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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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.
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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1 mithril Nebula (1*Nb) per ounce
Metallic, but like with silver, adding a tiny bit of mithril to water increases its fresh taste
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)
Luwraek a Gnome in the Avalonian Imperial Navy, had a body mostly crafted out of mithril.
Avalonian Imperial Navy. Thus, they are colliquially known as "the Mithril."