The Gift of Lighting
The gift of lightning sees practice around the year, but is most practiced in the winter, when life slows down and you can safely access the otherwise lightning ridden beaches of the Storm Coast. It originally started as an art competition, but has since evolved into a practice that everyone may try their hand in.
During the earliest times in Dorralias history, when it had just evolved from a military settlement and the first civilians had begun settling there. Back then not many uses of lightning and electricity were known. One of the first things people tried to avert the lightning which plagued the city was to set up giant lightning rods on the nearby beaches and on the cliffs. This of course did not work at all, but when the people dug up the lightning rods afterwards they found that where lightning had struck at the beach, fulgurites, the crystallized sand from lightning had formed below the lightning rods. People began to plant new rods, sometimes with elaborate constructions to create more and more fulgurite creations, which they afterwards dug up and either presented in their natural form or worked on as artists. Eventually, fulgurite creation became a national habit and people started gifting small fulgurites they or their families had created to friends.
To create the fulgurite, a copper antenna is placed at one of the beaches near Dorralia. During Dorralias height, there were designated areas for fulgurite creation, chosen by the cities engineers to avoid overuse of the beaches. The planting usually occurs right after a lightning storm to avoid danger or during the winter, where lightning is rare alltogether. After a storm, the antenna is removed. If it can be salvaged, it can be reused, but often the power of the storm damages the antennal. Then follows the tedious and delicate process of recovering the fulgurite from the sand. Once the fulgurite has been recovered. it can either be given directly or transformed into clear glass in a "low" temperature kiln or painted or mounted. The gift tends to be presented in person with a small speech explaining the occasion (which often is just a show of friendship or affection).
Components and tools
The lightning has fused the sand into silica crystal and the structures are hollow, which makes them prone to breaking under stress. The fulgurite interior is naturally smooth, but the outside is rough and similar to the surrounding sand. Fulgurites can be as small as a knife handle and as large as a small building. Some ambitious lightning givers have also begun burying different coloured sand below their antenna to create unique fulgurite composites. Images of smaller fulgurites:
Generally lightning gifts are given from one individual to another as a token of appreciation for some actual or perceived kindness. The main process is however the preparation of the gift. Help from others during the process is allowed, but the gift giver is expected to do the work himself. Giving a fulgurite you did not at least participate in creating would be seen as poor taste.
Most fulgurites are given in private whenever the lightning giver wants to give them. However, occasionally the rich and powerful will make a show out of a particularily important or beautiful fulgurite they want to give to someone else. This public spectacle is always calculated as it can openly show support for a cause, a new alliance between power players or an announcement of an engagement.
Image source: picture by Pierre de Foudre
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