Anyone can make a hollow shell of chocolate in the form of a bunny, or a fat and white-bearded man whose disturbing sack supposedly, supposedly, holds toys.
Anyone can do that.
Anyone can mass-produce bars or eggs or coins or whatever particular shape might take the fancy of purchasers.
And there’s a reason why Alchemists were hunted, a reason why we don’t talk about what it takes to make a Homunculus, a reason why we don’t want to think about what would be involved if we chose to animate something unliving, especially if we’re to do it through the early science of Sorcery instead of the modern sorcery of Science.
But you won’t be deterred, will you? You, who would become a Master Confectioner and who care not how many bodies must be pushed into the pudding vats to achieve your ambition, you would have from me the knowledge, the parts which never made it into the Lesser Key of Solomon.
And maybe you deserve this. You certainly demand it. The runes on that dagger just might be able to kill me, you arrogant pup, so fine.
You want the secret? Have the secret:
Render the chocolate until it is dense like the heart of a dwarf star. Don’t stop. Crush more beans, melt them down in a smelter, pour them into an alembic, mix with lightning that’s been trapped in a sunken temple for thousands of years, and add a monkey’s pinch of cinnamon.
Cast it whole, and heavy, and full. Not an artist? Don’t worry. The molds will take shape beautifully under your hands; it’s uncanny, really. But I’m sure you’ll be too excited to notice, just as you’re too excited to listen, you, running about, despoiling my library. Hey! I’m talking to you! You asked for the formula; don’t you want it? You’re nodding along, but you’re not really listening, are you? You just think that because the books are rare, that what gives me power is grimoires, not learning. Because clearly, I can’t have anything important to say; I’m old, and you’ve got a shiny toy which can breach my defenses, and therefore, I must be trivial, an inconvenience.
There’s a little incantation, but don’t worry; I’m saying it right now, under my breath. It sounds a little like a cough, or a choking noise, and I want to get it right…
Take it home, and good riddance to you. Let me shut the door behind you.
My laboratory is wrecked, because you somehow think the understanding of centuries can be gained by ransacking the tools of your elders. And it’s not wholly untrue; knowledge is knowledge, whether acquired through hard work or piracy.
But the reaver may lack certain fundamentals. Anyone who’s studied long, experimented cautiously, who approaches the subject with respect, is likely to notice that what you stole contains many summonings—
And lacks a few subtle, but fairly important, bindings.
“Do not call forth that which you cannot chew,” my young friend.
The youthfully arrogant talk because they love the sound of their own voices; I’m elderly enough to speak because I’m grateful I still have breath. So, poppet, let me tell you what will happen next; you could avert it, if only you were here to listen.
In time, and after some experimentation, you’ll find yourself with candy figures of unimaginable richness, each only a handspan tall, but heavy as the stone guards which stand watch over certain tombs. And unmoving, unmelting, unsubject to natural law.
You’ll think them Chocolate Golems, slaves which enact your will. And so they will pretend. Even the mortal world knows that the most horrible things are often hidden in candy form. In truth, they will be Chocolate Vampires, and they won’t go after you. You’re nothing; made of unappetizing flesh. No, they will go after themselves in a cannibal frenzy, suck the rich cores of their bodies away, gorging on forbidden sweetness, making empty shells where souls might be, each figure is hollow, but not empty; rather, the hollowness of knowing what it means to be truly full.
It is an ache for which no human, no angel, no Devil has words; the Kabbalists call it ayin, emptiness.
Make yourself a little army, my friend. But one night, when you’re brewing cacao beans into the the candied soup of unlife, when the cauldron is full of molten sweetness, they’ll silently surround you. Then you’ll know fear, for none of them will obey your words. I wish I could see your face—and perhaps I will, if you’ve left my marzipan scrying bowl intact.
You’ll think they want revenge. It’s what you’d desire, if you were they; but you’re a nothing, and they’re aspects of a part of Creation which is older than language. They’ll ignore you, as you ignored me, and they’ll march their tiny bodies into a circle around your cauldron, and then, one after another, they’ll jump in.
This will be fatal. To them, not you. Each will perish, to become part of the Primordial Chocolate which was formed when Day was separated from Night and Sour from Sweet.
And then, then you’ll be useful to them. Because you have something they lack, and you will—of your own accord—have situated yourself most conveniently within their “reach”. You’ll feel a tug as something is torn from your chest. You never thought of your soul as a physical thing, but there it is, like an organ forcefully removed through a wound. It will be pulled into the confectionary hellbroth, and out of the cauldron will arise a Thing with the life-essence of a human and the impulses of a bonbon.
That thing will speak, with purpose fell
And thus recite its single spell—
The Word oft-whispered, seldom told;
The Word which turns your flesh to gold.
(You’ll be quite aware of this,
The penalty of your avarice).
And now, at last, you’re valuable;
Of precious metal you are full.
And, still living, you’ll be sold
(For humans always lust for gold)
An auric statue, frozen in terror,
With eternity to regret your error.
But oh, that’s not the worst of it—
You’ll realize they sold you
Just to buy more chocolate.
Our Villainpunk convention, “Evil Expo”, is here.
The answers to all questions in the world are all right here.