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The Ferren Downs Mines are famous for their iron, but deeper inside the caverns and past the iron deposits is another equally-abundant mineral, though far more sinister. Named for its white, weblike formation along the cavern walls and deadly effects on common folk that typically resemble symptoms of a venomous spider bite, spiderstone is thought to be placed by one of the gods to keep hidden the secrets of the inner caverns.


Ferren Downs

Ferren Downs is thought to be the largest source of spiderstone, though the extent of it isn't well known. Its appearance only begins at the lower caverns—the deep, long-neglected and original caverns presumed to have been present centuries before the Torniets bought the surrounding land—however its poison still seeps upward to slowly poison those inhabiting the upper mines.

In 1545 Astervitch ventured down into the lower caverns without suffering any effects of its presence. He encountered stretches of it covering the walls and hanging in large stalactites from the ceilings, running down seemingly endless nooks of forgotten cave. Interestingly, Astervitch was the only orvon enslaved at Ferren Downs throughout Torniet's operation.

Aveaas Catacombs

Almost nothing is known of the Aveaas catacombs from the early centuries of the first empire, however the few times they have been unsealed those who've ventured inside have noticed the presence and effects of spiderstone over some of the brickwork inside. The spiderstone is thought to have formed between 300 and 600, after the catacombs were built in 267.

Disappearance from Ferren Downs

In 1554 it was discovered that some of the spiderstone had disappeared from the mines. There was no knowledge of anyone having gone down into the mines since the Torniets' slave mining trade had shut down and, as it was too poisonous to be handled, its disappearance afforded no explanation. However, those who'd gone down remarked that the areas in which it had been removed bore marks from manmade tools and not any animal or natural effects.

fortún aquire te opportune
An Aveaan phrase that directly translates to, 'fortune acquired on opportunity.' In many inventory ledgers this notation indicates an item that doesn't currently have any apparent use but could be useful/profitable in the future; on ships it's sometimes used to indicate which liquors to save for special occasions.
Category: mineral?
Formula: Unknown
Source: Ferren Downs, Aveaas catacombs
Color: white

Spiderstone can be lethal for common folk even at distances as far as 30 ft (9.1 m), and it's unclear of whether it poisons the body through inhalation or skin permeability. Its effects are nearly instantaneous and symptoms can occur within minutes of exposure; touching the stone produces an immediate rash on the area of contact that within minutes forms boils.


  • muscle stiffness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • difficulty breathing/asphyxiation
  • abdominal pain
  • excessive sweating
  • swollen/bleeding eyelids
  • tremors and convulsions

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Cover image: by midjourney


Author's Notes

Meta: 'spiderstone' plays a significant role later on in my book/s, so I tried to add a couple subtle hints as to what it actually is. Let me know if you figured it out, or if it's too obvious!

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