The Viristones

J.L. Weinmeister

The next morning, I take you to the transporter, which is parked on the other side of the river. I refuse to tell you how it got there. I have to keep some of my secrets.

You all speculate on the matter while I drive you west across the savannah. It takes most of the day, so you only have a few hours to explore the next city.

Eletrun is a coastal city in a subtropical forest. It and the other cities in the Oma district provide the vast majority of the continent’s lumber and fruit in addition to a sizable portion of its marine resources. As a result, it is a booming town full of shops to explore, performances to watch, and recreation to enjoy.

When we gather in the inn that night, I tell you a story, but first a preface: This story is from Linea. It’s a secret story that many are unaware of, so I wasn’t able to speak of it while we were there. I’m sure some of you are curious about the Viristones after hearing the legend about them. This is the true story of their creation.

* * * * *

Danya, her brother, and her two cousins sat restlessly at the table. They had finished eating their Family Day feast what felt like hours ago, but the adults were still talking. The children wanted to go play in the trees.

Danya’s brother, Iven, repeatedly tapped his feet against the wooden table leg, causing the furniture to vibrate. Keeth and Tamira squirmed in their seats. Danya fidgeted with her spoon.

Their grandmother slapped her hands on the table. “Children, that’s enough. You must learn how to sit still at a table.”

“But we’ve been sitting here forever,” Iven said. “We want to go play.”

Danya’s mother placed a hand on Grandmother’s arm. “They’re still young, and they have been rather patient until now. Let them be excused.”

Grandmother grumbled something and then waved her hand in dismissal. All four youngsters jumped to their feet and ran into the woods.

Iven was the fastest, so the rest of them found themselves hustling to keep up with him. He stopped at a clear pool and drank from it.

Danya got there second. The water was cold and refreshing. Keeth and Tamira joined them in a moment.

Danya sat on the bank of the pool and ran her hands through the water. There were smooth stones at the bottom. She picked one up and rubbed her fingers on it. While most of the pebbles were neutral colors, there were a few that looked more like gemstones. Danya picked up a dark blue one.

As soon as her skin came into contact with the gem, she felt a jolt of energy. She dropped the stone and shook out her hand. It didn’t leave any marks.

She picked up the gem again, and this time the energy didn’t shock her, though she could still feel it. She handed it to her brother. “Does this feel strange to you?”

Iven took it and rubbed it between his fingers. “It’s really smooth, but that’s all I notice.”

Danya took it back. Why could she feel the energy and Iven couldn’t? Then it dawned on her. It must have something to do with one of her magical abilities.

Danya had a rare power. She could imbue items with magical powers. This gemstone must be a strong conduit for magical energy. Danya wondered what would happen if she tried imbuing it with something.

She drew on her magic and imbued the stone with water manipulation. While holding it in one hand, she lifted the other and summoned the magic. It came easily, and it rushed through her with more power than she had ever felt before. The water in the pool rose into a column and then gently set itself back down.

Danya told the others about what she had discovered. Naturally, they all wanted to try it too. After they each had a turn controlling water with the gem, they picked out their own and had Danya imbue it with their elemental manipulation.

Iven’s controlled air, Keeth’s controlled fire, and Tamira’s controlled earth. They played with their newly amplified magic until the sun set and it was time to go home.

* * * * *

A few days later, Danya tried to manipulate water, but she couldn’t get her magic to work. What was wrong? She kept trying to summon water, but it didn’t come. She couldn’t even feel the connection to the magic. She remembered the gem and found it in the pocket of her cloak. When she touched it, her connection to the magic was restored.

Danya hadn’t meant to fully imbue the gem with her magic. She had meant to do so only partially, so she could maintain control of the power without relying on the stone. But it appeared something went wrong. She wondered if the others were having the same problem.

All of them had lost their ability to manipulate an element without the use of the gemstone. Danya had never tried to unimbue an object, but she thought it was worth trying. Perhaps she could remedy this problem.

She tried it on herself first. While touching the gem, she focused on the magic and tried to siphon it back into herself. She could feel the power flowing into her body, but it was more than she was used to. She was tingling with magical energy. Her instincts told her she couldn’t hold any more. She tried to cut it off, but when she did, all the magic flowed back into the gem. It appeared she had to take all of it or none at all.

* * * * *

Danya took all four stones to see if she could figure out anything. She went out into the forest by herself, away from the prying eyes of her parents.

She held all four gems in the palm of her hand. Why were they so powerful? Why couldn’t she extract the magic from them? Why did they amplify it to the point it was too powerful for a human vessel?

Danya wished she knew the answer.

Then she had it. She couldn’t explain how she knew it, but she wished for the answer and it appeared in her head.

The stones were made of a material that amplified magic, and because Danya had imbued all four of them, they were connected. This amplified their power even more. When used together, the stones could do virtually anything. But one thing was clear: there was no way to diminish their power. She could destroy them; but then she, Iven, and her cousins would never be able to manipulate elements again.

While she was unwilling to destroy the four stones that were already imbued with their magic, she saw the potential for disastrous consequences if she didn’t destroy the other gemstones.

She fished all of the gems out of the pool and ensured they were thoroughly unusable before returning home to tell the others what she had discovered.

* * * * *

Since Danya had failed to restore everyone’s magic, they had to find a way to keep the gems on them to ensure continual access to their power. Turning the gems into jewelry seemed like the best option.

Danya and the others approached their Great Aunt Yizzy. She was a jeweler and could help them.

They came up with a story of finding the gemstones and wanting to make jewelry out of them. None of them wanted to get in trouble for experimenting with unknown magic.

They each designed a mount for their gem, and Great Aunt Yizzy made them.

Danya had a pendent in the shape of a fish. The fish’s body circled the dark blue gemstone. She wore it as a necklace.

Iven balked at the idea of wearing jewelry, so he had his clear stone set in a silver dragonfly brooch.

Tamira had her green gem placed in a bronze cuff. Each side of the cuff was carved into the shape of a large feline with the gemstone sitting in between the two heads.

Keeth had his red stone placed in a black ring. A dragon circled the gem protectively.

Danya didn’t tell them about how powerful the stones were alone or together. She worried the magic stones would attract attention and that that attention would result in danger and disaster.

That day she vowed to protect all four stones from those who would abuse them and from being brought together. She passed that vow onto her descendants, and they still uphold it to this day.

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