From Part II, Chapter 8
It was several hours past midnight. With practiced precision, Jenario filled a flask with a fine powder recently crushed. A rolled piece of paper created the perfect chute for it to slide down the glass neck, which he promptly corked to prevent spillage. He then sat back and stretched.
His supply of plants had grown since their journey from Mayla, and was beginning to rival even Nickademis’ medicines. In time, though, those medicines would multiply with the added recipes of new concoctions catered to their peoples’ needs, or so he hoped. For now, there was the grinding task of mashing out green goop, collecting seeds, and picking leaves and stems apart in order to gain their valuable contents within. His black marble pestle and mortar was the pride of his many tools. The simple, round bowl contained a few remnants of his last specimen. After wiping it clean, he was ready to begin again and checked on his progress of different groupings spread around him.
A flat tree stump provided a makeshift table, though he was looking forward to an actual Study with several work benches once the buildings were complete, and with proper lighting. It was fine with the two lanterns sitting on either side of him, but having to swat down to reach everything was getting tiresome. When he at last stood, he felt the tension in his legs release after holding a strange position for so long. He then checked his supplies. Already, a selective bundle lay on top with a few shallow, cylindrical dishes, and a heated alembic on an iron burner. His last set of condensed liquids settled into the bottom of a receiving bottle, which he then poured into a round flask and corked to preserve all of its properties. The cooled-down liquids were placed together along a rack at the stump’s base. A set of test tubes contained crushed herbs, to be measured and applied in formulas for later. For now, Jenario’s main task was getting the necessary ingredients prepared.
“Turn the roots this way!” he recalled a pompous member of the Council recording all of his studies while he had worked late hours into the night. “There! Shave ’em off completely!”
“But it will destroy the active ingredients! If I get rid of the skin—”
“Impotence! Such things have been wallowing in the same dirt we piss on! Would you have his Lordship sip piss?”
Rather they all did. Delicate roots, which Jenario had spent days trying to find, were condensed to mere nothings and did exactly that when applied in medicines. How did Nick put up with them? He let out a long sigh. How did I?