Sunday, November 28, 2010

Magister of Philters.

Normal Dreams
I peel away the flesh of the living world. It comes off not unlike a wet bathing suit, sticking in corners and bends. Beneath is smoke, and shadow. One moment a hunched beast, the next a lithe serpent. I am roving the world, with strides that seem like flight. The world is the color of burned herbs, the vegetation I find has the brittle character of desert grasses. The sky is a mantle of ever-shifting cloud, there are no stars here. I'm galloping toward a great door that never seems to get any larger - I know it's hours away even at this speed, it's just that large. I keep moving, always moving.

Er... perhaps I spoke too soon.
Suddenly I find myself in a stone circle of sorts. There are stars, and I'm clothed in my usual body. Smoke curls away from me not unlike "materializing death eaters" - even in the dream I giggle about how fricken -awesome- that is. Everything is in a sharp relief, defined to it's very extreme, but colors are wrong - this is not my dream. As soon as I realize this, I see the figure.

He is tall, and slim, and wearing all black. He is perched on a three-legged stool, stirring a cauldron which hangs from a three-legged rack, being gently simmered by a threefold fire (nine sacred woods). He gives me an impatient look.

"How in the hell did I get here?" I ask, violently flailing at the trails of cloying smoke that still hang onto my clothes. "I was galloping through the wastes of the Elfhame..."

"Because I summoned you." He grumbles. The words slide out of him like someone sexually stimulating a cello. "Sit. Pay attention. Learn something worth having in your otherwise empty skull."

And I do. His authority is as plain as the neat little buttons on his coat. It is as plain as the look of barely contained contempt on his face. I want to ask how in the hell he summoned me, and exactly who he is - but the vissage he uses makes a suggestion so hilarious that I don't dare.

He shows me a philter which, by the removal of one herb and addition of another can either attract or repel serpents. He explains the subtle differences between Ferula species, and how these differences can be elevated, highlighted and made valuable.

He explains how some philters must be crafted in earthenware, not metal, and kept "cradled" by heat rather than "tossed" by it. He refers to stages of heat in fluid so subtle that Japanese tea houses would shriek. Here the alkaloids of Henbane are released, here they are 'sterilized', here they are destroyed, here all virtue of the plant is gone, "and at this stage you're burning it."

We discuss ingredients too fantastic to exist, and what substitutes someone such as myself might employ. Waxes and oils and herbs and subtle incantations - and he gives to me a single, small, black candle. And now I know how to summon him.

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