When my arm was finally healed, I managed to mend my broken ears as well. The instant my most potent mana-sense was restored, I quickly looked toward Conor’s broken and battered body.
It took almost all of my remaining power, but I was able to somewhat reshape the crushed armor and helmet. However, just as I had suspected, his aura was dormant; his heart and brain had obviously been smashed, along with most of his other vital organs.
Then Ethir walked over to me and pulled out a few vials of antler-bear blood from his pant pockets; he even drank one of them himself, before handing me the other three. I was a little surprised that he had managed to keep the small, glass, containers from breaking while jumping, flying, and fighting; but then I remembered that we barely even did anything the entire battle.
After our mana was completely restored, he muttered “Help me… heal him.” in a serious voice; while sitting down next to Conor’s body, and placed both of his palms onto the misshapen, mithril-plated, armor.
I sighed, then copied his actions; but while I was channeling, I sarcastically asked him “You do realize that his head was completely splattered, right?”: I was too exhausted to even grieve. The amount of energy required to partially regenerate the most important organs, was so immense; that the two of us needed to pour several of our mana-pools into his aura.
It was beyond my ability at the time to heal him directly, so all that we could do; was hope that Michael had managed to transform him into some kind of, undying monster. If it had been anyone else, I probably would have considered it impossible; but my son was able to keep me from becoming a mindless, bloodsucking, fiend… when he was only an infant.
For the first few hours; I could still gunfire and explosions throughout the city, but then it tapered off. Ethir and I weren’t just sitting there the whole time though, at a certain point; there was nothing more that we could do for Conor, so we began incinerating the blood-elven corpses that were littered around the plaza.
Faelin and her husband were first; since I was worried that they could have still been alive somehow. Fortunately, they were dead; I could barely even hear their auras, but that was because of the black-mithril bullets; which shredded their mana-pools, along with their brains.
With a high enough nature affinity, even if a person’s head and torso were crushed; as long as they had mana, they still had a possibility of survival. Although, that would only ever have worked for races with extremely long life-spans; since my nephew was mostly wood elf… he at least had a very tiny chance.
I made sure to sterilize Conor’s giant great-sword, before bringing it over to his body; which seemed to have been regenerating, but I wasn’t sure if that was the same thing as being alive. Ethir was staring up towards the tip of white pyramid: That had been drenched in hundreds of gallons of crimson paint; and covered with the remains of the disgusting spider-elves.
He muttered “General Beatrix… I don’t see her…” in a worried voice; but then he turned towards me and whispered “Never-mind… I can still… feel her seal. Those insects… oh no… Raelin… this is very bad.” anxiously, as he gazed down at the blood soaked ground.
My first instinct when seeing hundreds of gigantic cockroaches crawling around our feet, was obviously to scream; while casting two, very powerful, flamethrower spells from my heels. The hideous creatures were roasted; and I was at least a few dozen meters away from them with a single, mana-inefficient, attack.
Ethir walked over to Conor’s body and began lightly scorching the pool of dark-red liquid; that continuing to spread from the misshapen chest-plate and helmet. Then I noticed huge clusters of small grey mice, greedily devouring what was left of the vampiric horde.
Fortunately, they were just normal animals; without a strong enough aura to prevent me from… exterminating them. However, it was impossible for me to kill every single rat, roach, and other infected creature in the entire city.
I quickly soared over to the tip of that triangular pyramid; the ten square meter wooden platform, which had been created for the judgement squad, was almost completely destroyed. Even if I didn’t know them very well; it was still depressing to see the dismembered rat tribe, red goblin, and wood elven corpses: That were scattered about the wreckage.
What had been left of the broken boards and twisted steel bars, was almost completely covered in remains. If I couldn’t didn’t her aura; I wouldn’t have even recognized the ebony-furred, upper-body, of Beatrix. She nearly shot me as I tried to fly past her; with the pistol that she was holding in her right hand.
She let out a sigh of disappointment; then bluntly told me “My telepathy isn’t working properly; I need to issue orders to any of the captains that are still alive.” in a monotone, while holding out her arms; beckoning me to carry what was left of her.
I dropped down to the platform without hesitation, and wrapped my arms around her back: pressing her tiny chest against mine. With a trembling voice; I stuttered “I-I’m so sorry I di-didn’t come here sooner… don’t worry, I can s-seal your wounds.”, as I slid my left hand inside of her tattered black robe.
