Ryssae Oil Material in Creus | World Anvil
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Ryssae Oil

The manufactory supervisor gave Thanie a quizzical look when she asked for a jar of oil, but when she showed him the letter from Rathnait, he promptly disappeared to the factory floor, returning with a glass jar full of thick, viscous fluid, glinting in the sunlight.    "I understand this is a favor for the Master Trader of House Numio, but I cannot give this oil away for free. Forty Florin." The supervisor placed the jar on his desk. "That's how much I would pay the Silverweavers if I had to buy a jar on the spot."   Thanie grimaced. Rathnait had only told her to source a jar of oil from Patino; she hadn't clarified whether it was a requisition or a purchase. "The price is fair, sir, but I am a mere apprentice, carrying out simple tasks as directed. Surely you could simply ask Master Trader Numio for recompense in a message." She made a show of pulling her purse from her belt and opening it. "I have a mere twenty two florin, meant to buy groceries tonight for dinner." She gave the man the best impression of wide-eyed innocence her face could contort itself into.    The supervisor sighed before reaching into his pocket, pulling out a small tear stub. "Fine. Give me ten florin and I'll give you this, it's good for a workman's meal down at the Travailer's pub. I'd hate to see a young girl go hungry on my behalf."   "My thanks sir!" Thanie handed over the 10F note and put the jar of oil in her satchel. "I will give Rathnait Numio your fondest regards, Master Viranus."   The supervisor waved her off as she left the office. Rounding the Lower Ward street corner, the apprentice stopped in an alley, out of sight of pedestrians, and opened the jar. She crinkled her nose; the oil had a whiff of rot, nothing like the extremely faint smell of crushed grass she had noticed at the Silverweaver's manufactory the other day. Thanie dipped a gloved finger in the oil and held it to her nose, before quickly screwing the lid back on and rubbing her oiled finger against the stone of the alley, trying to get the rancid oil off.   "The oil's being adulterated for sure. Rathnait's not going to be happy when she hears about this happening at her own manufactory." Thanie set off to the post shipment office. The request had come in on the overnight power-wagon post, and she figured the response would deserve the same level of speed.


Material Characteristics

Ryssae oil is a heavy, viscous liquid, refined from stalks of Ryssae tallgrass, with a yellowish tinge in the large cans it's shipped in, but spreading clear and iridescent when applied to a contact surface. Ryssae oil floats at the surface of water, but spreads slowly, making it less useful than ordinary pig-derived grease as a storm-oil agent.

Physical & Chemical Properties

Like most other oils, ryssae is an excellent lubricator. Unlike most other oils, it does not spread easily, does not burn well, and does not go rancid, making it nearly perfect for long-term industrial use, as manufactories using it in their machines have to clean and reapply oil far less often. When applied to the axle couplings of Power-Wagons, Ryssae oil can last upwards of two seasons before needing to be reapplied. Spills of Ryssae oil are also far less messy due to its slow spread. Most notably, ryssae oil does not burn easily; exposure to simple wood flame merely causes the oil to yellow. When heated in crucibles at extremely high temperatures, the oil will catch fire, but those temperatures are not typically found in common usage - the most convenient way of igniting ryssae oil is through the use of Magic.

Geology & Geography

Ryssae stalks are found at altitude in relatively inhospitable soils, but are widespread across most of the continent of western Saibh, growing in hillsides and off mountain trails. When ordinary trees can take root, ryssae fails to thrive, but ryssae can readily outcompete thin scrubs and grasses in very low nutrient soil.   Experiments in farming ryssae stalks have ended in failure, as the plant fails to thrive even in the highly controlled environments of The Academy of Etoile greenhouses. All oil is harvested from the wild supply.

Origin & Source

Ryssae oil is harvested from stalks of the ryssae tallgrass, though 'harvested' is likely too complex a word - the stalks are simply pulled from the ground and squeezed for an expression of their oil. Harvesters will gather baskets of ryssae in the hills and ship them as bulk cargo to manufactories, where they are expressed on site and applied for lubrication. Several entrepeneurs have attempted to commercialize bulk sale of ryssae oil, but the market is relatively small, and the manufactories that use the oil have so far preferred to source it themselves.

Life & Expiration

Ryssae oil has no known expiration when jarred and placed in a cool, shaded location. After application to a lubrication task, depending on the workload of the machinery in question, the oil can last anywhere between four weeks to a full season before requiring reapplication. Unlike other plant or animal derived lubricating oils, ryssae oil does not go rancid - the oil is simply gradually lost to friction forces, making it easily the most long-lasting of all commonly used lubricating oils.

History & Usage


Power and the manufactories that use it rely on an incredibly complex machine works for transmission of useful motive force and application to the manufacturing task. All power engineers are taught in their first lessons about the nature of motive loss - the gradual 'consumption' of useful power as it is trasmitted through reciprocation from the generating source to the applied location, worsening over distance. The application of lubricants not only reduces motive loss, but reduces maintenance cost as well, as lubricated joints and cams last far longer and deliver more power. All known lubricants are derived from plant and animal life, the vast majority of which tends to go rancid in application, causing foul odors, attracting animals and pests, and requiring frequent reapplication.   Ryssae oil avoids that pitfall, as it lasts for a much longer duration in use and does not go rancid. The Ryssae stalk is a common sight for travelers in hills and mountains, with the tallgrass having no obvious widespread use prior to the spread of power technology. Experiments with the oil proved fruitful, and now it's commonly used in high-end manufactories producing particularly valuable products.


Ryssae oil has been used since antiquity for light lubrication uses, when available - oiling cart wheels, door hinges, and the like. This usage was restricted to communities where ryssae grew naturally; other plant and animal fats are abundant and are used for those purpose elsewhere. During the initial development of Power technology in the kingdom of Nasse, prior to The War of Unification, several commonly used oils were tested for their lubricating properties, and ryssae was found to be easily the best performant, but the least available in the lowland plains of Nasse.

Industrial Use

As the highest quality lubricating oil commonly available, ryssae oil is used in both high value manufactories as well as in upkeep and maintenance of Power delivery systems, from the generating wheel itself, to each reciprocating flatrod that transmits power on distance, to the motive wheels at the power delivery endpoints. While this ostensibly puts a huge demand on the oil, in practice, most of the 'last mile' of power delivery uses cheaper animal fats to lubricate the cams, leaving ryssae oil only used for the more important main trunks, due to its greater expense.   Outside of industrial use, ordinary Etoileans don't use much ryssae oil - it is useless for cooking and for illumination, as it does not ignite easily or burn well.


After ryssae stalks are harvested, they're simply piled up and crushed en masse in a specially made press, and the expressed oil is collected from a spout, ready to use.

Byproducts & Sideproducts

The non-oil parts of the Ryssae stalks are simple leftover plant material, used as fertilizer and mulch.

Reusability & Recycling

Although ryssae oil does not go rancid, recovering it from brush application onto machinery is typically non-viable, as it disperses over time.


Trade & Market

While a commonly used oil in manufactories, only small amounts of it are sold on the open market, as there's very little consumer demand.


Ryssae oil keeps well in ordinary glass jars, stored out of sunlight.
1 pound-jar sells for ~35F
Bitter and foul
Very light shade of yellow
Common State
Viscous semi-liquid

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