Monday 9 October 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #267: Shimmering Salts

Seven hexes northwest, six north of Alakran.


This salt deposit is not like others you might have seen in eastern Wahattu. Although the prevailing hue is pale, the crusts and humps of mineral shimmer with subtle colors, being composed of many salts beyond the simple sodium chloride we know. In modern chemical terminology, this terrain is streaked with deposits of:

  • Cobalt nitrate (red)
  • Copper sulphate (blue, drying to white)
  • Cobalt chloride (blue in the dry season, pink in the wet season)
  • Iron chloride hexahydrate (yellow-brown, drying to black)
  • Ammonium dichromate (orange)
  • Manganese chloride tetrahydrate (pink)
  • Potassium permanganate (purple)

Other deposits, although white, give their immediate area a characteristic smell such as:

  • Sodium acetate (vinegar)
  • Potassium cyanide (almonds)
  • Ammonium chloride (strong, piercing smell)

The proximity of these deposits is one reason why alchemy has always flourished in nearby Eryptos, and the salts are so easily gathered that the job is relegated to a dozen menial carriers who are paid barely enough to live on.

A curious tale circulates around this collection of salts. It is said that among them can be found all the tastes that food may acquire - sweet, salty (of course), bitter, sour, and savory. And thereby hangs a tale.

Generations ago, the alchemist Tuenar devised a diet for the obese Prince in Eryptos known as the Mountain of Eminence. The stuff of the food was clay of varying consistencies, and the flavors of salts were so skillfully combined to mimic various foodstuffs that, eating blindfolded, the Prince could barely tell the false food from his true meals. Alas, the Prince never became king, as the diet was quite easily poisoned. But in one version of the tale he was done in by his love of almond cakes, whose flavors could only be recreated using salts of cyanide.


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