It was finally time. They traveled to Mandala as fast as they could, and when they reached the city, they found it in an uproar. The people were panicking; the mighty cone of Mount Hellena Bas-Crysalli, which had been quiet and smokeless for decades, was showing signs of dramatic activity! Pyre did her best to calm the populace, but her nerves were just as keyed. Was this Acheron’s scheme? Ignite the volcano and bury Mandala in lava? Clara felt this didn’t make sense, but Pyre was done with talking. They had to head to Mount Bas-Crysalli immediately!
The enormous mountain was indeed smoking dangerously as they approached. Seles half-expected Clara to express fear over their coming task, but obtaining magic had done wonders for the girl’s sense of confidence. She approached Hellena Bas-Crysalli without fear.
They saw immediately why they couldn’t have attempted this rescue mission without the help of the elements. Mount Hellena Bas-Crysalli was a miniature world unto itself, covered with the cracked and disjointed heights of old lava banks and the huge, deep gouges of old lava flows. Everywhere huge boulders blocked the way, and treacherous igneous rock formations made walking even more difficult. Trying to climb the mountain on foot would have taken weeks.
At last Seles summoned Faience to him. The great earth spirit had recovered power during her rest, and using that power, she created a long, smooth tunnel straight up the mountain, as close to the center as she dared place it without disturbing the volcano’s building pressure. They ran up the path; Faience warned them to summon Rogalian before going further and then disappeared, once again drained. Seles did so, and Rogalian wrapped them all in a shield impenetrable by heat, although he warned them that this protection wasn’t strong enough to stand up to magma and entreated them to be careful.
As ready as they’d ever be, Seles, Clara, Niay, and Pyre ran into the heart of Mount Hellena Bas-Crysalli.