cool flasks

2

Since we have no Kugelrohr (German for “ball tube”, is a short-path vacuum distillation apparatus typically used to distill relatively small amounts of compounds with high boiling points (usually greater than 300 °C) under greatly reduced pressure) I  have to purify my high boiling point polyaromatic compound with this “home made” method. 

Since my compound has a really high molecular weight and high boiling point, I simply connected the flask to a U tube and a two necked flask. The whole system was under highly reduced pressure, the distilling flask was heated to 200 °C and the second flask was cooled in an ice-water bath, so my compound completely got out from the messy reaction mixture and condensed as a beautiful white crystalline solid in the receiving flask as seen.

—Sun’s Dusk, 9th, 4E 201—

I tried to pay the old woman again upon leaving, so thankful was I for the restoration of hearty food and uncomplicated silence. A little calm within a city is a valuable thing in itself. But the stoic old mer has little use for charity, it would seem, though that wasn’t what I meant by it. She took down two clay flasks of cooled pigeon-broth from the shelf for us instead, and I suppose that too is equally valuable, if more pragmatic than gratefulness alone.

It was not until we were outside again, our flesh shocked to needles by the sudden cold, that I noticed we had not spoken a word since we had entered.

We move now through the creaking forest of shipwood, towards the business district of the Quarter, where the stores meet the middling shacks. Time and time again, through window-shutters and hovel doorways, cut into colourless timbers and painted in soot-black upon scraps of stretched leather, I see that same icon of the blindfolded mer from the soup-tavern. Far too frequent to be a kin-shrine, then. How odd, that I do not recognise her at all… My mind is a treacherous sea, ‘tis true, as likely to drown as to bear treasures from its depths, but even so there is nothing that could scour my years of Temple service from me. If I had learned of her, I am sure, I would recognise and remember it. But no, I am quite sure, there is nothing within my youth that bears her image.

The snow crunches between my boots and the stone. Pigeons mill and scatter from my path. I know, if I were to allow myself to feel, that this new discovery, this Temple imagery foreign to this Temple mer, would shake me deeply. I know that the broken boats of Skipfen Lane would fill me with a frantic despair I would be powerless to shake. I know that drawing so close to the Quarter, mere lanes away from the broken dancer and the trapjaws of his kind, corrupted familiarity, would plunge me back into a misery of grief and longing too deep not to drown in.

But I do not feel. Not really. Within, it is warm and soft, and I am wrapped in a golden numbness that is as sublime as it is subtle. I feel myself walled from my own burning heart by some soft membrane, as pliant and strong as a cliffracer’s wing.  I observe the vague outlines of trauma and fear, old nightmare and screaming pain, but do not feel their touch. I could push through, if I tried, but I do not wish to. The irony of the moonsugar’s bliss clearing my head is not lost on me.

Frost glitters in the sun, dusting every stone and splintered doorway with sugar and diamonds. My breath is a vapor of fireless smoke. I watch myself as if from far away, marvelling at the quiet within my thoughts. For now, even the wind freezing my skin holds a faint and distant wonder.

By the Three, there is peace, and it is beautiful.

Sublimation of a quite special compound. This thing in the flask has a really large molecular weight, near to 500 but it could be purified easily with a simple trick, just heat it in vacuum while the other part of the flask is cooled with dry ice or liquid nitrogen. 

The deep green color at the surface of the cold finger is exactly what we were looking for, perfectly pure, freshly sublimed compound.