You all are going to have to forgive me. I completely forgot about Cadameria in between the last post and now. I was supposed to take a breather to work out the magic system, but all that happened was…well, life. Life happened, okay? This may be my sixth month of blogging but I am still very, very new to all this. Part of it is, well, being new to this whole new lifestyle of writing every day, balancing the blogging with my daily 750 words every morning and my own desire to write other stuff, and just balancing this with my real life obligations. But don’t fret about me – I am having a blast. The only times that I feel stressed out and close to despair (it does happen) was when I start to fall off the wagon. This kind of stress, the blogging deadlines and searching for topics and finding time to read and work in between all of it? I love this stress. Gimme more of it. It’s like the stress of fighting a boss over and over again in a FromSoft game – one more try, man, just one more try, let me at ‘em again. I’ll win this time. For real!
Anyway, I’m back in Cadameria and I think we should close the discussion on the magic system for now. For one, we have a good idea of the basics – Glintstone holds a charge that can be released at the user’s discretion. That’s enough to work with for our prompt of Cadameria’s taverns (remember when this was supposed to be about that stereotypical spot where all DnD adventures began?) so we can just proceed with what we have. Before we do that there is, however, one final thing I want to mention with regards to Glintstone.
I had an idea that expands and builds upon the whole Glintstone holding charges thing, which wasn’t worth an entire blog post to itself (apparently I wasn’t all that far away from Cadameria as I thought). First, that Glintstone could be ‘charged’ with almost anything imaginable, from liquids to sounds to almost anything you wanted. When a Glintstone discharged, this was what was released. Think back to Hadrian’s call bell – that was a Glintstone charged with a sound that could be released when the customer pressed on it. Second, is that while the charge is stored, the Glintstone holding the charge can transmute the charge into something else.
Most of this is due to me trying to figure out how Hadrian’s dictation quill worked. Obviously it needed to recognise speech, and change that speech into writing. What’s happening is that the Glintstone on the pen is one that transmutes sound into movement. Say I activate the pen, and I say, “I want an order of five fries, please.” The Glintstone absorbs my speech as a charge, and transmutes the speech into a very specific movement – the exact movements a pen would need to make to write that down.
If this is how Glintstone works, it explains how using it as fertiliser would create a magical herb. The glint is charged to transmute the nutrients in the soil into something else entirely that would create the time bending effects of Waheed’s ajarram. It explains why Lord Vykstra has so much Glint in his veins – as a Magus, he obviously is trying to push the limits of what Glint can do, creating more complex effects from the known properties of Glint, or even research into why this stone can do this when others just remain inert.
With that in mind, we can create some new ways in which the taverns we mentioned use Glintstone in their daily business. First off is the simplest – fire! In Cadameria, people buy Glintstone charged with fire to cook, making the preparation of meals faster and easier. In fact…one particular tavern, called The Sugar Dragon, has managed to use Glintstone to perfectly craft a sweet dessert made of custard with caramelised sugar on top. They bring it out to the customer, tell them to stand back, produce a wand with a glintstone in the tip…and the customer’s eyes go wide when they see a jet of flame burst from the tip, scorching the pudding, leaving a hardened layer of burnt sugar on the top.
Yes, The Sugar Dragon is the first place in Cadameria to serve creme brulee. Shut up, I love creme brulee, I love the spectacle of the caramelisation, and so why the hell would I make a world without creme brulee in it?
I might have to do a bit of research into craft breweries to find out what exactly makes each brew taste unique, because my next idea involves booze. The Water Wheel – the tavern in Cadameria which serves the finest booze – also uses Glintstone in their specialty. Remember the wands used to shoot fire out of the tips? Well this one pours booze. Hell yeah. Even better is, the wands used in the Water Wheel have different Glintstone studs on the sides so you can order just about anything. Apple cider, with a hint of cinnamon, and make it harder? Sure thing, dearie, the innkeeper smiles at you as she pulls out one wand out of a hundred tucked into her apron. She taps two buttons – one button adjusts the alcohol content, another adds cinnamon – and tips her wand into your tankard. She tells you to take a sip and tell her if it needs changing. Hmmm…a bit too much alcohol, and go heavier on the apple taste? More taps on the buttons, and this time – oh, this time it’s perfect.
I don’t even drink and I have to say that sounds incredible.
A bit of a confession here. I’m writing this while vaping, and…yeah, you know what I’m about to say, so let’s not say anything. Just follow me down this street, into this square where Waheed’s countrymen have set up several large silk tents. Follow me into one, marvel at how thick the carpet must be, and let’s sit cross legged on these beautifully embroidered cushions. At the centre, between us, is a large pot, its sides thin enough that when the serving girl drops the burning coals inside, we can see the design reflected on each other’s faces. On the sides of the pot are several stoppered spouts. The serving girl asks us what we would like to have – I’ll pick something sweet, like maybe a peach flavour. She hands me a leather tube, unstops one spout and connects my tube in it. The glintstone in the mouthpiece doesn’t seem to do much – it flavours the smoke with my chosen flavour, yes, but in reality it transmutes the harsh smoke of the coal into something lighter, and pleasant to the throat.
I had my creme brulee, now I want my shisha too. Well, this is pretty self indulgent…
One small aside; I think it’s safe to say that some form of Middle Eastern or Arabic culture exists in the world where Cadameria exists. I have to profess my ignorance here – I am not at all familiar with their cultures. All I have are Western stereotypes and caricatures of their culture. I mean sure I can read up, but it’s just not the same, you know? So here is my promise. The culture I create that Waheed hails from will have some small basis in real life Middle Eastern cultures, but should end up different. Basically I will not be trying to represent these cultures in Cadameria because I have little familiarity with them, but I am going to try and use them to inform and inspire me in the creation process.
In terms of hardness, I think I can say that Glintstone is quite a ‘soft’ magic system, but that’s okay. We might come to harden it over time, or we might leave it ‘soft’. While soft magic is easier on the fiction writing, when worldbuilding for its own sake the harder we can make the magic system the better. It lends more credibility to the world, that it has its own laws of nature that aren’t broken just because the author doesn’t want to kill his favourite OTP. I hope we end up with a rock hard (sorry) magic system some day, but for now this will do. I am thinking that the limits of Glinstone lie in what, exactly, you can ‘program’ Glintstone with, and how to do that programming. I have absolutely no idea at this point in time. Ideas run from etching runes onto the stones to exposing them to heat all the way up to blood sacrifices. Maybe Glintstone itself isn’t scarce but to program it to do one simple transmutation takes months or years. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.
I’ll bet there are a million different uses of Glintstone that you can come up with. I’ve indulged in my favourite things, so maybe you’d like your favourite things to make their way to Cadameria. Or maybe all this talk has inspired you and there’s something else you think they could do with Glintstone. Do let me know! And remember to join me next week, because then we’ll be tackling a different prompt from the Worldbuilding Journal.