The Witches Cauldron
Two druids from Pragma were exploring the world looking for ingredients to brew with. The druids came across a swamp and were delighted as these locations were rich with great ingredients to brew with. The druids trudged through the swamp collecting ingredients until they came across a small cave that was filled with mushrooms. The druids entered the cave and carefully picked as many mushrooms as they could. They noticed that at the back of the cave there was a small crack in the wall and a glow coming from it. They pushed on the stone and it collapsed inwards, falling down a deep hole. The glow was coming from deep in the hole and the druids decided to investigate it. They carefully climbed down the hole and when they reached the bottom they found themselves in a lush cave filled with glow berries. The druids were astounded at what they had found. Glow berries were a rare and powerful ingredient, great for brewing potions. The druids picked as many as they could being very careful not to harm the vines before climbing back out of the hole.
When they exited the surface they saw that the shadows of the trees had grown long and that the sun was setting. They realized that they had spent longer in the cave than they thought and now found themselves in the middle of a thick swamp - with no camping equipment. The druids started to grow worried as the monsters of the night would soon be out. However, one of them spotted a small hut hidden behind a large tree. They hurried over to the hut as the last rays of light disappeared over the horizon. They closed the door behind them and looked around the room. It was a small wooden room with a thatch window looking out onto the swamp. The only thing in the room was a fireplace with a cauldron over it.
The druids quickly lit a fire in the fireplace and sat around it to warm themselves. As they sat around the fire the first druid rubbed his aching back. He decided that since the cauldron was here and a fire was already under it he might as well brew a potion of healing for his back. He put the ingredients into the cauldron one by one carefully and began to slowly stir it. After a short while the potion was ready and he filled a wooden cup and drank. The druid was taken aback and the second druid asked him what was wrong. The first druid said not only did his back not hurt anymore but he felt better then he had in years. He proclaimed that it was the greatest potion of healing he had ever brewed. The second druid was confused because the first druid was a good druid but he wasn’t exceptional. The second druid did not understand how the first had accomplished this. The second druid asked if he had used the glow berries in his potion but the first said he had not. They both sat there confused wondering what had happened until the first druid said it must be the cauldron. The second druid brushed the claim away telling the first to not be silly, that a cauldron alone could not increase the quality of a healing potion so much. But the first druid insisted it must be the cauldron. So in an attempt to prove it could not be the cauldron the second druid decided to brew a potion of strength. Just as the first druid had done, the second druid carefully added ingredients to the cauldron and slowly stirred it until the potion was ready. He took the wooden cup from the first druid, filled it with the potion, and drank. The second druid's eyes widened as he could not believe the immense strength he felt flowing through him. He proclaimed it was the greatest strength potion he had ever brewed. To show off his strength he picked up the first druid with ease and hoisted him high. Both druids yelled and laughed celebrating the potions they had brewed. Then as the second druid put down the first they realized that it had been the cauldron that had enhanced their potions so much. They both agreed that come morning they would bring the cauldron back to Pragma so they and the other druids could discover the full extent of the cauldron's power.
Arrival at Pragma
When the two druids returned to Pragma with the cauldron they were met with confusion from the other druids. Why would they carry a large and heavy cauldron such a long distance? The two druids then told their story of how they had found the cauldron and how it had enhanced their potions. Many of the druids did not believe them saying the potions had seemed stronger only because they had had a hard day. But the two druids insisted that the cauldron had enhanced their potions. The commotion caught the attention of one of the elders who told the two druids to bring the cauldron in front of the elders upon the top of the mountain which Pragma was built upon.
