On Rotmeth

Author: Orius Hertano
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A warning to connoisseurs of fine vintages by Orius Hertano

Attempts to export the finer Skingrad vintages to Valenwood have proved to be dramatically unsuccessful. The Wood Elves, with their sacrilegious Green Pact, will not touch the product of the vine, and often violently respond to attempts to introduce wine to their diets. Instead the Wood Elves brew their own noxious concoctions from dead flesh. The most unpleasant of these foul mixtures is known as rotmeth.

Rotmeth is an pungent, foul-smelling beverage made primarily from fermented meat. Timber mammoth remnants and organ meat are preferred, but the offal and remnants of any suitably large creature will do. The refuse is dumped in spring water and thunderbug shells are added to the liquid. There is apparently some debate among the natives of Valenwood as to whether the lightning glands within the thunderbug’s mandibles add to or distract from the final flavor of the mash.

The resulting acrid mash is stored in wide, low vats, similar to grape treading vats, and left in sunlit clearings in the forest. Over the next few weeks, the mash is diligently stirred, breaking down the decomposing meat and producing a thick, elastic gelatin on the surface. This greasy foam is then skimmed and used for treating leather and killing pests. The remaining liquids are strained through silk bags. The remaining sediment is dried and powdered, and the resulting bone flour is used to make such Wood Elf delicacies as jagga-drenched “mud-balls.”

Rotmeth is potent and drinkable (barely) after only a few weeks, but the “best” rotmeth is laid down in clay amphoras or frosted glass demijohns and rested for years before a final straining. This weathered brew is served at weddings and other celebrations. To say that the final product is unpleasant to the taste buds is an understatement. It has the bouquet of an open midden, with the flavor of foot fungus predominately. There are notes of calcite, a few hints that remind one of water-damaged tombs, and an aftertaste of desiccated mammoth hide.

There have been attempts to “sweeten” the brew, primarily through the addition of moon-sugar. If anything, this renders the mash more toxic. No amount of sweeteners improve its taste, and rotmeth is not recommended to anyone who prefers decent beverages.

The Wood Elves, of course, swear by it.

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