by Anna G.
“Look, there!” shouted the young man, voice cracking with excitement.
Professor Smithson swiveled his head to follow Henry’s pointing finger, his eyes widening in anticipation. “By the Crafter’s Hammer, you’ve found it!” The older man adjusted his spectacles and carefully picked his way across the cracked, frozen soil and into the shadow of the icy cliff-face. He squinted, his eyes adjusting to the relative dark, and picked out the delicate shape in the distance. “I say, it’s glowing! Do you see this, Henry?” he called, beckoning to the lad.
The ruddy-faced assistant tromped forward, ice crunching under his snow shoes. “I do, sir! And it’s… becoming dimmer?”
The professor rubbed his eyes then suddenly propelled himself forward in an ungainly sprint. “You’re right! The bally thing’s disappearing!” He dove towards the cliff, grasping at the faintly glowing flower, only to watch in shock as it vanished, his fingers passing ineffectively through the spot where it had glimmered moments before. Colorful, multilingual oaths floated through the frigid night air and echoed off the icy formations as the professor vented his frustration to the uncaring moon.
Thousands of miles away, in the Khuurai Desert, a boy of six shaded his eyes as he peered curiously at the side of a dune, heedless of the caravan that was steadily leaving him behind. “Jarakun, come along!” called a tall, muscular man, as he led a team of horses pulling a wagon. The child ran, his steps propelling dust into the air behind him as he sprinted the across the short distance and launched himself into his father’s waiting embrace. “What are you looking at, my boy?” laughed the man as he tousled the boy’s hair and casually placed him onto one of the horses, which whickered in protest.
“Papa, I thought I saw a beautiful flower, all the colors of the rainbow! But it disappeared before I could pick it for Mama.” replied the lad, a bit sadly.
His father glanced at him, brown eyes sparkling. “Really! It disappeared, you say? A fantastic flower indeed!” His eyes returned to the horizon, scanning through the heat haze as though seeking some distant object. “You know, I’ve heard tell of such a thing before. It is a sign that Emamu is with us on our journey.” He glanced up at his son, grinning broadly. “What an important discovery! We’ll have to be sure to tell your mother you found Emamu’s Blessing.” His son returned a gap-toothed grin just as broad as his father’s, eyes glowing with anticipation.
Wondrous item (uncommon)
This magical plant grows in frigid conditions. Its crystalline nature provides excellent camouflage within these icy landscapes, making it difficult to detect without a keen eye.
Despite the fact that this natural anomaly is more crystal than plant, icelock possesses a slender, graceful stalk that curves gently under the weight of the 5 delicate petals at its end. Tiny leaves protrude from the stalk itself, each one ending in a gossamer-thin strand that curls gently back upon itself. The stalk gleams a pale green in the moonlight and the crystalline structure within the flower itself catches and refracts the light, creating a milky white translucency.
Icelock doesn’t grow like a normal plant, but appears spontaneously when the appropriate conditions are met. Scholars have concluded that the following conditions are necessary for growth:
- A clear night with a full moon,
- Icy terrain, and
- A location shaded from direct sunlight; it is especially abundant in the divots within ice walls and ice shelves.
Icelock grows magically in the hours between midnight and sunrise, and dissolves into a glittering mist when sunlight hits it. The mist produced is extremely cold and can cause frostbite if touched. If the plant is picked before it disappears, its crystalline structure solidifies and the flower becomes stable, retaining its form permanently. A plucked icelock continuously emits a slight misty vapor and is permanently cold to the touch, like a small flower made of ice.
This rare flower is sought for many reasons, ranging from folk remedies to potent magical concoctions:
- It can be used in the crafting of potions, especially those that produce a cold- or hardness-based effect.
- It can be used to create a lens that reveals magical auras.
- If crushed into powder, it can be mixed with food and medicinal pastes. Folk wisdom suggests that in this form it can cure a wide variety of ailments from baldness to lycanthropy.
- Powdered icelock can also be incorporated into magical forgework, although few possess the mastery to accomplish such a feat.
If icelock grows under the light of an aurora, it is considered especially fortuitous and there is a chance that a variant specimen will grow. The crystalline petals shine with an iridescence that mimics the deep blues, greens, and purples of the aurora. The magical effects of this variant are ten times greater than those of a normal icelock. Some additional magical properties have been noted as well:
- Rather than disappearing normally, sometimes this plant will shimmer for a moment, growing dim and transparent, before vanishing completely. Arcane botanists still debate the nature and mechanism of this disappearance. One compelling treatise holds that the plant physically travels, and includes numerous reports from around the world of a mysterious, colorful flower glowing briefly before shimmering into mist.
- Aurora icelock powder, if treated and mixed with a proper base, can be used to create a dye that shimmers with a beautiful iridescent sheen. Products fashioned with this dye are prized for their beauty, and it has been said that even kings pride themselves to own such a rare treasure.
- Stories tell of a legendary sword with the power to transcend planes, forged by the gods themselves and infused with aurora icelock.
For more info on the legendary weapon mentioned above, check out our newest release: Unique Weapons, part I!