Scorched Saturdays

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

Stainless Steel Shot sold by Rio Grande - an example of metal shaped with the Shot Tower method
Stainless Steel Shot sold by Rio Grande | An example of metal shaped with the Shot Tower method

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.

Steal the Sky can be found on AmazonGoodreads, and Barnes & Noble

Click here For more Scorched Saturdays

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.

Selium

"Imagination..." by Katrin Elizabeth | What selium might look like in its raw form.
"Imagination..." by Katrin Elizabeth | What selium might look like in its raw form.

A viscous, lighter than air gas, selium can be found all across the Scorched continent. It's embedded in the bedrock, and often forms pockets within the mouths of the continent's firemounts. The native Catari population used the gas for a myriad of purposes - art, performance, ritual. But the Valathean empire has put the substance to work in the belly of airships facilitating trade all across the world.

While selium (sometimes called only "sel") can be manipulated into a wide variety of colors and textures by adept sel-sensitives, the raw material is wispy and multi-hued. It is akin in color to fire opals, and can be stored within weighted leather bladders designed for the purpose.

Steal the Sky can be found on AmazonGoodreads, and Barnes & Noble

Click here For more Scorched Saturdays

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.

Doppels vs. Illusionists

Photo by Fuxriss | What an illusionist might look like mid face-change.
Photo by Fuxriss | What an illusionist might look like mid face-change.

In the cities of the Scorched Continent, the term doppel is a feared one. Parents tease their children with stories of powerful face-changes stealing them away and taking their place if they misbehave, and teetotalers warn against the dangers of carousers being tricked by wily doppels while their guard is down.

But the term doppel is a distinctly Valathean word, used to malign and disparage the magical talents previously embraced by the native Catari population. Talents that the empire of Valathea deemed too dangerous to allow to flourish, and as such set out to destroy by both sword and a smear campaign. The Catari call their doppels illusionists, and they can do far more than change faces.

Illusionists are capable of manipulating selium, a gaseous substance mined from firemounts, to change its apparent texture and color. They can change their appearance in this manner - the ability for which they are most feared - but they are also capable of creating illusions separate from themselves, whether it be creating the image of an inanimate object or disguising a location.

Due to Valathea's insistence on using their derogatory term, doppel, the fact that illusionists can change the appearance of so much more than their countenance has dropped out of common knowledge. An oversight a few doppels take ready advantage of.

Steal the Sky can be found on AmazonGoodreads, and Barnes & Noble

Click here For more Scorched Saturdays