She was missing everything below her navel; so my fingers swiftly made contact with her exposed and severely damaged, squishy, organs. It took me a few seconds to feel around and find the leaking veins and arteries, which felt like they had been burned shut; I winced as I began regenerating whatever I could, as quickly as possible.
Beatrix grabbed my ears with her tiny hands, and calmly stated “I’m going to borrow these until you’re finished.”; her face didn’t seem even slightly concerned or anguished. I could feel her channeling her mana into my earrings, which gave off a strange tingling sensation.
She was whispering various things, but I wasn’t really paying attention; since I was trying to keep the surprisingly calm, rat-girl’s intestines from falling out of her waist; as I was helping her regenerate them. The entire process was incredibly stressful, and at a certain point… strangely erotic: It was because of my vampiric instincts… or at least that was what I told myself.
A normal rat-tribe woman would have died from such a grievous injury; yet she was completely composed, and her aura still sounded relatively strong. It was obvious that Michael had done a lot more to her body; than just give her the ability to use telepathy, and give people weird marks.
When I was struggling to search for her missing legs and tail; she pinched my left ear, and commanded “Stop moving around so much, just regenerate everything; I’ll survive.” in her usual disinterested tone. Over the course of three hours, I managed to ‘heal’ her; but the newly formed bones were extremely fragile, so she wasn’t going to be able to walk for quite a while: after her bottom half had been regrown.
She shamelessly ordered me to carry her around the city; gathering what was left of her forces together, and eventually we all came together in the southernmost district. At least thirty-thousand panicked dwarves were gathered in the center of the massive square; while fire, air, and water mages were spread around the cluster: using various spells to fend off the swarms of flying insects.
When Beatrix and I arrived with five-thousand reinforcements; the tide was quickly turned, and we were able to cleanse the area of pestilence. It had been important that we exterminated every vermin in the entire city; as quickly as possible, before they had the chance to transform into dangerous monsters.
Vampirism in its earliest stages was difficult to even notice, but also fairly easy to treat. Michael liked to lecture me about ridiculous scenarios that no normal person would have ever been faced with.
I remembered him telling me “Listen Rae; this is an extremely important part of your training. Magic isn’t always the solution to every problem; there will always be situations where you run out of mana, or simply don’t know the proper way to utilize it.
“For example, lets say there’s an epidemic… basically a plague… seriously, how can you not know what a… you know what; I’ll pick one that I know that you at least vaguely comprehend. Let’s use vampirism as the example; it’s a virus, which means that under non-magical circumstances; the simplest way to cure it, is by boosting the person’s immune system and hoping for the best.
“Rae, I’ve already gone over this a ton of times; it’s what keeps you from getting sick. Anyway, the point is that; if you would have found me a few days earlier, which would have been impossible, I could have probably kept you from even becoming a blood-elf.
“All you really need is: A little bit of sunshine, lots of fruit or vegetables, some garlic, onions, delicious mushrooms… well, even just one of those things would help. Ah, I really wanna eat spaghetti now…”; although he did trail off onto a list of strange foods that I had never heard of, for over an hour after that.
The methods varied depending on race, and apparently there were a bunch of different types of vampirism. However, he told me that there was at least a period of several days; before the ‘virus’ would become a curse, but it was still possible to cure using various magical methods: which he had attempted to teach me.
It was likely that everyone in the city had been exposed to the infection, so we needed to begin treatment as quickly as possible. In Black Mithril most people consumed herbal teas, various fruit juices, plenty of vegetables, and going to the surface was a relatively simple task.
Magical beast meat and pretty much any kind of mana-rich food; had also been proven to increase most people’s health dramatically. That was probably one of the main reasons that Belial decided not to attack our city.
Unfortunately, boosting a person’s immune system took time; and there were already a decent amount of dwarves, who were sick with minor or major illnesses. Not only did we lack enough of the proper food to feed the seventy-thousand surviving citizens, but traveling above-ground was a serious problem as well.
There was a fortress on the surface, directly above the city; and Beatrix’ army wasn’t prepared to enter into another battle so soon. While we were eradicating all of the pestilence that was infesting the streets, and incinerating any corpses we found; I was wracking my brain, trying to figure out a solution to the imminent disaster.
Three extremely strenuous days passed, and a few dozen dwarves had already reached the second stage of vampirism: displaying intense aggression. Most of them were killed after attempting to attack soldiers; who were far too exhausted to handle the situation with any level of restraint.
