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Gems and Crystals

In Arinthel, there are two types of gems that are most common; gemlights and firegems. It is possible to enchant any material to replicate the effects both these gems have, but gemlights and firegems are the only ones to hold their ability naturally. As can be deduced from their names, gemlights are known for their light, and firegems for their heat. The natural gems, often referred to as puregems, are generally sought after by the wealthy since they last longer and don't require frequent trips to your local enchanter.  
The first time Teekan stepped into the Highsun Library she was left almost speechless. Her family were wealthy enough that she was no stranger to the sight of gemlights. The city itself had many gemlight beacons to illuminate the streets in the evenings, but Teekan had never seen so many pure gemlights, or any so big, as those that had been intricately crafted and arranged in the centre of the library's ceiling.   At the core of the arrangement was the largest gemlight, with the sizes decreasing the further they were from the centre piece. With so many gemlights grouped together it was as if a star had been captured and contained, lighting up the whole of the library without a single beam of natural light needed. Many students lost themselves within the scrolls and parchments of this library, leading to the University hiring staff to act as Keepers of Time.   Her dear friend Tarn had come to know most of the Keepers quite well. On numerous occasions she had found him being escorted out, nearly faint with fatigue and hunger, mumbling about whatever large project he had been working on. Teekan often wondered why the librarians didn't just have an actual time-keeping device, but apparently the Head Librarian believed it would disrupt the aesthetic of the library.   Whether a wise decision or not, Teekan could not argue against the logic since the Highsun Library truly was a wonderful sight to behold. No matter how many times she visited it, she was always in awe of the craftsmanship and pure beauty of the gemlights.
 

The Discovery

  Gemlights are the most common gems to be found in Arhia. Deep within the caves of Silvermoor Mountains, these gems were discovered by Lord Grenfell's mining company. One day as they pushed deeper into the mountain, a large crack big enough for a miner or two to squeeze through was discovered. A few brave miners volunteered to risk the squeeze and they followed the crack to a path, at the end of which they found a cavern full of shimmering gems. In the darkness they shone like stars, but when a miner brought a sample to the surface it quickly lost its light. The shard was shoved into a pocket and promptly forgotten about until later that night when the miner was stumbling home from the miners local tavern. His fumbling fingers found the gem and brought it out and quickly dropped it into the grass. It wasn't lost though, since the gem now shone as bright as it had when first discovered in that cave. The miner fell to his knees and grabbed the gem, rushing back to the tavern to find his comrades and show them. At first all they saw was a rock and a handful of grass, until they were ushered out into the night and the gem flickered back into life. The small shard lit up their path as they hurried to their Captain to show him not all was lost. Letters to Lord Grenfell were quickly penned and the miners were set a new task. The gems were extracted and sold and eventually they were seen illuminating city streets, temples and royal palaces and castles.   The discovery of the firegems came much later than that of the gemlights. Along the coast of Friyria in Rha'ella there are many hot springs which are loved and frequented by many tourists and locals alike. Yet for a long time, none quite understood or knew what it was that caused the waters to be so hot. Most assumed it was something to do with the proximity to the volcanic islands of Kebrenn until the curiosity of one explorer revealed another source. This source was, of course, a bed of firegems. None dared extract too much of these firegems unless the hot springs would be affected, but a few from the edges were taken to be further studied. This study produced the result that these gems were not, in fact, gems, but crystals. The idea of mining these crystals was set aside and replaced with plans on how to most efficiently and responsibly harvest them instead. The name of firegems is still how they are commonly known, but others might adamantly refer to them with the correct term of firecrystals instead.    

