The blue crystalline material known as Thanhium is both a greatly powerful and highly dangerous substance. Once so rare only the Dwarves had access to it, the great use of thanhic technology by the Harbingers of Setherien has led to its proliferation throughout the known world.
While Arcaurum (aka Magegold), the other well-known magical material, is simply highly receptive to enchantment and conductive to magical energies, thanhium actually contains significant amounts of mana locked up in the crystal. This mana began as heat: thanhium passively saps heat from its surroundings, storing it as the mana within.
Thanhic Ore (Lapis)
Scholars across the realm have discovered various different ways of painstakingly extracting and purifying Thanhium into crystals from large quantities of Thanhic ore. The process is usually a complex one but can be made less so with the use of magical intervention. To discover the method of purifying Thanhium, research and experimentation is encouraged - LMs can be used to oversee the process to inform you if the experiment was a success. A successful purification of the ore will leave you with a Pure Thanhic Crystal - this purified form of Thanhic ore can turn heat to mana fast enough for practical applications. A semi-successful purification results in some thanhic dust being released into the air and the result would be an Impure Thanhic Crystal, which is less potent than a pure crystal and significantly more fragile, bumping into things will cause it to release dust and have a chance to shatter entirely. Those studying the purification of thanhium will likely only be able to form Impure Crystals until they are advanced enough in the field. Failing the purification process entirely would result in either a waste of the mineral entirely, or a large cloud of thanhic dust being released into the air.
Thanhic Crystals are powerful and almost immediately form a layer of frost around them on exposure to the air. Dropping a crystal into water will cause a cumbersome layer of ice to rapidly freeze around it. The crystals have weight and durability equivalent to glass or ice, meaning that unless they are thin they cannot be broken with bare hands, but a hammer, sword blow, or dropping them is likely to crack or shatter them. Those who break a Thanhic crystal have more to worry about than broken shards, however, as clouds of thanhic dust are released into the air upon breaking.
Thanhic Crystals are the most useful tool for most magical technology. While Thanhium is unable to be enchanted directly, the mana from within Thanhic Crystals can be used to power enchantments, particularly when the enchanted material is Arcaurum (magegold). These enchantments never run out of power so long as the thanhium has heat to absorb and provided the thanhium is given time to “recharge”. The most complex use of this is the Golem Core, which uses a very pure and quite a large thanhium crystal as their power source.
Thanhium’s mana is in a way, artificial, it cannot whatsoever be mixed with any descendants personal mana supply. The two types of mana are intrinsically different, and likewise, any attempt to fuel an enchantment with both Thanhic mana and personal mana, would cause the enchantment to fail and likely, explode. It is impossible for a mage to “draw upon” a thanhium crystal in their possession: they are not mana batteries, and any attempt to would likely be catastrophic.
Thanhic armour by nature is quite useless due to its sheer negative effects. It is as brittle as glass, cumbersome to purify into the exact shape of armour, toxic, and incredibly cold, to the point where it would freeze the wearer to death in mere minutes. That said, it has been known in the past for custom Thanhic weapons to be forged, and although brittle and usually a one-time use, their toxic nature makes them particularly dangerous, especially to mages, who suffer Thanhium’s negative effects the most.
The Spectre classed creature known as a Harbinger possess a unique magic that allows for the direct enchanting of Thanhium. Their immolation magic, also known as ‘FrostFire’ can be deployed to alter the makeup of Thanhium in a variety of ways. The most prominent use of this is the superhardening of Thanhium to the strength of carbarum metal (iron armour), meaning they possess the ability to forge the only known Thanhic armour, and their corporeal nature means they are quite immune to all its negative effects, making them a particularly difficult enemy for mages. It was discovered after the fall of Setherien that this armour could be used to feed their corrupted essence by drawing from the heat in the air, allowing them to self-sustain themselves without the need of their previous master, Setherien.
The Harbingers are also able to feed frostfire into large Thanhic shards to create a Bloodshard. These Bloodshards are collosal red shards of corrupted Thanhium that hold a variety of uses, they release their contained mana as a corrupting blight, killing all life within their vicinity overtime, assisted by its constant and ravenous drawing of heat which only aids in the death of life around it by freezing it solid. Bloodshards also act as a signal booster to a Harbinger’s telepathic connection with its brothers and sisters, allowing for long-range communication when within one’s presence. A Bloodshard is incredibly unstable, however, and if attacked by magical spell or by significant force, it will produce a massive detonation, amplified by both its tainted, pulsating essence, and its natural thanhic supply of contained mana.
Breaking the crystals releases clouds of thanhic dust, small but pure particles of thanhium with severe toxic effects if inhaled or ingested. If done carefully, the dust can be created intentionally by carefully grinding down the crystals while wearing a breath mask. High purity thanhic crystals are cold enough to cause frostbite injures from skin contact, meaning thanhic crystals are handled with thick gloves. Due to the risk of the dust both ore, crystals and dust are transported in locked airtight crates which often form layers of ice around them. Any thanhic weapons are stored in sheaths to protect them from abrasion and damage which could release the dust.
