Aqua Magus is a DA:O – Awakening gift item intended for Oghren. It’s also one of the recipes I have discovered for my Thedosian Recipe Book and I fully intend on trying all of them (and sharing the resulting disasters or successes with the internet).
I’m not much of a drinker, mostly because of the amount of prescription medication I take, but on the odd occasion that I do go for something alcoholic, I usually stick with dark rum and Coke, so exploring the spirits aisle was something of a novelty. And then I discovered that Blue Curaçao is not particularly easy to find. It took three trips to different shops before I tracked down a bottle (thank you, Asda!).
Here’s what’s in it:
Bioware gives the recipe as 1 oz vodka; 1-2 oz Blue Curaçao and pineapple juice. What actually went into my glass was 1/2 shot of vodka (my shot glasses hold around 1.5 fluid oz, so approx. 20ml) and a full shot of Curaçao. Initially, I added about 1/2 shot of pineapple juice, too, but I think an extra 1/4 shot tasted better.
It makes this beautiful lyrium blue, which I’m incredibly tempted to try adding some of the food-safe glitter to and see if I can get a similar effect to my rheoscopic fluid potions. And considering that I was a bit apprehensive about it, I think I might have actually found my new favourite drink!
I spent the day in Cambridge with my brother yesterday, so I went across to the fabric warehouse almost as soon as it opened this morning. I managed to track down something suitable for bias tape, even if it’s not a perfect match for what I’ve been using, and also came away with some lovely, soft beige material, six metres of gold fabric that I think will do for a King’s Willow Weave scarf and, my best buy of the day, a whole roll of red faux-suede for a pound! My plan is to use some of it for a coat and to make a banner to hang from my wheelchair for MCM Birmingham. It’s a shame I didn’t think of coats until I sat down with all the fabric this evening, as there were a couple of tools of faux-suede in brown, but I passed them over. I’ll have to nip back either tomorrow or Thursday and see if they still have them. If nothing else, it will be a decent (and cheap!) fabric to run some test patterns up before hacking into my lovely leather!
I figured buying bias tape would ultimately save me some time, but now I really wish I had just bought some fabric asks made my own! It looks as though the tape I bought to make my Skyhold shirt is not only out of stock, but entirely discontinued. I’ve searched high and low online with no luck, and have now been to three different HobbyCraft stores in entirely different areas of the country in the vain hope that they might have a single, solitary roll left in stock. That’s all I need – about three metres!
While on today’s trip to HobbyCraft, the staff member I spoke to suggested that I have a look upstairs in the clearance section, on the chance that any left overs might have gone up there. While I want able to find the one I wanted, I did come across a mending tape in a very similar shade, marked down to £1, so I grabbed the last four packs to test out. For £1 each, I didn’t really mind too much if I found it didn’t work for the shirt, but I could guarantee that if it did work asks I liked it, I would never be able to buy another metre of it again!
Unfortunately, the flipping adhesive made it a nightmare to sew, so I’m going to have to come up with another idea and use the mending tape for a different project. I think my best chance now is to make a trip over to the fabric warehouse and see if I can find something that’s a reasonably close match for the bias tape that I can cut down myself. And, of course, it’s a good excuse to go over to the warehouse and see what they have in!
A few people have asked me what I used to make my rheoscopic fluid, so I’ll put my current list of ingredients at the bottom of this post. It’s a little different for each potion, simply because the different colours in the liquids changes how effective the swirls are.
Antivan Fire Grenade
I first attempted the Antivan Fire grenade with gold calligraphy ink, but it didn’t have anywhere close to the effect I wanted. So I ordered some gold mica instead, which makes a much better “flame” effect. The video below was taken just after I had finished stirring in the mica and I was impressed by how long the water stayed in motion.
The reason there’s a thin layer of foam on top in the second video is because I added a drop of dish soap to keep nasties from growing in it once the liquid is sealed in the bottles. I think in future I’ll stick with a little surgical spirit instead! I’m not fond of the foamy look and because the whole effect hinges on the movement of the liquid, bubbles form on the surface really easily.
I couldn’t get hold of purple ink for the Confusion grenade, so I ended up mixing blue and garishly violet food colouring until it was a shade I could live with.
