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.
"Grains" - The Currency of the Scorched
As a frontier outpost in a hostile land, the Scorched Continent is a wild place. When Valathea established its first cities there, it needed a currency it could control the making of, something that by technology alone they could keep a stranglehold on, lest their new-found riches be undermined by counterfeits. Enter the Shot Tower method.
Precious and semi-precious metals are melted, then poured through sieves of varying thickness and "frozen" into perfectly round spheres by air and water temperatures. The process is difficult to refine, and the spheres are all tested on a carefully calibrated ramp to prove their smoothness. Any spheres, aka grains, that don't pass muster are re-melted and reformed.
Counting houses and finer establishments all have their own, Valathean-issued ramps designed specifically to test for counterfeits. Unlike a coin that's been stamped with a seal, which can be mimicked by simple carving or creating a mold, the shot tower method is complicated and requires specialized equipment, giving Valathea a monopoly on currency-making in the region.