Template:Info alchemy Ssastfa is a drug very few Humans have ever heard of, let alone laid eyes on. Made by a young Slizzar alchemist and later introduced to the entire race, the powdery substance has since become a central feature of their culture as a method to commune with their gods. It is also an effective way for them to forget the present and immerse themselves in a world uniquely achieved by their Race. While it induces base sensory hallucinations for them, and to a lesser extent the Allar, other Races may either experience negative hallucinatory effects or unconsciousness.
Ssastfa has a unique history deeply intertwined with the Nessrassian faith and the Slizzar people. For centuries the Slizzar had sought methods of communing with their gods, many of these methods lost to time like much of the original Slizzar culture. In the wake of the arrival of the Allar in 22 BC, some Slizzar saw alchemy as a means to achieve this goal, eagerly pursuing it as a new method to reach their Ssepstons. A young Slizzar named Famassa Losso spent almost 30 years from the age of fifteen developing his alchemy skills under the tutelage of an Allar named Llaza Azzan. She taught Famassa all he needed to know and soon they were considered partners, both in life and in work. However, in 27 AC, his experimentation and work led him to the creation of Ssastfa. He observed the effects of Bloodthorn Vines on certain animals and Llaza after she encountered a flowering grove of the plants on a walk with Famassa. He quickly determined a method of harnessing the plant’s ability, supposedly enhancing it with the venom of their “cousins” (the normal snakes on the continent). His first use of the drug had him immediately interested in making more, but he also obsessed with keeping it a secret; he believed he had found a method of direct communion with his gods and not even Llaza could know.
Sadly for him, she soon found out and in her eagerness she told a number of other prominent Allar alchemists. Other Slizzar soon caught wind of this discovery and Famassa found himself confronted by a mob of Slizzar demanding the drug. Furious with Llaza but unable to destroy his work without killing her as well, he gave up the formula and went into seclusion, seeing himself as a failure to his faith for not properly following the worship of his chosen god, Kakonissa. It was only near the end of his long life, in 89 AC, that he left this self-imposed exile to find himself the center of a minor cult of personality. In his absence, Ssastfa had become key to the Nessrassian faith of the Slizzar and his work was praised as divinely inspired. He ultimately died happy in 94 AC. The drug he created continued on for years, used by Slizzar and Allar loyal to the faith. While Empress Miko Missa did attempt to decrease its use to only Slizzar and only in the temples, it still saw use elsewhere. The drug survived the Chrysant War and the destruction inflicted on the Slizzar race afterward by the Allar, escaping with them across the world. The drug is still consumed, though sparingly, across the world in small pockets wherever Slizzar live, with most commissioning Human alchemists to create the substance for them. Ssastfa is also consumed by some Allar still loyal to the serpent faith.
The process to prepare Ssastfa is a long one but not overly difficult. The first step requires that the Saltpeter should be mixed together with the Fireweed Extract to produce a dry powder. Afterward, a portion of dried Bloodthorn Vine Flower must be soaked in an Alembic filled with pure alcohol, and the essence of such condensed into a clear vessel. This step alone is the most time-consuming, as extracting the Bloodthorn Vine Essence can take upwards of twelve hours of sitting on an open flame to produce. Once a small vial has been acquired, the extract can be gradually added to the powdered mixture a few drops at a time, stirring well before the Intensoid is added, turning the substance into a wet, doughy pink mixture. The mixture must then be dried for five hours before being ground up once again. The resulting powder is then fit for use when and as the user desires.
- Note: Only Slizzar and those alchemists who have made Ssastfa before are aware of the use of Bloodthorn Vine in the potion. Slizzar largely keep the plant's use a secret when dealing with outsiders in order to avoid losing the key ingredient in their sacred drug, some going so far as to supply alchemists with the fully-condensed Bloodthorn Vine Essence themselves.
To experience Ssastfa, the user can do one of two things. One, they can directly smoke it through some type of pipe, or two, throw it into a fire and bask in the smoke created by the Ssastfa-soaked flames. To note, the direct fire method diminishes the drug’s potency.
After smoking the drug, the subject will begin to experience very powerful, vivid hallucinations. Oftentimes it involves them at the center of a warped world filled with huge splashes of colour that flit about, while also making the subject feel as though they are floating in the air, or perhaps underwater. For Slizzar, its effects last longer, reaching up to 12 hour periods. It hits hard in the start and slowly fades as it finishes. For the Allar, it’s often a bit duller, taking more puffs to take effect and generally producing duller effects that last for around 10 hours. Either Race that use it can also be woken prematurely from these intense states, with a long period of nausea and headaches if this is done so. If the drug wears off naturally, the subject then wakes up. Yet outside these parameters, non-Naylar subjects will become dizzy, disoriented and confused as their mind is bombarded by the foreign chemicals. This can either cause unconsciousness or visions many would consider night terrors; dark massless forms that spasm violently and often last for around 4 hours. These effects are also sometimes present in bad batches of the drug. Bad batches themselves are rare to find however, as most Slizzar or the few Allar who use it wish to commune with their gods as best they can and try for perfection. Non-Naylar subjects cannot be woken up, even if they are experiencing the bad visions.
Ssastfa appears as a light purple or pink powder with small sparkles of gold within it. It also has a faintly sweet aroma.
- Ssastfa is an amalgamation of words in Zasta roughly translating to “God Sight.”
- It is not known if the Slizzar consumed drugs before the creation of Ssastfa to give them visions, though some claim it is likely they had access to Opium.
- Famassa Losso’s personality cult was broken apart by the Empress’ as it interfered with others venerating her. However, much like the drug he created, it proved resilient and still exists in some of those few Slizzar who know Alchemy Sciences.