Lime wood in magical artefacts Material in Imperial Soulmates | World Anvil

Lime wood in magical artefacts

Welcome to Imperial Soulmates! In a gigantic and futuristic fantasy empire filled with solarpunk magitechs, Hélène is hiding that she's one of the emperor's soulmates. However, to lift the legal curse on her best friend, she will have to blackmail the emperor himself... Come read about her plans, and the world in which she lives!
Introduction to the story | Hélène | Soulmates | Novel upcoming

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Wood has not traditionally been a great material to use to make magical artefacts: it has a very low concentration of metal atoms for binding magic, and so it does not retain or conduct magic very well. However, the invention of organic magitech now allows bioengineers to increase metal atoms inside the cells of plants and fungi and to position them to form runic diagrams. Since then, the use of wood has exploded in artefact crafting. Lime wood in particular has become everyone's favourite.    
Lime as wood
The wood: Lime wood is a soft wood that can be carved easily and very precisely. It is also light and flexible, allowing for easy transport and making it resistant to the strain of regular use. Thus lime wood is perfect to craft artefacts that will anchor complex enchantments—or to give the illusion of complexity.   The magic: Generally 2 layers of runic diagrams are put into the wood: an internal one bioengineered at the cellular level, and an external one carved into the wood. Each can then anchor its own enchantment, either independently from each other or or interwoven into each other, thus adding another layer of complexity.   The magitech:
  • A lime tree is bioengineered and allowed to grow. It is then fallen and cut into planks on which enchanters can anchor their magic. This is perfect to make fancy furniture such as warded cabinets or tables that protect dishes against poisonings.
  • A bioengineered lime tree is grown directly in its final destination such as into the walls of a building. Its bark is stripped and it is sculpted and carved while being kept alive. A potion coating is added on top of it afterwards to give the tree the same protection as bark from parasites and infections. This allows the tree to continue to grow and the carvings—and the magic they anchor—to evolve with it. However, this requires a lot of long-term planning and so is more difficult and expensive.
  • A cheaper halfway technique is to cut a bioengineered lime tree into a plank but to keep it all along inside a potion that maintains it alive. It is then used to build a piece of furniture or a house wall and "replanted" into the ground to become an "alive furniture" or an "alive building". This means that it will continue to grow and evolve but in a more predictable way than as a full tree. It is however weaker and will not anchor as much magic.
    Lime as fibres
    The fibres: Bioengineered lime trees are striped of their bark before being used, thus wasting this material. To avoid this, a special use has been found for it: the bark is soaked in water for a month so as to allow for its inner fibres to be separated. The fibres are then weaved, and the resulting fabric can be used to anchor complex enchantments.   Warded clothes: Lime fibres have been great for developing a new type of wards that can be attached to clothes keep them clean and to protect the wearer in a better fashion than with a portable warding artefact. However, this technique is extremely expensive, as bioengineering is not cheap and growing trees takes time, and so this type of clothes has become the mark of the imperial elites.
    In order to prepare for her trip into Sanne to rescue the kidnapped emperor , Hélène had to do a lot of shopping. First of all, she had to get hold of a few lime clothes—if she was going to reclaim her true family name and use its influence to get entry into the Sannian palace, she had to look the part of an elite noble!   Letting her fingers run alongside the fabric, she allowed herself a moment to be emotional. She was hardly poor as a well-respected enchantress, but lime clothes were hardly discreet and would not have allowed her to fade into the background as much as had been necessary after running away from her family. Still, she had missed the feeling of being cocooned inside the magic, protected from the world.   She would certainly need all the wards she could get to go through with her plan...
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    Dec 24, 2023 02:03 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    I really like that you have chosen lime as the tree of choice, rather than stereotypical oak or something. I love they use the bark fibres too.

    Dec 24, 2023 07:55 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks :D I got the idea from fantastic mechanical sculptures made in Nantes. They said they're using lime wood because it's light, flexible and easy to carve and I thought that I got to make use of this XD

    To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
    Jan 5, 2024 05:32

    Wonderfully crafted as always. It is always nice to see something that is more effective when long term planning is considered. I mean sure, you could just build a house from cut planks, but wouldnt you rather have a living tree as part of your house that offers even stronger protections?

    Updated soon.
    Jan 27, 2024 15:59 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks! Yes, having a living tree would be so nice! At the same time, waiting for it to grow up properly must just be soooo frustrating XD Especially as it's still a relatively new technology (a few decades old), there won't be super strong and tall trees around yet. But I'm thinking of revisiting this world with another story set a few centuries later, and that would be a fun thing to consider!

    To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
    Jan 14, 2024 20:02

    Materials and Clothing are usually more overlooked in worldbuilding, really like your take on this topic and the use of lime like mentioned by Serukis makes it stand out even more.

    Sit down, my friend, and let me tell you of Aran'sha . A world where the sands shift and the stars sing, where the wind carries secrets and the twin moons keep silent vigil over it all.
    Jan 27, 2024 15:57 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks <3 I think my author footnote disappeared from the article, but I was inspired by a company that does big mechanical sculpture in Nantes (in Brittany in the West of France), and they say they use lime for all of them because of how easy it is to sculpt and how flexible it is.   And when I started writing this article, I wanted to make double use of the lime ad make it into a fibre too, and by looking it up on wikipedia I found that lime was used historically as fibres so it ended up being just so perfect! XD

    To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
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