Ailyn had already made two trips to evacuate the severely wounded to Black Mithril; so that they could receive proper treatment. Conor was among them; although his injuries were still so grave that most people had already considered him a corpse.
However, I still had hope; the fact that his aura was actually improving at all, was proof enough for me. He was definitely alive, but even with his amazing nature affinity; it was still going to take him a very long time to recover.
Beatrix gave full command of the three-thousand troops who remained in White Mithril to Julie, before she returned home. She needed to heal, but her main concern was the security of the capital; and although she would never have admitted it… I think that she wanted to see her daughter.
I was so physically, mentally, and spiritually drained; that I felt completely numb to all the killing and death. It wasn’t that I had become accustomed to it, but I just couldn’t deal with the reality; that tens of thousands of people were infected with a disease, that I didn’t have the power to cure.
Then I finally noticed something pretty important; Ethir was gone, and I had no idea where he was or what he was doing. My first thought was that he had decided to return to Alfirin Academy, but that was just my own desires causing me to question what I actually hoped to accomplish.
Belial was at least a thousand miles away, with an army of monsters that probably included plenty of powerful blood-elves. In that entire horde of mindless demons, only Faelin and my brother in-law had any magical abilities.
Unfortunately, that meant that he had kept all of the mages in his elite forces; which were traveling north, into a place that I knew absolutely nothing about. The future seemed pretty bleak, and my resolve was far too easily shaken; by the constant state of discomfort and obvious flaws in my childish plan, to fight an enemy that I honestly knew nothing about.
On the fourth day, Ailyn returned from Black Mithril with a massive supply of: magical beast meat, medicinal herbs, fruit, glowshrooms, vegetables, and something I didn’t expect… mana acorns. I honestly had no idea what they were going to be used for, until I followed the people carrying crates of them; along with other strange powders and liquids, to an alchemy shop in the northeastern district.
Ethir had been working on a cure; testing his concoctions on a myriad of caged mice and rats, and he had finally discovered a way to completely remedy the second stage of vampirism. It was pretty suspicious that he had been able to figure something like that out so quickly, but I never interrogated him about it.
The main ingredients to the sweet smelling, colorless potion; were ground up mana seeds, and white-mithril dust. After he added the fine powder into a huge cauldron in the center of the room, a team of dark-elves began churning and boiling the viscous fluid using magic.
When I almost tasted a vial of the finished product; Ethir quickly stopped me and clearly stated “If you drink that… you will die.” in a completely serious voice, while glaring at me. Pretty much everything that made me sick or nauseous, had been gathered into that pot; plus something that seemed a little strange… before it was finished, he added a few drops of his own blood.
Then it glowed with a bright golden radiance, before turning black; once they placed a few drops of the substance into a pitcher of water, the final product was a clear liquid. I was amazed when I heard that Lorelei had payed for the medicine herself; she didn’t even charge the sick dwarves anything for it.
Of course, she also came to visit personally, so that she could officially welcome White Mithril into the country of Alfirin… and buyout all the mining rights. She also officially claimed the three palaces, and began her plan to turn the city into a very close replica of what she did to the capital.
After the crisis was averted; Ailyn and her team of “Inventors”, along with Ethir, had begun testing various ways to utilize the three different types of mithril in conjunction with each other. She also discovered that it was possible to set the giant silver worm’s controls to an automatic mode; where just about anyone could drive it without much effort.
My life as a construction worker had unfortunately returned, but it did help me train my elemental affinities and expand my mana pool. At least I was able to spend a lot of time with my adorable little Lori, even though she was mainly just ordering me around.
Many of the houses that had been there for hundreds or thousands of years, were swiftly torn down and replaced with massive buildings; she called them factories. There were quite a few of them in Black Mithril already; their main purpose was to have many people manufacturing large quantities of various products; which were then sold in Lorelei Inc. stores.
The crater-riddled stone plaza was going to be turned into an amphitheater, but Ethir wanted to create a mana-tree grove. It was definitely bizarre to see a small forest grow in less than a day; it quickly became my favorite spot in the whole city.
I helped build: the train station, most of the malls, and even a twenty meter tall tower in the southern district; which had a gigantic clock, built onto the northern side of it. Three months passed pretty quickly, and I wholeheartedly attempted to ignore that nagging feeling in the back of my mind.
