Quicksilver Sphere

First came the merchant's guards, then the rest of his entourage of sycophants. They crowded around him, as the fat little bastard sat there looking pleased as he could be. But it was what he sat on that caught my eye. At first, I wasn't sure what I was looking at. It looked like a bubbling, rolling mass of metal that had formed into a cushion for his highness' arse even as it bubbled along the ground.   Bloody sorcery. You can't trust that. You can't trust a man who won't walk on his own to feet.  
— Unnamed Mhajarian City Guard
 

Appearance and Operation

  Quicksilver Spheres are vehicles of semi-liquid metal, made to transport the few who can afford the extraordinary expense required to create one. In its dormant state, the Spheres resemble a perfectly solid sphere of shining metal marred only by the protrusion of a sharp crystal sticking out at the top. While the metal is always the same, the exact coloration and dimensions of the crystal vary slightly, though the highest quality resonance crystals come in easily recognizable amber-golden hues.   To activate the Sphere, the rider touches the crystal with another one made to match it, and in response the metal becomes liquid, falling to the ground with the crystal at its center. While active, the crystal glows softly and the liquid metal bubbles and shifts ever so slightly in tune with the crystals resonance. The liquid metal reflects light brilliantly, with the slightest illumination causing a rainbow sheen to dance across the surface.  
Not all Spheres are made out of the same base metal. Particularly ostentatious and wealthy patrons commission spheres that gleam like bronze, silver or gold in place of the liquid iron.
  The metal yields slightly to the touch and sitting on it is strangely comfortable, as the material remains reasonably fluid and provides a cushion for the rider to sit. A sphere is only good for a single rider (in a pinch, maybe two). To ride a Sphere, the operator sits in front of the crystal and places one hand on the control-crystal, at which point they can mentally command the liquid metal to move. The Quicksilver Sphere bubbles and seeps across terrain at a comfortable pace, able to traverse inclines and slopes as long as they are not too acute.    

Riding in style

    The Spheres are not the fastest, the most practical or even the most reasonable way to travel but few things are as effective displays of wealth as being carried across town on a shimmering, flowing bed of liquid metal.    

Power

  The sphere is powered by an enchanted crystal, set at the center of the sphere. The better the Crystal, the more energy it will generate and the faster the liquid will respond to the commands of its user. Chipped, flawed or damaged crystals introduce a noticeable delay between issued commands and movement of the vehicle. Should it ever be destroyed or sufficiently damaged, the Sphere will fail and the metal disperse then begin to solidify. Passengers are advised to extricate themselves from the pool before it does so.    

The Crystalline Engine of the Sphere

   
Tales persist of crystals marred with more subtle flaws or even sabotage, causing the Sphere to come alive with malice. The poor soul in the story is either swallowed whole by his luxury or ripped part as it spirals beyond control. Every theurg who makes them have assured their patrons that these are nothing but the tales of common, superstitious folk and they have nothing to worry about.   Nothing at all.

Price
Exorbitant
Rarity
Rare
Length
3~ Meters
Height
20-30 cm thick
Weight
between 600 and 800 kg
Speed
Lazy pace to a fast jog
Cargo & Passengers Capacity
Single passenger

How do they do it?!
 

Secrets of the Sphere

  Few know how to make one of the Quicksilver Sphere and those who do guard their secrets jealousy. Precious metals and rare crystals from the Far Deep are all required to complete its creation, ensuring both its rarity and price.   These are crushed, melted, and fused together under terrible heat. The occult rites that give the Quicksilver its semblance of life are exacting and take time, but unless the failure is particularly spectacular its creator can simply scrape the bits of helpers off the wall and try again by melting the same mass of metal.  
 
Crystals
  A Far Deep crystal, prior to refinement
 
 

Quicksilver Sorcery

  Those less foolish look at the Sphere and wonder: what more have been made in those same forges?  
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  Introduction to Thaumaturgy

Comments

Author's Notes

Special thanks to Kelban for helping me with some ideas and feedback!


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10 Jul, 2018 16:36

It would be a really strange way to transport myself but why not xD I like how creative is this one, I have never imagined using a sphere to travel before !

13 Jul, 2018 11:56

When you gotta travel in style, travel on a constantly undulating blob of liquid metal. What could possibly go wrong? ;)

10 Jul, 2018 17:45

This seems like a very creative and very fun way to transport a person. Question: It's not actually mercury is it? Because then I'd be concerned about a whole slew of other issues. xD.

10 Jul, 2018 17:50

Our sales representatives assures us that it is not actual real mercury! And if you can't trust the sales rep, who can you trust?   More seriously: No, it's not actual mercury, but if you ingest the metal in its liquid state, the difference will be largely academic once the resumes its solid state.

10 Jul, 2018 18:33

very unique method of transport, and a clear explanation of how it would work! i like how you pointed out how it might be a bit impractical, but it's considered prestigious due to appearance.

10 Jul, 2018 18:35

Thanks! Yeah, as I was writing it, I was more and more thinking "this is stupid as a way to get around", then I realized that was basically both irrelevant and perfect for really rich people.

19 Jul, 2018 10:24

"what more have been made in those same forges? " - "what else has been made in the forges this came from?" I have to say, the dry, dark humor of this article really speaks to me, and it is well executed. Great job!

21 Jul, 2018 21:02

Thank you! :D   I'll have a ponder about that and see what comes out when I shake that sentence around, thanks for the feedback! <3