Chapter Five: And the Toxic Burning Crystal Spill

Posted by | April 21, 2007

“So, you just ran into it and this broke off?” It was Yasmine Teli’Larien speaking. She did so in a hushed, considering tone. Her eyes never left the shard of Burning Crystal that floated nearby and glowered with barely restrained menace, time-sharing between everyone in the group as equally as it could.

Helvetica’s return had assembled a small convention.

In the gathering were Kariel, the Rogue trainer; Sallina, the Hunter trainer; Arena, the Mage trainer; Jestenis Sunstriker—didn’t say what he trained, but from his gigantic sword and disapproving expression she figured that he was her mentor-to-be—and even Shara Sunwing, who sold stuff. Attracted by the commotion, like moths to a flame, two magical brooms also hovered nearby, followed closely by several cats. Always cats. The Sunspire was lousy with them and the amount of fur they shed seemed to give the brooms something to do in their down time.

“Someone should be sent to the Burning Crystal to make sure that it isn’t leaking,” said Matron Arena.

“They leak?” Kariel said.

“Quite,” Yasmine said. “A crystal spill can be a dangerous thing—“ She gestured to one of the passing magical brooms. “They’re not mops, after all.”

“It wasn’t leaking,” said Helvetica, “just glaring.”

“I can send someone to tend to it,” Jestinis said to Arena. “The Blood Knights are ever ready, and we probably have some expendable recruits…” Helvetica didn’t like the way he was looking at her.

“Um,” she said. “I found this book. It says that it belongs to someone named Solanian…”

One of the brooms paused in its sweeping and held up a sign. It pointed towards the looping ramp that ran along the side of the Spire and up to an open door. Under the arrow the sign read: To Well Watcher Solanian.

“I sell sponges,” Shara said helpfully. “Five for ten silver. We could use them to soak up the spill.”

While the discussion spurred on, several players—evidenced by the blue names floating above their heads—entered the Spire and wandered around a few moments before joining the convention. “I’m looking for the Mage trainer.” “Hey, why is everyone over here?” “Where do I find a bathroom?”

One particular individual, a small mage with big eyes and a red robe walked up with the rest, holding a map spread like a newspaper. “Can anyone tell me where the…” He checked a Post-It note on the map. “Shrine of Dath’Remar is located?”

“Not now,” Matron Arena said, trying to shoo the players away. “Come back after Blizzard does a server reboot. We have a minor crisis on our hands generated by one of Jestenis’s Blood Scouts.”

“Where did the girl go anyway?” asked Jestenis.


“I think this is yours,” Helvetica said, handing the book to Solonian.

He was a rather tall blood elf, as blood elves went, wearing a long purple robe and bearing a staff with a red crystal on the end. His blonde hair spilled over his chest, tied up with a green band. He seemed lost in thought, right until she tried to hand him the book.

“Ah, thank you,” he said. “I was wondering if I was ever going to see this again.” He tucked it under his arm. “Say, I have some other things that I accidentally left around the island. If you could pick them up for me, I would be extremely grateful.”

“The island doesn’t look that big,” Helvetica said. In fact she could almost see both of the shores from where she stood. The island did stretch out rather long in either direction, but the ocean was vivid and blue in both directions. “Why haven’t you picked them up already?”

“I have to stand vigil over the Sunwell,” he said. “Not the well itself, I’m afraid, but where it used to be. The magical residuals where it used to sit still resonate here and there is a lot of work to do. My belongings would help me tremendously in my work.”

He bent down to a huge mound of cloth piled next to him and plucked up a small purplish sack. “Here,” he said, “take this. You can put my belongings in it so that you don’t mix them with your other stuff.”

“That’s a lot of bags,” she said. “How many belongings do you have?”

“You just brought me my book,” he said, patting it—Helvetica made a sidelong glance at a gigantic stack of similar books that teetered dangerously near the edge of the balcony. “But I still have a scrying orb and a scroll that I need returned to me. If you would be so kind.”

“Sure thing,” she said, trying not to notice the pile of rolled up papers and the pyramid stack of shiny crystal balls peeking around alabaster curvature of the Spire nearby.

“Just return to me when you’ve found them,” he said. “I’ll give you some silver for your trouble.”

“I’ll be right on it!” She smiled and walked away. “Come on, sparky,” she said to the Burning Crystal shard, which trailed after as she headed back down the ramp. Behind her, Solanian was handing another bag to yet another player who was talking to him.

“And be careful,” he shouted down after her. “Some of our treants have gone crazy and are trying to garden people. You’ll want to take your sword!”

“I never leave home without it!” she shouted back as she trotted down the stairs.

“Good, I wouldn’t want to see you pruned and trimmed into a shapely hedge or anything.”


NEXT >> Chapter Six: Helvetica Gets a New Wardrobe

The author Helvetica writes the Helvetica Venture and Hellvetica Chronicles for Vox Ex Machina and proudly supports the works of Kyt Dotson, whose writing includes Mill Avenue Vexations (a gothic webserial featuring cab driver Vex Harrow), Black Hat Magick, and Helljammer and invites you to check out the novel, The Specter in the Spectacles by Kyt Dotson.

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