Manna Gems

"Manna you see, cannot be created or destroyed. It merely is. It is everywhere, in every thing, it is the fundamental pure essence of creation, of the Aether, and it is from these eight raw flows, these eight base elemental energies, that all things exist. Magisters wield their power, drawing in the very currents that flow continually about the Material Realms, drawing them from the Aether and shaping them, changing their forms to suit their needs. This is a highly dangerous practice, hence its many laws and regulations. These base elemental energies seem to have a...will...almost, of their own. They do not appreciate some mere mortal trying to forcibly contain or shape them and resist it vigorously, each in their own ways, and sometimes with catastrophic results to the individual trying to manipulate them. However there does exist a stable and very physical form of manna that can be used for enchantment, to aid in spell weaving, and is of course the energy source for Magincore Reactors used in Sky-ships and many other technical marvels developed by the brilliant minds of Waston. Manna gems. The Magisterium recognizes their power and value so highly, each order draws their name from the gem tied to their elemental power."

Properties

Material Characteristics

These eight gems exude energy, glowing with a radiance and color tied to the manna which formed them. Rubies of deep crimson red, Sapphires of the most vibrant ocean blue, Topaz a deep rich almost gilded brown, Opals of silvery grey lighting up in many hues when the light hits them just right., Diamonds of pure crystaline translucent white or even transparent glittering like glass. Onyx of the deepest black one can imagine, Emerald of the most living and vibrant green, and Amethyst of a full bodied and rich purple.

Physical & Chemical Properties

Manna gems have many properties that make them quite useful and sought after. The most well known and sought after is the fact that they contain a 'pure' source of manna, of power. The shell of the gems seems to act as almost a filter for the taint of the Void. Depending the size of the gem in question, it will hold a measure of raw, clean, zero risk manna that a magister can use, and though once expended, the energy sent into the world in the form of a spell weave, if left undisturbed for a time (about 6-8 hours in normal circumstances, or as swiftly as 20 to 30 minutes if placed in a place of elemental dominance, such as placing a ruby in a bonfire for example) it will naturally draw in more manna, with the walls of the crystal seeming to filter out the taint of the Void as it is aglow again. Every Magister whom passes the Rites of the Weave recieves, along with their licenses and sanctions of practice, a simple charm, a small pendant sized piece of the appropriate gem for their manna/order.

Furthermore though, such gems can be ground into a fine dust like powder, a dangerous, but highly powerful stimulant for those whom can weave magicks of the appropriate magick. Though unmentioned, most Magisters on Valerick keep a small snuff box with a dose or two of such powder, just in case. This powder is in some demand by true masters of the weapon and armor smithing trades as well, most commonly and specifically dwarven crafters. That is because those powders are the main ingredient, the backbone of dwarven rune-crafting, the most stable sort of enchanting done on Valerick, as they maintain their cycling of manna even in the powdered form, and maintain that filtration from the crystalline structure.

Compounds

As mentioned above, rune-craft powders are made from these crystals. They are also, small sliver like shards, a major and necessary component for Magicore Reactors. One small shard, no bigger than the tip of a human's pinky finger, of each of the eight, carefully set into rotating orbit around the tacturnium core at the precise speeds and angles, to create the nigh infinite energy loop that powers any Magnetech weapon or other piece of technology like sky-ships. The size of the Reactor can be sized up as appropriate, the largest using a tacturnium core the size of a watermelon and gem shards the size of a gold coin.

Geology & Geography

These gems can be harvest and mined from deposits where manna of a particular type has pooled for a long enough time, and in enough volume, to begin crystalizing. Something about the crystalizing process seems to cause the shedding of the Void taint, though no one truly understands how. Such deposits are rare, but their do exist considerations that help guide where they may be more likely to occur. For example, one would be best served to seek Sapphire deposits near or within the the bed of large bodies of water such as lakes. Each gem has an elemental affinity, and with it, general features that geographically mark places where deposits may be more likely to be discovered.

History & Usage

History

Manna Gems have long been a part of Valarian history, starting with the dwarven race. They are the only ones whom can mine such gems safely, at least until quite recently, due to their inherent magick resistance. For the longest time they were basically only used by dwarven rune-forgers and Magisters. However all that changed some two hundred years ago

Realizing its energy potential, one gnome, Belis Thorndewy came up with quite the wild contraption. The Magicore Reactor. Smelting tacturnium for its willingness to draw in manna, a favorite metal for rune-forgers to work with, with pure obsidian, which rejects manna with a shockingly violent force, in a ratio of 3.9841:1, he made a 6 pound core, a perfect sphere of this alloy to attempt to test his theory. 8 slivers, each no larger than his pinky, one of each manna gem. He carefully set them, exactly 2.18944 inches from the core, one at a time, releasing them. They floated, not moving towards or away from the core, held in stasis by the opposing effects and forces. Each one after insuring his theory was correct, he carefully set into motion, giving the lightest push at a very specific and measured angle. This first core was a painstaking process to assemble, taking him some fifteen hours. But when he finished, he was nearly instantly rewarded, for he immediately could observe his theory was correct. A nexus of pure magickal force, a harnessable energy source, began to hum and flicker, surrounding the whole assembly. He went about designing ways to tap into this energy nexus, and testing its durability, proving time and again his hypothesis, that it couldn't be drained. His work lives on forever, though he is gone, the Belis Cores, as they are known in the industry, are now one of two gold standards for the most modern technology, along with Gotlbrand Boilers and Steamworks. Because of this, these manna gems are now a highly sought after resource

Everyday use

One at first might assume magick is the most common usage, and at points in the past that may have been true. But now Rune-Forgers and then Magicore Technologies use the most by volume, though they do not compete with the Magisterium's needs. In fact they actually act as a recycling point for the waste. For you see, the gems used by the Magisterium must be pure, so those slivers, shards and powders that are mixed with the surrounding stone, but still magick and manna gems/powder in their nature, are useless to the Magisterium. The powders are used by Rune-Forgers, and the little slivers that split off during extraction are what is best used for most Magicore Reactors. The Magicore Reactors are without question the most common, and in many places, everyday use that folk would be familiar with. Sky-Ships, Magnetech Automatons and Machinums, Magnetech Weapons, all these things are quite common on the continent of Wyriel and most areas of Gavis-Lune, as common as one can expect such complex technological marvels to be, of course.. All these things are less common on Durol, though still relatively accessible.

