While a product of torture and coercion by the Shadow Council, Zzarinact remains a firmly Allar creation despite the questionable circumstances of its first brewing. It was outlawed almost immediately upon its conception by the Regalian Empire on the basis that it was heretical and exceedingly dangerous. Its use has primarily been found among the underground Void worshippers as well as various criminals, the both of which use it to unjustly convince someone to join their side. To this day, hundreds of victims have been reported to appear completely changed by the mixture, while others appear altered to a lesser degree.
The origin of Zzarinact is as complex as it is intriguing. It was early in the Chrysant War, ironically due to the Regalian Empire’s genocide of the Slizzar and Allar of which the necessity for such a potion grew. One in particular Allar named Ssissilian Zzar tried to escape Hadar in a vain attempt to survive the war, but as he crossed from Hadar into Daen, a Shendar scouting party discovered him and captured it, bringing him to the Shadow Isles, where he was “commissioned” by the Shadow Council to create a concoction that would influence the mind of the victim. Zzar originally refused, knowing the Shadow Council would do nothing beneficial to the world with such a potion, but he was gruesomely tortured until he finally agreed. Soon, a potion with the desirable effects was finally created, and, in a sadly ironic turn of events, the Shadow Council decided to name it after its creator; Zzarinact. However, Ssissilian was able to escape, along with a few Cielothar slaves, and a sympathetic Shendar, inadvertently spreading the dangerous alchemical weapon to the Regalian Archipelago and beyond.
The production of Zzarinact is extremely difficult to perform, requiring intense concentation, and as a result can only be concocted by someone who has graduated from the School of Alchemy. First, the alchemist needs a cauldron of boiling water, followed by a smaller, covered colander. Once all the ingredients have been put in (barring the blood), the pot is submerged in the cauldron for no more than fourteen minutes. Any more or less, even by the margin of a second, will render the potion useless as the herbs will burn. This results in alchemists scalding their hands in their haste to procure the pot from the cauldron. The holes in the bottom of the pot allow the water to flow into the pot and boil the ingredients together, while the water on the outside allows the heat to remain constant. Then, the pot is removed from the water and the contents put through a strainer, after which the alchemist extracts a drop of their own blood and puts it in the mixture, while concentrating on what he wants the victim to see. For example, if they wanted them to dream about a horse running them over, he would have to concentrate completely on that dream while extracting the blood. Once this is done, the alchemists seals the mixture in a corked bottle, thereby preserving it until its use.
The application of Zzarinact determines its effect. If it is applied while the subject is sleeping, the subject will experience a dream. If it is applied while the subject is awake, it will result in the subject experiencing a hallucination or twisted reality. The potion is always ingested, never injected or absorbed through the skin.
Once it has been ingested by the subject, the victim will experience one of three things: they will either have an artificial dream, perceive something that is not real, or see the alchemist as having a different appearance, perhaps as someone they know. Each potion only has one designated use that cannot be changed after it has been brewed, but this use is completely determined by the alchemist. Strangely enough, pain cannot be induced in the victim, but fear or other negative emotions or feelings certainly can. No matter what effect is being utilized, the potion will not last more than a half hour.
Whilst creating the concoction, the alchemist must create the scene in his head before he extracts the blood, all the way to the last detail. If the alchemist is careless, his victim will start to feel off or queasy while perceiving the vision, until eventually it’s possible that the victim will know that they have been poisoned. The same is true when the alchemist tries to mimic someone else’s appearance; if they have not extensively studied their target, the victim will start to see that something isn’t quite right.
Despite its harmful effects, Zzarinact tastes quite sweet and is rather addictive, leading to it being used as a drug in some cases. Some alchemists will act as dealers who keep various popular experiences (usually dreams) in stock— usually things that award a naughty pleasure to the person who drinks it. The color of the potion is an ominous black-purple, due to the combination of flowers used to create it.
- There was a reported case of a mischievous woman who used Zzarinact to appear as a nobleman’s wife. As expected, the real wife discovered the “affair” and gave way to quite a bit of drama within the man’s county.
- Ssilian Zzar has not been seen since his arrival in the archipelago, though it is speculated he still creates unwanted concoctions underground, his mind forever twisted by his stay in the Shadow Isles.
- No additional effects are perceived if larger amounts of Zzarinact are applied to a victim.