Black Dust Material in Flightless | World Anvil

Black Dust

You have to go deep. Half a mile down, you might start to see streaks of black in the rock. One mile down, there's a decent supply if you're willing to work. You need to go to 1.5 - 2 miles below the surface to find it any large amount.   Black dust is the name given to the curious powder found in the deepest mines all over the world. The tiny specks of black are embedded in the rock, and to the untrained eye, they look like ordinary impurities in the rock when found closer to the surface. Black dust was found by accident in the First Age, when a miner brought up a strange rock he'd found in the depths of a gold mine. At first he thought it was coal, but it was even darker than that.   The rock was so dark that seemed to be 2-dimensional even as it sat in his hand. It was too black to have any shadows, and seemed to absorb any light that hit it. It was the most concentrated black dust rock humans had ever stumbled upon, and it fascinated the miner.   It also fascinated the owner of the mine, who promptly took it from him. In bright light, irregularities and highlights could be seen. Curious about the rock, the man crushed it into a powder and found a black, powdery substance mingling with ordinary stone. The stone was heavier than the powder, so he used a spinning device to separate the substances and isolate the black dust. This dust went on to change the world.


Material Characteristics

In its pure form, black dust appears as... black dust. It crumbles easily once separated from rock, and turns into very fine grains with the consistency of flour. This powder is as pure black as a substance can be. It has no shadows nor highlights, and a pile of it sitting on the table might appear like a hole in the universe.

Physical & Chemical Properties

The most curious property of black dust is how it repels magic. Its considered to be so dark that it not only absorbs all light, but absorbs magical power as well. A soothsayer from Tanish wrapped in a cloak infused with black dust would find their gift of foresight blinded, for example, and a similar cloak would protect one from being targeted by a spirit shifter in Shilogo.   Most notably, black dust also affects Spirits. As beings of pure magical energy, they are completely unable to touch the substance. Coming into contact with more than a pinch of the material causes the spirit's physical integrity to be destroyed, as soap breaks the tension holding a water droplet together.


Black dust is rarely used alone. Most often, it is mixed with other crafts to create special materials. It is mixed into steel to create pure black weapons, prized for their aesthetic value.   It is mixed with pigments to create black paint that transmits the absolute light-absorbing properties of black dust to whatever is painted.   It is mixed with dyes to create a black fabric, so dark it is useless for camouflage because even the night shadows aren't so black. These cloaks, however, serve as a shield that protect the wearer from being affected by any magic.

History & Usage

Everyday use

Black dust was originally a novelty. Once they knew what they were looking for, miners brought up stones with streaks of black to be ground up and separated. Black dust could be used to make the darkest of paints, or mixed with dyes to create fabric so black it tricked the eye.   It was used in blades - ceremonial blades, mostly, for the show of having a sword or a dagger so black. The dust was added to the molten steel, but never seemed to disrupt the integrity of the metal. Dust never seemed to impact the material it mixed with. Even when holding a handful, it never felt wholly real.   Then came a day that altered the course of history. A military man approached a badly injured friend after a battle and spotted an incandescent humanoid figure lurking by the cot. In a panic, he stabbed the being with his black dust sword. Light crackled from the wound, the blue-green skin roiled, and then the figure extinguished like a candle flame.   He had just killed a spirit. With such a weapon, the future would never be the same.
In the First Age: Common, if you know what you're looking for
In the present day: Unheard of
Earthy, dry like dirt
Pure black
Melting / Freezing Point
~ 1200°C
Common State
Related Species

This article has no secrets.