In all that time; Julie had never sent any scouts above-ground, but there had only been a handful of dwarven squads who came through the portal to inquire on the situation; all of whom were killed pretty swiftly. However, they stopped sending people through after that first month before the battle, so the security outside the pyramid was relatively lax.
When an army suddenly started pouring out of the northernmost entrances; I had been enjoying my day off in the mana-tree grove with Ethir. Lorelei had already returned to Black Mithril, to deal with some kind of caravan business; so it was just the two of us, on a pleasant stroll through the brightly glowing white forest.
While we were walking towards the south, I heard the sound of several large gunshots and unintelligible yelling. Nothing particularly exciting had happened for a while, so we had grown relatively complacent; we quickly made our way to the pyramid to see what was happening.
By the time we even got there; the irritating noises of battle had already ended, but there was still a loud commotion. A decent amount of heavily-armored, shotgun wielding soldiers; were spread out to the left and right, with Julie’s wide back directly in front of us.
However, since most of the guardian troops were dark-dwarves; it was fairly easy for me to see the army of fifty-thousand people from a wide variety of races, who were tightly gathered across from them. Julie furiously demanded “Lay down your weapons now! It doesn’t matter how many of you there are, you won’t be able to accomplish anything! As long as you don’t attack us, there’s no reason for bloodshed!”, as I walked up to her right side: with Ethir on her left.
There were many extremely muscular horse-centaurs, with bronze plate-mail and large great-swords in their vanguard; all of whom were scowling, while preparing to charge at us. The majority of their forces were wood-elven archers and mages; with a shield wall of cat and fox tribe warriors, that were aiming their spears at us.
I sighed; then grumbled “If this continues, it’s going to be another massacre.” in a tired voice, while turning to Julie and giving her a disappointed look. She was still aiming her weapon towards the two women; who were standing at the forefront of the surprisingly well organized mass of enraged legions.
On the left was a muscular obsidian-skinned dwarf; who wore beautiful mithril plate-armor, and was wielding a steel war-hammer: that was at least as tall as her. She was wearing a helmet that covered most of her face; which had a small slit down the middle, revealing her mouth and nose.
Her aura was strong enough that I knew she wasn’t a simple warrior; but the grey skinned, black-eyed, elf who was next to her, was definitely a mage. I immediately recognized her clothing and jewelry; even her face was nearly identical to a certain sage, that I hadn’t seen in a while.
Ethir whispered “Chrissella… and probably… Saiya…”, which Julie and many of the guardians around us reacted to. Then I sighed as loudly as possible; while nonchalantly walking out of the line, towards the two women; who seemed terrified when they looked into my eyes.
I casually announced “Since Lorelei isn’t here, I guess I’ll have to do this part. Welcome to Alfirin; the country that promotes freedom, capitalism, and racial equality. If any of you are; or have ever been, the type of evil and disgusting creature that would enslave or rape anyone… then you’re going to die very soon.
“Everyone needs to pass a quick aura reading, performed by at least six different telepaths; but as long as you haven’t committed either of those two crimes, you have nothing to worry about. Sheath or otherwise store your weapons, unless you want to be shot; although, I can guarantee that you don’t.” as I released a wide-range; but relatively harmless, gust of freezing wind, in a mild vortex around my body.
Saiya was shivering, either from fear or cold; as she cautiously asked me “Who… or what, are you?” in a shaky voice, nervously avoiding eye contact. Suddenly, she jumped back a few steps, while aiming the red crystal of her wooden staff; towards the mysterious figure that had appeared to my right.
Ethir was wearing his normal ebony-leather armor and cape, but his hood had been removed and he wasn’t using a mask; so his aura would have seemed incredibly imposing to someone who wasn’t expecting it. Chrissella angrily shouted “You! Bariel’s brat! What the hell are you doing here!?”; with a confused expression on her face, while holding her war-hammer as if she was about to attack us.
I was wearing an elegant, black dress; which didn’t cover my arms, and was slightly revealing in certain areas; though it definitely wasn’t meant for combat. It was difficult for me to maintain my mana-pool at about fifty-percent, because anything above that would quickly escape into the atmosphere around me.
However, I still had enough power to easily deal with the two of them if I had to, but luckily I didn’t. The red-goblin, with golden irises, and short obsidian hair; quietly muttered “If you’re here… to rescue the slaves… they already free.” in a slightly irritated voice, while staring into Saiya’s eyes.
