As promised, Roxanne's story continues on the blog today.
As the rock Samir had thrown touched the surface of the water, it started to sizzle and disintegrate immediately. It was completely gone before any part of it had submerged. "You see, the liquid is acidic. In all the centuries my people have lived in the caverns, we have never found a substance strong enough to resist it. Which is a problem, because Amberiolus grows exclusively in places where the acid flows." the guide explained.
"Do you have some more of the crystals somewhere else?" Roxanne asked.
Samir nodded. "Only the richest of my people own Amberiolus crystals, and then only small ones. For the most part, they are used in our healing houses, when there is no other way to save a patient's life. But I am told our supplies dwindle. They're kept in vaults in the Central Cavern and only the Chief Healer has access to the key."
"How does the Amberiolus aid the people?" Oliver wondered.
"It is ground to a fine powder and then mixed with water to make a paste. It can be ingested in acute cases and is applied to the skin as a remedy for all manner of surface wounds. It heals almost instantly. We have found that the healers who handle the crystal have prolonged lives and are almost immune to illnesses or other ailments." Samir answered.
Roxanne heard herself speak in a low voice. "I need one."
Samir laughed. "We all do, my dear, but there is no way..."
She looked him straight in the eyes and cut him off. "I need one to save the Trickster."
The men were both stunned at this. Roxanne had no idea what made her so sure, but she was absolutely convinced that she couldn't face her enemy without one of these magical crystals in her hands. It was almost as if something had clicked in her mind, as if a piece of the bigger picture had finally fallen into place.
"To save all of Araheim, I need to save the Trickster. If he is healed, everyone else will be too. And you'll have peace once again." she said in a hollow voice.
"Roxanne, how do you know?" Oliver asked intently.
She couldn't answer him, so she shook her head. "All I know is I need one."
Samir looked dubious. "It is true that the Storyteller asked us to give you any aid we possibly could, but this thing cannot be."
"You must help me, Samir." Roxanne pleaded. "It's the only way."
Their host searched her face and sighed. "I see no untruth in what you say. I can also see you are committed to this. But I cannot guarantee that I can give you what you ask. I'll have to call the Chiefs together and we'll have to debate this. It can take days at the shortest and years at the longest. It may be weeks before you have what you ask!"
But Roxanne was adamant. "I must have it, and I must have it soon. Time is running out and the Trickster must be stopped before more books are damaged. You must get me an Aberiolus crystal if you want your world to survive. It's the only way."
Samir had no more to say to that. "Come."
They silently followed their host out of the cavern and back to his home, where he left them and shut them inside. He went off to gather the Chiefs, promising he would do his best to fulfil Roxanne's request before he left, grave faced.
The party looked at Oliver and Roxanne expectantly, and Oliver told them what had happened. Madra's face blanched at the tale. "This is an impossible thing you ask, girl."
"It's also the most important thing in the world." Roxanne insisted. The old woman left them, shaking her head.
"If Roxanne needs it, she'll have it. One way or another." Rocket mumbled darkly, with the other companions agreeing quietly.
They waited silently for hours before Samir returned, sighing. "It has never been done before, but the Chiefs have reached consensus this day." he said tiredly.
"Well?" Dusk demanded. "What did they decide?"
And that's all for today! Now you need to vote on what happens next.
Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,