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This small brown leather-bound book has seen better days. The leather is faded and is adorned with odd stains. Its pages are yellowing and torn in some places, while something corrosive seems to have destroyed the top corner of one section.
I, Ishko Mendae, Noble Dragon, have started
this diary as a record of my experimentations
with poisons. I hope that one day my work
will be of use to other ninja.
Poisonous plants that may have potential
Angel's trumpet - grows as shrub/
may have use as hallucinogen?
deadly nightshade - small plant with
purple flowers and berries, may
lotus flowers - found growing in/near
water, renowned to cause languor and
lilies - some varieties reputed to be
borage, certain moulds/fungi?
hemlock - tall with yellow stem and white
flowers, found wild in plains around
foreign city of Ankh-Morpork
spiders and snakes have venom
blowfish is dangerous to touch
be deadly to eat, but if prepared
properly, is safe. This must mean that
the toxic part of it can be extracted
I must learn how to do this!
some toads and frogs from the strange
lands beyond the Wall are said to be
alcohol - would rice wine work?
acid - different types might work
on different plants
alkalis - soda ash?
Monday 27th June Prime, 1990
I have decided to investigate the
of the angel's trumpet flower.
long been known to be dangerous,
bizarre visions and sensations. I
they have much potential as a hallucinogenic
Wednesday 29th June Prime, 1990
I've had little success with the ground
trumpet flower dissolved in acid, but water
shows some promise.
Thursday 30th June Prime, 1990
Water was the key; a strange milky grey
liquid resulted from this marriage, but the
effects were quite disappointing. Attempts
to concentrate this mixture proved pointless.
I wonder if some other substance is needed
to fully realise the potential of this
Octeday 4th Grune Prime, 1990
I confess; I am vexed! I have yet to find
the key to unlocking the angel's trumpet - I
may yet revisit it.
Wednesday 12th Ember Prime, 1990
I spent some months as an apprentice of famed
chef Yun Chan. Under him, I learnt how to
safely extract the poison sac of the deadly
blowfish, and how to properly season pork.
Saturday 15th Ember Prime, 1990
It seems that drying and grinding the sac
was not the best idea I have ever had.
Wednesday 28th Ember Prime, 1990
I recently acquired some rare scorpion sacs
from the dangerous ghost-infested lands
outside the Wall. I was advised to press the
sacs, and this process produced a small
quantity of pale red liquid.
I was told that this would strengthen any
poison I added it to, but it had little effect
on the angel's trumpet solution and did not
help with the extraction of the blowfish
poison. I have decided to seek vengeance on
the dishonourable trader who sold me the
Saturday 1st Ick Prime, 1990
The cursed merchant escaped me! But not all
is lost, as I realised that the same method
of extracting the essence of the scorpion
should work for the sac of the blowfish,
I will work on a better mechanism for
press g tomorrow.
Monday h Ick Prime, 1990
The press worked! I was able to extract 4
ounces of pale brown liquid from one sac!!
I tested a small amount of this liquid on a
a rat. Its body exploded quite alarmingly,
and it appeared to be in some discomfort
but it did not die. I will experiment with
ways of strengthening this poison.
Sunday 26th Ick Prime, 1990
Success!!! I have made a highly effective
focussed blowfish poison! The key was to
concentrate down the pale brown liquid by
distilling it! This produced a oily brown
liquid that proved quite efficient at
expanding the target's body to several times
its natural size. This caused the rat to
explode quite messily all over this diary,
as a matter of fact!
Thursday 1st February Secundus, 1990
I recently went to a cousin's wedding and
many firecrackers were set off in
celebration. This made me ponder the use of
the explosive nitrate mixture in some sort
of device - perhaps to spread other poisons
in gaseous form?
Friday 18th February Secundus, 1990
My brother the scholar! I owe much to this
man. He begged me to see his new collection
of books and scrolls. Amongst them I found
a fable about a far off land where the fruit
of the lotus could make strangers forget
their native land.
I intend to investigate this at some time.
Could a plant cause forgetfulness as it is
described? And what use is that to a ninja?
Octeday 18th June Secundus, 1990
Serendipity is the mother of all great
discoveries! I was working on the mixture
from the firecrackers when a serving girl
brought my afternoon tea into my lab!
Such a stupid girl! What right-minded man
would eat where he prepares all manner of
poisons? I have lectured all my staff on
this! I yelled at her, determined to drum
in this important lesson, but she startled,
spilling the tray she carried all over my
I was furious! Hours of work ruined. The
girl could see the anger in my eyes and
wisely fled. It was then that I noticed
that the firecracker mixture was smoking
furiously. I could barely see a thing.
I stumbled out of the lab and managed to
learn from the girl, when she had finally
calmed down, that the tray contained my
usual cup of orange pekoe tea. But it also
held some new season plums and a bowl of
sugar as they were still quite tart. Sugar!
Such a sweet answer.
Wednesday 7th Grune Secundus, 1990
I have spoken to a ninja friend of mine who
excels at pottery. I'm afraid that I've
not managed more than an ugly pot. She
believes that she can create a hollow ball
thin enough to break easily but strong
Saturday 18th Grune Secundus, 1990
I swear, as soon as a man sits himself down
to work, all manner of chaos erupts!
