To her, it was always wood troll toadstool ale, but the folks on long market days called it fix’r elix’r. She never said when she’d bring it along with her other wares: bundles of sweet herbs and grasses; flower crowns and nosegays; salves and rubs; nostrums and potions. But something in her flashing amethyst eyes; her ever secretive smile or the way she tossed her long raven hair’s braid woven with ribbons and sprigs of lavender, let folks know she had a precious few bottles to sell.
Always the same 3 questions asked: “Did she drink it?” “Why yes, all the time.”
“Did it work?” “Always, but not necessarily in the way intended.”
And. “The cost?” “Two ducats for keeps.”
When uncorked, each person perceived a different smell: the sweet meadow grasses where first kiss lead to first coupling; or sick room pus, blood, and vomit.
The taste might be his steamy seed from down a dark alley-way; or a sweet, juicy apple just picked from a tree.
The initial feeling created by drinking a draft might be of the sweet nuzzle of a babe looking to suckle; a sucker pucker in an ale house brawl.
But this could change to the scent and feel of a woman’s skin just after a bath; the feeling of power over an enemy; watching someone whose guts are on fire with molten ore; caressing a lover for days on end; being with child; whatever, perhaps, the person wanted from the fix’r elix’r.
It came without a guarantee of how it would work, just that it would. The would-be-murderer, the murdered; the beloved, another; the lover, a harridan; and so it goes.
But to the tiny raven haired girl-child, the wood troll toadstool ale had the aroma of the sea – salt tang, sandy beaches, rocky breakers; the taste of the woods – earthy, mushrooms, berries; and the result. Like a tiny purring kitten nuzzling one side of her neck, and a lover nuzzling and kissing the other side. The fix’r elix’r was what it was to each.