With the help of a few others the two druids got the cauldron to the top of the mountain and presented it to the elders. They once again told their story of finding the cauldron and how it had enhanced their potions. The elders told them they were letting their imagination get the better of them and that a cauldron could not improve a potion so greatly on its own. But the two druids maintained that it had. One of the elders who had had enough decided to humor them. The elder had particularly bad eyesight and said he would brew a potion of vision. As the elder added ingredients to the cauldron and stirred, more and more druids began to crowd the edges of the mountain top to see what was happening. When the potion was finally ready the elder druid took his cup and filled it. All the druids looked on in suspense as the elder drank from the cup. After he had finished drinking there was a short pause before the cup fell from the elder’s hand to the ground. The elder stood perfectly still as the other elders called out to him asking if he was alright. The elder did not say a word but slowly reached out his hand for a butterfly to land on. He slowly brought the butterfly closer, admiring its colors and proclaimed he had not been able to see this well for 80 years before the butterfly flew away. He laughed with joy at his newly increased vision as all the druids who had accumulated on the mountain top clapped and cheered for him. The elder walked back to his chair among the other elders to the applause and sat. When the clamor had died down the elders proclaimed that it did appear that the cauldron had some kind of magic and that the greatest druids in Pragma would test the cauldron to find the extent of its power.
The cauldron was brought deep into the mountain to begin testing. Each druid who was best at brewing certain potions were called upon to come and work with the cauldron. They started by brewing potions that they believed to have positive effects. They brewed a potion of strength and had a young druid drink it. The young druid was then able to lift several tons of stone with ease. They then brewed a potion of healing and gave it to a druid who had fallen off the mountain years ago breaking his leg and as a result now walked with a cane and limp. After drinking it the druid dropped his cane and ran around the room, his limp completely gone. Then they brewed a potion of swiftness and had the fastest druid in the town drink it. The druid then ran laps around the mountain faster than he ever had before, baffling onlookers with his speed. Each potion that the druids brewed was better than any potion that had ever been brewed in Pragma before. While the druids were delighted in the results, they had not come any closer to understanding what gave the cauldron its magical properties.
Potion of Pragma
While testing every potion known in Pragma, one druid suggested brewing a potion that had never been successfully brewed before, the Potion of Pragma. The Potion of Pragma had been theorized about and attempted before but had never been successfully brewed. The potion had ordinary ingredients, save for one, an Apple of Pragma. The Apples of Pragma are very rare and only grow from the tree atop the mountain Pragma is built in. The apples have great healing properties when consumed and the druids of Pragma had tried for many years to brew a potion using them. However, the magic in the apples was too strong and could never be contained in a cauldron before.
The druids believed though that the magic of this cauldron may be able to hold the magic of an Apple of Pragma. With permission from the elders the druids set upon attempting to brew a Potion of Pragma. The ingredients were added one by one to the cauldron until it was time to add the Apple of Pragma. The apple was cut into pieces and put into the cauldron and then a druid began to stir it slowly. In the past when the apple was added and stirred after only a few moments the cauldron would start to crack until it broke open completely. But now as the druids stirred the potion it started to glow and fumes rose from it. They looked on with awe until the potion was finished. The druids could not believe their eyes, there was not a single crack on the cauldron and the potion they had brewed glowed like nothing they had ever seen before.
They filled a bottle with the potion and brought it to the bed of a druid who had been struck down with a great illness and thought condemned to death. They placed the bottle to his lips and helped him drink it down. They sat there and watched their fellow druid breath softly waiting to see if the potion would save him. After a few minutes it seemed that the potion had once again failed and the druids started to leave the room. As the last druid slowly closed the door he heard a gasp from the sick druid and saw him shoot up in his bed. Color had returned to the sick druid's face and he jumped out of bed. He proclaimed that he felt better than he had since he was a small child. The druids looked on in awe at their friend who had just a moment ago been at death's door but now looked healthier and stronger then he had in years. The Potion of Pragma was labeled a success and it was decided that more would be brewed to discover the full power of the potion.