She regained her senses and lowered her staff; then confidently declared “If that is so, please bring them here immediately. We do not wish to battle with you, if you truly are not our enemies.”, while sternly glaring at him.
It was difficult not to hear the clanking of Julie’s metal boots; as she slowly walked up behind us. Then she loudly stated “They may choose to stay or leave as they wish, but very few former slaves have chosen to remain in this city. If you would like to meet them, quickly submit to the innocence test; you can take the train to Black Mithril, once it arrives in a few hours.” in an irritated tone.
An extremely bulky, dark-skinned, bull-centaur who was bare-chested; with a huge steel axe in his hands, furiously shouted “Hey! Why the hell are you bitches acting like you’re in charge here!? There’s nothin to talk about!”, while glaring at me.
Saiya yelled “Silence fool! You forget your place!” angrily; while aiming her staff towards him, and forming a massive fireball. Many of the people around him shuddered, while slowly moving away.
I raised my right hand and the yellow flame immediately vanished; then I said “Okay, I’ve had enough of this foolishness; Julie, you deal with the rest. Ethir and I are going home, let us know if you need our help.” in an exhausted voice, while removing the breathable air from the huge area; that the fifty-thousand or so people were loitering in.
After enough of them had passed out; the rest of her forces finally arrived, and used similar spells to restrain the rowdy crowd. I left before the testing began… I wasn’t interested in watching the trials. However, I did hear their story from Julie the next day.
It was actually pretty impressive; that even a small number of the dark dwarven royal guards, along with the ex-matriarch, had managed to make it all the way to Angren. Although, once the vampirism outbreak occurred; their reward for making it there, was to be forced out into the third ring again.
Chrissella wanted to avoid returning to Black Mithril at all costs, so she convinced Saiya to go east instead. They lost a lot of military strength while fighting the powerful magical beasts, and the various hostile races on their way; then the storm made the whole situation much worse.
Before they could even make it to the city, they encountered an army of dwarves; and in the chaotic battle, at least half of their remaining forces died. Everyone who survived was captured and enslaved, but the two powerful mages were able to escape.
Then they somehow managed to rally together all of the oppressed races; in the kingdom that was once known as White Mithril. Fortunately, their uprising meant that Julie was able to claim and refurbish the fortress; that was around the portal on the surface.
According to Lorelei’s motto “When in doubt, build a mall.” the structure that was supposed to guard the entrance to the city; was quickly converted into a shopping center. There were farms, villages, and towns, for fifty miles in every direction above-ground; so she had a lot of work to do.
It was around that time when I quit my job, I was basically just a volunteer anyway; since I didn’t need the money. Ethir required my help with a device that he was constructing… it was a weapon.
The staff wasn’t very elaborate in its appearance; just a silver bar which was the length of my body, with a large obsidian ball on each end. However, the inside of it was filled entirely with white mithril; that acted not only as an amplifier, but when encased in the black kind: It could store mana as well.
At the center of each sphere; that was the size of my head, was one of my egg shaped crimson crystals. Since it couldn’t be created using magic; I wasn’t able to be much help until the prototype of the device, had actually been completed.
My job was to test and make sure that it worked the way Ethir had predicted it would; so the two of us had travel a few hundred miles, northeast into the desert. It took several hours to fly to the relatively cool, empty space; with nothing but waves of sand as far as we could see: in every direction.
There were three types of magic; that not only required absurd quantities of mana to perform, but were far too dangerous to ever casually implement in reality. While Michael taught me how to diffuse and prevent them from being used by someone else, but it was Iris who showed me how to cast them.
All spells are derived from the five primal elements: fire, air, water, earth, and nature. The levels of difficulty were very deceptive; to those who believed that the more complex something was, the more powerful it became.
Weather, Cataclysmic, and Catastrophic magic: Each technique in those three schools, was usually the result of adding too much mana to a normal spell. Sometimes, a disaster could occur from the simplest mistake while using a basic healing technique.
There was no way that I could purposefully practice such dangerous skills inside of a city, or even within Lorthon Forest. Another aspect of the desert; at least in the part that we picked, was that the mana density was incredibly low.
We brought along a decent amount of magical beast meat and blood; so that between the two of us, we had enough power to properly test the staff. However, it was only a first try… after I channeled about half of my mana through the mithril bar; the relatively thin obsidian coating on the top orb disintegrated, releasing ten times the amount that I gave; directly into the atmosphere.
