Description

The first Phials of the Sun hailed from beyond the borders of the Empire. They were initially used by the healers and physicians of the Brass Coast, who eventually traded with foreigners for the secret of their manufacture. They normally appear as a small golden or amberglass flask, usually marked with the symbol of the radiant sun, containing a crimson liquid like red wine. Crafting the phial is a painstaking procedure, requiring an incredible amount of attention to detail and an extremely steady hand. The inner core of the phial must be carefully blown and shaped, and any error in the preparation of the glass or the process of blowing it renders it useless.

For many years it was mistakenly believed that the liquid itself was the source of the phial's magic, and some unscrupulous physicians played on this misconception to charge their patients exorbitant prices for its use. Eventually, a Freeborn physician named Alessandra i Xavir i Guerra made it her mission to point out that the juice held in the phial is simple water and the juice of any number of fruit; that the transformative and healing magic came from the phial, not the liquid within it. As long as the physician ensures that there is at least a little liquid in the phial, it can be used once a day for as long as the enchantment lasts.

Rules

  • Form: Talisman. Takes the form of a tool. You must be holding this item in hand to use its magical properties.
  • Requirements: You must have the Physick skill to bond to this item.
  • Effect: Once per day when you use the physick skill you can decant some of the juice from this phial and use it as if it were any one herb. An apothecary cannot use this juice when creating a potion.
  • Materials: Crafting a Phial of the Sun requires three ingots of weltsilver, five measures of ambergelt and two measures of beggar's lye. It takes one month to make one of these items.


White fire lanced through Guy DuBrecht's mind, dragging him rudely back to a world of anguish. His ragged cries of pain subsided into shallow and rapid gasps for air. The world swayed drunkenly and stars danced across his vision. Nausea seized him and he rolled onto his side, retching the contents of his stomach into the muddy puddle in which he lay.

"Huh. Still alive then?"

The speaker unslung a patchwork leather shoulder bag and rested it against the bole of the tree behind Guy's head before crouching down in the puddle with the fallen knight. He was an orc, dressed in a war-skirt of woven leather straps under a tattered chain shirt two sizes too large. A thick metal studded belt cinched in the chainmail and was festooned with pouches and bags of numerous shapes and sizes. A wickedly-curved axe hung from a baldric at his side and Guy noted that the handle was worn but the blade had a keen edge.

The orc's face was weathered and beaten, even for one of his species. A myriad of small, painted animal bones pierced his skin and the remaining areas were decorated in ritual scarification runes.

A shaman, thought Guy, and a veteran at that.

"Saw you charging at Mal Drak back there." the orc grunted as he retrieved a short staff from his shoulder bag. "What were you thinking, charging straight at him like that? You moon-touched, boy?"

Guy tried to answer but when he worked his mouth it felt like someone had packed it with cotton balls. His tongue was swollen and dry. He was thirsty. By the Emperor was he thirsty.

"He didn't become the warlord of the entire Shattered Bone tribe because of his pleasant disposition, if you know what I mean.", continued the orc as he unstoppered a water flask and put it to the knight's mouth. "Just a little. You've lost a lot of blood."

Guy worked the water around his lips but it did little to abate his craving thirst. When he spoke, his speech came out harsh and slurred. "Have to kill. Kill with Head-taker." Guy glanced over at the two-handed sword next to him, half buried in the muck of the battlefield and splattered with gore.

"Ah, I see. Test of Mettle is it?" asked the orc as he withdrew a couple of red clay flasks from a pouch and set them to one side. Guy grunted his assent and gazed upwards. The sky was a blend of grey-slate and white clouds that appeared to drift by at different speeds. There were some small specks in the distance that were probably birds but they were too far away to discern the breed. He wondered if any of them were hunting falcons. Guy had always loved hunting with his trained falcons. His favourite was named Zephyr and she could glide upon the breeze for hours, just drifting there in the sky.

"Hey! Stay with me, warrior." shouted the orc, slapping his cheek with a rough hand.

Damn his bones, thought Guy. All he wanted to do was sleep. Why did this ruddy orc keep disturbing him?

"So, you're going to slay Mal Drak, are you? Well, you aren't going to slay anything with your arm hanging off and pissing claret all over the place. So let's see what we can do about that." The orc put one hand against Guy's shoulder and forced a short length of wood into his mouth. "Bite down on this and hold as still as you can 'cause this is going to hurt. A lot."

The orc took out a battered-looking yellow flask and a wad of gauze. He started mumbling something but it all distorted into incoherent babbling. He poured seven drops of red liquid onto the gauze, and Guy marvelled at the way it seems to sparkle, as if it was the only colour he could see. He held it against Guy's tattered arm with his free hand and pressed down. Intense pain flared afresh in Guy's arm but he clamped down on the wooden bit and stifled his screams. The orc quickly wrapped strips of linen around the limb, over the poultice, holding it in place, keeping up a constant pressure.

As the initial wave of agony receded, Guy stared down at his arm. The plate armour had been sundered by a mighty blow that had hewed his flesh and splintered the bone within. The pain had receded, a gentle warmth spreading through his shoulder and down his arm. Gingerly he lifted it, rotated it. There was a twinge, but it was otherwise as good as new.

"A good wound like that deserves to leave a scar." said the shaman, nodding to himself. "There's a story to tell there. You can impress your friends with it later. Here, drink these for good measure.", he said, thrusting the two small vials towards the knight.

Guy flexed his arm and did as he was told, downing the foul smelling potions in quick, successive gulps. Strength and warmth coursed through his body as his vigour returned. He drew in a deep breath and revelled in the sensation of his restored energy. Quickly, he raised himself from the muck and retrieved his beloved sword, removing the worst of the filth with a deft flick of the blade. The shaman watched him while carefully re-wrapping his dull yellow flask in a length of stained linen before stowing it in his shoulder bag.

The knight drew himself to attention and cleared his throat before bowing to the shaman. "I am Guy DuBrecht, Knight-errant of the Order of the Blue Rose and Gate-keeper of Cairn Castle. I am in your debt Healer, for you have saved my life. If you ever have need of my service I swear upon my name and order that I will come to your aid."

The orc merely grunted and waved his hand in the direction of the Empire lines. "Mal Drak moved that way with his personal bodyguard. If you are fast you may be able to catch him." He returned the empty potion bottles to one of his myriad containers before retrieving a runed staff that was resting against the tree.

"Tell me," asked the shaman, "why did you charge straight at the Warlord like that? I was watching. You had the opportunity to attack from the flank but instead you ran straight at him, sword waving over your head and bellowing like a Varushkan bull in heat. What possessed you to be so foolish?"

"As my test of mettle I am sworn to slay an orc warlord upon the field of battle." said Guy testily, his cheeks reddening. "That orc filth will die by my hand. I wanted my brothers-in-arms to witness the glory of my impending victory. I was..."

"Hmm, well." tutted the orc, cutting him off mid-sentence, "We both know how that turned out. Your words are born of Ambition boy, and while the flames of ambition can lead to great things there are a lot of dead heroes out there for whom it burns with a cold, dim light. You'd do well to remember that."

The orc slung his bag over his shoulder and started moving off. "Wisdom is a blade that cuts as deeply as any sword, boy. Use your head and maybe, when next we meet, you can impress me with deeds of glory using words born of Pride."