Umtari was not a man interested in fighting fair or honestly and he was a man who was keen to milk every single possible drop of advantage out of any situation. He might not always have the skills to do it but you could rely on him to try. One thing he wanted to be able to do was bring down his foe in one hit, even with a glancing blow or a shot to a relatively unimportant part of the body. Not sporting behaviour to be sure but this was not sport. The most obvious solution to this problem was poison, even a shallow cut made by a weapon coated in poison could be life threatening. But Umtari wanted to improve upon the old tried and true technique, he wanted to make it hard for medical nin or others with medical experience to properly counteract the venom. Most commonly available shop bought poisons were well known to the medical profession so Umtari needed something homebrew. He also wanted something surprising, something they would not be anticipating, something that would be complicated to stop. It is perhaps a tribute to the Umtari’s ruthless bent that he came up with a solution so quickly.
He would combine poison, venom and infection in one almighty cocktail. The best venom in these woods could be obtained from some of the more vicious forms of the local snakes. Umtari could either kill them and extract their glands or capture them and dupe them into biting into a container, into which they would spray the vital liquid. Poison was also quite easy to get a hold of several of the plants in the woods were poisonous. The spores of certain fungi were the easiest to get a hold of but some berries were also lethal as were some flowers. The infections though, they would be a little harder to find. Umtari decided that the best way to solve that little problem was to find corpses, preferably ones that had been dead for some time and had been allowed to rot. Bathing the arrow head in the various liquids to be found in such creatures could bring any number of vile things to the party. If the animal dies of an infestation itself that would be caught as would any number of tiny parasites it may have had before death or acquired afterwards. Also the rot which will have set in will bound to have negatively affected all the various juices making them quite unsuitable to have rammed directly into your blood stream.
The final effect of combining all of these would be to make a medical nightmare. Diagnosis would be extraordinarily difficult as most medics would likely assume there was only one poison on the arrow and so be looking for one which would present all the symptoms seen in the patient, rather than breaking it down into three or four different poisons. Even if that thought occurred to them correctly sorting the symptoms into the right groups would be challenging. Plus when they started to administer the cures they would have to ensure the cures did not interfere with one another. Even if the medic was able to successful save the patient on the scene the symptoms from the parasites and other infections would take a little while to set in. When they did present themselves again it would be difficult to diagnose and successfully counteract, partly because it would be a semi random mixture of problems in itself but also because they would likely not guess where the problem came from. The incident with the arrow would have been days before and whilst poison on an arrow was a common thing disease was not, making a successful diagnosis yet more challenging.
But enough of this wild planning, Umtari now had to find the substances in question. Stalking back out to the woods he knew so well he made a beeline for the deadly fungus. It grew in random patches all over the place but Umtari could distinctly remember passing it in a few places. His memory proved accurate. It was a simple matter to scrape the fungus into a secure container so as that the spores on the underside could be safely extracted latter. Umtari then set about looking for the berries in question, they too were not difficult to find. However, Umtari realised that if he took a slight detour he could arrive at a large still water pool. These places were like magnets for snakes, they provided drink, food and shelter for the creatures. It was almost certain that at least one example of the kind of snake he was after lived here. Umtari also remembered that there may be some poisonous toads in the vicinity to add to his brew as well.
Making sure his gloves were firmly attached Umtari looked about for a fallen branch or twig with a narrow Y split at the end. It took a few moments but after a while he found one. With this in hand he went about searching for frogs and toads, it just so happened that a frog was the first thing Umtari came across. Standing between the water and the amphibian Umtari pestered the creature out into the open where upon he stood on a back leg to pin it down and make it cry out in pain and desperation. Umtari then pegged the leg down with another stick before withdrawing some distance and looking on in silence. It would only be a matter of time before something came out of the grass to eat this frog, the only question was what. After a little while something rustled in the leaves and low and behold out slithered a snake, but of all the rotten luck it was the wrong breed. Unwilling to sacrifice his bait to an undesired prey Umtari surged forward and kicked the offending viper away before retiring to his ambush point again. Understandably the rest of the wildlife in the area was now much more cautious, they knew something was up. It was over two hours before the right sort of snake slid into view and headed nervously towards the bait.
