The Pirates Of Atlantis
The key to the power of Atlantean magic is orichalcum, a mystical metal. Minuscule fragments of orichalcum infuse the rock and soil of the entire island of Atlantis, giving the realm and its people a foundation for their mystical might. More importantly, at several places around the island concentrated amounts of orichalcum can be mined!
Wizards use this orichalcum to fuel their spells and magical chariots, to craft enchanted weapons and armor, and for many similar purposes. Without orichalcum, Atlantean magic would be much weaker, and sustaining the Dominion would become impossible.
Properties of Orichalcum
Orichalcum is often described as “copper-colored”, though it’s actually a somewhat deeper hue than copper. It comes in two forms: spherical pieces known as sairos (pl. sairoi); and crystalline pieces known as tallos (pl. talloi). Sairoi typically range from about pea-sized to about grapefruit-sized, though some larger (and in rare cases, much larger) sairoi have been found. They’re usually found clustered together like bunches of grapes, which can be broken apart with force or, more commonly, mild heating. Talloi range from crystals about half the size of a pencil to ones as large as greatswords (and sometimes larger); they usually occur in small bunches, with the largest one in the center surrounded by several smaller ones at the base. Talloi are much, much rarer than sairoi.
Orichalcum is as resistant to force and impact as the best steel. It does not transmit temperature; it has its own natural temperature that makes it feel slightly warm to the touch. If put in a fire, when removed it won’t be any hotter and can be safely handled with ungloved hands; if left in a snowbank, when removed it won’t be any colder.
These properties make orichalcum extremely difficult to work under ordinary circumstances. To melt, shape, and temper it requires a special type of enchanted forge known as a kaminoi, plus enchanted blacksmithing tools and an anvil infused with orichalcum dust. When exposed to the power of a kaminoi, orichalcum becomes copperlike in consistency and easy to work. It can even be alloyed with other metals, though this is rarely done except with steel; orichalcum-steel objects are even more durable than pure orichalcum ones. Alloyed orichalcum loses its natural warmth, its resistance to extremes of temperature, and some (but not all) of its inherent magical power.
Orichalcum is inherently magical, which gives it several unusual properties.
First, orichalcum generally cannot be directly affected by magic. Magic forces seem to pass through it, flow around it, or be absorbed into it (depending on who you ask, the type of magic involved, and other factors). This is why it has to be mined with hard physical labor; Atlantean wizards can’t simply draw it out of the ground with magic the way they can gold, iron, and other ores.
Second, despite this resistance to sorcerous effects, orichalcum holds an enchantment better than any other known substance, making it ideal for crafting magical armour, weapons, vehicles, and other devices. Most Atlantean enchanted items contain some orichalcum, even if it’s just a sprinkling of orichalcum dust.
Third, spellcasters can use the innate magical “energies” of orichalcum to fuel their spells. In fact, in the case of many powerful Atlantean spells this is virtually a requirement, since using the amount of energy required would knock out or kill the caster who relied on his personal strength!