Trading and Using Gems and Crystals

  As already mentioned, in the beginning gemlights were generally found in city streets and places of worship or royal homes. Since then, gemlights have become more accessible but for a pure gemlight the cost is still quite high and is still a visible sign of wealth for most households. So far there has been no shortage of the gems but the mindful Arhian's are cautious of all that they take and use. To fill in the gap on the market there are many gems that have been enchanted to emit light, but these are often in need of an enchanter to refresh the spell upon them. One more recent use of gemlights has been to hang small colourful shards along ribbons and ropes which are used as decorations during festivals and celebrations.   With a little help from some arcane energy, firecrystals can grow to considerable sizes without losing any of their heat. Smaller crystals are often sold bound in hard leather or even specially crafted dragonscale. The smallest of these, being no bigger than a finger, are used by most adventurers for a quick source of heat or as a fire-starter. Pure firecrystals can be safely used to heat any kind of liquid by being placed directly in the pot with absolutely no affect on the taste. This is often used as a test to check the authenticity of a firecrystal if a customer is doubtful of their purchase. Since these crystals can be harvested and grown however, smaller pure firecrystals are not so rare and not so expensive. The larger the crystal though, naturally the higher the cost is. These firecrystals are highly sought after and purchased by those who live in the forests of Dosharia since they are much more manageable and less of a threat to their homes as a natural fire would be.   Due to the nature of the firecrystals, they are particularly hard to transport which can make trading more of a challenge. They are rarely transported in bulk for safety, but it is possible to store and carry them in specially crafted crates and chests. There have been unfortunate cases where particularly reckless merchants attempted to travel at speed with a collection of firecrystals, an attempt that left them with very little but scorched fur or feather. Since dragons have a natural resistance to fire, they are often the most successful traders of firecrystals.   Unfortunately for the Skevnian's, these firecrystals had been discovered too late to be of any help to them during The Great Freeze. Many wonder if these crystals would have been the key to their survival at this time. Nowadays, every Skevnian bears with them a small firecrystal, with most holding them in reverence and almost a superstitious belief that they can act as a ward against another Great Freeze.

Other Gems and Crystals

Gemlights and firecrystals are the most common in Arinthel, but they are by no means the only types of gems and crystals that can be found. Not all of them hold arcane abilities, at least, not all that have been discovered so far. There are still many caves and places to explore throughout Arinthel, and there are a large number of geologists who are eagerly studying and setting out to shed some light on the wonders that can be found beneath the ground.   Other naturally arcane gems that have been found are used as an arcane focus. These are often crafted into pieces of jewellery since a mage needs to be in contact with the gem to be able to make use of it. Not many mages have need of a focus, but they are often kept in universities in the form of a crystal ball for the teaching and training of magic.   It is rare for any Arinthelian to be born with an excessive amount of magic, but for those who are, they are named Wild Ones for the wild nature of their magic. Without an arcane focus to help them maintain or contain their power, they risk Burning Out, and so it are these mages who desperately search for the most powerful of gems or crystals that they can find. For the safety of others, these Wild Ones are often cast out and isolated from all contact with others. If you stumble across a secluded hut that is surrounded by hanging gems or crystals sprouting from trees, you are best to leave such places very well alone. While the appearance may be quite charming, it is unnecessary for any mage to have such an excess of arcane material. This can be a sign of either a truly powerful Wild One (of which there are very few) or an incredibly paranoid one. Either way, it is advised to not approach such places since there could be a number of hidden wards and defences to keep others away.  

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Cover image: by Artbreeder

Comments

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15 Dec, 2020 00:53

Me. I would be the pedant calling them firecrystals. :D   I love the idea of both gemlights and firecrystals, and I really like that you've talked about how both of them were discovered. Really interesting! I also liked the discussion on other gems and how they can be used as an arcane focus for Wild Ones. :)

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
15 Dec, 2020 08:58

Haha thank you Emy! Are there any parts you think could either be expanded on or cut down? It feels like quite a chonky article so will be doing some editing after WE!

15 Dec, 2020 11:31

Hmmm not sure. I think maybe you could cut the last two paragraphs out of the prose without losing anything. But I think the information is good. :D

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
15 Dec, 2020 12:17

Yeah I think you're right, will make a note of that! Thank you! <3