• Solo • Wine Tasting

Alex learns the Finer Points of Vinting

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:56 pm
Race: Yludih
Profession: Apothecary
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Wine Tasting

28th of Zi'da, Arc 716
“The primary difference between a red and a white wine lies in the type of grape used to produce them, see, and the amount of time the skin and the seeds are soaked for. You see, soaking makes a large difference in taste, mainly due to Tinnitin. Tinnitin is the primary ingredient that differentiates the two, see, and is found in the skin and seeds. The seeds and skin are left in to soak with the pressed juice in red wine, and filtered out immediately in white, see,” the instructor droned on as Alex tried to remember as much as she could. She hadn't noticed it at first, and honestly probably wouldn't have unless she caught sight of two pig-nosed women to her right giggling every time he said it. He seemed determined to include 'see' in every sentence, and it was driving her crazy.

Alex had arrived two breaks ago, and the man had done nothing but talk since then. It was supposed to be a wine tasting, but it looked like this man planned on preaching all night.

Alex looked around at the other five women, all sitting ramrod-straight and looking equally bored. For a moment, she felt a stab of pity. The last night of their lives and they were stuck listening to this wine snob jabber on and on.

A wrinkled, stained and torn pamphlet had brought her here after a few too many questions had alienated seemingly every bartender in Andaris. At first, they had been more than happy to talk with a cute girl, but after they had realized she didn't plan on buying anything their attitude had changed. One of the more impatient and rude of them had shoved the paper in her hands, before ordering her out. Given what she had recently discovered about Evelyn Andaris, Alex needed to learn at least the basics of winemaking, transportation, and consumption as her 'in' and apparently this was a fairly common course for the upper-middle class who wanted to feel as if they were high society.

She had needed three trials to prepare everything for tonight, and a knot of tension in her stomach refused to go away. Every posible thing that could go wrong whirred through her mind. With a concerted effort, Alex slowly dispeled her anxiety, convincing herself she had prepared as best she could. Her hair was pulled up high in a tight bun on the top of her head, and she wore enough makeup to outfit a brothel. It felt thick and fake on her face, but it helped to mask some of the minor facial reactions she would have, and tonight she needed every edge she could get. She sat high and proper on her chair, blending in among the other women who aspired higher than they would ever get.

“See, the first wine we will be drinking is the Venora Rose. Venora Rose is a very common bottle, see, with floral hints and an undertone of peaches,” the instructor, Stewart, said. He walked over to the table where the bottle sat and lifted it up, showing the label to the class. “See, I need a volunteer....you should do,” he continued, pointing at Alex. Confidently, Alex rose to her feet and walked to the front, taking the bottle from the man. Inside, her stomach ache disappeared. The biggest problem had evaporated, and Alex nearly bounced up.

This was perfect, far better than she ever could have hoped for. A heavy waft of alcohol seemed to leak from his pores, and Alex had to school her face into careful attention. Good job for an alcoholic, she thought. Subtly, she slid a small paper satchel from her sleeve into her palm as Stewart discussed the correct pouring technique.

“Lift by the back, see, show the label to the consumers. Then you pour half a glass and twist, see, so that it doesn't dribble down the sides.”

Stewart offered the bottle to Alex who took it, turning her back to everyone as she hunched over the glasses. The paper ripped easily, the powder slowly slipping under the surface of the wine as Alex gave it a small shake. The motion was smooth, practiced with paper and salt over the last few trials

“So, just like this?” Alex asked, turning slightly to Stewart as she did so. He nodded as Alex carefully poured out the seven glasses.

“See, very good, please take your seat. Now see, the Venora Rose is a sweeter red wine, not nearly as bitter as the final wine we will try tonight. See normally when tasting one would swill the wine around their mouth and spit into the spittoon provided, but we had an... unfortunate accident, and the spittoons will not be available tonight.” His tone sounded far more excited than it should be, almost giddy at the idea of drinking the wine. Yep. Alcoholic, Alex snorted.

She had tampered with the spittoons, poking holes in each one when the cleaner's inattentiveness left them unguarded earlier that morning. She allowed herself to smile as everyone took their first sips. The first bottle disappeared, and Stewart got to his feet easily to get the second bottle, a frown crossing his brow as if something was wrong, but it eluded him.

