Chapter 23: News From Caeldar

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By now, news of our failure, news of our hubris, and news of our demise will have begun to spread. Let the world know. We, the Pride of Elysion, have damned ourselves by the work of our hands, and by the words of our tongues, we have chained ourselves to be weighed down to the depths of Hell itself.

***

Laidu sat behind a curtain, a towel wrapped around his waist. "Alright, I'd like to get my pants back!" he called out. It echoed around the alchemy lab, with no response. Had they just left him there?

Indra sighed. "I told you, the principles are taking a while to bond. Salic principles tend to do that!"

"Salic?" Laidu asked.

Indra sighed, before stepping back behind the curtain. Laidu jumped, keeping a white-knuckle grip on the towel. Indra seemed annoyed, and now she had a chart. "I don't want to keep explaining this to you," she said. "Basically, there are three types of principles. Salic, of salt. Sulfuric, of sulfur." She pointed to the symbols on the chart.

"And mercurial? Of mercury?"

"No, that's hydrangic." Indra sighed. "Hydrangic principles usually take away things. Acidics are hydrangic. Sulfuric principles react with things, taking and giving. Salics are additive. Adding the inability to burn is salic in nature."

She sighed. "Hydrangics act faster than sulfuric. And those are faster than salics." She ducked back into the lab. She, Thaen, and Kyra had cleaned the place up carefully, Indra cleaning up any spills they found. And they had erected a little curtain for Laidu.

"So it's going to take a while?" Laidu asked.

"Don't worry. The pants and smallclothes are almost done," Indra said. "They just need to be roasted over some fuming spirit of calcery."

"Calcery?" Laidu asked.

"The fireproofing material," Indra said. "Applying it directly to the fabric would render the fabric toxic."

"That doesn't sound good."

"It gives you a really bad rash. And, well, close proximity to orifices and..the like tends not to end well." Indra ducked past. "The other way, the way your pants before you were made, was simply calcery diluted in neutralized water. The clothing would have been washed in it. But straight-up calcery is actually sulfuric. It gives the ability to heat up, but it removes the elasticity of the fabric."

"I see," Laidu said. "And your new concoction isn't?

"No." Indra said. "I added principles to increase the elasticity of the cloth."

"And what prompted you to do that?"

A fluttering mass of cloth was thrown over the divide. "That's why," Indra said. Laidu let the mass unfurl, staring at a tattered and ripped pair of pants that were unwearable. They would cover as much as some larger smallclothes, and about two handslengths down from the waist, the black cloth had ripped into a hundred different tears. "We found that off you. And if you take a look, the tears are caused by rapid expansion. Lots of expansion."

"Oh," Laidu said. "Do you know what happened?"

"Nope," Indra said. "We found you floating in a pile of ash water, wearing that. The sword and your boots were gone."

"Ah," Laidu said. "I'll probably go into the market later and get a replacement sword." He paused. There was something missing. "Where's Thaen?" he asked.

"Oh, he's here," Indra assured. Kyra gave out a chuckle.

"Well, why do I not hear him?" Laidu asked.

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