I was disappointed, but Ethir was satisfied with the results; it took him few days to create the second version. Luckily, the only thing that really needed to be changed was the thickness of the black-mithril, so he was able to make the adjustments relatively quickly.
In the subsequent test; I was able to pour an entire mana-pool into the staff, before all of it quickly leaked out of the shaft. It didn’t take him long to add more of the ebony-colored metal inside of the pole, but the third attempt wasn’t much more successful than the other two.
The problem was that after a certain point, the black-mithril; even in it’s purest state, couldn’t withstand a certain level of magical pressure. His solution was to create a material that could; thus were temporarily forced to stop working on the staff.
If Ailyn was around; the whole process would have been much easier, but at least we had a few of her students to help us out. I honestly had no idea what I was doing half the time; Ethir usually just needed me to provide his assistants with sufficient mana to ‘enchant’ the various metals.
Using runic magic, it was possible to alter a material’s properties; so once they engraved the glyphs, and I charged them properly, something new was created. As long as the power involved was relatively low; we were able to do everything in our temporary residence, the former dwarven palace: It had been converted into a research and development department of Lorelei Incorporated.
A decent amount of people lived there, including Ethir and I; which meant that, we didn’t actually have to pay for the copious amounts of incredibly valuable materials; that we had been nonchalantly obliterating.
The staff was actually meant to have been a mass produced product; the standard equipment for military mages, which was why it had been so boring in its appearance. Enchanted iron was called ‘mithril’ and along with the change in color, the properties were also modified.
They only had the three different attributes as a reference, so their experiments mainly focused on replicating the same phenomenon in other metals. There were plenty of names that I had never even heard of before: like platinum, palladium, and rhodium… but they all looked the same to me.
Once they were given identical properties; even gold would turn black, white, or silver depending on the runes engraved into the ingot. The quantity of mana used in the process varied; but once it reached the required amount, the material would be dramatically altered over the course of several hours.
It could then be melted down and utilized in the construction of the small spheres, that were used for testing. Each one required one of my red jewels at the center, so there was a limit; until a few months passed, and I… created more of them.
Working with Ethir was actually pretty fun; he didn’t have nearly as much trouble speaking when he was focused on something. Our relationship didn’t progress very much, but we were definitely growing a lot closer; we even shared the same room.
Six months after the battle; the “Alfirin News” company, was started by one of Lori’s disciples. By writing articles about recent events, and utilizing the printing press; that was mostly used for books and currency, the first newspapers were created and then distributed by maglev to White Mithril.
That was when I learned that Angren was being renovated; and that caravan routes from there to Ael Tol, or Beast Haven as it was commonly called, had been formally established. At the junction between the three cities was a relatively small town, which was called Nexus; it was fairly underdeveloped back then, but served as rest stop for people traveling via the labyrinth tunnels.
For a moment I was incredibly excited at the news; but then I read the section about my son that stated “Michael and Amber have been officially presumed dead; after entering The Forest of Corruption two months ago.
“However, in our interview with Maeleth; the mayor and allegedly The Spirit of Lust, she claimed ‘He’s probably just trying to escape being a father… and after I gave him my first time. Not only me, there are at least a couple hundred other women who’re carrying his children! Well, technically I guess we never actually f*cked, so I maybe it doesn’t really count.’; there has been no contact with the couple since they entered the fourth ring of Lorthon.”; so I immediately tried to sense his presence.
Even though my connection to him felt a lot weaker than had I remembered, I could tell that he was definitely alive. However, more important than the news; were the shipments from Angren and Ael Tol: Including strange plant-like technologies, many kinds of mana-crystals, and an odd silvery liquid.
While we were running all of those experiments; one of the most significant things we discovered, was that certain types of metals were more easily enchanted in specific ways. Yet, the more difficult and mana inefficient the process was, the better the result seemed to become.
The silver-colored gold; we called ‘Celebren-Glaur’ or CG, was the best replacement for regular mithril that we could fabricate. Iridium was an unimpressive looking ore we received from Angren; it ended up being the material which could resist the largest amount of magical pressure, for various reasons that I couldn’t be bothered to learn at the time.
