Qetnixik: Earthskin

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Keht-nish-ihk

It may not feel as strong as iron or bronze, but trust me— once you've worn qetnixik armor?
You may never want to take it off again.
— A smith to their apprentice
  Qetnixik, literally meaning earthskin in Qetlec,? is a mysterious byproduct of metalworking. This rubbery, translucent material is as tough as one might expect a metal to be— making it ideal for forging lightweight armor.  

Bubbling to the Surface

For reasons unknown, when raw metal ore is first melted down, there is a small chance that something else might bubble to its surface. Once cooled, qetnixik has a translucent dull grey-green color, and can be easily shaped with one's bare hands. It cannot be shaped in the same manner as clay, however— its shape can be altered, such as by rolling up a sleeve or adjusting a collar, and it will retain this altered shape. However, qetnixik cannot be sculpted or entirely reformed when cool, one must heat it back up in order to dictate its "base" form, much like most metals.   Despite this, armor forged from qetnixik is quite capable of protecting its wearer from harm. Little effort is put into shaping these pieces, as with the flexibility of the material, much of the small details will fade with time. Not only this, but embellishments are quite difficult to spot on a translucent piece of armor. Rather, smiths focus on the general shape of each piece, making sure to cut out small niches here and there in order to make it easier for their customers to adjust the fit to their liking.   Paint does not stick to qetnixik, and the material does not mix with metals— so any aesthetic embellishments to qetnixik armor must be slotted into each piece with holes or clever joinings. In this manner, some may choose to fit metal rings into their pieces, while others may add colorful strips of cloth or feathers to theirs.  

Other uses

Given that qetnixik is an uncommon byproduct of melting down other metals, it is more expensive than most people in Qet can typically afford. As a result, its uses outside of armor and protection are few and far between— and generally reserved for wealthier people who wish to show off. For these cases, the material is used to create jewelry or sandals— wearables that can be displayed. Some artisans may use qetnixik to create sculptures as well, though it is not well suited to this usecase.   There is one other practical use of the material, however— given its durability and flexibility, qetnixik sacks can protect fragile goods in a way that baskets and cloth cannot. Of course, as it is a translucent material, one must be careful not to store items of particular worth within— unless they wish to brag, and then get robbed.  

Hardened qetnixik

When melted down and fired at hotter temperatures repeatedly, qetnixik hardens into a solid grey-green material that feels like compacted sand— as if simply blowing on it would cause it to come apart. In contrast to this, it is heavier, sturdier, and more rigid than standard qetnixik. This, too, is often used to forge armor. Uncommonly, it is also used to create weaponry— typically blunt sorts such as hammers or maces, given that qetnixik cannot keep an edge.   This sturdier material is much easier to sculpt and as such, much more popular with sculptors— though it is still niche even among their kind given that hardened qetnixik retains its adversity to paint. It is much less popular with the wealthy, as the translucent, softer material appears akin to a gemstone— while this dull, gritty material can be easily confused with mud.
 

Extra energy

Ores, gems, and other precious minerals within Qet were formed from the bone marrow of the dead god Qetlon.? On occasion, the marrow forming these minerals would contain a higher concentration of the fallen's god's magical energy— this is what leads to the formation of qetnixik, which lies dormant within other minerals until exposed to high heat.

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Author's Notes

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Apr 6, 2023 19:42 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Oooo what a fascinating material. I love the details you've added to make it distinct from metal whilst still having similar properties.

Apr 6, 2023 19:50 by Grace Gittel Lewis
Apr 8, 2023 00:17 by jyliet of the house

Love the cosmological explanation!

Apr 8, 2023 02:53 by Grace Gittel Lewis
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