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I worked from the prompt "deathfin stew", and wrote a story expanding on what had been a very sketchy description of a sea monster. Which is to say, the only reference I could find to the creature was an adult, the size of a house, that exploded due to a buildup of gas in its innards. (Ewwwww--Gross!)

So, "deathfin stew" simply had to lead me in a substantially different direction than the original story went. And what better way to respond to gross than funny? (The story, An Irresistible Attraction is still available for sponsorship at $10.)

One of the joys and challenges things about Torn World is that it's a shared world--a variety of different writers all have to keep the same details about the same world straight. So an important part of our contributions to the site is worldbuilding, in formal encyclopaedia-style articles.

This article was inspired by the story, and also by the prompt "synaesthesia":

Dreamers Liquor

The venom of the deathfin can be fermented with sugar and either fruits or grains to make an alcoholic and hallucinogenic beverage. This “Dreamers Liquor” is extremely dangerous. The hallucinations in combination with the alcohol make it too easy for someone to drown or find another accidental death. In addition, long-term heavy use causes significant brain damage. The brain damage can manifest in different ways, however, common symptoms are vertigo, an inability to “tune out” distracting sensations, and a form of synasthesia that overloads the brain, causing confusion and headaches.

Dreamers Liquor is addictive and tastes much like the alcohol would have tasted without the addition of the venom, so it can be given to unsuspecting victims. Drug dealers have been known to addict people without telling them they are getting anything other than a normal alcoholic drink. It is also dangerous because it grants drinkers the illusion that they are significantly less drunk than they actually are.

Dreamers Liquor is most often made from the glands of small, immature deathfins. As a general rule the more immature the glands, the safer the venom. However, some deathfins mature at a smaller size than others, so without chemical tests, the strength of the venom is hard to estimate. Dreamers Liquor can be made from the venom in an adult deathfin’s glands, however, it is much more dangerous.

There is some evidence that the liquor, made from the youngest deathfins and taken in very sparing, infrequent doses, is not harmful other than causing a craving for more. It is sometimes used by people who need to enhance their senses for a particular task. Also, in some people, it works well as an aphrodisiac, though in others the effect is, instead, to distract them too much to enjoy themselves.

Although it is whispered that there were legitimate uses of the liquor prior to joining the Empire, Empire scientists have found little evidence of any supposed positive effects of drinking the liquor and many negative effects. Consequently, it was placed on a list of substances that not only cannot be licensed for consumption or sale, but can cause the loss of other licenses, but especially licenses to serve food, brew alcohol, and the like.

It might be possible for a research scientist to receive a special license to study the stuff, for purposes of treating the addiction, studying the tradition that someone who drinks the stuff acquires some immunity to the creature’s sting, or, possibly, the use of the venom or liquor in fighting a different kind of monster but it would be difficult. However, any such study would be required to be in a well-established laboratory with impeccable credentials and reputation and a substantial security setup.

Disclaimer:  This article has not yet been vetted by the Canon Board, a process that includes proofreading, grammatical suggestions, discussions of the internal consistency of the Torn World universe, and whether this would work well with other things in Torn World for the purpose of making good fiction and art.  Sometimes, things get subtracted, other times really cool things get added. 

For this one, you get a special deal--I'll read your comments before submitting this article to the canon board.  What do you think?  If I use your comments, I'll credit your help on the Torn World site.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2010 06:24 am (UTC)
What kind of synaesthesia does the consumption of the liquor cause?
Apr. 15th, 2010 06:52 am (UTC)
I figure that varies from person to person, at first, but eventually, with continued use, it scrambles/multiplies all the sensory signals causing severe sensory overload and lots of confusion.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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