The Hermit in the Woods Dec 4, 2016 14:20:26 GMT -7
Post by Simon on Dec 4, 2016 14:20:26 GMT -7
The stories said that in the woods outside Boiss you could find an old stone cottage covered in vines and herbs and strange plants that nobody knew the name of. They said that the land around the cottage had been cultivated into a strange, twisted garden of alchemical ingredients, some of which could kill you just by looking at them or breathing in their pollen. They said that the door was stained red, not with paint but with the blood of the creatures that had been killed by the cabin's occupant. The stories spoke of the man who lived in the cottage, of the hermit in the woods, and the sly trickster cat that was his familiar. Some said he was crazy, some said he was evil, some said he was on the run and had settled into the cottage to hide from those who chased him. The word spread that he seemed to know what you were thinking before you even thought it, and that for the right price he could provide you with any potion or charm you could possibly desire, for reasons good or ill.
Simon thought the stories were greatly exaggerated.
Still, the fear they struck in the hearts of any ruffians who would otherwise try to bother him or trample his carefully cultivated garden was worth enough that he didn't care to correct them. And the look on the faces of those who came to him for aid was always a laugh, as they looked upon the young, lanky man who opened the door when they arrived. Without fail, every single one of them asked where the master of the cottage was, as they assumed he must simply be an assistant and surely not the hermit potion-maker they had heard of. Some didn't believe him when he told them it was just him, just Simon, but before leaving they all were convinced that while the stories about what he may look or act like were false, the stories about what he could provide for them were not.
If there was one thing in this world that Simon would say he was most proud of, it was his knack for potion- and charm-making, and his constant desire to learn new things. The world had a good deal of magic in it, but for people who couldn't cast magic on their own his potions and charms brought similar results within reach. Any request from big to small, he would help them with them all. Just last month, a man had come to him requesting a potion to curb his appetite, as his wife had begun commenting on how tight his clothes were fitting. Simon sold him just what he asked for, but the man returned two weeks later claiming it had done nothing to help, as it turned out his problem was not that he was hungry all the time but rather that he simply enjoyed eating food too much to stop even when he was full. Simon had laughed at the predicament and provided him with a potion that made everything taste like sawdust, and by the end of the month the man had lost ten pounds.
It was rewarding, being able to assist people with what they needed, but more rewarding than that was the simple ability to do so. He felt more accomplished being asked to provide something incredibly difficult and then discovering a new recipe than he did simply magicking results out of thin air. Some of the potions he created were morally or ethically questionable, but Simon would be willing to fulfil any request for the right amount of money. At least enough to cover the cost of ingredients and as much trouble as it might cause him to figure out. Simple tasks had simple price tags, but he had turned away more than one ambitious man or woman because they weren't willing or able to pay the price for what they wanted.
"You're in your head again," Kilik purred, brushing against his legs. Simon looked down at her and scoffed, "I am not," but the grimalkin laughed. "The potion requires only three bellflowers," she responded, using the tone she only used when she knew she was right. Simon looked to the table where he had been absently chopping the bellflowers to find that he had chopped the entire bunch of them up while lost in thought. "You know, you don't have to be so smug about it," he lamented, sweeping the chopped flowers into a basket and placing it on one of his many overflowing shelves. Brushing himself off, he stood and grabbed a light jacket from under a pile of strange glowing rocks, slipping it on as he stepped out the door of the cottage. He would have to pick some more, and he didn't grow them in his garden because he could find them easy enough in the wild. The garden was for uncommon or exceedingly rare breeds of flora, and the common bellflower was not that. He would have to go for a walk.