Burchard's Glasshopper

In the teachings of our Church on the cosmology of the world, there are five True Planes -- as they are so called. At the bottom lays Hell, above Hell lays its uppermost layer, Throne Room. Above Throne Room is our world, the Mundane Realm or the Middle Terra. Above our world is what we call Coelum, colloquially Coelum is also called the Astral Plane, so named for its star-like beings that reside there. And at the greatest height above all these realms is Heaven, the domain of the gods. These planes are not equal in size. Indeed, this five-part separation is only a scientific one. Religiously speaking, there are only two realms that matter: the Mundane Realm and the Heavenly Sphere. Hell and Throne, while dire realities, are metaphysically much too small to be considered places large enough for full-fledged men to reside in.

But the Mundane Realm is not merely our world, so called. Wizards have determined that there are other planets with life. These lifeforms are not similar to ours, and these various planets hold beings more like the Djinn rather than mere stranger varieties of Men. Now, there is some discussion on whether these are true planets. Many Wizards contend that these realms are merely 'phases' of our own, much like the realm of Faery. That is, these various realms are literally part of our world, and the strange alien residents that live therein are only remaining hidden by magical means. Those Wizards say that these realms cannot be reached by physical travel through the outer void between the stars, and that these realms can only be reached on this world, with specific types of Magic. Still other Wizards believe the opposite, but the matter is still not determinately settled.

These matters are mentioned because of our topic today: Burchard's Glasshoppers; a rare species known for their incredible healing properties, beyond even the means of Magic to exactly create. They originate from a different realm, and the matter on whether they are truly unearthly is of importance, as, despite its incredible medicinal properties, many would be put out of ease if the Glasshoppers were not of this world and therefore possibly dangerous.

The Glasshopper Origins

Glasshoppes originate from the realm called Glasscape, so named for its glassy appearance. The Archmage Burchard, Archmage of Seinis, who discovered the incantations to enter this realm, calls it Marillac, after the fairy tales that told of a great palace made of glass for the Fairy Queen. The realm is described as such:

It was a world made of water and mirrors and dappled seaborne clouds. The light from above shone on the silver ground below and projected the clouds like long, slender fabrics of ever rarer and paler twilight. It was good and beautiful.
— Exert from Letter 233 of Burchard's Letters on Planar Magic

It is a beautiful place, and every Wizard ought to come to this place once so that he may see the wonders that Magic may unlock.

But Marillac itself is a sterile land. It isn't possible to plant crops, here, and while it is beautiful, it is forever stretching forward towards its infinite horizon. While the differing clouds provide differentiation on the landscape, it is very easy to get lost, here, and to lose your original entry portal. It is a wonder, then, that anything could live here. But while on an excursion into Marillac, Burchard discovered the Glasshopper.

They were hopping along the ground much like our grasshoppers do. Their figure and form is also much like our grasshoppers. They are clearly of the category of insects, and react similarly to mundane grasshoppers whenever I prod them with various experiments. They have an iridescent coloration to them, so that, if held to a strong light, they would appear to as if explode with the colors of a lit prism. They move with lively purpose, although I have not been able to find any food that they would consume.
— Exert from Letter 267 of Burchard's Letters on Planar Magic

The Archmage took them back to his laboratory in Lille and began to conduct experiments on them. He anatomized a great number of them, and was able to discern certain Magical properties unique to these alien insects, premier among them their healing properties.

The Glasshopper's Tears

The Glasshopper, when put under duress, secretes a fluid from its tracheae. This fluid is called the Glasshopper's Tears, and is the source of this creature's healing powers. Taken raw, it is not terribly useful. It has to be filtered first and then dried so that all that remains is a fine white powder. This powder, to be used properly, must be snorted through the nose.

Once snorted, its effects will quickly take place. Glasshopper Tears are equivalent to the Greater Restoration Spell in potency, and can be used to effectively restore vitality, heal various kinds of wounds, and eliminate illnesses. Glasshopper Tears do all these things effectively and nearly immediately. There have been no observed negative side-effects from the properly prepared powder. But, as Glasshoppers are difficult to find, capture, and then farm from, these benefits would not make them so worthwhile to find if only the above were Glasshopper Tears' listed powers.

While many spells are capable at healing external, bodily wounds, injuries to the mind are still incredibly difficult to cure in any form or capacity. Indeed, there is no singular spell that can cure all mental illnesses or damages. But Glasshopper Tears are capable of this incredible feat. When ingested, a person's mental damages will end, almost immediately. Insanity, trauma, etc. are all considered illnesses of the mind and so are difficult to heal by normal Magical means, but Glasshopper Tears can cure the insane, the suicidal, and the fearful of their mental ailments. It is truly an incredible thing.

