Hottest Spices Building / Landmark in Hislariya | World Anvil

Hottest Spices

Written by Kros!

The man looks around, trying to find his destination among the dim candle light refracted by the hundreds of alchemist jars that fill the shelves. Spotted his target, he clears his throat to catch the attention of the slight man perched on a high stool behind the desk, who lifts his intense amber eyes from the pages of the book to study him from above his spectacles.
  Hottest Spices is an apothecary shop on the slopes of the Qirama Mountain. People affected by Sensory Stupor will travel here from all corners of Hislariya, attracted both by the reputation of the shop as the most well stocked in exotic spices and by the reputation of its owner ,Yarik, as an expert in alleviating the affliction of the sufferers, often with unorthodox methods.  

A shop on the bend

Keep your eyes open, or you'll miss it among all that black.
— a helpful neighbour
  The building stands alone on a bend of the road that climbs the eastern side of the volcano. From the outside, it looks like a small one room apothecary shop built in blocks of the same dark grey stone native to the volcanic mountain.   Two paneled windows, whose view is obscured by shelves cluttered with countless apothecary and specimen jars, frame a heavy black door intricately carved with crows and allegoric figures. The only note of colour is the sign above the door written in elaborate red calligraphy.   The back of the building leans directly on the igneous side of the mountain and the shop extends into it, in a series of galleries and underground rooms and cellars.  

Close to the core

I'm sorry, Milady. Master Yarik doesn't allow people to touch that Dragon's skull
— Tarvan
  The interior of the main room is permeated with a strong aroma of spices and dried herbs, with a hint of alcoholic solution and old paper. The natural light is scarce due to the volcano casting its shadow on the building for at least half the day and the shelves covering every surface, including the internal side of the windows.   The light needed for the activities of customers and employees is provided by several coal burners affixed to the shelves and niches in the walls.   The room is divided by two large floor to ceiling bookshelves to create three aisles that lead to the heavy oak desk on the back.  

The two masters of the house

Giving you a remedy without asking questions? I'm sure she would have done that.
— Yarik
  Hottest Spices was previously run by Bithia, before her mysterious disappearance in the Svajan Sea four years ago. She had acquired and refurbished the building, a former mining cabin, three years previously and added a small wooden porch at the front with some bench as an external waiting area for customers and resting place for travellers walking towards the caldera.   Under her direction, the shop used to have a cautious approach and she used to stock a limited variety of ingredients and compounds, whose efficacy was widely recognized and accepted.   Hottest spices used to have, under Bithia's management, the reputation of a reliable purveyor of safe remedies for mundane ailments.   Yarik overthrew the neat organization of the shop, which is now full to the brim of all kinds of specimens, dried herbs, old books, and bottles of concoctions, some of which of debatable usefulness. In recent years the business moved to a more specialized niche for exotic ingredients and experimental methods for the cure of neglected diseases.   The new owner has a particular interest in the treatment of sensory stupor, which he thinks can be alleviated and even cured with the exposure to sensations the affected has not been previously exposed to.  

The customer base

I didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't that. But well, I felt things again for sure...
— a customer
Currently, he runs the premises with the only assistance of his small team of Sensory Stupor Therapist, but this seems to be bound to change as the stream of customers for both the front and back door activities never seems to dwindle.   In addition to his herbalist and apothecary business, Yarik keeps the strands of a small network of individuals interested in pushing the boundaries of sensual perception beyond what is commonly regarded as proper. Among the affected, and a growing number of simple curious, Hottest Spices and Yarik's methods gained a quick reputation as one of the few things that give them hope or at least momentary relief, while the general population regards it with skepticism and even open disgust at the practices that are murmured to happen in the depth of its chambers.   While Hottest Spices doesn't formally provide hospitalization for the afflicted, the inner part of the building has enough rooms to accommodate several "guests", even if Yarik himself prefers to focus on a single patient at a time.

Sensory Stupor

  Known since a long time ago among sailors, with the name of marooned gloom, this terrible disease of unknown origins seems to have slowly spread worldwide causing an epidemic of loss of sensory acuity in an increasing number of people.  
Sensory stupor
Condition | Apr 2, 2023

A mysterious disease that causes sensorial disability.


Yarik Cure

  This cryptic former sailor claims to be studying a cure for the Sensory Stupor by testing his theories on a group of volunteers. Despite the absence of proof of his successes many flock to his shop looking for a sliver of hope.  
Yarik protocols for the treatment of sensory stupor
Technology / Science | Mar 16, 2022

The Team

  During the years three more persons have been trained by Yarik in his treatment protocols, a woman affected by the sensory stupor and two former sailors.  
Sensory Stupor Therapist
Profession | Jan 4, 2023
Included Locations
Characters in Location

Cover image: by Thom Milkovic


Please Login in order to comment!
Aug 13, 2021 18:48 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Sounds like such an fascinating shop. I reckon the smells of all the ingredients would be quite overwhelming. Yarik definitely sounds like an interesting character.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Oct 20, 2021 19:01 by Simo

<3 It does smell good in my head. And a little different every day depending on what ingredients where taken out or restocked the day before.

Oct 20, 2021 12:01

I love the maximalist look of it, though I'd guess it's too hot in there.   It sounds like a risky location for a shop, I hope it stands for long

Oct 20, 2021 18:58 by Simo

The volcano is active but doesn't have an explosive type of activity. So there is always a risk, because what are we writing about if we don't put a little challenge, but people around it feel safe considering the precedents of its activity.