Cultural Significance and Usage

Each Gem is tied to one of the Eight Orders, the eight casting traditions or schools of the Magisterium. They are used for spellweaving as a safe source of manna, and also the gem pendant is a badge of a Magister's legal legitmacy, just like their licenses and saction paperwork, to well.....exist. Each gem is tied to one type of manna, one casting school, as noted below;

Gem Type Elemental Manna Geographic Features
Amethyst Entropy Swamps, Mires, Bogs
Diamond Spirit Ruined Cities, places that once had a very large and active populace
Emerald Nature Forests, Jungles, Grasslands, Marshes, Bogs
Onyx Shadow Deep Underground Caves and Cavern Systems.
Opal Air Savannahs, Wild Plains, Deserts, Tundras
Ruby Fire Volcanoes, Deserts, Savannahs, Jungles
Sapphire Water Lakes, Rivers, Oceanic Coastlines, Glaciers
Topaz Earth Mountains, Steppes, Cavern Systems, Volcanoes
Gem Manna Proper Name Common Parlence Name
Amethyst Lobhadh Entropy Magick
Diamond Meanma Soul Magick
Emerald Dulra Nature Magick
Onyx Scath Shadow Magick
Opal Aeir Air Magick
Ruby Doitean Fire Magick
Sapphire Uisce Water Magick
Topaz Domhan Earth Magick

Hazards

The reason only dwarves can mine these gems safely without extensive protective equipment is due to their inherent magick resistance. The dust and particulate thrown up from the process of mining these gems from stone and earth is highly dangerous but also highly volatile if not vented properly, the area controllably kept below a certain concentration. Breathing the dust in, dependant on the gem in question, can cause many health complications for those not protected or naturally resistant. Amethysts for example, breathing in the dust from the mining processes extensively can and will eventually cause necrosis of the lungs. Sapphires cause eventual dry drowning, the lungs filling with bodily fluids even with how dry it may be outside the person's body.

Reusability & Recycling

By their base nature, as they are merely a solid form of manna, and manna cannot be created or destroyed, merely altered in its form, manna gems are quite versatile and reusable

Distribution

Trade & Market

A 'measure of manna' is simply put, enough power for a simple (read 1st level) spell-weaving. Below is a table of rough value for each gem type, listed as per 'measure' (so per 1 level of spell power). Powder can be assumed to be 60% as valuable, shards 70%.

Gem Value/measure of manna
Amethyst 1093 gold suns
Diamond 1200 gold suns
Emerald 935 gold suns
Onyx 1187 gold suns
Opal 1008 gold suns
Ruby 996 gold suns
Sapphire 1000 gold suns
Topaz 1000 gold suns

Law & Regulation

Like arcane magick itself, the use, possession and even harvesting of Manna Gems, or the byproducts, Manna Shards and Manna Powder is highly regulated. You must have special licenses to harvest the material, and a license for harvesting Rubies, for example, does not cover your business operations or you if you begin harvesting Diamonds, those are entirely seperate licenses and permits. You also need special licensing and permits to work with the materials. Manna Gems themselves are illegal for most any regular person to possess, and is a rather harsh punishment in most nations on Valerick. Jail time and far worse can await those caught in possession of such gems without appropriate paperwork. Prison sentences are notably long, ranging from 15 years to life depending on the nation in question.

The powder is less heavily regulated simply because it is the least volatile, not really holding manna directly, merely heightening the ability to draw it in, almost polarizing or magnetizing the object undergoing rune-forging to enhance it, or the person whom snorted it, to the manna of that particular tone and styling. It is an illicit substance for Magisters, but this does not mean it is not used and obtained regularly by magisters, merely that such things are done discreetly and not talked about in public.

SImilarly the shards, though regulated, are a manufacturing resource and those licenesed in any appropriate trade or craft may acquire such materials with no hassle.
Draw of the Aether by Keon Croucher (myself)
The above image depicts the setup of the examination any potential apprentice of the Magisterium must undergo when they are first brought into a Collegiate to determine which flow of Manna they will be trained and properly schooled in wielding. This also, naturally dictates which Order they will become a Magister of. Simply put, one of each manna gem is laid out on the table the desk of examiner, and the potential apprentice will slowly pass their hand about six inches over each gem, waiting no more than ten seconds over each one. The examiner will watch the Aether, and note which currents of manna seem to 'tug' from the gem towards the potential apprentice's hand, whilst also waiting for one of the gemstones to flare up. Only one will, the incantations of the ritual and test insure that the strongest connection will be the only one to react thusly.
Type
Ore/Mineral
Value
It varies based on size, and type, as some are more common than others, with Diamonds and Onyx being the two rarest, but one can roughly assume about a thousand gold crowns per measure of manna is a good baseline average to assume.
Rarity
Rare

Comments

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Master Moondare
Laure Yates
2 Jul, 2022 10:57

Great article! Very detailed and inspiring. I'll favourite to go back to it in the future.

2 Jul, 2022 23:14

Thank you :D

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization