“Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty” is a dark fantasy game representing classic games like “Nioh.” Nioh’s game introduced me to this genre, and I have loved it since. It’s by far the best, darkest Romance of the Three Kingdoms in Koei Tecmo‘s history.
In the three kingdoms’ history, mercury-filled killed the Tang emperor. So, keep that in mind, and here is the “Elixir Explained” in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
The main element of the story is “Elixir,” a medicine that endows immortality and supernatural powers like a deity. It’s very much similar to the “Philosopher’s Stone” in Western culture. The interesting fact is that you need to know “Alchemy” to make elixirs.
Based on the principles of the Five Elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water) and Yin-Yang (☯) theory, the concept of “Xian,” also known as “Immortal,” originated in Eastern medicine. Eastern people wanted to enhance the power of “Qi” to become closer to a deity.
The goal was simple. They wanted to incorporate the five elements into the body and master the technique of manipulating the “Dao,” also known as the “Law of the universe.”
What did Zuo Ci do?
Zuo Ci, who also appears in “Wo Long,” is known for using witchcraft to manipulate Cao Cao and Liu Biao, and for confusing the world with his “Fuchu Jutsu.” His name appears in “Book of Later Han” and “Dian Lun” written by Cao Pi.
In “Shenxian Zhuan,” written by Ge Hong, who claimed to be a disciple of Zuo Ci, was said to have received three Elixir recipes while training at Tianzhu Mountain from the god, making him an important figure in Alchemy.
Recipe for Elixir
Ge Hong mentions specific methods for making Elixir in the alchemical book “Baopuzi,” where he describes mixing red salt and lye on a tin plate, then heating it with horse dung for 30 days to produce gold, which becomes the Elixir. However, it is not safe for ordinary people to consume. Please do not replicate it.
Various methods for making Elixir have been passed down, but Ge Hong emphasized the Metal Element, which is less likely to change its nature. He wrote that if one aims for immortality, one should actively take metal minerals. Among the crucial ingredients mentioned is cinnabar, which is mercury.
Deadly Metal Mercury
Mercury, a metal that is liquid at room temperature, is believed to possess spiritual power, and they also referred to it as “Dan” or “Elixir” itself. While excessive consumption is recognized as toxic, it is thought to have medicinal properties when used in moderation, as reflected in the game’s description of “Elixir.”
In Japan, they name many locations where mercury is produced “Tan,” The vermilion color of cinnabar, which is used as a painting, was highly valued for its protective qualities. They commonly used mercury as a material for gold plating, and it is said that during the Nara period, people who were involved in the construction of large Buddha statues died from mercury poisoning.
Toxicity of Mercury
Today, widely recognized the toxicity of mercury because of pollution incidents such as Minamata disease, and the image of mining toxins, including mercury, being the primary source of the poison is common.
Although the imperial class used cinnabar medicine, which was made using mercury, this material led to unavoidable deaths from mercury poisoning. They recorded that four emperors in the Tang dynasty died prematurely as a result.
It seems that the purpose of longevity was not achieved, but there was a belief that after drinking cinnabar medicine and dying, one could become an immortal “Shijie Xian.” The symbol of this belief is the cast-off shell of a cicada.
It became apparent that consecutive premature deaths were dangerous, and research into cinnabar medicine declined after the Tang dynasty. Instead, the focus shifted to the idea of “Naidan,” which involves using the power of the body’s inherent energy to store cinnabar medicine internally rather than taking it from outside the body.
Meridians and Dantian
The human body has a network of “meridians” through which energy flows, and at the center of this network, just below the navel, is the “Dantian” (lower abdomen dantian). The pulsating veins that sometimes appear in-game represent these “meridians” by stimulating the pressure points along them. One can adjust and improve physical and mental health.
The Dantian is like a furnace where energy is refined, and by using breathing techniques to pump energy into the body, one can achieve effects similar to those of alchemy. For this reason, it is important to maintain a balance of yin and yang and the five elements and to keep the body healthy. Taoists called this process “Yangshengshu” or “nourishing life.” The practice of resting to recover one’s health came to be known as “Yangsheng.”
Martial arts still emphasize energy and dantian. They emphasize managing the “body’s center” or “center of gravity” and breathing to “refine” energy even if it does not relate to particular body parts.
The “vessel” that leads to the “real cinnabar medicine” in “Wo Long” is the dragon-powered dantian. It discusses the “Naidan” way of purifying war’s massive energy. Will the Taoist dragon master defeat it? Strengthen the main character’s powerful “Qi” and test it.
[Last Updated on: 03/12/2023]