Crystallization

Everything in life comes with risk. Even something which is helpful can cause harm if used in excess. Just ask those with the crystal scars.
— Rune, Street Guide of Goliam
  For the unwitting or the addicted, Crystallization can be the road to a painful end. As arcane fragments from exesstive potion consumption take hold within the body, they cause the tissue around them to form crystal-like formations. It makes the joints ache, the limbs burn, and eventually ruptures through the skin to form visible, glowing scars. If left untreated, the crystallization will reach vital organs at which point the condition is fatal. After all, a gemstone heart is beautiful, but it cannot beat.  

Too Much of a Good Thing

For those able to create or afford them, potions can offer great benefits. They can mean the difference between life and death, make the weak strong, the slow quick. For those adventurous souls, a potion can provide greater and more permanent changes. However, these benefits come at a cost. The caustic medium used in many potions can have lasting, terrible effects on the body, and the built-up deposits from the arcane crystals leave visible scars.   The dangers of this condition are made all the more formidable when the addictive qualities of potions are taken into account. It is not unheard of, in fact, for some of the less reputable manufacturers to purposely add opium or similar toxicants that are highly addictive, ensuring repeat customers. Some of these additives are known to increase the rate at which Crystallization occurs.   That is not to say all potions are dangerous but it is a risk worth guarding against, for the effects of Crystallization are painful and difficult to reverse.  

Point of No Return

As with many such maladies, Crystallization works its way from the inside out. It is important to watch for early warning signs before it's too late. An obvious thing to consider, of course, is the frequency of potion consumption. One or two potions per week is generally a safe amount but if more than that cannot be avoided it is important to wait a week or more before more potions are used.   For those who consume potions more often, there are several symptoms to look for before the crystal scars appear. The deposits of arcane minerals will pollute the blood, causing bruises to appear where no injury took place. Swelling, tingling, or numbness in the extremities is also quite common. Then comes jitteriness, mood swings, and blurred vision as the deposits reach the vital organs.   It is exceptionally important for anyone experiencing these symptoms to seek treatment as soon as possible. Once the crystals start to form visible scars on the skin, there is little that can be done. The mineral deposits will start to collect in fissure-like formations, tearing painful rents in the skin of the sufferer. The scars are translucent and can take on nearly any jewel tone one can imagine. As this stage of Crystallization progresses, the scars will spread, often starting from the eyes or mouth and spreading outwards, they will also start to glow. At this point, only the most skilled healers can treat it, and even then, there is no guarantee of recovery. The lucky ones will be able to clear the internal deposits and the other symptoms, yet the scars will always remain. Those who are not so lucky will experience agony as the Crystallization slowly consumes their bodies.  

Star Leeches

Treatment of Crystallization is often difficult and painful but not impossible. The most common treatment is bloodletting. As long as the condition is found and treated early enough, a few sessions of blood-letting can be effective enough to reverse any symptoms. The best method for this is the Star Leech.   These small, bright blue leeches are found in locations where arcane crystals grow. They have adapted to feed on the blood of those few creatures that consume the flora and fauna which are naturally tainted by the crystals. This adaptation has made them indispensable in the treatment of Crystallization as they draw out the arcane-laden blood.

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Type
Magical
Origin
Magical
Cycle
Chronic, Acquired
Rarity
Uncommon

Crystal Hearts

Once the scars are visible on the surface, it is very likely that the Crystallization is well on its way to fully affecting one or more of the vital organs. The heart or the lungs are often affected early, but can take months or even several agonizing years to fully crystalize. These organs, once fully crystalized, are solid and never rot. This has lead to a strange and somewhat disturbing trend of the trade and sale of these organs. It is fashionable, in certain regions, for the wealthy class to purchase Crystallized Hearts for their promised lovers. In other places, an illegal market of crystallized organs and blood has grown. There are some who use the tainted blood and crushed crystals to make more potions though these are believed to cause Crystallization to build up faster than normal potions.

Comments

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19 Dec, 2020 12:29

I loved the idea of this disease & addicting potions. I wonder... how does someone who dies of crystalization look like? And is there any interesting harvestable in their bodies...? Could be a fun thing to develop into a new article, or just a couple of paragraphs in the sidebar ;)

21 Dec, 2020 03:36

Thank you! That actually is an interesting point. Generally, a person who dies of Crystallization does so because one of their vital organs has been affected. So I could see why some enterprising person might want to.. ahem, "harvest" that sort of thing. An interesting point, for sure!

Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
4 Feb, 2021 19:52

The trade of crystal orans is terrifying, aaaah! D: Also, I want to read more about star leeches! They sound cute. :D   Really cool article. <3

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
4 Feb, 2021 19:52

Gah, *organs.

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
5 Feb, 2021 02:28

Thank you! I will probably make a separate small article about the leeches and their habitat.

Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
4 Feb, 2021 19:54

Writing really draws the reader in, and then it doesn't waste the reader's time. It's succinct and super-cool. Nice work!

5 Feb, 2021 02:29

Thank you very much!