While I was at it, I mixed up a third version of the Tears of the Dead poison, using a darker green and some extra white mica. Again, the foam really doesn’t work for me (who knew that a single drop of cheap dish soap in 500ml of water would be so bubbly?!) I love the Antivan Fire in particular. I was considering using an LED for this one, too, but the gold really does catch the light really well and makes it look like it’s lit from within.
Generally, I’m really pleased with how well they have worked! I’ve got four little bottles on my desk and they’re absolutely hypnotic. Now that I’ve worked out how much of everything to use, I can swap out the dish soap in the next batch and, hopefully, all I will need to do with these four is to dress up their bottles to finish them off. Originally, I wasn’t going to seal the corks in so that I could reuse the bottles, but having splattered Antivan Fire over my keyboard when enthusiastically shaking the bottle, I can see them making a horrible mess of clothes and props if jostled (fortunately sticky flames causing 46 damage every second for thirty seconds isn’t a feature!).
The base for all my potions is ink/food colouring in tap water. A little colouring goes a really long way, so I started off with two drops in 500ml and adjusted it depending on how deep I wanted the colour. I did find that the darker the colour, the more careful I had to be with everything else. Adding too much mica to darker water just turns it into sparkly dark water and too little meant that it didn’t show up at all.
Into the water, I added a teaspoon (approx 5ml) of silver calligraphy ink and the very tip of a teaspoon of cosmetic-grade mica. The calligraphy ink alone worked, but I got a much better result using it in tandem with the mica.
The Antivan Fire was a little bit different. Because it’s described as a “sticky fire,” I wanted it to be a little more viscous than the others. So after colouring the 500ml of water, I mixed in just shy of three teaspoons of vegetable glycerine and shook the bottle thoroughly until they mixed. Instead of using silver calligraphy ink, I used the same amount of white mica as the others, then added twice as much in dark gold mica.
The final step for all the potions was a few drops of dish soap, but surgical spirit is probably a better bet and should also stop anything unpleasant developing in the water.
As you can see above, the pots of mica I have are really tiny but I’ve barely used a third of it so far.
So that’s four out of fifteen potions, tonics and grenades from Inquisition thus far. My plan is to make the full set plus one or two of my favourites from DA:O and DA II, like the Concentrated Crow Poison and Avernus’s Experimental Draught. I just need to figure out how on earth to do the effects!
It’s the details that really bring a piece of fiction into the real world. I had some ideas for how I wanted my potions to look and how I was going to pull it off, but my husband provided the inspiration for these first ones. It’s taken a bit of fiddling to work out the ideal ratios for each one to get the best effect.
As I only had green ink on hand, I started off with the Tears of the Dead poison.
Tears of the Dead
I was surprisingly pleased with how the first attempt worked out, but I quickly found that while it looked great in natural light, the movement of the water wasn’t as pronounced as I wanted it. My attempts to increase the green ink made it too dark to see much of anything, so I tried to compensate with silver ink which didn’t help at all and simply made it look like glittery nail polish. After a few adjustments, I decided I was on to a winner.
Cold Resistance Tonic
Having raided the local 24-hour Tesco for food colouring, I had a go at the Cold Resistance tonic.
I remixed the Tears of the Dead poison to match the same quantities, but in retrospect I preferred the slightly darker green of the earlier version. I absolutely love the effect it has when lit up, so I have some submersible LEDs on the way for testing out. I’m in two minds about fitting them into the corks, as the corks are so little and I don’t want to damage them. I was pointed towards some pre-made LED corks, but I’m not convinced that they’ll fit my bottles properly. I plan on painting some “frosting” on the Cold Resistance tonic, so if the corks don’t work out, the paint should hide the LED if I drop it in and let it sink to the bottom.
The Antivan Fire grenade is next on my list to try out and I’ve got a few thoughts for making the grenades themselves so that I can make the potions and grenades look a bit different.
I have spent a ridiculous amount of time hunting down bottles. At one point I started to wonder if the only form of glass bottle that existed in 2015 were those teeny tiny miniatures that go on necklaces! But the first few have finally turned up, so my next job is figuring out exactly what’s going to go into them.