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.
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? Responses (12)
Mundane assassination tools, eh? I must say I like it.
A logical continuation of this is that important nobles keep slaves or servants that try out the make up an hour in advance of the noble.
I like the concept. I like the cultural bit added to it.
However, if it is that easy to do the poisoning via makeup, most people will be taking the antidote or mixing it in with other elements of the make up.
The antidote is a water. Couldn't apply the antidote without ruining the powder. If it was expensive and you trusted your powder then you wouldn't worry about it. Plus the costs perhaps?
Antidote is expensive. If applied prior to the powder maybe it could delay the entire reaction giving time for a full antidote to be applied.
If it is expensive you aren't going to use it every single day.
It might not be used all that frequently either. Implied that there are many other ways of poisoning in this culture and it sounds almost like treat it like an art. In that case it would be impossible to take an antidote for all the different poisons that are available in this land.
Actually, it's "water of Syalkkothes"... Alchemists commonly referred to liquid substances as "waters" or "milks" (present day example is milk of Magnesia).
The antidote could be expensive and hard to get, or induce other health problems... is it only a minor headache or you are really poisoned?
The next step would be to create a medicine that suppresses the first symptoms - so it will be too late when you get the fever.
CP, you constantly amaze me by your ability to not only develop a useable idea, but you always scatter it with great extras that round it out. Not only do we have a new poison, we have the Tekneani: culture with distinct attributes, and the assassins who actually have enough history to make it blend with the item seamlessly.
What gave you the .5 extra was the tidbit that the developer of the poison was actually killed by it which brought into play an entire new layer of warring guilds.
Only thing missing is your reasoning for all the assassinations. If the political dynamics of the land were explained a little bit more as to why the assassinations were being done, that would probably do it.
There really isn't anything I can say that Strolen hasnt already said above. I like it.
Assassination is assassination Strolen. You don't need to ask why the sword is being used to know its use. In fact, a list of how the sword has been used in the past would be pointless and dull, a list of the specific assassinations and the reason why would be pointless, and I think would only take away from the item. The paint is a tool in the assassin's hand Strolen, a knife and nothing more.
I like it, very original, though I'd love it if the water of Syalkkothes was explored in greater detail.
Simple, effective and realistic - many real-world cosmetics include toxic materials, just in low (hopefully) doses.