A bottle was bubbling at the back of the table. Hunts-for-Wisdom regarded it with curiosity. She smiled and the fine dark scales around her mouth reflected the candlelight. She proceeded to cut the roots off a stalk of bugloss, its little blue flowers surrounding the main stem, and then wiped the knife on the towel she had for that purpose next to her. She sniffed the air, smelling the herby smell that wafted from the cut flower. It was a rich scent, sweet and pleasant, speaking of the earth. She discarded the roots and put the rest of the flower in the mortar in front of her. She repeated the process with another stalk of the same flower, wiped her knife diligently, and then proceeded to move the bubbling bottles higher up on their clamps so that the boiling slowed down.
She turned around and rummaged inside two small pouches she had brought with her. She muttered to herself "Now where is that columbine" and she picked out two stalks of another flower with pink flowers drooping down like a bell. She took her knife to the roots and cut them clean off. Being mindful of details she wiped her knife again and repeated the same process with the second stalk. She smiled at herself. She liked being absorbed in her work and the little things. She put the two cut stems in the mortar as well and made sure the table was clean. She then took the pestle and started pounding on the flowers. The pestle was a wide thing, made to accommodate a large volume of ingredients but even so the flower stalks extended out of the rim in both directions. Hunts-for-Wisdom's dexterous hands made sure she pounded in the middle of the pestle, folding the flowers more neatly inside the small basin and then swiftly she pushed and rearranged any protruding bits back into the pestle. She ground out the flowers with strength, putting a twist at the end of every push, her movement making her dark scales reflect the candlelight in various odd angles. She continued for a while, making sure all the flowers had been reduced to a pulp and that the columbine and bugloss had mixed with each other. The smell had changed, turning into something sweet. Hunts-for-Wisdom felt a sweet tinge at the back of her throat and she smiled.
She took out a pair of gloves from her backpack. She regarded them for a moment remembering last week. These were the gloves that she had used at the enchanting workshop she attended. She had offered them for enchanting practice and the participants of the workshop had helped imbue the gloves with an enchantment to resist flames, using some fire salts. She didn't have a lot of possessions so she was especially happy to have such a pair made. She put them on carefully so she could handle boiling containers safely, then took a clean spoon-like implement and proceeded to scrape out the mixed and mashed flowers out of the mortar into another container. It looked like a small metallic furnace shaped like a bowl standing on metallic legs; a calcinator She spooned all the mixture inside it and then carefully made sure it was sealed tight, to prevent any air entering or escaping. She had heard that her kind back in Black Marsh changed the position of the calcinator according to the phases of the moon but since she lacked that knowledge she simply set the implement on a low fire and lit a small thin candle next to it. She kept watch on the thin candle, using it to time the process and as soon as it went out she removed the calcinator from the flame and shook it vigorously. A soft whooshing came from inside of it. She had read in her books that this step was important to burn away any impurities in the mixture and thus increase the potency of her intended potion.
Hunts-for-Wisdom unsealed the container and looked inside. A white powder was all that remained, the heat of the flame, and the lack of air, burning away impurities and reducing down the moist pulp into that dry remainder. She sniffed it carefully, and looking pleased she uncovered a beaker full of clean spring water and tipped it inside. The powder swirled inside and started settling at the bottom. She regarded the beaker, took a clean spoon and started stirring the water. The powder lifted up and started moving inside the container, and by the time Hunts had blinked once, two, three times it had dissolved inside the water, changing the colour to a faint pink colour. Hunts' tail started moving slightly indicating her pleasure and she took the beaker and emptied the contents into a more conical flask which already had a low flame burning under it. She moved the conical flask down towards the flame and connected another container to it via its attached long thin neck. "The alembic is secured" she muttered to herself. She had read that using an alembic would decrease the magnitude and duration of any negative effects that ingredients could impart to the final potion. She waited patiently as she made sure that the all the mixture, bubbled, evaporated and then she watched the vapour move slowly into the attached thin neck of the other container and slowly condensing and forming small red droplets that grew slowly bigger on the sides of the glass. The droplets moved down the long thin neck and flowed down inside the second container. The resulting mixture was a deeper red colour than what she started with. She smiled, the dark scales of her mouth crinkling into a wide grin.
"Now the final part" she told herself. She reached under the shelf and took out a device that looked like the alembic but a bit stouter, shorter, with its own glass neck growing out of the top of it curving to the side. It had a small hole on the side of it and she poured the mixture inside. She placed it inside a metallic ring and lit a flame under it. Whilst waiting for the mixture to boil she glanced at her notes she had propped up on a chair and looked at the illustration she had made of the device. Under it was written: <Retort - Pour the mixture inside and boil to purify the mixture in order to increase the magnitude and duration of the positive effects of the ingredients in your potion>. Once the potion started boiling she put an empty potion bottle under the curved opening and waited for the distillation to finish. The vapour cooled down on the glass and dropped down the intended bottle.
She sighed happily, cleaning the table as she waited for the drops to fill up the bottle. She noticed that the colour of the final potion was a clean bright red, refracting the light in a pleasant manner. The smell coming from it was crisp, clean and sharp, alternating between a fruity and flowery scent. She put out all the fires, leaving the potion to cool down. Once it was cool to the touch she picked it up, sniffed it again, smiled and satisfied with the scent she took a sip. She felt a tingling moving from the back of her throat down to her stomach and then a faint electric feeling spreading like tendrils from her core outwards. She felt the tendrils spreading, dividing and reaching the ends of her fingers and toes. She shivered with pleasure and grinned. The potion had worked! She gulped half of it down, needing the rejuvenation from a difficult week and with bright eyes she stoppered the rest of it and put it in her backpack. Hunts-for-Wisdom stepped out of the room with a spring in her step; she was ready for everything!
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