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.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 ThingFor 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 ReturnAs 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 LeechesTreatment 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.