Miracle Balm Technology / Science in The Engineering Corps | World Anvil

Miracle Balm

Table of Contents

Rumours about His Majesty's miracle cure being false? Pah! Of course people would say that. What with all the imbeciles always trying to scam people, offering false promises of being able to procure some of this miracle cure from a mysterious recluse alchemist who would be centuries old. Still, you better not profess doubts about His Majesty's skills and honesty out loud. You will learn soon enough...—provided your loose tongue don't get you killed before that!
— Sergeant

State of medical healing

The most well funded research in the whole history of humanity

Despite thousands of years of intense and highly motivated studies, the best doctors and scholars have not managed to find what they were all looking for: a miracle cure, capable of healing anything. The first step towards immortality!

Most consider this to be a fool's dream. They are instead attempting to focus on specific conditions and attempting either to cure them or at least to somewhat treat them and reduce people's suffering. Yet, a fool's dream it may be, it is a persistent one. Monarchs throughout the world and throughout time have never been able to resist the temptation, the small "what if". Not all of them are optimistic—or delusional enough—to believe they would be the one discovering the solution to that eternal problem, but that small glimmer of hope has been enough to convince them to invest enormous amount of resources into the research.

Scholars both love and loath those miracle cure research. Being given enormous amounts of money and told to go crazy on the experiments is the dream of many. Yet, scholars are particularly prone to pride, arrogance and the desire for recognition. Wasting time on a miracle cure is a sure way of never inventing any cure at all and saying goodbye to increasing their renown. Not that monarchs would trust this all important research with anyone who has not already accomplished a lot, but one who has already tasted the embrace of success can never completely say goodbye to it.

But all of that is in the past, of course! Now people are literally killing each other for a chance to get into that research group! Aaaaaah... You gotta love progress....
— Sergeant

Limits of current cures

Current cures are rather limited, although what can be treated or cured is highly geographically dependent. In Europe, pathological conditions are sorted into the following categories:

Battle wounds

The usage of ritual using human sacrifice during battles has greatly reduced the numbers of wounds that need to be dealt with. Unfortunately, if a detached or destroyed member is not reattached or recreated immediately, the effects become permanent—or at least they would use way too many lives in sacrifice for the magical energy to be wasted on those of us not of the high nobility. Without the use of rituals, treating wounds on a battlefield is near impossible and preventive amputation is necessary. Even outside of battles, any wound has a high risk of getting corrupted and killing the patients, thus they require the same preventive amputation.


Caused by small animals that are invisible to the naked eye but can be seen with optical lenses or greatly magically-enhanced eyesight. Each animal gots its own strengths and weaknesses, and so every time a new cure needs to be invented.

Mental health

Cure inexistent. Once symptoms become too important and inconvenient to ignore, the "lunatics" are interned in an asylum.

Teeth treatment

Bad teeth is one of the most terrible killer in the country. No need to be in contact with unsavoury persons to catch an infection or to put oneself in danger and get wounded. Simply eating can be enough to kill you. Treatment for bad teeth is to pull them out and hope for the best. Or be extremely well connected and manage to get the magical energy from the sacrifice of an individual condemned to death.

You better learn to speak with fewer teeth than hope for a miracle!
— Sergeant

Eye treatment

Complex operations such as the removal of a cataract have been known since the time of the old Egyptian empires, however it may be difficult to find a surgeon experienced in this technique—of course, money helps jump the queue.

Infertility, contraception, pregnancy risks, sex

Ancient empire such as the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks were rather knowledgeable about those domains. However, they dealt with them exclusively through magical rituals during which the names of patron gods were invoked. Conversion to Christianity meant a good number of the more complicated rituals were lost from public knowledge. Small rituals kept to be practised at home by everyone, with the names of the deities exchanged for the new saints'. Luckily, most of that lost knowledge was rediscovered during the Renaissance, and although the Church attempted to forbid the use of sex rituals, rumours about them quickly spread. While the official religious position is still against them and all the different European states have agreed to outlaw them, in practice people's enthusiasm for all that is sexual cannot be repressed. If parents refuse to teach their children, they can learn well enough by consulting prostitutes and courtesans.

What do you mean, you don't know any of that? You sweet innocent! We need to go into town to rectify that immediately!
— Sergeant

Common treatments

  • Opium: against pain.
  • Laudanum, a tincture of opium: to help sleep and against gout.
  • Willow bark: against pain, fever and headache.
  • Broth of chicken magical concentrate made from ground bones: against feeling of heaviness and magical exhaustion.
  • Spring water from spas to be bathed in or drank: against a wide variety of conditions including gout, bad digestion, liver pain stomach pain, diabetes and arthritis.
  • Cataplasm, fumigations, tisanes, or any other king of remedies applied in different ways and made from herbs so has to directly absorb the energy from specific plants: there are several recipes for every condition ever experienced. Whether they work or not is another story...
  • Leeches: against thrombosis and magical poisoning.
  • Teeth pulling by Wellcome Collections
    Opium tincture by Wellcome Collections

