From the time of the Founder there have been many great experimenters. There was Joceliac, whose activities with animal excrement helped to extend cultivation in the valleys. There was Fylenés, of the House of Drapeter, who perfected the art of swordmaking by mixing together different melting rocks. Fylenés turned his hometown Valemteim into the renowned capital of that art. There was also Vocander the Southerner, who first discovered pitch, the juice of trees, an element so important that King Talé (himself a well-known experimenter) once claimed that the Durno rose to power because pitch held them together.
These and many other experimenters contributed to the greatness of the Imperial People, but there remains one who outmeasures them all in estimation: Santulím the Great.
Santulím first appeared in the Capital as a young man. His accent was thick Lower Aren, but his manner betrayed a knowledge far greater than is associated with those parts. Upon his arrival he became an Alchemistic’s apprentice in the lower market. Santulím worked there tirelessly, grinding mountain herbs, measuring orders, keeping the shop wonderfully clean. His master, a quiet man whose name has faded from history, grew to trust him like his own offspring, and allowed him to both open and close the shop.
This was a good thing, for Santulím spent vast amounts of Celem’s absence in the shop, examining the principles of elements.
At first it was just a little here and there, and only with old ingredients no longer fit for sale. But eventually Santulím’s desire grew greater and he yearned for unrestrained use. He carefully planned his request to coincide with the feast of Dulôm, the time of year when every Durno master is obliged to provide their employees with a gift.
The master willingly obliged, provided that whatever result Santulím discovered be of some use. If it was not, then he would have to pay for the ingredients out of his own pay. If it was, then Santulím would not only get the ingredients for free, he would have a share in the profits of the new product.
This arrangement proved irresistible to Santulím and soon he was fearlessly experimenting with all manner of rare objects and ingredients. He mixed unthinkable concoctions, subjected them to extreme conditions, burning, soaking, pounding, even covering with a blanket. He once poured Rinpiss upon Lômwort, ground it into a paste and kept it locked in a cupboard except when Lôm was risen. Quite often nothing came of his experiments and Santulím was obliged to give over the majority of his salary to his master.
Despite these setbacks, Santulím remained cheerful, repeating a phrase that has since been heard often upon Durno lips—Makers never Moan.—
His first great success was the result of an accident. On a hot day, Santulím’s master fell asleep, leaving his Raice skin outside atop a wall near the shop. Several passages later, Santulím discovered it. Opening it to see if it was still good, he curled his nose in disgust at the rancid smell. But, unlike most Durno who might have thrown it out, Santulím kept the rotten drink for experiments.
The foul smelling concoction turned out to have magnificent properties. It could clean surfaces, lift stains off of objects like clothes and bring a shine to metal objects that usually required hours of polishing. Though it stung to the touch, Santulím quickly learned that it was not harmful, and he soon tried applying it to all manner of skin ailments.
The most effective treatment was upon his feet, which had the unique capacity to stink. It was the stench from his feet that sometimes drove his Master to rare distraction and fury, such that he banished Santulím until he had had a wash.
Santulím did what he could to remove the coloured flakes that festooned his lower limbs and caused the smell, but they would always grow back. The darkness after he had discovered the foul Raice, he decided to try rubbing his lower limbs to see if perhaps the liquid would cure him. To his surprise, the next passage, his limbs were free, smelling mildly of the old Raice, but nothing else.
With great joy he showed his master, who promptly sent him to the local tavern to purchase an old barrel of the cheapest Raice he could find to place in the light of Celem. The longer it remained in the heat, the stronger the liquid became, until a point when it lost its strength entirely.
Heady with his success, Santulím produced vast quantities of the rancid liquid and travelled all around the Capital demonstrating its properties. Soon he had won for his master’s shop a sizable number of devoted customers who purchased the liquid to see what it could do for them. –Raicepina—has since proven useful for nearly every Durno problem and ailment, from helping wounds heal on the battlefield to preserving foodstuffs to removing the salt clouds left by water when it has boiled away in a pot…