The notes were intriguing to say the least; it’d been a while since he was this interested in the research subjects he’d been assigned. With a glance at the clock and a wince at the time, he packed up the notes and got ready for bed. He’d need to be clear-headed to dive into the historical sources he was going to need to validate what he’d just been handed.
The next two days were spent haunting the campus library, pouring through a surprising diversity of books, from the biological studies of fungus that he’d have expected to more unusual fare like medieval cookbooks to eye-witness accounts of the falls of civilizations. At the end of those two days, he felt like he’d spent a week on a serious bender; not for the first time, he forced himself to take a break.
“Break … break … got to stop researching,” he said, over and over, mantra-like. “The professor’s going to want these notes online. Might as well get started on that.”
It wasn’t much of a break, he silently admitted to himself, but at least it would get his eyes out of the books for a while. That had to be an improvement, right?
He started with an excerpt from an old manuscript that had caught his eye the first day. It told the tale of an ancient king who had become so fond of the beverage that he’d died of drinking it to excess; upon the discovery of his fate, his subjects grew fearful—at least until they too began to succumb to the temptation of the honey wine. Shortly thereafter the country was conquered by a foreign nation. Conventional wisdom held the events as unrelated, but a thread had caught at the professor’s mind, and now it wouldn’t let go of his, either.