Tinctures of True Eminence
Mastery of these recipes allows an apothecary to brew preparations valuable to ritual magicians versed in the Lore of Summer. With one of these potions a ritualist can wield the magic of the Summer Realm more effectively, but they also become more susceptible to the influence of that Realm.
Before the Druj orcs were driven from Reikos in 379YE, masters of the Tinctures of True Eminence knew how to brew two potions - Dragon's Blood and Goldencrown. During the liberation of Haros Water and Riverwatch, documents captured from the orcs gave tantalizing hints regarding a new potion that granted orc Gulai incredible proficency with certain battlefield magics. A cadre of Unconquered working closely with Navarr scouts, tracked down further details and eventually, with the aid of Dawnish war witches attached to the Eastern Sky cornered and defeated one of the Stone Toad Tepel in a ruined chapterhouse in Longshire. With the savage herbalist's notes in hand, Imperial apothecaries were able to deduce the recipe for Firewine, a powerful aid to the performance of Summer magic. Unselfishly, the soldiers involved in recovering these notes chose to share the information about how to make this potion with the rest of the Empire and the recipe - based on principles familiar to anyone who had mastered the Tinctures - quickly spread.
This spicy crimson tincture warms the blood and enhances a magician's awareness of the Summer power. The tincture itself is volatile and somewhat flammable. Some magicians (especially those Wintermark runesmiths and Dawnish war witches who study ritual magic) set fire to the heady brew before downing it in a single gulp, claiming it improves both the flavour and the quality of magical power it imparts.
As with many of the more potent preparations, it is easy for a magician to become reliant on the power this potion grants, or to use the sensations of power and confidence it imparts. Dawnish weaver cabals and Highborn magisters are particularly cautious when employing dragon's blood, lest they become dependent on the temporary power it offers. By contrast, many changelings claim that the potion is actually a little bland, and has no noticeable effect on their behaviour.
- Form: Liquid.
- Description: This red elixir smells of oranges and glows with an inner radiance when it catches the light. The scent makes your nostrils tingle and warms your chest. The tangy flavour makes you want to down the entire potion.
- Roleplaying Effects: You are filled with personal pride and self-assurance. Any contradiction or lack of respect is profoundly annoying, and you find it difficult to tolerate mockery, insolence or being treated as if you are unimportant.
- Mechanical Effects: If you possess the Summer Lore skill then you gain one additional effective rank to the next summer ritual that you perform within ten minutes, subject to the normal rules for effective skill. This is a tonic; the effect of any other tonic you have drunk immediately ends.
- Recipe: Two drams each of Cerulean Mazzarine and True Vervain, one dram of Imperial Roseweald,and one crystallized mana.
This energetic golden elixir allows a ritual magician to exert great power in the Realm of Summer. It allows a ritualist to command the powers of the Realm by will alone, using force of personality to forge powerful Summer magic. Some covens of ritual magicians follow a general rule that allows only one member at a time to use the concoction, often due to bitter experience of what happens when more than one magician feels a strong urge to take charge of a ritual at the same time.
This preparation was first formulated by Polina di Temeschwar, an apothecary working for the Bloodgold carta. It was immediately popular with magicians connected to the Landsknecht based in that city, and within a short time agents for magicians throughout the Empire were coming to Temeschwar to pay handsomely for phials of goldencrown. This lasted until Alienor Firetress was tasked with discovering the formula as part of her Test of Mettle to enter House Ayen. She entered Temeschwar in disguise and ended up stealing not only the apothecary's recipe but also her heart. The couple's exploits both in the city and on their flight across the Empire are popular fodder for Dawnish ballads. House Ayen used copies of the formula to win political influence in the Senate, and within a generation or so it had become common knowledge - although the Bloodgold carta was so rich by that point that it barely cared (beyond, obviously, the matter of the Dead Reckoning ...)
- Form: Liquid.
- Description: When this beautiful golden elixir catches the light it glows with an inner radiance. If the container is shaken, the liquid within hisses and bubbles energetically. It smells strongly of apples and pears. A tiny droplet on your tongue reveals it to have a delicious, fruity flavour that leaves you with a strong desire to drink the entire thing, savouring every mouthful.
- Roleplaying Effects: You feel a strong urge to take charge of any situation you find yourself in. Filled with pride and self-confidence, people who disagree with you or disrespect you make you exceptionally angry. Whatever you are doing, you very much want to be the centre of attention.
- Mechancial Effects: If you possess the Summer Lore skill then you can use up to 3 personal mana as if it were crystal mana on the next summer ritual that you perform within ten minutes.
- Recipe: Three drams of Cerulean Mazzarine, two drams of Imperial Roseweald, and one dram each of True Vervain, Bladeroot and Marrowort.
Despite its distinctive, syrupy consistency, this red-brown liquid is not at all sweet but rather tastes like a combination of strong spirits and wine. The sensation of drinking a glass can be dangerous - the sudden rush of anger that it brings can overwhelm someone who is not prepared for it leading to furious exchanges that may boil over into confrontation. A coven that shares a bottle of firewine should take care before doing so that there are no outstanding grievances between their members lest the power of this philtre bring them explosively to the surface.
There has been some contention around the name of the potion. As one Marcher abbot has written, "If this were wine I would not give it to my dog. It is more likely to rot your guts than delight your palate." By contrast, some magicians welcome the influence of firewine, claiming to find the experience liberating. They talk about the value in drinking "a glass a day, to promote good health and lively blood" - although not without some irony given how expensive the potion is to produce.
Unlike Dragon's Blood, a potion to which it bears some similarities, Firewine requires a significant amount of Imperial Roseweald to brew - no doubt the potion harnesses that herbs remarkable ability to "heat" the blood. Some apothecaries have commented that they would have expected this potion to require more Cerulean Mazzarine. Regardless of these odd elements of the recipe, it works and at the end of the day that is what tends to matter to Summer magicians.
- Form: Liquid.
- Description: This syrupy russet liquid smells very alcoholic. A droplet on your tongue brings an overwhelming taste of strong spirits and fermented fruit. Even a small amount makes your heart beat faster for a few moments.
- Roleplaying Effects: You experience a rush of heat that flows down your throat and boils in your stomach. When you feel thwarted, belittled, or wronged you find it hard to avoid becoming enraged. If you are actually insulted, disrespected, or threatened you experience an urge to respond violently.
- Mechanical Effects: If you possess the Summer Lore skill then you gain three additional ranks to the next summer ritual that you perform within ten minutes, subject to the normal rules for effective skill. This is a tonic; the effect of any other tonic you have drunk immediately ends.
- Recipe: Three drams each of Imperial Roseweald and True Vervain, one dram of Cerulean Mazzarine, one crystallized mana, and one ring of ilium.