The Master Craftsman
Ashmont Sleightor poured the ingredients into the dram vial with agonizing precision, for he had a reputation to uphold, at least among the extremely specialized masters of his unusual profession. He reflected upon the good fortune that had allowed him to find patrons among the most elevated families of the land as he carefully melted the neck of the vessel to close it off and establish a hermetic seal.
As he worked, he ran the list of ingredients over in his head: Dried blood of the crested demodand, ground finely; blossom of the black orchid, gathered after Midsummer’s Night; Cranial bone from an ancient liche; pitchblende, ground coarsely; virgin’s tears; fresh shoots from the death’s whisker vine; and purest mummia, imported from the distant Sallvian desert. Each had to be gathered at precisely the right time, with the correct ritual phrases applied, or the magic would not function properly. Few craftsmen were willing to oversee the entire operation from start to finish, but that was why Poisonmaster Sleightor’s skills were so highly prized. Blissmort was not a toxin that could be produced by amateurs.
The Death of Darkest Delight
Blissmort, also known as "Dawn Blossom Toxin" or "Soulblack Venom", is a rarely encountered necromantic poison that is generally added to alcoholic beverages. It has a sweet, flowery fragrance and a distinct fruity taste that is conspicuous in most foods but blends well with that of strongly flavored wines or fruit drinks. If undetected, it is difficult to treat, as there is no known antidote and its necromantic nature blocks many of the usual measures taken to defeat poisons.
In small doses, this toxin produces a pleasant euphoria, a feeling of power and energy that is especially pronounced when the imbiber physically touches another person. The effect is strangely reversed for the person touched, who will often feel drained and weak afterward. Continued use accentuates this effect, as the user begins to sense the energies of each living thing around him. The body will recover from small doses, but once the victim begins to sense life energy, there is no hope for them.
The End, and Beyond
Despite this blissful euphoria, the lethal drug seems to drain the energy from its user as quickly as he draws it from those around him. If a lethal dose is consumed (a few droplets is enough), he will feel increasingly drained and chilled, until the insatiable craving for more energy becomes unbearable. Eventually, the user dies, his life energies drained. After death, a strange metamorphosis can occur: He may rise up as a sort of Black Revenant or Gravewight, ravening for life energy and draining it with its embrace. These undead creatures are often easily distracted by the things that were important to them in life, and may spend their time trying to recreate a life that is now denied them, draining those around them to make them into undead much like themselves.
Not all who fall to the effects of this poison return as undead, however. Those who have spoken with these debased creatures have been told that they chose to return; apparently the soul of the poisoned dead has the choice whether to return to their mortal shell or not. Those of strong moral character can allegedly resist the draw of becoming undead and can proceed to whatever reward awaits them.
In some cases, this poison has been successfully administered to the recently dead, who have arisen as Black Revenants, breaking the bonds of death. The most tragic of these legends have involved women who died in childbirth, who have returned from beyond death only to drain the life from the husband that foolishly brought them back and those of their beloved children.
The Noble’s Cellar: A Tale of Unfortunate Ambition
Once upon a time, an ambitious young nobleman attempted to simplify his inheritance issues by placing several bottles of a valuable, rare vintage within the cellar of his childless uncle. He hoped that the elderly man would enjoy a final, fatal bottle and pass on, leaving his estate to his doting nephew. Unfortunately, before the ruthless young man could do more than pick out an elegant vintage cloak to wear while mourning, his uncle inconveniently suffered an attack of religious enthusiasm and ordered his servants to empty his cellars, sending the wine as gifts to noblemen throughout the land.
Perhaps the fine young gentleman should have settled for some lesser poison, rather than the unnatural toxin Blissmort. He will certainly repent of his scheme, once the leading families of the land are reduced to ravenous undead.