“See, this one is a fruity wine, sweet and good with most meals. It also-” he hiccuped loudly, provoking a quiet outburst of laughter from the women. "It also has a low bitterness," he finished, glaring about.

The last wine was the important part- the part it all hinged on. Acripae, a very bitter and acidic wine in comparison to the other two, was the last choice of the evening. Alex waited with bated breath as he poured the glasses, proposing a toast and downing the glass. The women soon followed suit, Alex tossing hers discreetly over a shoulder instead. Odds were it wouldn't harm her, both with being a Yludih and having built a small tolerance to most poisons, but better to not take the chance.

Bits had passed when Stewart sloppily refilled the glasses, suddenly slurring so badly no one could understand a word he was saying. The alcohol had hit them all without warning, and conversations grew loud and obnoxious as women swayed in their seats. When Stewart stumbled and fell no one seemed all that surprised and laughter filled the room. When he failed to rise, however, one woman awkwardly got to her feet and staggered over to him.

Stewart began to convulse and she let out a scream, halting all conversation immediately. As one, the women tried to rise to their feet, but they were too drunk to walk.

Within a break they were dead.

Alex rose and carefully stepped around the slowly spreading pools of vomit as she checked the pulse of each person. Only one of the pig-nosed women seemed to be alive still, and Alex lifted her into a sitting position as her bleary eyes struggled to focus on her. Lifting the wine bottle, Alex forced the mouth of it into her, and plugged her short little flat nose. She weakly struggled at first, but soon was forced to swallow. The last of the bottle went down her throat, and Alex sat back on her heels. Her convulsions were strong, nearly knocking Alex oveer, but they soon subsided, and she was dead. Rising to her feet, Alex surveyed the mess.

What had once been a lovely room was soiled beyond belief. Alcohol and vomit were spread throughout the lush carpeting, and the contorted bodies of the women lay in the puddles of both. Dresses were torn from seizing, and chairs knocked over during their struggles.

Moving carefully, Alex set the wine bottle near 'Mrs. Piggy's' corpse and removed her own chair from the room. Her glasses were crushed carefully in her dress, the fragments tossed out the window. She rearranged the chairs to make it appear there had only ever been five women and left quietly.

The streets were deserted, but Alex took no chances. She wove her way through the streets, wiping off the makeup and hunching her shoulders, passing the few other pedestrians without comment. Her path took her through Mid-town, past the gates and into the heart of Low-town, where the shack her father had found for rent was.

Thank Aelig, she thought, when she saw the small hovel was deserted. She closed and barred the door behind herself, stripping off the ruined dress and cutting it into small chunks. She quickly started a fire, shivering slightly as her crystals began to harden. Soon, a crackling blaze filled the hearth, and Alex carefully burned the dress. The small bits of powdered poison she had left followed quickly behind and her gaze swept the room. Satisfied there was nothing that could tie her to the poisoning, she rose and grabbed a rag.

Alex carefully washed herself off, shivering as she broke the thin skim of ice in the bucket. She warmed herself by the fire before climbing into bed.

It hadn’t been easy, and she was exhausted. She was lucky she was used to a lack of sleep, as she hadn't been able to rest in three trials. The base of the poison she had used was an obscure processed powder made from the infamous ‘Death Cap’ mushroom, well known and easily found. Alex had needed half a trial to create it, as it involved drying and powdering the cap, adding it slowly to pure alcohol in a sealed environment. That reaction created a foam, which was scraped off and baked until it was browned. Finally, that had to be soaked in freezing water until the cooked foam swelled and created a thick, gelatin-like substance.

Alex rolled on her side, gazing at the old, tattered leather journal that had helped her so much. Since she found it, all those arcs ago, it had always had something to help and this case was no different. This particular processing made a poison that killed off something inside of people that got rid of the alcohol in their body. The author hadn't seen any use for it, but it fit what Alex needed perfectly. By using it, typically it simply meant the alcohol would build up in the target's body, but usually, this simply resulted in the person feeling drunker, causing them to stop drinking.

So the next problem was preventing it from activating too early, giving people the warning signs and letting them stop drinking. Through trial and error, Alex discovered that Da’kir stems would be the perfect inhibitor for her purposes. By purifying the stems through drying, powdering and then performing a gradation on the powdered remains, the finest grained Da’kir stem would inhibit the poison and prevent it from activating until the stomach acid levels reached a certain point. This meant that the alcohol would already be in the system by the time the body stopped processing it and would seal their fate. The powder dissolved easily in the gel.

