Friday, 4 April 2014

D is for Dimitri Hrodovsky

When city life is getting you down, or a stinging cough is rattling in your chest, there are plenty of quacks around Marienburg to cure what ails ye'. However, anyone who knows anything about Marienburg would point you first and foremost to Dimitri Hrodovsky, Apothecary, Herbalist, Chemist and Charlatan. That last one he doesn't advertise.

But it's true. Rest assured, the drugs he sells will work - usually far better than any other tinctures, concoctions, and potions that anyone else will sell - but there is always one lurking (one in five, to be precise) which is a little bit more. No one knows it (that is, no one above the Underworld of Marienburg), but Hrodovsky laces many of his medicines with addictive narcotics.

Just enough, that is, to cause an addiction.

For you see, the doddering old nanny brings back her satchel of medicines to the coughing child, and within a day he springs back from the brink, cured to perfection. Then, as the days slide on, he ails again - shaking, coughing and scratching at his skin. The nanny thinks he is falling ill again, so goes to a closer, cheaper drug store to buy more medicine. This, however, doesn't do the trick - the boy isn't sick, you see, but addicted. So she eventually buckles and tries the only medicine that seems to work; Dimitri Hrodovsky's tonics.

No one is any wiser, and no one much cares - most of the local Black Caps are regulars anyway, and he only drugs a percentage, so there is more than enough customers who give glowing testimonials in his defence.

And if anyone who knows him for what he is attempt to speak the truth, well, "Casanova" will come calling.

So he goes on, day in and day out, this heavy-set Kislevite in his late fifties, with a salt and pepper beard and almost-kind eyes. Sure, the drugs may be free the first time, because little Timmy really needs his medicine and you can't pay, but before you know it "The market will change" and the price will go up.

The price always goes up, and woe always befalls those with a little star marked next to their names in Dimitri's ledger.