The battlers were in the air, playing with the air and fire sylphs in the winds. Even the healer was out there, flitting around them all faster than they could react. Below them was a lake and the water sylphs tumbled in it, leaping into the air and crashing back down with fun loving splashes.
Stria stood on the hill overlooking the lake and watched. She appeared to be a small, mostly featureless mud creature, her head wide and flat, her mouth broad, her nose nonexistent. She watched the other sylphs do what she couldn’t and the earth elemental rubbed her hands together with a wide, toothy smile. She couldn’t fly through the air or swim in the water, but she’d never felt the lack.
Instead, she dove. The earth elemental fell forward and dropped into the ground as if it were no more solid than the water in the lake or even the air overhead. Blind but fully aware of the feel of stone against her mantle, she flew downwards, a long, sleek shape undulating through the gaps that formed the rocks as if they weren’t there.
The earth felt like returning home. Everything around her was right as she dropped down past layers of shale covered in earth, down to the bedrock and below, to deep stone that had never seen the surface and wouldn’t for thousands of years.
Stria kept dropping, letting the heart of the world pull her towards it and easing her travel. It would be harder to swim back up, but the depths so sweetly called for her.
She passed through the roof of a cavern that had no connection to the surface. She saw crystals in it, growths as large and strange as a madman’s dreams, and then she hit the floor of the cave and was falling happily through the stone again.
It wasn’t a single, solid piece. She dove through plates, feeling how they were sandwiched on top of each other and the different stones that made them up, all formed by varying processes that couldn’t help but fascinate her, and as she went down, she listened to the earth sing to her.
Stria laughed, singing back in the same rhythm with her own, small voice. There was so much more down here than there was on the entirety of the surface and she longed to explore it all, to dive until the rock around her became liquid, where the continents of the world floated on a sea of magma. She could feel that massive sea, but it was deep, deeper than she could go and return for, much as she loved it, she was an outsider here and the energies of the world wouldn’t sustain her. She needed her master for that and this was one place where he could never follow her.
She could, however, bring part of this world back to him, tokens of her love that he crafted into marbles for her as a token of his. Stria cast around for a trinket to bring back and there were so many. Finally, she settled on a rock that she easily slid loose from the bed it lay in. It was a simple, ordinary rock, but she could feel where an entirely different type of stone lay inside, a present waiting to be discovered.
With her prize in her grasp, Stria swam back up towards the surface of the world, leaving the endless depths and the singing of rock behind her. She surfaced, no longer sleek and fast, and stomped her slow way back to her master’s home. Hers too, she supposed, except where she’d just been felt more like home. Except for the fact that her master was here. Because of him, she’d always come back.
Stria opened the door and went inside, tracking dirt as she always did. Her master wasn’t back yet and she set the rock on the kitchen table. She felt tired, but it was a good tired. She looked at the ordinary rock she’d brought back and tapped it with her finger.
It split in two, revealing the other rock that had formed inside of this one so long ago, hiding inside it like a new life inside an egg. Stria ran her blunt fingers over the surface of the grapefruit sized diamond she’d found and went with a happy sigh to check on the status of her marbles.
Xenolith - a fragment of a rock inside another rock.