Most people, however, rarely drank enough to result in killing themselves. The trick with this involved two doses of a mutated Ginger Root. This problem was the easiest to handle since Alex was used to mutating Ginger root using Still-Moka stomach acid from her trials working with Mr.Gardener. This sealed off the stomach, preventing vomiting and severely decreasing urination while simultaneously drying out people. Medically, they had used it when they needed a patient to keep the medication in their stomach, but it worked just as well now. The second dose had to be prepared differently, by adding in another dose of Da'kir Stem to keep it from reacting too soon. This mutated root was then soaked in alcohol to create a potent tincture which would, theoretically, prevent the alcohol from being absorbed into the system.

When the tincture and ground root were both added, however, the entire mixture had separated itself. A new solid had precipitated into the bottom of the container, several layers of liquid above it.

Alex had struggled with that part. Her experience had been strained by the second dose of ginger root, and she was working purely off her best guesses. When she needed to somehow add in barkskin to bind it all together, she had nearly cried. Simply adding it at the end hadn't worked, and Alex had been forced to work backward, adding it in one step at a time.

It had been only two breaks before the wine tasting when Alex had managed to solve it, and her grand plans of making it a contact poison flew out the window. She had cooked it over the fire and powdered it, before sealing it in paper.

As Alex replayed the events, a thought suddenly hit her. Her brow furrowed as memories of the room came back, and Alex realized that something had gone wrong. Despite the first dose of ginger root, something that was supposed to prevent vomiting, the room had been covered in it.

Had it been the two doses of ginger root? Had the first somehow canceled out the second, or was it simply too much for the ginger to overcome? Or maybe something had gone wrong with the mutagen?

Alex sighed heavily; she needed a test subject, a human test subject, to figure it out on.

Her mind raced round and round on an endless track until at last, she fell into a fitful sleep.
Now I've worked out all the costs, but please feel free to double check.

The dress is to be included in the costs, but since I burnt it at the end, it's gone. 5GN

Poison Costs
  • I used one dose of Still-Moka (split 1oz for testing and then for binding with the actual dose), so 100GN
  • Four Ginger Roots (Two for dose, 2 for practice) 4GN
  • Three Ounces of Barkskin (One for dose, used up two for practice) 60GN
  • Three 'Death Cap' Mushrooms (One for dose, two for practice) (not in Price List) Appx 10GN each for 30GN total
  • 2 Weeks Worth of Da'kir Tea Bags (Half a week for dose, rest for practice and experimentation) 10GN

And finally, 15GN for entrance to the tasting
word count: 2412
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Basilisk Snek
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Wine Tasting


Story: 5/5
Collab: 0/5 (Solo)
Structure: 5/5


Poisons: Using Death Cap as a poison base
Poisons: Making a processed powder out of Death Cap caps
Poisons: Targeting the bodies alcohol processing system
Poisons: Using wine as a method of poisoning people
Poisons: Forcing someone to drink a poison
Medicine: Using Da'kir stems as a poison inhibitor
Medicine: Making a finely grained Da'kir stem
Medicine: Using Ginger-Root to fend off an alcoholic reaction
Medicine: Using Still-Moka to mutate Ginger Root
Medicine: Using Barkskin to bind a mixture
Disguise: Dressing and acting like a social climber
Stealth: Removing evidence of your presence


-1 for annoying the bartenders (Alex I assume)


Bartenders remember questionsome girl, one bartender remembers giving Alex the pamphlet.
Crushed wine glasses outside the window
Witnesses remember a woman leaving the area shortly after time of death
Possible traces of the poison in the dregs of the wine
Scent trail of a sixth woman


Only found one structure error: "The second dose had to be prepared differently, by adding in another dose of Da'kir Stem to keep it from reacting too soon."

The word "it" is bolded and I can't see a reason why. Not enough of an issue to deduct points for, however.

I enjoyed reading through this one, Vlu is a very efficient assassin. Keep up such fine work and I think she'll find some options opening up for her in the future. ;) However, as you saw, there is some evidence there that could be traced back to you, especially if they have someone with a scent-hunter familiar look over the room, and there's at least one of those in Rynmere, so be wary. =] Pm me if you think I missed anything!
word count: 310
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