He watched them flitter about their enclosure, dozens of them, flapping their glowing wings, circling each other in an intricate dance only they knew the purpose of. They truly were amazing creatures, Gemstone Butterflies, fantastically colourful and elegant. He opened the door to the enclosure, reaching in he plucked one straight out of the air. And they made for the perfect base for his potions. Wonderful creatures indeed.
Gemstone Butterflies are beautiful, brightly coloured butterflies prized for their glowing wings and magical properties. They are about the size of a human's open hand and come in a variety of wondrous and glowing colours. While their wing patterns do differ slightly between one another most will have a semi-translucent stripe that runs down the central region of the wing. As the butterflies glide about these translucent areas will softly glow, it is especially noticeable at night time. While their biology is not dissimilar to regular butterflies, Gemstones have developed a curious ability to absorb small amounts of magical energy from their habitats. Researchers are unsure as to how they gained this ability but it is well documented on how the Gemstones are able to use this magical energy. Gemstones can only utilize this special ability once they've reached adulthood, by then they will able to passively use the absorbed energies in a variety of ways. Including the ability to float almost indefinitely, require little sustenance outside of small amounts of water, and giving their wings their iconic glow. This ability to absorb magical energy has made them a highly sought after ingredient for potions, powders, and tinctures.
Gemstone Butterflies in their natural habitats live in large clusters, gathered together in little swarms of a hundred or more butterfly. These clusters of Gemstones dance about during the winning minutes of the day, researchers are unsure as to the purpose of the dance but it is a beautiful sight to behold regardless. Sadly, the Gemstone Butterfly population has dipped dangerously low in the wild and seeing this dance is a rare sight. Now, it is rare to find a cluster of even a half a dozen or less, it is a sad sight seeing a lone Gemstone bobbing in the air seeking out its kin to dance with. They were once commonly found in the forests and jungles of Fyria, across the entire continent. Now they are only found in the deeper recesses of the continent, mainly in the deep Jungles of Mijhail or occasionally found in small populations in the denser forests of Heldrin and Casarei. It is rumoured that large clusters may still exist on The Ruined Plateau of Thysduin but most disbelieve this due to the corrupted and mutated nature of the region. But some do believe in the rumours thinking that the butterflies' natural ability to absorb magical energy has granted them the ability to survive in these harsh conditions. But no one knows the truth for sure as the Ruined Plateau is a dangerous and not often travelled to.
Use in Potions and PowdersMany mages, apothecaries, and alchemists use the wings of the Gemstone Butterfly in order to create various magical potions, tinctures, and powders. It has become a highly sought after ingredient for its consistent ability to stabilize the aforementioned items. This has been a boon for mages and alchemists for decades as the creation of magical potions and highly chemical concoctions can be a tumultuous affair that can easily turn sour and end in a spectacular, often dangerous, failure. The wings of the Gemstone Butterfly is what is specifically used during the process of potion-making. Their wings are plucked straight from the adult butterflies' body and crushed into a fine powder. This wing powder can be distilled into a concentrated tincture, mushed into a paste, or kept as a dried powder, all depending on its future use. Often multiple Gemstone Butterflies are required for the creation of a single usage of this concentrated base. It is common for those that use the Gemstones for this purpose to keep and raise the butterflies themselves, building special habitats to try and simulate their natural habitats in the hopes that they will breed in larger numbers. Mages do this so that they can keep large numbers of Gemstones close at hand for ease of accessibility. In fact, the use of these custom habitats has become so common that the population of Gemstone Butterflies in captivity far outnumber the dwindling population in the wilds.
ControversyIn recent years many wizards have run into controversy at their usage of Gemstone Butterfly wings, with many conservationists viewing the act as cruel and unnatural. These conservationists know that in the wild these butterflies are endangered and as time goes by their natural population is becoming dangerously lower. Many conservationists believe that if something drastic is not done soon that the Gemstones will be forced to the brink of complete extinction. Proponents of the use of Gemstone wings argue that the butterflies in captivity are at an all-time population high, and live a much healthier life in their possession. In response, the conservationists' have called for the wizards to release their stores of butterflies to the wild in order to repopulate the natural population, stating that regardless of their care in captivity they are still being abused for the uses of man and should be left to the natural order of their world. These arguments have come to such a head that physical confrontations have actually occurred between the two groups.
Gemstone SanctuaryA no-kill Gemstone Butterfly sanctuary can be found on Ao'lua Island in the Island Frontier of the Vilanto Sea. It was started by concerned conservationists that wanted to replicate the Gemstone's natural habitat away from the greedy hands of butterfly hunters. It has become a popular tourist attraction, which helps fund the sanctuary and what they wish to accomplish. Though they've had the occasional poacher try and snatch butterflies that reside there, so they are now looking to hire guards to protect them.