Once all the positive potions had been brewed the elders called on a druid who had not lived in Pragma for many years but still called himself a druid of Pragma to brew the dark potions. The druid's name was Potentia Longveil. Potentia had left pragma to go and study under an older relative at their home and because of this they had a great skill for brewing dark potions. Potentia started by attempting to brew a potion of slowness. However, as he stirred the potion it became so thick that he could not stir anymore. It took days to remove all of the goo from the cauldron so testing could continue. Next, he then attempted a potion of poison. The potion was used to kill rats who had been eating the food in the pantries of Pragma. One taste of the poison and the rats were dead but it seemed to be too effective as a cat who ate a dead rat was killed by the poison. The cat was buried but its body was dug up by a wolf who was also killed by the poison. The wolf’s body was eaten by a vulture who was also killed by the poison. It was determined that the poison would kill any living thing and the bodies of the animals killed by it were burned. But even fire could not cleanse the poison as it leaked out of the bodies of the animals and had to be collected so as to not poison the earth. The poison was put into bottles and stored deep in the mountain in a secure room.
Potentia then tried to brew a potion of harming in the cauldron. He added ingredients as he normally would to the cauldron but as he went he noticed the cauldron begin to bubble in a way he had not seen before. He leaned in close to look deep into the cauldron, and then bang! An explosion that shook the mountain knocking solid rock loose. Nearby druids rushed to the room the cauldron and Potentia were in. As they rounded the corner they were shocked by what they saw. The hallway which had been carved out and was solid stone was scorched, smoke bellowed out of the room Potentia had been in. The thick wooden door to the room was turned completely to ash and the stone around the door was cracked. They rushed to the doorway to help Potentia and looked in to see the room destroyed. Fire was everywhere and solid stone had been completely destroyed. The cauldron was in the same spot as it had been sitting atop a cracked pillar of stone. Even though the room was cracked and scorched, the cauldron looked untouched. Not a single new scratch was on it.
The druids looked around the room for Potentia and saw him lying deep in the crater created by the explosion. They rushed down to help him and as they got close to him they saw how badly he was hurt. His skin had been burned away and he laid there bleeding heavily. You could see flesh and bone and both had holes in them. The druids took off their robes and wrapped him in them and carried him out of the crater and room. They carried him through the mountain as he screamed in pain until they arrived at the medicine room. The druids used all the healing potions they had but nothing helped Potentia. As they ran out of options one of the druids grabbed a Potion of Pragma. The druids argued over this as they had not done enough testing on the potion to have a strong enough understanding of it but it was decided that it was his last hope.
The potion was given to Potentia and the druids watched in amazement as the holes in his bones and flesh healed and new skin began to grow. He was still greatly injured and not all his skin grew back but the potion saved his life. Potentia had to remain in Pragma after the accident as he was too weak to travel. As the days went on his injuries got worse and it was thought that the effects of the Potions of Pragma were wearing off. It was found that the Potion of Pragma’s effects weren't wearing off but the injuries Potentia had sustained were magical and growing worse every day. So he had to drink a Potion of Pragma every day to keep his wounds from getting worse. The cauldron was locked up in one of the most secure rooms in Pragma and all testing was prohibited. It was now forbidden to use the cauldron without oversight from one of the elders. One of the only times the cauldron is now used is to brew Potions of Pragma for Potentia.
There is still a lot the druids of Pragma do not understand about the cauldron. The source of its magic is still greatly unknown to them although they have been able to decipher a small amount of information about the cauldron. On the side of the cauldron there is an inscription carved into it. It was in a language the druids were not familiar with but they were able to decipher most of the inscription. It reads “To my love” followed by a word the druids were not able to find the meaning of. They have deciphered that it is a name but are not sure what the name is.
However the inscription itself raises more questions as the druids were unable to make a mark at all on the cauldron no matter what they used. It appeared the cauldron was given its magic after it was created as the iron seems to be normal iron that was infused with magic, not the source of the magic itself. The druids have concluded that the cauldron can not be destroyed by any normal means. This has raised more questions though, was the cauldron given its magic when it was first created or afterwards? Who created the cauldron? Who gave it its magic? And who is the inscription for? The druids have not been able to solve any of these mysteries but continue to look for the answers.