    What is it? You're feeling pain? Not up to working on your corvée today? You want a little something to make you feel better? Don't worry, I have just the thing! The Medical Corps has just sent us their latest batch of leeches!
    — Sergeant

    Previous attempts at finding a miracle cure

    Everyone agrees that the miracle cure will come from human sacrifices. It is obvious. After all, all magics need energy to be sacrificed in some way to power them. Most of the time, people's own reserves are enough. If not, plants and animals are sacrificed, the power of their death and the magic left in their corpse powering rituals, potions and alchemy. Yet, this is never enough. No matter the quantity and quality of the flora and fauna, scholars have always hit a barrier that they cannot breach.

    And believe me, some of them did try hard enough! Whole countries have gone into flame, all flora and fauna sacrifice in enormous rituals! And yet, nothing can reach the pure potential that can be found inside us...
    — Sergeant

    Humans are just the best. Which is not unexpected, after all, we are obviously much superior to any of God's other creations. Anything from us—hair, nail, tear, blood, sexual fluid, urine, excrement—is highly potent and has been used to power magic since the dawn of humanity. Whether it is officially recognised as a kind of sacrificial magic is another question.

    The Church has expressly forbidden the practise of human sacrifices and all European countries have followed suit despite their lack of enthusiasm. Yet, Europe is only a small part of the world, and Christianity a relatively recent religion. Knowing that human sacrifices are involved in making the magical cure is not enough. Whole civilisations have abundantly experimented and still not discovered it.

    What is known is that human sacrifices power ritual magic in a non-linear manner. A multitude of factors influence the energy they bring, starting with how much magical power the individuals sacrifice had. However, the power of the persons conducting the ritual, their blood and emotional link with the victims, as well as the details of the rituals themselves are also highly influential.

    The reason why all current methods fail is that rituals like that require a huge preparation, and what they can heal is limited, especially with injuries older than a few hours. A big drawback is also that the energy gathered during the ritual cannot be stored—in potions or crystals for example—contrary to what can be done with plants and animals.

    It is commonly agreed that the first step in finding a cure is inventing a way to store that energy. That would be a proof that the energy from human sacrificed can be channelled and controlled adequately and would open the way for new types of experiments. That would also allow for the everyday application of the energy onto one person, and this regular healing would obviously keep the body young and healthy for as long as this would be done. Since checking on someone's immortality—understood as the absence of ageing—is rather impractical, having proof of a storage of the energy would be enough proof for most.
    Human sacrifice in India by Wellcome Collections
    Human sacrifice in Tahiti by Wellcome Collections
    Execution of Louis XVI by Antoine-Jean Duclos (1794), Bibliothèque nationale de France

    And do not believe that all that we ourselves have done during battles with the energy of the human sacrifices is innocently redirect them to heal our dying comrades! Look well around you! Nobody is innocent here...
    — Sergeant

    Invention of the Miracle Balm

    King Lucien Esselin is a highly pragmatic individual. And yet, even he could not resist the temptation of funding research into that treatment. As an ancient officer of the Engineering Corps, His Majesty even continues to dabble in experiments in his free time. Details are, of course, under close warp. Yet, rumours have started to spread that he himself was essential in helping Army Corps General Dominique Larrey come up with a solution!

    The details of the manufacture of this balm are, of course, an extremely well-guarded secret. Rumours that the king has made this discovery are still recent and people are hesitant to believe them. Most, especially foreigners, only see this as an attention-grabbing scheme by a new and pathetically-insecure king. Only the king's entourage and some officers in the army have been the direct witnesses to the effect of the balm when the king was wounded in an assassination attempt. This has triggered a frenzy among the court to attempt to gain the king's favours so as to get the chance to benefit from the cure.

    His Majesty is a skilled strategist and knows how to use the situation to his advantage...

    All those imbeciles don't know what they are talking about! Doubting His Majesty's genius and underestimating his skills! But soon enough they will learn...
    — Sergeant
    King sacre
    King Lucien by AmélieIS, Guérin and Artbreeder

    What is known about the balm

    Witnesses of the event have reported that the miracle balm is a very smooth and fluid cream that has a light blue colour and is even slightly phosphorescent—undoubtedly because of the extremely high concentration of magic inside of it. Application of the balm on a deep magical injury resulted in the closure of the wound, the regeneration of destroyed tissues, the neutralisation of the raw magic that went inside the wound, and the destruction of all the small animals that would have caused an infection. Details or no details, this was enough for all the individuals present to understand what they were facing.

