Strawberries & Secrets

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series War of the Soulhers: Herman's Story

After several seconds, the pain in Jecthor’s abdomen had grown to an almost unbearable level.  Herman quickly circled him and, using his staff, gave three quick taps on the courier’s back.  As the third tap hit Jecthor’s back, he let out a loud, pink-coloured, strawberry-smelling belch.  The burp was loud enough that it resonated with Herman’s kettle, causing it to spill over to the side.

“Uhh… what was that?!” Jecthor asked in a demanding tone.

“Oh relax,” Herman said, “your skin isn’t purple!”


“Calm down!  It was nothing lethal, and you’d only be purple for about a week,” Herman said, trying to console the young man.  “It’s actually the base alchemical fluid stage that i am stuck at. After that it’s the different components needed for each different effect. According to the book, knowing you got the base potion right is by drinking a sample and see if your skin becomes purple… or was it blue… hmm, maybe pink… Regardless, I think I may have used too much Otyugh dung in that last brew…”

Otyugh dung? Jecthor decided his stay here has come to an end, storm or not.

“Uhh, Herman, sir. I err… believe it is time for me to head off. I must return to Fort Caspien.”

Herman nodded slowly. “Eh? Allright. I must return to my work. Go, go, and close the door please.”

The old wizard, still ignoring the letter Jecthor had brought, walked the courier out. Jecthor stood outside in the stormy weather, the rain having eased its fierce pour. As he walked out of the forest and back on the road to Fort Caspien, Jecthor pondered into his thoughts.

What kind of research is this madman doing? He thought, wiping the rain from his brow. I saw no library or no alchemy lab, just a crazy old coot. I do not know what business General Minso has with him, but as far as i am concerned about this codger is that maybe he really is just some old crazy hermit.

Jecthor felt his stomach rumble and let out another small burp, which again tasted like strawberries.


Herman watched the courier walk away, then headed towards an unlit sconce at this kitchen wall with his book tucked underneath his arm. He pulled the object sideways and a wall panel slid away. He took a nearby torch and walked down some stairs until he reached a room.

In that room was a few alchemist’s benches with beakers and vials of different shapes and sizes, some of them containing a sort of liquid bubbling near burners. There was also a few dusty bookcases with various books, letters and scrolls all neatly arranged. Indeed, Herman kept himself a wizard’s study, but preferred the more subtle abode of a house. After all, what better way to announce a wizard’s home than a big tower.

Feeling tired, Herman set down the book on a small table and went to his bed nearby.

As he slept, a dream of the past flooded his mind.

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