I had just started examining some toad skins
that I was able to purchase, when my old
gardener comes to me, begging for several
hundred rhinu to replace my wife's peonies.
Peonies! I remained calm, pointing out that
the plants were only new, and why should
they need to be replaced? They were all
struggling, as though weakened, he said.
Now, I know the man is getting on in years,
but he happens to be an excellent gardener
so they could not be dying due to lack of
care. I asked him what caused this, and he
told me that it's the geraniums.
Somehow, some leaves had got in the water
barrel used to collect rain and tainted it.
I gave the poor man the money, just to shut
him up, but it got me thinking.
The geraniums could not be harmful to people
as the gardener himself drinks from that
What use is that to a ninja? It is unlikely
we would be hired to poison a crop!
Friday 10th August Secundus, 1990
Both blue and white lotus, when ground are
soluble in water. These produce a deep blue
and a pale creamy liquid, respectively.
It is difficulty to test the effects of
'teas' as there are surprisingly few people
willing to volunteer. Perhaps a student
ninja, who has misbehaved?
Wednesday 24th August Secondus, 1990
It is surprising what young men will do if
you dare them! But at least I have found
that the lotus teas need something else
before they will become effective poisons.
Wednesday 9th Spune Secundus, 1990
I have decided that I must explore further
afield. If I am ever to become a master
poison maker, I must examine other plants
grown in foreign lands. I know it is the
position of the Empire, that nothing exists
beyond the wall apart from vampire ghost
infested lands, but I am not convinced.
There have been tales for years about brave,
or foolish, men and women daring to escape
the Imperial Guard to explore the wider
world. Some have come back, some have not.
But those that did are said to have told of
strange lands not, as we are warned, full
of evil ghosts, but people and cities.
The very trader that I purchased the useless
scorpion sacs from, claimed to have got them
from a far off desert land.
I will make inquiries, discreet ones, about
a voyage on the morrow.
Tuesday 16th Spune Secundus, 1990
Well, it is all settled. I leave for what
lies beyond the Wall in a week. The price
Captain Sing is charging me is exorbitant,
but he came highly recommended.
My wife is well used to me spending some
time away from home on missions, but I fear
I will be gone for a very long time, this
trip. No doubt she will take up a lover,
as she always does, while I am absent.
Octeday 30th Spune Secundus, 1990
Well here I am, nearly a week into my ocean
voyage. I must admit to some trepidation
as we journey further from everything I have
ever known, and closer to unfamiliar lands.
All manner of storms have rocked our vessel,
terrible winds, hail, raindrops the size of
rocks, and deafening thunder. To pass the
time the sailors have been telling me tales
of the wonderous creatures that live there.
Short men with long beards and a fondness
for gold, of all things. Rocky monsters
that turn to stone when the sun shines upon
them, and men and women that turn into dogs!
I wonder how much, if any, of this is true.
Thursday 3rd Sektober Secundus, 1990
It is fortunate that I brought a selection
of poison materials with me on this voyage,
I fear that a man could quickly go mad with
nought to do but look at the unceasing
blueness of the sea.
Friday 12th Sektober Secundus, 1990
endless blue ocean
light glistening atop waves
cold wind, salty spray
Octeday 23rd Sektober Secundus, 1990
I had a much needed distraction yesterday!
The captain had warned that as we neared
foreign trade routes, we may come across
pirates who wanted to steal our cargo, it
seems that he was correct. A ship pulled
alongside us in the dead of night, grabbed
the hull with vicious hooks on rope, and
we were besieged and out-numbered!
I raced from my quarters to find a full
battle between our men and the pirates.
I quickly joined the fray, dispatching one
foreign devil with my katana and another
with my wakizashi. One pirate, a monster
of a man who stood three heads above me,
came at me with a spiked club. He managed
to disarm me and I was forced to defend
myself with the martial arts. He was much
stronger than I, but I was quicker. I soon
had him at a disadvantage and kicked him
overboard. At this point I saw Captain Sing
in peril, so I quickly loaded my blowpipe
and fired a bloat-covered dart into his
assailant's neck. I feel that this was the
turning point in the battle. Once the
pirates saw his body expand and then explode
from the internal pressure, they seemed to
lose the will to fight!
They quickly fled to their ship, leaving
their dead and dying behind. We did not
escape unscathed, I'm afraid. Two sailors
were killed and another badly injured. I
was also devastated to discover that my
poisons kit had been ruined. Fortunately,
this diary was safely stowed in my pocket.
Octeday 1st Ember Secundus, 1990
Land at last! I have arrived in a place
called Ankh-Morpork. It is good to be on
solid land once more. The smell of this
place! If I could bottle the air itself and
condense it into a stronger form, I feel it
would make a very effective poison!
I realise now that the sailors were not
making it up; there are indeed small men
with beards and rocky monsters (although
I have not seen them turn to stone). I have
yet to see a man turn into a dog!
Wednesday 4th Ember Secundus, 1990
My first few days here have been fruitful.
