on more interesting projects again – he was growing tired of treating alcohol poisoning after alcohol poisoning - but was that enough? Was the woman worth it? Were the substances that she used valuable enough?

Those were the questions that were on his mind as he took the next paper from the stack that was on his desk. He was in his office, grading his students’ essays, a time-consuming and irritating activity, but one that he would have to engage in, at least for the time being. The topic that he had assigned to them this time was chemical properties.

Some of the essays were so bad that he couldn’t help but wonder if the students in question had been high when they had written them or suffered from serious brain damage. Chemical properties are properties that chemicals have, he read. Really? Hadn’t they learned anything? He dipped his quill into a vial of red ink and drew a line right across the paper. This was not an essay; it was a piece of trash that ought to be burned!

He turned to the next paper, pondering the matter of Smoke some more while he corrected mistake after mistake – grading essays did not demand his entire concentration.

It was just then that he heard someone knock on his door. Furrowing his brow slightly, he put the quill away in order to see who had decided to pay him a visit this time. He found himself facing a burly Lotharro that was at least half a foot taller than him, a member of a race that he considered to be both fascinating and strange at the same time, due to its barbaric ways and the fact that there didn’t seem to be any female Lotharro.

“Yes?” he asked and looked at the man questioningly.

“Doran Thetys?” the Lotharro asked. “I have a delivery for you.” He pointed at a large wooden crate that stood on the floor next to the door. “If you could just sign here, please”, he continued, removed a piece of paper from his crossbody bag and handed Doran a pen. The Mortalborn signed it, and then he eyed the crate. Apparently, the new equipment for the Academy’s alchemy laboratory had finally arrived.

It would provide a welcome reprieve from the pile of trash on his desk.

word count: 562

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Doran
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Re: Smoke's Poison, Part 3

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He bent down, lifted the crate and proceeded to carry it through the hallway, to the laboratory, past a number of students that watched him with unmistakeable curiosity. It briefly occurred to him that he could have asked one of them to help him carry the heavy load for him, but on the other hand, he wasn’t sure if he could trust them not to accidentally damage the valuable equipment. Young people often tended to be clumsy and careless.

Inhaling deeply, he set the crate down on an empty table and proceeded to open it, taking a brief look around the laboratory as he did so. A curvy red-haired woman wearing a lab coat and a pair of goggles stood in front of a cauldron and was pouring reagent after reagent into it. Apparently, he realized, she was a fellow potion maker. He briefly wondered what exactly she was brewing before he decided to focus on his own work again.

He let a hand run across the gleaming metal tubes and containers appreciatingly, finding them to be without flaws. It would be prudent to try the equipment out regardless in order to be absolutely sure though, he decided. It would not do if something went wrong while he was teaching a class.

It was just as he was about to put on a pair of protective gloves that the red-haired woman approached his table and looked at him curiously. Now that she was close to him, he could see that she was young, in her twenties maybe.

“What are you thinking of making?” she asked in a gentle voice that had just the hint of a foreign accent and took the goggles off. He could see that she had unusual, pale blue eyes that shimmered like crystals. There was something else as well, a peculiar, but familiar scent that clung to her. He couldn’t remember why it was so familiar though.

“I can help”, she offered. “My potion needs to simmer for a while, and I’d rather not twiddle my thumbs in the meantime.”

“Something simple, just to see if these here work as they should”,
he replied, having no issue with talking about what he had in mind. On the contrary, he appreciated her curiosity as she appeared to be a fairly competent alchemist herself, from what he had seen. “A calming agent, maybe. Your help would be appreciated, by the way. Do you know if there’s any Rat Fluff in the laboratory?” he asked.

He didn’t explain that Rat Fluff was a reagent that was derived from feathered rats and that had calming as well as painkilling properties. He wanted to see if she was familiar with it. She only hesitated for a moment before she brought him a small silver metal container.

He opened it and took a look at its contents. It was indeed what he had asked for.

“Are you a student, by the way?” he wanted to know and added the reagent to his apparatus before he looked up.

“I’m more of a visiting scholar”, she said and smiled slightly. She handed him the next reagent, a primer, without him needing to ask for it. She was quite familiar with the process of potion-making, he observed. He wondered where she came from. From what he knew, the universities in both Scalvoris and Andaris taught alchemy, although the latter was likely closed due to the plague that had killed more than half of Rynmere’s population at the moment.

“I originally come from Ne’haer”, she said, as if she had read his thoughts. He furrowed his brow barely noticeably as he heard that. He had worked as a doctor in Ne’haer for over a decade. Wherever she came from, she definitely wasn’t from Ne’haer. Hers was not a Ne’haer accent.

Why was she lying though?

He met her gaze for a moment, wondering. She raised an eyebrow questioningly before she turned away again, still smiling softly, in order to hand him a binder. For the following couple of bits, they quietly worked side by side. He briefly wondered if he should call her out on her lie, but it was unlikely that she would answer truthfully. Perhaps he ought to …

“I think that my potion is finally done”, the red haired woman informed him, pulling him out of his thoughts and looked at him for a moment before she walked over to her own table again in order to pour the mixture that she had brewed into a couple of small glass vials. The substance was pale blue, he observed. There was that scent again as well. It was more noticeable now, probably due to what she had poured into her cauldron.

The scent reminded him vaguely of strawberries, he realized.

“I’m sorry if I have to cut our collaboration short”, the woman apologized as she stopped the vials, put them into a box and closed it. “My customers are waiting for my potions quite impatiently. Something went wrong with my last batch, and there was a problem at my laboratory as well, so I had to come here. It’s paramount that I deliver this batch in a speedy fashion. It was a pleasure to work with you though.”

It was just as she left the laboratory that he finally remembered what else the scent reminded him of. The drug addict that had attacked him a few trials earlier had smelled exactly like that. He abruptly pulled his gloves off and followed her. His potion could wait, he decided. It was not that important. He had realized that he had finally found the elusive Smoke, quite by accident and without having to make use of his divine abilities, at that.
word count: 971

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Yrmellyn Cole
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Re: Smoke's Poison, Part 3

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Doran

Overview

You integrated the Doran’s disclosure of the other alchemist, Smoke, into the professors ordinary workday in a very believable manner. It was easy to see him there as he worked, thought of things, graded essays, received new lab equipment and began to test it ... all those unsensational things people do at work everyday and then ... that moment when they stumble over an unexpected finding and I as a reader feel excited but am left with a cliffhanger. A very good story design and just enough detail to give life to the environment and portray Doran’s personality. Extra kudos for the touch or humor with the “rat fluff”. That was such a fun and slightly insane contrast to Doran’s super serious style.

So far it seemed like not even Doran himself has said anything aloud about finding Smoke, so no renown for that silent discovery. But, he gets 5 renown for being a nefarious professor who draws red crosses over student essays. All the students will soon know about it and trash talk him for it behind his back. Testing new equipment in public can give him a 5 for being a hardworking alchemist. In total het gets 10.

I’m reading this series now ^^

As usual, enjoy your rewards!

Points

10

Loot

Wealth

Renown

10

Injuries

Knowledge

Alchemy: Reagent: Rat Fluff
Alchemy: Making a calming agent
Alchemy: New equipment should always be tested
Endurance: Grading essays is frustrating and time-consuming
Linguistics: Recognizing the accent of Ne’haer
Strength: Carrying a crate full of alchemical equipment


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