Over on Pinterest, I've been keeping a pin board full of images that inspire and capture the spirit of the Scorched Continent series. With book one, Steal the Sky, coming out January 5th, I plan to explore some of these images here and explain what they mean to the world and the characters which inhabit it.
The Salt Baths
When you combine aquifers and volcanic activity, such as that produced by the Scorched Continent's firemounts, hot springs are a common result. The heat of molten igneous rock forces water to escape through the rock layer above, creating geysers and superheated pools on the surface.
The city of Aransa's firemount, the Smokestack, is no different. To the south of the Smokestack is a wide ridge of rock pocked through with caverns called the Fireline Ridge. This ridge is a result of past volcanic flows. Part of Arasna's aquifer extends as far as the Smokestack, and the result is a grand cavern wherein the floor is spattered with small geysers and superheated pools. Enterprising settlers, recalling the bathing houses of their home empire, crafted large bathtubs and filled the walls of the tubs with selium gas to make them float safely above the steam and vapors the pools and geysers produce.
But where's the salt in the Salt Baths? The entrance to the grand cavern is a smaller opening protected from the steam, and in an effort to empress, the original builder Lord Tasay had slabs of salt mined and brought up from the southern end of the continent. These slabs were installed as tiling all around the entrance, giving the baths their name.