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Mithril (MITH-rəl | /'mɪθ rəl/ | /'mɪθ ɹəl/)

A vital, and valuable, material to Known Space

As seen in A Few Good Elves
Mithril is a surprisingly lightweight, silver-blue metal that is essential to a variety of technologies, the most important of which is Starfaring Engines. It has unique properties that cause it to resonate with the flow of the Airts, the currents of time, space, gravity and magic that connect all things. When set in close proximity with Starmetal, the two interact to create a gravity well and an etheric membrane. This essential technology is used for a variety of purposes in Known Space.

Properties

Material Characteristics

Mithril superficially resembles silver in many ways, except that it has a bluish tinge. It is usually encountered in its solid form, often crafted into solid-looking pieces that nevertheless suggest a certain "pliability" when touched. It may also be encountered commonly as part of a spindizzy engine, in which case, it usually presents as a spinning, perhaps not entirely solid, rainbow disk.   Like silver, mithril can produce beautiful ringing tones, and is occasionally used to make ship's bells or church bells, although this was much more common before the fragmentation of the Avalonian Empire.

Physical & Chemical Properties

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Bugsuit - Wings Contracted by Diane Morrison
Mithril conducts magical energy better than any other known material. This is one of the reasons that it is useful in making such items as prosthetic limbs, and why it interacts with Starmetal in the way that it does. Mithril veins in pure quartz-related crystals have been used with some success as "magic accumulators" -- basically, a self-generating battery that constantly and steadily accumulates magical energy from the ambient Airts. It is thought that the use of such crystals may be necessary in the formations of the extensive Airt Webs of permanent enchantments that were once a staple of the magic out of Avalon.   Mithril is also lightweight for a metal and often surprisingly warm to the touch, like the temperature of living bodies. It is surprisingly malleable, and since it reacts to magical currents, this makes it possible to shape with an incredible amount of detail.   However, unlike silver, it forms a solid that seems to bely its texture. Thus, it is also suitable for forging weapons, even armour. Like silver, it has purifying qualities, so it is often used to preserve water, if one can afford it.   There are some references in ancient Avalonian books of elven smiths "singing mithril." The magic for how to do this has been lost, but in art depicting the process, a full moon is always shown in the sky. Whether that is meant to symbolize that "singing mithril" is some kind of divine magic that calls upon Arianrhod, Lady of the Stars, or whether it has some practical purpose, no one can say.

Compounds

Mithril is almost never used as a compound, because many of its unique properties do not function if the metal is not pure. Even when used with starmetal for its Airt-conductivity, it is only used in proximity, not as a compound. The exception is when it is used as a water-purifier or a wound dressing, in which case, it may be used in compound with gold or silver.

Geology & Geography

In raw mineral form, mithril is usually encountered as thin, shiny mineral veins running through more common ferrous ores. Since mithril is a siderophile element, it is rarely found on a terrestrial surface, although it may be found on asteroid surfaces, once the regolith is stripped.

History & Usage

Discovery

Mithril was widely used in the ancient Avalonian Empire, and this is one technology that did not fail to make it to the modern era.   There is an unusual amount of terrestrial mithril on Caer'Thun. It is possible that this is where it was first discovered, and this may be where manufactured starfaring engines were first developed. To this day, there remain significant deposits in the Theraearatril Mountains, where the city of Sol'Tohvassneris is located, and in the Iron Hills. The dwarves of Mithril Keep in the Iron Hills are in constant conflict with the Khel'Nasar over their attempts to mine the mithril there.

