Loremageddon 2019, Day Five: Blood Aspirants, Foldnose Brew, Asertins

Welcome to Loremageddon Day 5, everyone! This time we’ve got a mix of lorebits some might call dissonant. Well, they’re probably right, but this was the blend of topics I settled on so this is what we’re going with. Arranging these into a month-long set of prompts later is going to be a nightmare, eh? So: the specialized culture of warriors called Blood Aspirants, a hallucinogenic brew, and an affable class of spirit. Let’s move in!

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Snippet #1: Blood Aspirants (Worlds: Canno and Creation’s Fringe)

Blood Aspirants deserve much of the credit–or blame, as the case may be–for the way other sapient peoples on Canno and Creation’s Fringe perceive humans, for the Blood Aspirants are a uniquely human concept. Other species may have the brutality, the capacity for discipline, the obsessive traits, or the sheer hells-take-it-all abandon common among humans, but a Blood Aspirant needs a particular blend of the three which no other species produces consistently.

While its poetic phrasing confuses some during their first exposure to it, the Blood Aspirants’ name runs quite literal. They aspire to blood and through it, for “Blood Aspirant” is the agreed-upon name for the most fanatical human duelists. Whether they come from the depths of the Ton-Ga bogs, a Marrowscour enclave hidden in a far ravine of the Al Barin desert, or the Scarified City of Helenenburg itself, Blood Aspirants follow the same simple credo: martial schools exist to teach killing, and cannot be perfected without it.

Thus, to dub one’s self a Blood Aspirant should be a grave choice made after years of study and self-examination. Why does the Aspirant seek martial perfection? Which kinds of opponent are most likely to push them to it? Will they fight under any restrictions, or is this as much a perversion of battle’s arts to them as a teacher who has only ever known sparring matches?

One way or the other, Blood Aspirants recognize only one type of duel: to the death. Anything else is sparring to them, even if it uses sharpened weapons, even if limbs and eyes are wounded or lost! Survivorship bias has some role in the common perception of Blood Aspirants as perfect fighters; the mediocre ones die before most ever meet them.

Blood Aspirants may gather in an enclave organized around a range of similar fighting styles for a time. Most commonly, however, they wander the world on which they live seeking worthy opponents, cutting them down, and making a living on whatever they loot. Most thus become hardened survivalists as well–killing’s only profit often lies in the skill it cultivates. For many non-human peoples in more remote areas, a Blood Aspirant may be the only human they ever see: a welcome sight when faced with a monster or bandits, but not one welcome to stay afterwards.

Today’s Full Segment: Foldnose Brew (World: Creation’s Fringe)

Foldnose Brew is named not for its odor, but for the hallucination reputedly induced by the first alchemist ever to try it–not its inventor, a Kijnep tribeswoman named Prakka Thoda, but her best friend, Emnken Ovreek. After a few seconds in which she was convinced the brew achieved no effects, Emnken screeched “Not my nose!” and was soon convinced that her body had begun folding itself into multiple layers not unlike a pocket dimension inside a pocket dimension inside–well, one can understand the sequence by now.

While many recipes have since sprung up, they’re intended to dilute Prakka’s original version rather than improve upon its raw potency. Every blend uses some version of the Chetch Fern, a cold-weather plant whose leaves produce the key psychedelic compounds once stewed overnight in a bath of salt water and conifer sap, then allowed to dry completely before being crushed. The drying process yields the final level of strength, and thus has been omitted from the mildest takes on Prakka Thoda’s creation.

Once the Chetch fern has been added, an alchemist can choose exactly how many of the other ingredients to add; Prakka spent the better part of a decade determining exactly which plants could be mixed together without either neutralizing each other or creating toxic byproducts in order to add more effects to her masterwork. These include Netjab root, which induces lethargy and euphoria, the seeds and only the seeds of the Valng berry–whose flesh is highly poisonous to humans, requiring careful preparation–and shavings from the bark of the Reknesh pine which need to be slightly charred by fire for best effect.

It has been remarked that Prakka was a little too ingenious in creating these herb-blends. Prakka herself, in her older years, is said to have been told this by a foreign scholar and laughed for half a minute before she finally answered, “Yes, so it is said–by very boring people.” Later Kijnep folklore modified the story so that Prakka actually died laughing and the scholar was forced to take Foldnose Brew himself in order to finish their interview, but unfortunately this is only folklore–Prakka herself would likely have thought it a much more amusing end.

Snippet #2: Asertins (World: Creation’s Fringe)

Asertins are a class of symbiotic spirit who feed on raw magic rather than mortal emotions or ideas. Generally playful, Asertins take shapes in contrast to whatever group of mortals they’ve chosen to interact with rather than directly inspired by them. While this isn’t always the case, the form generally takes inspiration from the perceived behavior of the species rather than its physical appearance.

For example, when dealing with humans, an Asertin might manifest as a roving mass of bristles and quills with a large mouth; this reflects their opinion that humans tend to be both loud and oddly prickly about the noise of others. Asertins do not necessarily consider these flaws, being non-judgmental to a fault, but they do find the idea hilarious.

While their play can be misinterpreted as mockery, Asertins like most mortals until given reason to do otherwise, and in fact they’re quite helpful. An Asertin will go out of its way, sometimes searching far beyond the likely area, to find a pair of lost shoes or a child’s missing doll. This kindly nature is both universal and well-known, and attacking an Asertin is a felony in any civilized part of the Fringe; many countries go further than this, making it a crime even to antagonize such a spirit.

While they prefer to avoid violence, their direction consumption of magic does give Asertins more power than most minor spirits, and they will use it to protect mortals when the need arises. In Pirnab, Asertins have thus become a core part of society; every family has one or two who function as its protectors. The Asertins also help to keep everyone happy, mitigating bad feelings and the conflict they inspire. They are, as one would hope for spirits who spend so much time observing the world, actually quite wise when they wish to show it.

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There we are, the fifth day’s public writings completed! As always, let me know your thoughts down in the comments, leave a like, and share this post with your friends. If you’re looking for more of my day-to-day musings, may I suggest my Twitter?

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