Bloodroot is, as the name implies, the root of a plant native to the Kenzhian Red Forest highly valued by assassins, alchemists, and certain religious practicioners for its properties. Most well-known among these is the fact that it can be distilled into a fast-acting and deadly posion. Some scholars like to imply that it was this extract which so afflicted Lord Alfred, delivered by means of Somnambulant Beef. However, the practices and precautions associated with the Feast's Legion of Tasters make the fast-acting form of bloodroot poisoning highly implausible.

The evidence does point directly to poisoning, though, and by means of a variety of bloodroot. There is a more insidious form of bloodroot poisoning which could have evaded the Tasters' perilous tests, a crystalized preparation of the root which does its work far more slowly, waiting for the greater part of a day without showing any symptoms before unleashing a quick death, and allowing plenty of time for an antidote to be taken. If the poison were served with the Solstrom Sweetbreads on the seventh day of the feast and the antidote insinuated into, say, the course of Poached Rhyl Blindfish prepared in the Kenzhian style, a course which Lord Alfred could be relied upon to abstain from as a political statement but which would be consumed by the other guests and the tasters, the effect could have been managed, with the fact that the poison took its effect on the unfortunate noblemen during the wriggling beef course merely coincidence.

Bloodroot has a third form and effect: the raw root itself can be chewed directly to produce a state of pleasant delirium. This practice is common among many of the more fanatical of the Meticulous faith. The Directorate of the Meticulous discourages, but does not outright ban, this practice, which is said to achieve a prophetic mindset. Bloodroot-chewing is not without hazard: when practiced to excess it can lead to a sudden and unexpected death just as surely as the forms of the plant that are brewed for toxicity.

-By Abel Joxur