(1938-11-14) A Fine Powder
Details for A Fine Powder
Summary: After getting a sample of Saccharine Powder, Clover decides to attempt to break down the ingredients, with the help of an assistant.
Date: 1938-11-14
Location: Potions and Plant Poisoning , St Mungo's
Related: An Expert Opinion

Clover does not waste any time getting to work on the sample of the powder that she received. Taking it out into the main work area of the department, she gathers several different solutions to test the powder against. Sadly she is not going to have very big samples to work with, but she will do with what she can. Diving it it up into small portions she starts putting bits of the powered into vials, waiting to see what colors they turn, to try and narrow down what is within the powder.

Several solutions turn easily, as they are common. They are foxglove and boom berry, both of which are quite common. Foxglove can result in a terrible poison, and is fatal if eaten raw. It is not yet clear how its poison has been rendered unpoisonous, or if it has at all. Boom berry, meanwhile, is a delicious fruit! It might account for a great deal of the sweet-tasing quality.

An assistant arrives as soon as Clover begins. He straightens the front of his robes with a huff, saying, "Beg your pardon. My lunch, it- didn't settle well." He clears his throat and proceeds to label some vials.

Clover makes a few notes of what she does find out, but the fox glove does concern her. "Honestly, I should not be surprised that there is some level of poison in here." Clover mutters to herself before she looks up at the assistant returns. "You know where the stomach settling potions are." She says passively before getting back to work. "I know there has to be something else in here, with all of the effects this powder causes, it's more than just fox glove. What would you suggest?" She asks the assistant raising her brow just a bit. It's one of those loaded questions where she knows the answer, but wants to see if he can get it right.

"Buh…" the assistant answers, blinking a few times. "I'd… I'd… oh, yes, we could sprinkle moonstone shavings upon it, with a mixture of dew harvested at the full moon to see if the powder is tied to the lunar cycle?" he asks, wincing a bit as he concludes. Did he get it right? Maybe.

"Very good." Clover says, taking another of the small samples and mixing it with the other ingredients the assistant suggested to test it that way. She also attempts to test the powder for any animal products, trying to see if there is a crushed horn or something similar in there as well.

The assistant beams when he is complimented. He watches Clover quietly, cheeks a little pink, and sniffs as the stone turns the powder a shade of purple. The dew, meanwhile, makes the green much darker. "T'would appear it has both moonstone and moondew in it! But not moongrass, moonrain, moonroot, moonfigs…" he goes on, listening about fifteen different ingredients. Moonstone is an uncommon ingredient, but not rare - it is most noted for its use in love potions, and is often associated with changing another peron's will. It may account, then, for a portion of the hallucinations - maybe. It will take something much stronger to bring forth a hallucination; or, perhaps, many more things. Moondew, however, is often used in healing potions. Apart from its ability to counteract the poison of foxglove, it is also quite sweet and lovely to taste.

When he starts rattling off everything that starts with the word moon, Clover holds up her hand to silence him. "Clever. Putting in an ingredient that would counteract the fox glove. I have a feeling though that one mis-step and this powder can become lethal." More notes are written down in her scratchy healer script that she so enjoys using, than shakes her head. Taking one more sample she dilutes it into a thick liquid, capping the vial and shaking it just a bit, before letting it set in a patch of sunlight. "Sadly, that test wont' be ready for a while, it needs time to processes, but I am running out of tests. One last one though." This one, she takes her wand out, to cast a quick diagnostic spell on her sample.

The assistant quiets when ordered, but says, "I have another idea, I think. We could heat the powder under a flame, and then test to see if any substances vaporize. Depending on the temperature, we may be able to sort through a list of ingredients and determine them based of, their… vaporization points?" he asks. Apparently he's a bit clever. Now, if such a list exists is another matter completely.

The mixture is made primarily of a single substance, which Clover has yet to identify. The moondew and foxglove are in equal portions, but they are a small percentage. The boom berry (which is mostly likely an extract) makes up the second largest percentage, but is about three to one when compared to the unidentified substance. Moonstone is just a touch more in quantity than both moondew and foxglove. The final ingredient accounts for about one percent of the potion.

"Excellent idea." Clover says quietly, flicking her wand at the instruments she'll need and summoning them over to her. It only takes her a second to get it setup, with another bit of sample ready to go. "And since it was your idea, I will let you do the honors of watching it evaporate." Yes, this is what assistants are for after all! She'll make her final notes, frustrated that she can't get that last ingredient yet, hoping that her long running test will prove some results. "I suppose the final thing to do would be to sample it. Though I may try that at home instead of here."

"Of course, of course," he says, nodding quickly. The assistant clears his throat, but after her last comment he laughs… nervously. Eyes wide, lips in a stupid smile, he watches her for several awkward seconds. Is she serious? Better not ask. His head lowers and he gets to work.

The process takes about thirty minutes, but when it is concluded, and the assistant has searched the records, there can be no doubt as to the results. Moonstone, foxglove, boom berry, and moondew are all identified, as well as… wormwood extract. Unlike essence of wormwood, or infusion of wormwood, its essence is used explicitly to induce vivid dreams. Dreams so vivid, one cannot tell them from reality, in rare cases. Wormwood is also used in euphoria potions, draught of living death, and, of course, to make absinthe.

The final ingredient isn't on the list. It must be rare. Chimaera scales, perhaps, or phoenix tongue.

That final ingredient is going to drive her mad, she'll probably be fretting over it until she figures it out, but she isn't surprised that it's rare. "Wormwood, I'm not surprised, as vivid as I was told the hallucinations are I should have suspected." But she of course wanted proof. "You did well, I need to gather my findings and get them back to Ms Rowle. I can't say this is a hundred percent safe, but, until I know what that last bit is, I'm not fully ready to make that call."

"I'll monitor the last ingredient," the assistant assures her with a nod. "I will make myself available if you need anything else!" He closes his own notepad and dusts off his hands. Ah, work well done.

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