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The Bone Spring

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Pearl carefully shifted her feet along the narrow rock ledge of the underground ravine. Even though the furiously churning river was a good twenty feet below her, the air was still wet and the stone Pearl clung to were more slippery than she would like.

It was necessary, though. Every year, just before planting season, the reigning monarch of the Farmlands had to go to the headwaters of the Break River, called the Bone Spring, to relight the Sun Lantern to ensure that the sun would still rise and give the river itself some of last year's harvest so that it would still flow into the Farmlands. If ever the monarch did not make the journey, the sun would be forever lost below the ground, the Break River would cease to flow, and the world would end.

Pearl did not want the world to end on her account, so she climbed on. There was no ledge on the other side of the ravine and the ledge on Pearl's side of the ravine was narrow and perilous, so she was mercifully safe from mobs until she got very close to her destination, where the ledge would get larger and closer to the river.

For now, though, she would press on.


When Pearl could walk on the stone ledge, black from wetness, she reluctantly let go of her grip on the wall to draw her sword and take hold of her lantern which had been bouncing at her hip during her climb. The mobs would be coming for her soon, and although Pearl was a good fighter, she was never too certain about the mobs at the headwaters of the Break River. Pearl had never seen any of the mobs she would see here any place but by the Bone Spring.

When the water tossing about a yard below Pearl began to spark green, she assumed a ready position for combat, her sword poised directly at the sparks. An emaciated blue hand stuck out of the river and gripped onto the river's stony bank, the rock exploding into green sparks below it. Pearl cursed internally. This was a new mob, and she didn't like it much at all, but she'd need it to get further out of the river before she could kill it. As another hand joined the first one and they began to drag their owner out of the river, Pearl was dismayed to see what looked to be an elvish woman with long black hair and closed eyes. The mobs who looked closest to human could always do the most damage, Pearl had found.

Pearl had the advantage, though, and quickly thrust down into the mob's skull, her lethally sharp blade cutting through the bone with shocking ease. The mob's eyelids snapped open, revealing eyes that reminded Pearl of the void of the End, and Pearl's sword exploded into a shower of green sparks, leaving her holding a useless sword handle.

"No," Pearl said, her tone inscrutable in the way that only someone terrified out of their mind could manage, as she tossed the handle over her shoulder and began a mad dash across the wet stone, desperately trying to outrun this mob and any of the rest of them.

As Pearl ran, she brushed past several mobs and acquired many burns, scratches, and probably several forms of exotic poisoning from them. They were definitely all chasing her, too, although she knew for a fact that they wouldn't follow her to the Bone Spring itself from a couple of disastrous past expeditions.

Finally Pearl spotted in her lanternlight the Bone Spring, a massive cave filled with a churning lake and the source of the Break River itself, a massive geyser reaching higher than Pearl's measly lantern could illuminate. 

Pearl made her way along the stone shore to the Sun Lantern, its last vestiges of light slowly flickering out. Pearl opened the fuel hatch of the massive lantern with great difficulty, struggling to lift the heavy cast iron door with her injuries. Once the hatch was open enough that Pearl felt confident that it wasn't going to just going to slam shut on her, she channeled all the magic that she had accumulated over the year into the fuel chamber to fuel the lantern for the next year.

As Pearl made her way to the lake, she glanced at the passageway out. Getting out would probably just mean a painful death, and Pearl would prefer to die in the river itself, as it would probably be less painful.

Pearl called to the the river, "Share in the bounty of the crops you helped grow! The wheat, the potatoes, the carrots, and the sunflowers!" As Pearl called out each item, she tossed them into the crashing lake. Then she tossed herself into the lake, swimming down into the depths.