Tarik raced down to the apothecary’s banging loudly on the door. A few moments passed and an old man appeared at the window. “ We are closed” she shouted, “ Come back tomorrow”
Tarik didn’t have time to try and reason with the man “ Open up by order of the king” he ordered, ok so it was a lie but he was pretty sure the king would back him if he knew the severity of the princess’s possible condition.
The old man nodded and opened up the door guiding Tarik in, pushing the remains of the herbs into the old mans hand “ I need you to identify these” he said.
The old man glanced down at the herbs “ well that’s not hard its it appears to be tea leaves.
Tarik shook his head, “look closer it has something mixed with it, please be fast the princess’s life hangs in the balance”.
The old man tipped some of the leaves out onto his hand shuffling threw them with the tip of his finger, after a moment he quickly dusted off his hand tipping the herbs onto the counter, rubbing his hand he revealed red blotches. “ Well I never” the old man said, moving around the table he pulled out a magnifying glass and began to look closer at the tea leaves. Minutes passed and Tarik grew even more impatient, pacing like a trapped animal finally the old man spoke “ I seem to have found the problem”
Tarik looked hopeful “ what?”
“Aconitum” the old man replied, “Only a small quantity I’ll grant you mixed in with the tea, but its there all right”
Tarik looked confused “ what’s that ?”
“Wolfsbane” the old man stated.
Tarik nodded recognising the name “I thought Wolfsbane killed quickly “?
“Most of the time it does but it has been mixed with this tea very carefully, too much and the victim would feel their lips and throat burning, its been administered in such a low dose the victim would feel just a slight numbing sensation” Continuing to look at the herbs the old man continued “ it is however no less deadly someone drinking this would die a slow and agonising death, they would vomit violently for a while literally tearing there own insides out, there heart would slow and eventually the drug would cause them to suffocate as their lungs filled with there own blood”
“Ok old man” Tarik snapped more sharply than he meant “I don’t need a long description, the princess has ingested this tea is there any antidote??”
“ Yes !! “The old man said confidently reaching for jars on his shelves “ You need Strophanthus and Deadly Nightshade, mixed in very carful doses, each is poisonus in it own right but together they can counteract the posion of the Wolfsbane. “Can you make me some?” Tarrik asked hopefully.
The old man nodded “I can yes but it will be costly Strophanthus is not native to Grimstead, I have to get it imported”
“ I don’t care about the cost, just get me what I need”.
As he old man started to prepare the herbs, Tarik suddenly realised he had no coin, he’d not been able to leave his castle in his body before, padding his pockets he despratly looked for something to pay with. Eventually he pulled off his familys signet ring “ im afraid I don’t have any coin I ran out in such a rush, can I give you this to hold as security I promise to return with the money once I have given the antidote to those that need it”
The old man picked up the ring, having never seen anything so valuable he nodded pocketing the ring and continued with the preperation. A few minutes later he handed the small packet to Tarik “ here we go “
“ Thankyou kindly will the docter Drysten know what to do?” “ The old man nodded, yes just tell him to pump the princess’s stomach first get rid of as much of the poison as possible. Tarik turned to leave but just as he reached the door he had a thought “ One last question, if I may , where would one get wolfsbane around here?”
The old man shook his head “ You can’t its not native to Grimstead, I do stock it, its sometimes useful for eradicating vermin, but it has to be used fresh once the root dry’s out it loses its potency.”
“Have you sold any recently?” Tarik asked.
“ The old man nodded I sold some to Lady Shaw two days ago to deal with vermin in her house”
“Risa !! “ Suddenly things where a lot clearer. Quickly Tarik mounted his horse and headed back to the tavern.