I didn’t even know it was possible for a non-molten metal to be in a liquid state, so mercury was probably the most enjoyable material to use water magic on. Unfortunately, I had to freeze it solid, before Ethir could inscribe the runes on the strange substance: It was fairly difficult, but not impossible.
The enchanted white liquid was eerily similar to the color and scent; as the delicious Ael Tol milk that I used to drink at the time… they even tasted alike. Obviously the texture was completely different, and I also felt like I was going to die; for a few hours after swallowing a single gulp, but it was oddly addicting.
When adding mana to the metallic fluid, it glowed with a blinding radiance; and actually burned my skin, if I channeled enough power into it. Ethir said that it had something to do with the liquid state of mercury, which made the amplification at least ten times higher than what was possible for white-mithril: None of the other materials even came close to its efficiency.
However, the most crucial ingredient was the crystal that needed to be suspended in the milky substance; we had tried using more than one at a time, but it was more effective to have a single, superior mana-gem. The color was a visible manifestation of the jewels aura, so all of mine were crimson; and they also weren’t very high quality, compared to what we received from the demons that were hunted above Angren.
Growing mana-crystals was a relatively slow process; and outside of the third ring, they were almost nonexistent in Lorthon Forest. Fortunately, we had a steady supply which came in every week; making our experiments far more successful.
Shape and size were extremely important; bigger was usually better, but the quality varied depending on the weight. Spheres were the most common, but also the most efficient shape that a mana-gem could take for pure power output. Although, when it came to learning complex spells; the more complicated and bizarre formations were typically better.
It took us three more months of tweaking; while also going back and forth between White Mithril and the desert, to reach the final stages of the testing process. We nearly died a few times from the tiny exploding balls; before we discovered that the trick to charging them safely, was just to do it very slowly.
The most I could fit inside of a ten-millimeter orb, was a fifth of my maximum mana-capacity at the time; since it was constantly increasing at a steady pace… it wasn’t a very consistent unit of measurement. Ethir came up with the idea of using the aura of the average, and extremely weak, city mouse as a baseline.
One of those spheres could hold the power of seventy-thousand mice. Although, the truly impressive thing about them, was that after being filled; the output of spells cast directly from those extremely expensive balls, was multiplied nearly a hundred times.
Charging to twenty-five percent could be done in a second; but after that it became much slower, until reaching the upper limit: which took a total of seven hours. Aside from that; the most severe problem was the material costs, and the effort that each little bead took to create.
Overall, it was still a very successful invention; and seeing the destruction that a single bullet fired by a runic mage of Ethir’s skill could cause on the dunes, made me terrified at what could have happened if we tried testing anywhere near civilization.
A simple wind spell; transformed into weather magic, on the scale of a violent tornado of sand; which quickly dissipated after a minute. When he tried a fireball, even from miles away; I could still feel the intense wave of heat, from the explosion that occurred. The flash was so bright that it burned my eyes, and a deep roar reverberated around me; which was incomparably more frightening than any black-powder explosive that I had experienced until then.
The rounds couldn’t be reused; so they were extraordinarily expensive, not to mention the absurdly dangerous; charging and then firing something that created catastrophic damage from close range, was typically suicidal. However, for what we desired… it still wasn’t nearly enough.
Rather than having a single device like Ethir had originally designed; it was much more effective to simply have a fist sized orb, which was then attached to the end of a staff. He still wanted it to have two spheres though; since charging them took a colossal amount of time and effort.
We had to build a temporary shelter under the sands; so that we could spend the whole month and a half that it took both of us together, to charge those shiny silver balls. The shaft was made with a similar design as the globes, but there were no mana crystals suspended inside of the milky liquid.
On each end of the relatively plain metal bar, were three black-mithril claws; which acted as a mechanism to lock the orbs in place. There was a button that had to be manually pressed near each end, so that it wouldn’t accidentally open while using earth magic.
Each of the removable balls could hold my entire mana-pool, and amplify that by a hundred when actually casting spells. The only problem was that when they were fully charged, it was nearly impossible to control the rate at which the power was expended.
Ethir devised a simple solution, all I needed to do was carry around extras. Well, I had to keep them in satchels that were specifically made to prevent any accidents; that could occur if they were exposed to a large concentration of mana, and surpassed the threshold.
Every type of mithril was at least as strong as steel; so most of the experiments we spent the better part of a year on, were only useful to mages. However, our true purpose had never changed; we were creating weapons powerful enough to annihilate Belial and his army.