The Pale Unguent
A pale, creamy paste resembling grease, Unguent of Desire looks unremarkable. It could easily be mistaken for the waxy paste used to protect armor from rust or the tinted cosmetic salve used by noblewomen to protect their lips from chapping. Despite its innocuous appearance, Unguent of Desire functions as a potent love potion.
The Unguent of Desire was developed a mere decade ago by Fenberk Algazman, an alchemist in the service of the Hegemon. He was trying to distill more potent forms of some of the common love charms found in the lands of the Hegemon and inadvertently crafted a paste resistant to the most common incantations used for magical detection. Even more interesting, the paste seemed to gradually grow in power: Those wearing it smeared on their lips or fingertips as it gained power were untouched by the paste's magical influence, but those touching it once it reached full potency could be overwhelmed by the paste's magical attraction.
The recipe for this detection-resistant discovery was deemed far too dangerous to be shared outside the Hegemon's private cabal of wizards and alchemists. Declaring it a state secret, the power-hungry ruler instead made it into one of the most subtle weapons wielded by his network of spies and agents. A victim of his own success, the alchemist Fenberk had all memory of his research magically purged from his mind. No longer able to work as an alchemist, he labors as a scribe, slaving long hours copying texts for untalented men he had once supervised.
Alchemy Can Be A Dangerous Profession
A few of Fenberk's notes were misplaced before the Hegemon learned of his success. Discovering these preliminary researches, alchemists have periodically found variations on his recipe, sometimes in cities hundreds of miles from the Capitol. These men often have no clue that the agents of the Hegemon are quietly hunting anyone who threatens their secret. Over the years, more than a few of these unsuspecting alchemists have met with unlikely "accidents".
A Mere Touch...
The Unguent of Desire is ordinarily used to trigger passionate desire, smeared on the lips of one who wishes to seduce an unsuspecting victim: All it takes is a kiss on the back of one's hand and they may be ensnared. When used on inanimate objects, a mere touch can trigger feelings of covetous longing for the item touched and others like it.
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? Responses (10)
I like this, but the juxtaposition of greed / covetousness and romantic love seems a little off. One would think that animal lust(or even covetousness of a person, it can happen) would be a better mate between the two.
I rephrased the sentence you were referring to, as you were absolutely right. I wasn't originally picturing truly romantic love, but something more covetous: Not animal lust, but a desire to possess the salve's wearer. The words that I had chosen didn't match what the unguent grew into.
(When Stubs grow out of control...)
Nice, and the backstory is cool too.
Poor Fenberk. :( This would be useful to make arranged marridges work.
Yeah... the fate of its inventor was really the eye-opener to how well are some secrets protected. Good touch there.
Better looking now, Wulf. :)
Nice work Wulf.
It represents one of the most fundamental aspects of our modern society, namely I WANT
Mean love potion, subject to tons of abuse and causing untold grief. Thumbs up. The part about the original inventor resembles Daedalus - and the ruler's folly was akin to that tale; also, he gained naught, for there still had to be alchemists who knew the secret to make it.
Perchance was Fenberk opposed to the substance's abuse and wanted it destroyed?
*shudders* A subtle way to ruin a neighboring kingdom, or to have your revenge. Is there a cure?
I would expect the standard means of dispelling magic to work, or the sudden 'infatuation' would eventually fade away naturally.