This wasn’t what I intended to post next, but I’m still working on the “fleet carriers” post. In the meantime, have some more words.
So, among the basic words in a language, certainly for chemists, are those for various substances, and this is as true in Eldraeic as it is for any other language.
If we are to begin at the beginning, it would be with the classical elements, which in the Old Empires region were usually held to be six: air, fire (andra), water (alír), wood, metal, and stone (azik). But that is not quite enough to describe anything but what were, in the ancient days, considered the most fundamental substances, it being their combinations that gave rise to all the myriad components of the world.
And so, in the next step down, the first eldraeic alchemists divided substances into airs (gases), clays (“woody earths”, of which there seemed to be rather a lot), crystals (“metallic stones”, likewise), fires, metals, oils (“fiery waters”), salts (“stony waters”), waters, woods, and stones, thus:
- aessoth: a (type of) crystal; any crystalline (to the eye) substance
(from aesa “crystal” + oth “substance, stuff”)
- alíroth: a (type of) water; any watery substance
(from alír “water” + oth)
- azikoth: a (type of) stone; any stony substance
(from azik “rock, stone” + oth)
- claithalíroth: a (type of) oil; any oily substance
(“dark/shadowed water”, from claith “shadow” + alíroth)
- ésaeroth: a (type of) salt; any salt or similar substance
(“many little crystals”; from é [diminutive prefix] + aesa + oth)
- múszikoth: a (type of) clay; any clay-like or earthy substance
(from músel “soft” + azikoth)
- nistraöth: a (type of) metal; any metallic substance
(from nistra “forge” + oth)
- teliroth: a (type of) air; any airy substance, or gas
(from telír “sky” + oth)
- lethroth: a (type of) wood; any woody or fleshy substance
(from leth “life” + oth; note that lethroth includes both wood and meat, as the classical element does)
There is also:
- andradoth: a (type of) fire; any fiery substance
Resulting from the common ancient confusion that fire is an element, rather than a process. Although while not substances, it is still possible to consider various different types of fire (i.e., different combustion reactions) and arguably plasmas as subcategories of andradoth.
To provide a comprehensive list of substances would of course be a virtually endless task, but let’s simply start with the metals, of which there were a pleasantly limited number known in ancient days:
- andralis: uranium (“fire-metal”; it’s warm to the touch)
- arídanis: gold (“sun-metal”; from the color)
- ashínis: silver (“star-metal”)
- brans: iron; also bransael, steel, and telbrans (“sky-iron”), meteoric iron.
- glénis: tin (“key-metal”, so called because it unlocks the potential of other metals, such as copper and lead)
- morins: copper (“red-metal”; from the color)
- púlnónis: lead (“mass-metal”; obviously, it’s heavy)
- traäshínis alír (“star-metal water”): mercury
And there you are. Go forth, and talk about stuff!
Did they have a word for something along the lines of “Precursor Metal”? Something to use to refer to the (apparently) impossibly strong and light substance that a lot of the artifacts lying around might be made of?
Why should Uranium be warm to the touch? Its heat conductivity is low for metals but not really low and it is quite dense, so it should be cold to the touch. If you are thinking of decay heat that is waaaaay to low to be felt. Except of course in a critical assembly…
Bear in mind that due to differences in planetary and system formation – young, third-generation G2 dwarves with a supernova remnant contributing directly to the original proplyd – Eliéra is considerably enriched in power metals and isotopes compared to, say, Earth. Enough so that processed and even some unprocessed ores could support criticality without enrichment.
Raw andralis – hardly today’s purified U – from ancient sources was quite definitely above room temperature.
Yeah, while it may sound unusual, natural nuclear reactors rcan absolutely occur. Considering the substantial deposits of heavy metals on Eliéra, they’d be all over the place.
“Enough so that processed and even some unprocessed ores could support criticality without enrichment.”
Cool as the concept sounds, I am pretty sure this does not make sense. You do not feel the warmth of an unshielded critical assembly and live to tell the tale. Remember that e.g. the demon core delivered a lethal dose within fractions of a second. If you mine into a natural fission reactor you are dead as a doornail within minutes due to intense neutron and gamma irradiation. If they were common on Eliéra perhaps death metal or cursed metal would be a better name :)?
And even if you managed to extract the material it would quickly cool to room temperature as soon as it is no longer part of the critical assembly. (Or if there are enough highly active fission products to keep the stuff warm you, again, can’t approach.
If you want radioactive stuff that is warm due to it’s activity but can directly be handled by biologicals you need a PURE alpha emitter with a half life below ten thousand years. Anything above (e.g. 239 Pu half life 24000 years is cold afaik. 238 Pu, half life 90 years is red hot in appreciable quantities.) Since you cannot go from supernova to planet (let alone life bearing planet) in less than 10000 years planets cannot have radioactive isotopes that produce enough warmth to be felt.
Critical assemblies on the other hand cannot be pure alpha emitters, since they need neutrons form their reaction to make a chain reaction. Neutrons are highly penetrating ionizing radiation and thus are lethal in quantities high enough to generate appreciable warmth.