Everyday use

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Celestial Compass by Diane Morrison
In everyday life, a starfarer might encounter mithril in the form of a Starmetal Talisman, part of a starfarer's standard equipment. The tiny fragments of mithril and starmetal used in combination in this pin, necklace, or other piece of jewelry, is necessary to generate a personal etheric membrane should a starfarer fall overboard. It is also an essential component in a Celestial Compass .   Mithril may also be encountered as one of the coin denominations used in Known Space -- mithril Nebulae (*Nb). It is not a coin that people would commonly encounter, as one such coin is worth 10 platinum Galaxies (10*G), which is more than what even highly-paid Avalonian Imperial Navy officers make in a year. It may also be transported as trade bars.  
Yathar rubbed absently at their unit’s identifying tattoo on the meaty part of his right arm... Then his hand slipped down past his elbow, about halfway down his forearm, where it turned from a gilded warm sun elven shade to blue-tinged metallic silver.   He spoke the command to detach the mithril prosthetic and put it aside on his cot. Yathar rubbed more vigorously at the end of the stump with a grimace. Shaundar blinked away an image of Yathar thrown overboard, his arm severed by the line he had grabbed to save himself, the blood spraying out in a plume.
To Know Your Enemy by Diane Morrison
  Mithril is a foundational material used in Medical Artificing to form prosthetic limbs. These shiny, pliable prosthetics move roughly as a missing limb or digit might, but are as durable as steel. Although the feat has never been repeated, there is at least one case of a person whose body has entirely been reconstructed from mithril.

Cultural Significance and Usage

Elves hold mithril in high esteem, and tend to use it in religious and state ceremonies. The more religious believe it was a direct gift to them from Arianrhod, Lady of the Stars.

Refinement

Mithril can be found in pure veins, but is more commonly refined from iron deposits. Its lower density allows it to float on the surface of the iron when the two are smelted, and it is then easily skimmed off.

Hazards

Because it is more commonly found on asteroids than on a planetary surface, mining mithril contains all the hazards of space mining. The alternative -- finding it deeply buried in the earth -- is hardly less hazardous.

Enviromental Impact

Mithril is almost harmless to the environment, but the process of refining mithril from iron leads to extensive environmental pollutants from the iron.

Reusability & Recycling

Mithril can always be melted down and reused, with almost no environmental pollutants produced.

Distribution

Trade & Market

Because mithril is in such high demand, it is expensive and hard to acquire, except for large organizations such as a military force or large company.
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Active Spindizzy by Anonymous

The reaction between mithril and starmetal is how spindizzy engines function
Aeum
Material | Aug 10, 2021
Note: Mithril is the same material as the Aeum mentioned in Tillerz's world Alana:
Type
Metal
Value
1 mithril Nebula (1*Nb) per ounce
Rarity
Rare
Odor
Metallic
Taste
Metallic, but like with silver, adding a tiny bit of mithril to water increases its fresh taste
Color
Silver-blue
Boiling / Condensation Point
2,162 °C | 3923.6 °F
Melting / Freezing Point
961.8 °C | 1763.24 °F / -273.15 °C | -459.67 °F (absolute zero - maybe)
Density
13.07 g.cm-3
Common State
Solid metal
Related Technologies
Related Professions

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Luwraek by HeroForge (Diane Morrison)

Ensign Luwraek a Gnome in the Avalonian Imperial Navy, had a body mostly crafted out of mithril.

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Fleet Admiral Pin

Mithril is used in rank insignia for Flag Officers in the Avalonian Imperial Navy. Thus, they are colliquially known as "the Mithril."


Cover image: Mithril Sheet by My Imagine

Comments

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26 Jul, 2021 07:53

Ow! My Eyes! LOL that cover pic is intense ... perfect for mithril

Come vist my world of writing Pangorio or my world of RPG Adventures All-In !
27 Jul, 2021 16:38

:D

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
2 Aug, 2021 21:48

A refreshing and unique take on Mithril! <3 Thanks for the enjoyable read!

Author of Rise: Liminal Chronicles |
18 Sep, 2021 18:54

Thank you for entering the Summer Camp Material Prompt! Giving you a sticker in recognition of your excellent entry for interesting and imaginative ideas! As I said before, it's a refreshing and unique take on Mithril!

Author of Rise: Liminal Chronicles |
19 Sep, 2021 15:54

Thank you so much, Shy! I am honoured. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
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