    Whatever you are thinking of doing to gain His Majesty's attention, forget it! There are already hundreds of others like you and soon there will be thousands! You stand no chance no matter who maman and papa are. That balm is reserved for really special occasions and you and I will never be it! Don't come crying because you've received a scratch on your knee!
    — Sergeant

    Miracle balm by AmélieIS with the Collections du Musée du Louvre

    Cover image: Remedies by Matt Briney on Unsplash


    Author's Notes

    Summer Camp 2021 prompt 3: A new medical cure, treatment or breakthrough.   Sources/further reading about regency treatments:

  • Leech, Lavender and Laudanum: Medicine in the Romantic Age by Anna M. Thane
  • The Georgian and Regency Home Medicine Chest by William Savage
  • Types of Medicinal Cures in Georgian and Regency Eras by Geri Walton

  • Please Login in order to comment!
    Jul 8, 2021 08:43

    Oh my people really seem to be fond of sacrificing humans. xp I wonder if they were also in the miracle balm. Great article once again ^^   Found a small error here ' experimented in this technique', I think it needs to be 'expierenced' here :p

    Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
    Jul 8, 2021 14:34 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    When you have such a good resources readily available, you're not going to waste it, are you? :p   Indeed that's supposed to be experience there, thanks for pointing it out! experience vs experiment always trip me when I'm not paying close attention...

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Jul 8, 2021 08:43

    I really enjoy the tone you set in these article through the good Sargent Pierre. It's such an easy, funny read, full of laughs. From humans are the best to 'I've got just the thing, leeches!' - it's just great :D   All the talk of human sacrifice really makes me want to read more about how battles are fought in this setting too. So much fun there :D   Awesome stuff as always, Amé!

    Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
    Jul 8, 2021 14:32 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks :D The Sergeant is the best! I do have so many ideas already for his article!   I do indeed have a looooot of human sacrifices here... Hopefully we'll get prompts about armies and battles so I am forced to take the time to figure a few more things about strategy and fighting techniques...

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Jul 8, 2021 16:58

    You've got a lovely knack for writing from the perspective of a character. I enjoy how light-hearted and fun the text is written in juxtaposition of its subject matter.   "Of course it takes human suffering to make a cool thing" and "but what if it worked, tho" were comments I said aloud due to immersion within the article. Good stuff, Amélie.

    Jul 8, 2021 17:24 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks :D I really have a lot of fun with those darker topics XD

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Jul 8, 2021 18:25 by Janelle

    First off, I absolutely love that header image! <3 Secondly, it was a great read on the history of treatments, what was tried and what is used and what is current, and then at the end getting to the new breakthrough and it is intriguing as it is magical and mysterious! :D

    Seek out Fate in the world of Auriga!
    Jul 8, 2021 21:04 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks :D Little jars of chemicals/herbs always look so interesting and make me want to play with them :p   I had fun figuring out the history and what makes the treatment so special while still putting limits to it :D

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Jul 8, 2021 22:01 by Janelle

    Hehe same! :P I should never be allowed into a room with neat stacks and rows of the things because I'd definitely get into some trouble! XD   Can't wait to see what else you have in store! ^_^

    Seek out Fate in the world of Auriga!
    Jul 8, 2021 18:31 by Victoria Stone

    This is honestly a really incredible article. The writing voice you used is fun and easy to engage with, the content is interesting and presented well. It's such a smooth read that it's easy to get lost in just how much detail and thorough research you really crammed into this! Awesome job.

    Jul 8, 2021 21:00 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks :D I'm having fun using the Sergeant voice for all my summer camp articles :D

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Jul 8, 2021 19:24 by Tobias Linder

    Just a touch too wordy for my taste and it can certainly need a reading/editing pass for spelling and grammar errors.   However, that aside, I like this alternate-earth approach to your world and the almost "flippant" writing style you have in it. It feels like it's penned by some haughty British fellow (although I'm certain it's a parisian ;).   I did enjoy the dichotomy of spending 90% of the article saying "There is no such thing as a miracle cure" only to go 180 and present a miracle cure at the end. It rarely works, but here it definitely does. From what I could tell (I'm a trauma medic), the science is on point and well researched, kept period correct through your wordings.   Very good!

    Jul 8, 2021 20:59 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thank you :D   The Sergeant is French but I haven't decided from where yet :D   I have a bit more info about the medicine in this world in the medical building article and the one I have about the cemetery, but fair warning, the medical building is a long one that should really get divided into smaller articles at some later point.   Basically, I kept the atrocious medicine they had with the focus on amputation as prevention against gangrene, and magic is not that much better at healing. I just cheated a bit by adding human sacrifice as being able to heal some type of injuries if applied quickly enough. And also the fact that they have some knowledge of microorganisms because i want to talk about cool infections!

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Jul 9, 2021 00:33 by Eliora Yona

    A wealth of information and world-building! Great read! <3

    ~ Eliora Yona ~
    Jul 9, 2021 06:54 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks :D

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Aug 3, 2021 23:11 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    'Broth of chicken magical concentrate' - I love this.   Also, I am squinting suspiciously at the miracle balm. Very suspiciously.

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    Aug 3, 2021 23:29 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    but look, it look so pretty! *smile innocently*

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Powered by World Anvil