Ceraunic Spirit is the primary medium used in Terra Altan (and some Shadowlands) technology for the storage of voltaicity and the powering of devices.
The origins of Ceraunic Spirit remain obscure. However, some information that has been pieced together from the shredded stores of the Information Graveyards of the Chrome Empire gives a picture of what we think to be the truth.
Ceraunic Spirit, it seems, was invented by the peoples of Kehndo Valhn by a man named in legend as Ehyrt Beral, a sort of trickster-figure who was also said to have stolen fire from the Gods. The substance was commonly burned in large quantities for the ceremonies and traditional magics of that people, as the arcs of lightning coming off of the discharging spirit combined with the mildly intoxicating effects of heavy inhalation of the fumes made for quite an impressive display, and the recipie was learned by explorers who came there. The name seems to have come from the Kehndo word for 'thunder', Kerawn, and the achoholic smell.
The date of invention is not known, but traces of Ceraunic Spirit in what may have been an early spirit burner date back to nearly -137 CE. However, the many artifacts that use it mean that it must be much, much older than that.
Manufacture and UseEdit
Ceraunic Spirit is, in the discharged form, a substance with an amber color and the texture of light oil, and it smells largely of alchohols and copper, although certain specialized formulae vary. The exact manufacture of the stuff is a rather complex process, and almost every supplier has some proprietary extra step and/or secret ingredient, but a very low grade of Spirit can be made simply by distilling the resin of the Lightningrod Pine with cracked Qyorts crystals dissolved in thellmozen.
The stuff, when run through a Keraunic Still being powered by a voltaic source such as a Lightning Attractor, 'fixes' or 'condenses' the voltaicity into itself. The substance gains a very faint glow by which the voltaicity is slowly discharged into the air- depending on the mixture, this glow may be minimized for long-term storage or maximized to create a glotube. The charged spirit is then usually stored in a glass tube and capped, or on the large Storm-Chaser skyboats in massive glass-lined copper tanks.
When the spirit is burned or 'tapped' by means of a voltaiode or set of voltaiodes, the voltaic force within the Spirit is released, with the speed of drainage depending on the rate of combustion or the configuration of the tapping device and the formula of the Spirit.
Spirit burners and voltaic taps are used for a variety of things, although the secrets to building many of the devices that now use it have been lost in the Obfuscation. For instance, the many ancient machines and artifacts of the Skrikiit people that are now used by those city-states lucky enough to posess them typically display a standardized plug for a ceraunic tube.
Modern uses for the stuff are most commonly found in the glotube, which lights the houses of many modern Altans and those who have chosen to settle in the darker areas of the Shadowlands. Furthermore, it powers the self-propellors and altitude engines of the most modern models of Stoneships, as well as an ingredient of the most impressive thunderworks displays, and the tendency of metals to heat when excited by voltaicity is used to heat homes without combustion. These days, it is quite rare to see a tower or a house in many richer areas of Terra Alta such as Almanac without the distinctive knob-topped metal spire of a Lightning Attractor, and no laboratory of any modern gentleman is complete without a set of voltaic apparati.
-Mr. Maximillian Zenith ir ven Eldritch