Ju’alis approaches the pool again and again the colours swirl to greet her approach. The pale nimbus of light illuminates her features with copper and magenta hues. Reflected back in the pool she sees her face. Her aging face…make-up and dyes obscuring the silver fur that now frames her whole mouth and whiskers.
Pantheris is so excited about all of this. The pocket-planes of existence in the room – Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Shadow; the powerful magic of the pool and the books. Ohh the books. Tomes and tomes line the outer wall. She wonders again what drives his ambition. They are on a splendid adventure together but sometimes it doesn’t feel very together. In the aftermath of those demons, there isn’t much together for her. Calibash is consumed with the study. Arondil makes her uneasy and Bleys has been hurt. He acts angry but he is hurt. Ketteris and her dog aren’t her cup of tea either. Too stoic that little one. She likes the fight too much. Ju’alis has lost her taste for blood. “Stickypaws” she used to call herself. She used to like that name on so many levels — cleaning blood from her hands; taking jewels in the night; an something else. She has always been good at taking; taking life, taking jewels, taking gold. Taking has defined her but it has lead her here. A place at the edge of reality where the only things she really craves any more can’t be taken. Friendship and companionship can’t be taken. Peace of mind can’t be taken, it just gets lost somewhere after you take too much. Youth can’t be taken, it just gets lost when you get focused on other things. Love can’t be taken, it just waits lonely by for its time to come again. She smiles as she looks at Pantheris. He does that funny rubbing of his nose when he sleeps as if he is expecting his whiskers to come in, but they never do. She smiles as she remembers the last good meaning of “Stickypaws” and sharing a sweet-bun with a young elf out-of-place in a land of spices and honey.
She turns her attention back to the pool that bathes her ruminations. It has been a quiet home for the past few weeks, and expects that there will be many more weeks spent honing skills and preparing for the next areas of this complex. Honing. They now know that the relic of this area is the water of this pool. The water that glows and gurgles when she approaches.
Greedy essence it is called. They could harvest it from any greedy creature but Ju’alis knew that would be evil. It takes part of the soul — drains it into the fluid and becomes a powerful component of the runeforge. She couldn’t take it from another creature. She had done enough taking. Glancing slowly over her shoulder to make sure that she is not being observed, she takes the golden jeweled decanter and dips it into the pool. Against all the warnings she lets her hand drive deep into the water. The water responds with flashing light and energy as it suffuses with her essence. She weakens as she feels her life force ebbing from her. Years of life tumbling into the water with ruddy currents; power and skill cascading away. Her energy glows and flows filling the decanter with sparkling liquid. The ingredient from the halls of greed.
Ju’alis wipes off her hand and examines her handi-work. It is not like the tomes described. It is not a golden liquid, but irradescent prisms of the rainbow. Her heart starts in her chest thinking that she has failed, but she sees gold within the fluid like a brilliant cloud and she knows that it has worked. Although, not in a way that the owners of the pool would imagine.