It seems that this city has an organisation
similar to the ninja, called the Guild of
Assassins. I was able to bribe a servant
there to checkout some books on poisons.
It seems the sea captain was correct; these
Morporkians do seem to value useless gold
quite a bit, I was able to purchase almost
anything one desires for a few small coins!
The language barrier is proving to be a much
bigger problem, but so far I am getting by
with much sign language and I am picking up
a few words there and there.
Thursday 13th Ember Secundus, 1990
I have spent some time researching the
hemlock plant, which grows wild in the area
around Ankh-Morpork. It is a tall herb,
with a pale yellow stem, small white flowers
and a strange odour. The variety that grows
along rivers looks somewhat like another
culinary herb they have here, they call
The books I acquired suggest that when mixed
with snake venom, a potent poison is created
that causes a general feeling of illness and
making otherwise normally good constitution
more vulnerable to illness and other sorts
There didn't seem to be many deadly snakes
in or around the city, so perhaps another
area of the continent has such reptiles.
I have carefully collected some seeds and
roots of the plant, as I hope to grow it.
Tuesday 4th December Secundus, 1990
Today I had a meeting with one of the city's
alchemists. These are a strange group of
people. It seems they spend much of their
time trying to turn lead into gold! Why
would anyone want to turn lead, which at
least has some uses in metalwork, into gold
that is so soft it has little use??
Ignoring this basic insanity, I followed him
to his guild house (which seemed to be in
the middle of construction) where he showed
me all manner of substances. Some I knew
such as acids and alkalis, and the nitrate
and sulphur mixture used in firecrackers.
Other solutionss and powders were a complete
mystery to me, including something called
'batsup' which had a very unpleasant smell,
and something else that he was quite excited
about: yellowish decoction. This acidic
solution has strange properties, including
having some kind of energy and effect on
magical objects when used in certain
Tuesday 13th Ick Secundus, 1990
I have spent the last few weeks in the city
of Djelibeybi and its surrounding desert
regions. It is a most inhospitable place,
with little rain and tiring, dry hot days.
The nights in the desert are cold, too,
bitterly cold. But I found some varieties
of deadly snakes and scorpions, and I have
collected poison sacs from them to study
in greater detail once I am home. It seems
I was a bit hasty when I dismissed the
scorpion sacs I purchased as useless.
Friday 16th Ick Secundus, 1990
There seems to be little else of use here
in terms of poison making, although when I
made discreet inquiries on the topic, I was
given a pipe to smoke. Since I had seen
those around me puff away without apparent
harm, I took a few breaths. An odd feeling
came over me, and everything seemed
remarkably humorous. It didn't seem to do
me any harm, but I was left awfully hungry.
I don't believe this hasheesh, as they
called it, would be much use to me.
Friday 24th Ick Secundus, 1990
I have returned to Ankh-Morpork and now have
a good collection of toad skins and scorpion,
snake and spider sacs. The spiders! I will
have nightmares about those for years to
come! I journeyed into a place the locals
called Gloomy Forest. An apt name!
It was infested with spiders as wide as a
woman is tall. They came at me, attacking
en masse. They were quick, and one bit me
before I knew what was happening. I thought
I was dead, the venom coursing through me
making me violently sick. But I tried to
remember my training and concentrate on the
fight at hand. I managed to kill the three
that attacked me, and from their corpses I
cut out the source of their poison.
Fortunately, I recovered and have no
long-term ill effects.
I have also collected a variety of plants
that show promise. I've gathered both dried
specimens and live samples and seeds. I
hope to introduce the most promising ones to
my home soils... Ah, home! How I miss it.
It would be nice to walk down a street
without fear of being mugged (that fear is
much reduced when you are a ninja, I admit).
And I long to see an actual reflection in a
a river rather than a corpse lying atop it.
Friday 1st Offle Prime, 1991
I have just witnessed an interesting
tradition in this part of the Disc. It was
called Hogswatch and it is celebrated on the
first day of Offle Prime. It seems to
involve much feasting and the exchange of
gifts. My alchemist friend, Dave Mudgins,
invited me to his family's Hogswatch dinner.
We had an acceptable meal of roasted pork
with a selection of root vegetables and
greens, but it did not compare to Agatean
After the feast came the exchange of gifts.
I was pleased to find that Dave gave me a
collection of jars filled with some of the
powders and solutions I found to be of
interest. I was uncertain what would be a
suitable gift for this celebration, so I
gave him, and everyone there, a bag full of
gold. They seem most pleased with this.
However, they soon started arguing amongst
themselves, but Dave assured me that this
happened every year, so I assume it is some
part of this strange Hogswatch tradition.
Wednesday 7th Offle Prime, 1991
Home! I am going home after months spent in
this strange foreign land. I do not regret
this time, though. I have learnt much to
further my craft, and I have gathered plants
and materials unavailable at home. With
these, I hope to improve and strengthen some
of the poisons I have made a start on.
At last I feel I have all the components
needed to realise the potential of the lotus
flower. I will start brewing this poison
as soon as I get home, and may even test it
on my wife's beau.
This diary has served me well, but seems to
have suffered as a result of my experiments.
I must write out my research and findings
properly, one day.