Umtari was not going to let this opportunity pass, jolting forward with the speed of a snake himself hi pinned the snake’s head down with the Y end of the stick. The creature thrashed about but was unable to escape. Kneeling down Umtari then took a firm grip of the side of the snakes head before pulling out a plastic container with a paper lid and placing it in front of the snake with his free hand. The snake, scared, desperate and unfamiliar with the item in front of him did as came naturally and attacks, sinking his fangs through the paper and spraying his venom until his glands ran dry. It would be a good few hours before the snake could bite again so Umtari gently tossed it a safe distance away and let it slither off, where upon he secured the container of venom.
Whilst he was here Umtari decided to have a look around for that toad he knew dwelt in this sort of environment. He could hear it but seeing it was a different matter. Climbing up into a tree in order to obtain a bird’s eye view Umtari scanned the scene. The toad was small and squatting in mess of leaves so it took a while to spot but Umtari had the eye for these things. The problem was it was right next to the water, no way Umtari could creep up to it before it jumped in. But the problem was not that difficult to solve. Unslinging his crossbow Umtari braced and took the shot, the toad never stood a chance. Moving over to the corpse it was a simple matter to locate the glands responsible for producing the poison. All sorts of other fluids flowed into the container as well but they could only help. Still though, one toad did not produce much poison, so after recovering the bolt he climbed back up the tree again and repeated the process several times, sometimes having to squat for half an hour before another toad presented itself or felt confident enough to jump back out of the water.
After a little while though Umtari had all the toad poison he needed and he resumed stalking through the woods in search of other poisonous plants, chiefly berries. They were not difficult to find, the juicy red orbs were scattered throughout this forest. Each berry only gave a tiny amount of poison though, if he wanted to take down a human with any speed he was going to have to cover his arrows in a hefty dose of the stuff. So he just kept on stalking through the woods, sunlight falling through the leaves, creating a pleasant dabbling effect on the forest floor. After roughly an hour of berry collecting Umtari caught a foul stench upon the air. He could not instantly identify it, but it certainly was not faeces. Taking note of the wind direction Umtari followed the smell, growing ever more cautious as he closed in. It smelt like death, old death. Certainly there was a corpse or two to be found, but Umtari was more concerned that what killed them might still be in the vicinity.
Eventually though he found the source of the smell and was greatly encouraged by what he saw. Before him lay two bodies. One was of a deer and the other was of a wolf that had clearly been in the process of eating the deer. The wolf had no obvious wounds which made the cause of death uncertain but Umtari could make an educated guess. Somehow the deer had become ill and died, but whatever killed it still lingered in its corpse. The wolf, eager to take advantage of the free meal, had come to scavenge only to fall prey to the same illness. Judging by the fact that the two bodies were so close whatever the original cause of death it had to be rather fast acting. The two bodies were in a state of decay, both bodies had become bloated with the build-up of internal gas, the blood which flowed from the deer had congealed and turned putrid in its own right, maggots crawled from their eyes and various wounds, puss flowed freely and rot was clearly visible on both of them. This place was a positive bounty of dire liquids.
Umtari was not put off by the smell, he had seen and smelt much worse. Checking the area to make sure no other wildlife had been attracted by the stench Umtari set to work. For him this thing was like a feast, blood, bile, decaying flesh, gastric juices, everything got harvested. Umtari’s jars started to fill up fast and still he tore out organs, raiding them for whatever lay within. The pulp of semi digested deer inside the wolf was particularly lovely, it was like getting all the horridness of both of them at the same time. Eventually though, even this buffet ran dry. Standing up, satisfied with what he had done, Umtari proceeded to drift back towards the village. His mind started to race as he speculated what manner of awfull things had lain within the two bodies he had just reduced to little more than skin, bone and pulp. A little smile danced across his face at the prospect.
Returning to his quarters Umtari set about coating his arrows in the vile liquids. The task was relatively simple but not one to be undertaken lightly, if Umtari were to spill the concoction who knows what might happen. Obtaining a bucket and a large jar Umtari did his work over the bucket, pouring the contents of ever container into the one large jar. Every single fluid all went into one vial brew, far fouler than any fictional witch’s cauldron. The thing practically radiated malice once it was complete and into this vial jar Umtari started to dip the heads of arrows, one by one.
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