This unique quality is why Glasshopper Tears are highly valued and economical to produce. Despite their expenses, they are more reliable than magic spells, and require less resources than a custom spell requires with better results. Burchard's Glasshoppers are truly a medical miracle unlike anything seen before.

In Popular Literature

The story The World Traveler is a popular copper-dreadful fairy tale written with the realm of Marillac in mind. Glasshoppers make an important appearance in the latter part of the story, being the source of a great magical power -- in reality they are only useful for the said above medicail purposes. The beginning exert is written below:

It was a world made of water and mirrors and dappled seaborne clouds. The light from above shone on the silver ground below and projected the clouds like long, slender fabrics of ever rarer and paler twilight. It was good and beautiful, so very beautiful. This was my favourite world out of the trillions of worlds I could choose from. I had found it by a happy mistake. But it was also the loneliest world. No one could live on mirror and water and clouds, after all.

Behind me was a tear in space shaped like a door. There was nothing there except for a long and gloomy darkness. Passing through the darkness was like passing through the pressure of the deep sea. It was strong, strong and would crush you entirely if you weren't strong enough. But the reward for passing was tremendous. It was sad that only I could pass through. I had tried to bring others with me, but I had lost them on the journey. I swore, then, to keep this gift of a trillion worlds to myself.

So imagine my surprise to see, when I turned away from the door as it shut, a girl standing before me: alone and still, gazing out to the horizon. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane's and white like ivory. Her azure dress was kilted boldly around her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her hair was long and black like jet. I was conscious of nothing in the world but her. And then she turned and saw me and her eyes were red like a smithy's fire.

"How'd you get here?" she said. Her voice was soft and hard and coy yet serious. I hadn't realised I was gaping.

I replied, "I come here when I want to clear my head."

The answer didn't satisfy her. "How, not why." She didn't blink. Her eyes followed mine.

"Oh, ah, I can do this." I stuck out my index and placed my thumb in my palm as I traced a vertical line through the air. A moment after, a white tear appeared and widened until I could easily walk through.

She now stood extremely close to me. I hadn't seen her move. I could hear her quick and sharp breaths. "No, how did you wander into my world?" she said.

"I just go through door number five." I said a bit glibly.

"Idiot!" she exclaimed, "Don't you know anything about magic? Hm? I bet you aren't even a wizard yourself!" She growled and turned in place and then continued, "Aren't there stories from your home? Ever read one about yellow and green rings?"

"I'm afraid I don't read too much. I'm busy back home."

"Even worse than I thought." Ice began forming above her upturned hand, and soon gathered into a small sphere. It fell into her hand and she threw it to me. I gingerly caught it. It was warm to the touch. I scratched and felt the orb.

The girl sighed, "You're not gonna stop going through portals, I know kids like you. So here's what you should do:" at this she raised her head at me and assumed a pedagogical posture, "go find a snake (there are snakes in your world? Yes? alright, good) and show it this Von sphere. Then, ask for Merlin (by your expression I see he's famous where you're from) and then, you ask him to show you how to not put yourself in danger every time you use your magic. Got it?"

"Oh, yea, I got it." This was coming by quickly, I just wanted to go home, now. "Should I leave? I didn't mean to disturb your, ah, house."

"Yes, that'd be good."

With orb in hand I cut a portal and began to step through. I was suddenly stopped by a hand on my shoulder.

It was the girl. "You're going through that?"

I replied in the positive.

"No, you're going to stop going through your Cuts until they stop being black, alright? Ridiculous, utterly ridiculous." She muttered as she began drawing in the air. "You'd expect Merlin to be better at catching boys, but no, he always lets ones get through and they just wander forever and their emotions dull and they end up who knows where..." Her chatter soon devolved into a tongue I didn't understand, but I waited patiently.

"Alright, there you go." I couldn't see what she drew, but then there was a sudden eruption of wind. I squinted and blinked up at a vast break in space. It could easily fit a dozen trains stacked on top and side by side each other. I felt a hearty push. "And don't come back!" The girlish voice soon faded and I fell through a vortex of white and blue. It was like strips of sapphire running through a paradisal beach far, far away.

1 year outside of Glasscape
Average Length
5 inches

Cover image: by Aenami


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