The Toxicity of Thanhic Dust
Thanhic dust consists of tiny particles of high purity thanhium. It can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed into the bloodstream. Unlike most poisons, the effects of thanhium are linear: a smaller quantity causes a weaker version of the same effect. Thanhium Poisoning is caused by being cut or pierced deeply with an abrasive thanhium weapon, from inhaling moderate quantities of the dust, or from ingestion of even a small amount. The poisoning usually lasts for one day/night cycle regardless of strength. Close proximity to Thanhium for an extended period of time can cause it to become absorbed into the blood, mimics its toxic effects without it ever entering the body through the lungs or a cut.
The body can usually cope with the cooling from ingesting thanhium by raising the body temperature. Skin pales as blood vessels contract to conserve heat, and the victim usually feels cold. Once the thanhium poisoning wears off, the victim suffers a high fever. With high quantities of the dust, the victim feels far colder, their skin pales to a huge degree, and the resultant fever can be fatal. The mana, however, can ravage the body and mind. While usually unnoticeable, the damage adds up and those who regularly ingest thanhium begin to grow weak, physically wither, and begin to go mad.
Specific Effects on Mages
Arcane Mages poisoned with thanhium from a deep cut, inhalation or ingestion find their powers destablised, amplified but backfiring, or just plain gone. Aenguldaemonic Mages simply have their powers weakened. Their powers return to normal when the thanhium poisoning wears off. It is not uncommon for mages to experience extreme nausea or even vomit when thanhium poisoned. It is believed that all this is caused by the thanhic mana interfering with their own, either cancelling out or rendering their magic unpredictable. There have been reports of non-mages wielding similarly unstable and uncontrollable magical powers while poisoned with large amounts of thanhium.
Specific Effects on Non-Mages
For non-mages, thanhium poisoning has the psychological effect of creating a rush of magical power. With normal poisoning this makes the non-mage dizzy or manic, but when the dust is ingested the nonmage can go temporarily insane. It has been reported that with large quantities victims do actually wield unstable magic powers. With no training, they cannot control the powers and are usually only a danger to themselves. Use of these powers also seems to make the other effects more severe, especially the cooling and insanity effects. The sensation of weakness when the thanhium wears off often drives the victim to thanhium addiction.
Extended consumption of thanhium causes chronic addiction, physical withering on a dramatic scale and complete and total insanity. Of these, insanity sets in the fastest.
Detonation Of Thanhium
Thanhium absorbs heat and transforms it into mana, and the large the crystal or ore, the more heat it draws in and thus the more mana it is able to hold. However Thanhium as a simple mineral is unable to regulate the amount of heat it attempts to draw in, and thus exposing the Thanhium to a massive amount of heat, will cause it to overload and release its mana in anyway it can - a large explosion. The size of the thanhium crystal absorbing the heat determines at which point it will explode, and how large the explosion will be. A large crystal will need a significant amount of heat in order to detonate, and likewise a smaller crystal will need less heat to detonate, but the explosion would be significantly less destructive.
A Thanhic explosion is destructive mostly to biomatter, whereas while the force of the explosion may topple weak structures, it’s its deadly burst of massive toxicity that causes the most damage. The body would become overwhelmed with Thanhic exposure, both the dust overwhelming the body’s systems and the burst of mana to instantly begin conflicting with mages’ own personal mana. The explosion will completely eliminate magical spells and enchantments within its explosion radius, meaning that enchantments designed to prevent against explosions would be rendered useless against a Thanhium detonation. This adds another factor to how useful it is against mages. You are incredibly unlikely to survive being close to a Thanhic explosion even as a non-mage, and even less so if you are a mage. It is considered to be a biological weapon.
The explosion radius of Thanhium is actually quite small, the mana would very quickly disperse. The dust however, would diffuse out into the air, making the air temporarily unbreathable in a slightly larger radius than the actual explosion. The explosion can be amplified by detonating a Bloodshard instead of a plain Thanhium Shard. The explosion effectiveness (effectiveness being radius and duration of the effects) would change depending on the state of the Thanhium used. In ore form, it would be incredibly small, the explosion only slightly larger than the ore itself. Impure Thanhium Crystals would have a slightly increased effectiveness. Pure Thanhium Crystals are what most would aim to use, and would have greater effectiveness. Bloodshards, containing the power of Pure Thanhic Crystals on top of their magical addition, would be the most effective explosive, with radius and the duration of its effects massively increased. On top of that, the Bloodshard would create blight only able to be removed by those of a holy or druidic disposition, even after the Thanhic dust has cleared.