Full Item Description
In it’s natural form, Stebanos paint (actually a powder) is a light grey, chalky substance produced in a poisoner’s alchemy lab. Would-be assassins take this chalky powder and grind it until it is of the same dusty, grey-white consistency as Haighanes powder, the favored make-up of Tekneani nobles.
This powder is then secreted away and mixed in with the intended victim’s make-ups and powders.
The victim, employing these ghostly make-ups as Tekneani do (women paint their throats white, while men dust their jawlines and cheeks), will suspect nothing. Once their deadly makeup is applied, the Stebanos paint in the powder adheres to the skin and osmotically seeps into the bloodstream.
Over a course of several hours, the poison circulates through the victim’s body. At first, the only sign of Stebanos poisoning may be unusual itching and irritation of the area to which the makeup is applied (and this in itself may not be entirely unusual- the ingredients in Haighanes powder can often be irritating to the skin when not well-mixed). Later, symptoms are similar to a strong allergic reaction- swelling of the lymph nodes, redness, itching, hives. The victim gains clusters of painful hives in the armpits and sides. The next step is feelings of exhaustion and a high fever. The victim dies within an hour of this fever.
Historically, Tekne has been long known as a land where assassination and poisoning are common, especially among the fractious and gigantic nobility. The open secret of the poisoner’s culture is widespread. Tekneani alchemists and assassins know of millions of different ways to kill one’s foes, each more subtle than the next.
Stebanos paint is a time-honored method of destroying one’s enemies in Tekne. As no respectable Tekneani will appear at events of note without their makeup, and white-throated women are prized, it is easy, nearly inevitable, to get the Stebanos paint to the victim. The symptoms are gradual enough that though it is unmistakable that they have been poisoned, it is very often too late to administer an antidote in the form of water of Syakkolthes applied to the area of the makeup.
Among the poisoner’s culture, the most common belief is that Stebanos paint was discovered (along with many of the culture’s other most common poisons and compounds) by Saint Xishruke (an alchemist before he became a holy man), who wrote them down in his Book of Twenty-Nine Divisions. Ironically, it was Stebanos paint which eventually slew Xishruke; at that time, the heretical sect of the Shekkouye opposed Xishruke’s sect of Meixingu, which is now the dominant religion of Tekne.