This apothecary's bowl is traditionally made of stone, but wooden, ceramic and metal examples exist. Purified with beggar's lye, and often decorated with trace amounts of silver or weltsilver, the mortar is often carved with the symbol of a snake biting its own tail around the rim or spiralling around the inside of the bowl. While it is often created along with a pestle, the magic resides in the mortar alone and works whether the herbs are being prepared using a mortar or a piece of heavy stone.
A Wyrmstone Mortar usually bears the rune Xun, although older examples are often inscribed with Diras, the Rune of Secrets. Traditionally in Wintermark the apothecary carves or paints the runes Rhyv (representing the Imperial roseweald) and Irremais (representing bladeroot) onto the pestle they use with the mortar.
The Wyrmstone Mortar is particularly well-known in the Marches, where its simple versatility is appreciated, and among the Navarr; both of these peoples sometimes name it an Alchemist's Friend. The Navarr in particular, on their long trods far away from the storehouses of civilisation, sometimes find themselves with an excess of one herb and a deficiency of the other, and the power to turn bladeroot into roseweald, with its purgative qualities, has also earned it the less-common name Vallorn-bane among the Navarr.
- Form: Talisman. Takes the form of a tool. You must be holding this item in hand to use its magical properties.
- Requirement: You must have the Apothecary skill to bond to this item.
- Effect: When you use the apothecary skill to create a potion you may substitute two drams of Imperial Roseweald for one dram of Bladeroot, or two drams of Bladeroot for one dram of Imperial Roseweald. You can only make this substitution once per preparation.
- Materials: Crafting a Wyrmstone Mortar requires seven measures of beggar's lye. It takes one month to make one of these items.
“I meant no insult! It is just that I’m sure you haven’t used the correct ingredients. It’s just that, well, I've never seen Imperial Roseweald mixed into it before. You are brewing the one that makes them weak aren't you? It’s just that she was very specific. It must be….”
“QUIET!” the Naga snapped, his anger flared briefly and sent an adrenaline shiver through his body. “Are you sure you haven’t been drinking this tincture yourself? Yesss, thisss is the whipped cur poison. No it does not normally have Roseweald but then it is not normally mixed in a pestle that inscribed with Diras. See here? Thisss opensss up sssecretsss that you could never understand”
He pointed to the rune etched into the stone of the bowl, then to each of the others in turn, absently crassing the delicately carved scales of the serpent that wove around them with his thumb as he did so.
“Here? Rhyv, this is the Roseweald and here, Irremais, the Bladeroot. See how they are joined by the serpent while Diras watches over it all? That is why thisss will work and that is also why I need you to be quiet. Diras does not shout itsss secrets, it whispers them. If you have the earsss to hear.”
The man who stood behind him took a step back into the doorway. He unfolded a sturdy hand fan, wafting himself to stave off the smell of the swamp. Te unseasonable heat had set the marsh-flies on a blood-crazed hunt for anything without scales. He gazed out over the swamps. Flatness, spread out before him for miles and miles, broken only by the occasional tree and huddle of tilted huts. He sighed and wished he was back home rather than stuck out here in the arse-end of nowhere.
“Apologies, apothecary, it’s just that the lady I work for is not very forgiving of mistakes.” Ulho span on his stool, fixing the man with reptilian eyes, his scaled brow shimmered as he bristled with barely controlled rage at the man’s constant interruption.
“Yesss, and the Imperial Magistrates are not very forgiving of those who misuse this concoction; a concoction which is intended for the use against criminals, and the barbarians at our doors. Now, I am an honest businessman and I keep very strict and accurate recordsss of my trading. So, once again, I advise you leave me to my work.”
The other man nodded, stammered an apology, and stepped out onto the balcony that ran around the house. Ulho's keen hearing could still hear him muttering for several minutes as his footsteps creaked away around the side of the hut. He shook his head.
“Senatorsss!” He sighed, under his breath, then listened for a few moments to the restful drone of the marsh-flies and the gulping chorus of the frogs, letting it soothe his rattled nerves before he returned to his careful measurements.