The Labratory was all a buzz of whirring mechanisms, boiling vials and minor explosions. In a labratory not oft found in the halls of those of House Kundarak, one frantic dwarf worked as fast as was prudent to do so.
"Add five drops of Purple Worm acid, one vial of remnants of Arcane ooze, and one more ingredient is needed. Let's see, that ingredient is..., what? They left it out of the book? What kind of manual on artifice is this?"
Scoffing at the text, his experiment halted as he began research as to the ingredients. He needed something to balance the mixture of acidic elements that resided within the other pieces of the formula. Referencing the needed elemental requirements, He needed a chloride-based salt, a good deal of hydrogen, a lesser amount of oxygen, and a smattering of plant remains. Looking over the needed essentials, he began cross-referencing the needed items with known substances and minerals that contained the properties he needed.
Once again frustration set in, as he quickly ran into roadblocks. How for the love of all that is mythril, was he going to put together a salt, two gasses and dead plants into a bottle with the other items and make a potion that could ever help his friends. Even delving into the books of ancient artifice of the Dwarven he could not find such a substance. It would seem that the dwarves have never seen such a substance, and if he failed this time, all hope would be truly lost. New friends, new companions, a new place he could all home. All would be lost, because of his inability to find one blasted ingredient for this ruddy flaming potion.
"Master Darius, you need to rest. You have been in your Alchemy forge for 18 hours now. You need rest," came the voice of his faithful homunculus. Striding in almost two and a half feet tall, it was a marvel he made it look so well. For a first try at least.
Letting out a deep breath, Darius nodded assent. "Maybe your right, Swordarm. Maybe I should take a break. But I don't have much time, and if I know that blasted mage, he will know that the Fellowship is coming. We have to be ready for him."
"Master, please. Get some rest. It might just help you clear your mind. I have the washing room ready for you."
Darius knew when he was defeated in an arguement, or maybe he was giving up knowing that the recreated face of his once best friend was staring at him telling him what was best for him. Resigned to not find what he needed until he rested, he made for the washing chamber, and set his robe off to the side.
He called up the elemental machinery, and warm water cascaded down in a waterfall into the granite basin. As he sat under the flow of the water, he thought. Flashing back to the examination. Never had a forged taken that much damage before and made it through the night, let alone the next day. But it's the Cannith forge, he reminded himself. They have the ability where you do not. Now we just need to wait for them to finish, and tell us of our broken psiforged.
"Master, where did you aquire that tattoo?"
The voice of Swordarm startled him back to the present, and he gave quite a quizzical look. "Tattoo, what tattoo? I haven't gotten one since I aquired the mark of the arcane in my short visit to the Twelve."
"You have one sir, on your face. It is glowing with some kind of force. I cannot identify it." The construct seemed quite serious in his tone. "Here, look in your reflecting glass."
The construct held the mirror to his face, and Darius looked at his own face. Nothing. Granted, he had not seen his face in a mirror for some time, spending too much time scrying these days. However, this mirror was not capable of such things. He began to take in his face once again. White hair and beard, eyes the shiny sheen of mythril, rustic features that fairly well noted his age to any who knew the appearance of dwarves in the slightest. "Swordarm, I cannot see what you are talking about. I see no tattoo or marking of any kind."
"Master, there it is, right there, plain as day. I tell you what, I can draw it for you if you like?"
"I would like for you to, but right now I must attend to the Fellowship. There is too much that needs to be done. I can't even find the final substance for the mixture. Hydrogen, Oxygen, Dead plants and Salt. For the second time in my life, my friend, I believe I am going to fail those that I have sworn to protect."
"Master, don't say such things. You will do what is needed of you. All you need is time and rest. Here, drink this," as the creation handed him a tall vial of water. "This should help cool your thoughts."
As he took the vial from Swordarm, the construct's hand sparked again, and shocked not only him, but his entire body, not yet dry from the washing. He noticed small vapors rushing up from the water, and looked to his friend.
"Your hand is acting up again. Come here and let me fix it. Don't want to ignite anything that might cause you harm later." Darius set to work repairing the hand of the homunculus, and finished a couple of minutes later.
Wait, he thought, the spark. Vapors coming up from the water? Wait a moment, water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen.
"Of course. Water, that is the final ingredient. Water. How could I have missed it." Rushing into the lab, he took a sampling of the acid and ooze, and added the water, and it came together into the tube and appeared to congeal for a moment, the the tube exploded.
"But why? Water was there." Then it dawned on him that it did not have salt or dead plants, and therefore was not exactly what he needed.
"Damn it. I need water, but apparently water that can be found in the Holds won't do. Why is that? What other kind of water is there?" Staring dejectedly, he felt so close, and yet so far. "The Holds even have the greatest springs of fresh water on Khorvaire. Why won't it work?"
"Master, maybe because the water is to fresh? Something more natural, maybe?"
Natural, what does he mean by natural, the dwarf puzzled. What water could be more natural than that found in the holds? Water, plants, salt; Water, plants, salt; Water, plants, salt. Salt and water and plants. Salt and water and... Salt and water? Saltwater? Where would you find saltwater?
Then it came to him. But how do I get it, dwarves have no reserves of saltwater. Thinking for a moment, he formed a thought and popped his eyes right open.
"I've got it, but not too much time. Swordarm, I need you to prepare a message for me to send to a halfling named Sprue. She resides in Stormreach, and by Onatar's name she had better come through on this. Else I will blast her to a cinder."
Now, he just had to fight against time. And pray, lots of prayer.