The Planetary Metals
Long valued for its durability and resistance to change, lead is the heaviest of the planetary metals, and alchemists believe it to be the heaviest substance in the cosmos. Freshly cut lead looks almost exactly like silver, but it quickly loses its gloss to become a dead, flat gray. Lead is so soft and malleable that it can be gouged with a fingernail.
Lead is a sluggish metal. When struck, lead absorbs the vibrations. Any tone is swallowed by the metal and smothered into nothingness. It is the destroyer of light. It can absorb vast amounts of heat and light without reflection or becoming lustrous. Sheets of lead can absorb all forms of radiation. Lead lacks any water content and does not react with water in any way. It resists acids, and lead bottles can be used to store highly corrosive sulfuric acid.
Lead bears the planetary signature of Elus, the most distant and silent of the planets. While lead readily forms compounds, the resulting compounds are inert, insoluble, and unable to enter further chemical reactions — effectively making the compounds dead to the alchemist. In philosophy, lead has dark connections and is related to death and transformation. The only one of the seven planetary metals that is toxic, leads represents the impurities within humans.
Tin is a semi-noble metal that is lightweight and flexible. Tin loves warmth and dislikes cold. When tin is warm, it is a silvery-white metal, but when tin becomes cold, it grays and becomes fragile and crumbles into a useless powder. Tin resists weathering and corrosion, with old tin shining as brightly as new tin. A thin layer of tin can protect other metals from corrosion.
Tin readily conducts heat, almost joyfully absorbing energy and passing it along. Tin is the most tonally resonant of all metals. When struck, it produces a pleasing acoustic tone and is used in bells. Tin is said to cry when it is bent as its highly crystalline structure breaks when bent. Tin works best when combined with other metals. When paired with lead, tin forms pewter. When paired with copper, it forms bronze, whose discovery marked a new age of advancement. Tin is malleable and easily worked. It is endlessly recyclable, as it can be melted and recast time and time again.
Tin bears the signature of Zenos. This metal is connected to prosperity and wealth and is stronger when combined with other metals. In philosophy, tin represents wisdom, logic, and knowledge, and is believed to be the metal of scholars.
Iron is the most abundant metal in Corthis. It is a very stable mineral. In its pure state, iron is soft and malleable and is a lustrous silver-gray. Pure iron does not exist in nature. Instead, alchemists must coax this element out of other compounds. If exposed to air, it rusts quickly, developing a reddish-brown coating.
Iron is a hungry metal and eagerly devours other minerals to form compounds. It particularly likes carbon, forming a nobler and stronger metal - steel. Iron is a dense metal and can absorb vast amounts of heat. However, it is a greedy metal and it takes a great deal of energy to warm up. Once heated, iron stays warm for long periods of time. Iron does not react with water unless the water is carried in moist air. Then the water and the air together cause iron to quickly corrode, becoming brittle and weak. Iron can also be magnetized, giving it control over other metals. Iron has always served humanity's will in weaponry and in conquering nature. Many spirits of Corthis dislike the use of iron as it is nature transformed. Iron has a tendency to consume all that it comes into contact with. If iron becomes too dominant, it is destructive to life as it rigidifies the organic, which then become hard and brittle.
Iron bears the signature of Pyra. It symbolizes the male energy and is connected to physical might, aggression, and expansion. Iron represents a culture of strength, where might makes right. It promotes emotions such as lust, confidence, courage, and resilience. Alchemists who work with iron must be careful of the spiritual implications of iron. It will gladly consume the alchemist’s spirit as it does carbon. Some cultures in Corthis, such as the vanished druids of the Isle of Albyn, realized the spiritual dangers of iron and forbade its use in their culture. Many of the Wisdoms of the native tribes in Everique similarly caution against reliance on iron.
Copper is one of the oldest metals known to humanity. Copper metallurgy has flourished in many different cultures and its discovery denotes a tremendous step forward in civilization. Copper is a reddish brown metal with a brilliant metallic luster. When exposed to air, copper eventually turns green with verdigris. When it is molten, copper is a rich sea-green color. Like gold, it is extremely ductile and can be spun into strands and hammered into thin sheets.
Copper is renowned for its many love affairs with other elements. It readily combines with most other elements to form alloys or complex salts. When mixed with other metals, the resulting alloys are harder than copper itself. When paired with zinc, copper forms brass. When paired with tin, copper forms bronze. Copper has a special love for sulfur. The resulting compound, copper sulfate, is called Blue Vitriol and is one of the most beautiful and useful compounds available to the alchemist. Copper also has an affinity to water and many copper salts have a high percentage of water. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and commonly used in cooking vessels.
Copper bears the signature of Astarte. It embodies the female energy and is connected to the love, nurturing and youth. Copper promotes characteristics like charisma, beauty, creativity, affection, and caring. The metal of Astarte balances and elevates the energy of other metals and the spirits of those who work with it.
Mercury is a heavy, silvery-white metal. It is sometimes called quicksilver as it is the only planetary metal that is liquid at room temperature. Mercury rapidly transforms from one form to another. If it is exposed to cold, mercury will form a hard, brittle metal. If heated, it turns into a greenish-tinged vapor. Mercury is typically found as a component of cinnabar, which mercury forms with sulfur. Cinnabar is the only known ore that contains mercury.
Mercury is a poor conductor of heat and does not react with most acids. However, it will readily combine with sulfur to make cinnabar. In fact, it combines so readily with sulfur, that pure sulfur flakes are used to contain spilt mercury. Mercury's trait is association. It forms complex compounds with nitrogen and carbon. It can also form explosives that will detonate at a touch. Different metals can be brought together by dissolving them in mercury. Mercury is highly poisonous if it is ingested or inhaled. Mercury mines sometimes serve as penal institutions.
Mercury bears the signature of Niteo, the closest planet to Corthis, which speeds across the sky. Its speed and mobility is seen in mercury, which is connected to travel and movement, be it of physical or spiritual nature. As a toxic metal that changes shape so readily, mercury is associated with death, mystery, and transformation. The planetary metal mercury should not be confused with the mercury from the Three Essentials.
Silver is a soft, lustrous metal. It reflects light brilliantly and has the highest conductivity of any of the metals. Silver occurs naturally in its pure form, but it is often found as an alloy with gold and other metals. Silver is stable in air and water but tarnishes if exposed to sulfur. It is easy to work with as it melts at a relatively low temperature and is ductile and malleable. Silversmiths work the metal cold, using gentle, well-placed taps to mold its shape.
Silver requires darkness for many of its reactions, and its salts quickly spoil in the light of day. Silver is the metal of imagery. If polished and used as a thin coating behind glass, silver reflects images perfectly. Some alchemists claim that silver can capture a memory image of the past if the salt of silver is mixed with gelatin and pressed into glass. Silver is a powerful force against disease and infection. Silver is the metal of choice for plates, chalices, and eating utensils. Drinking bottles are often lined with silver to purify their contents. Its ability to fight disease is so potent that a silver coin added to a canteen can purify the water in it overnight.
Silver bears the signature of Luna. This regal metal is connected to the Moon. It is associated with divination, healing, protection, wisdom, dreams, and luck. Silver promotes vision, clarity, awareness, focus, and persistence.
The noblest of all the metals, gold has the splendor and radiance of the sun. While the other planetary metals are silver or gray, gold is metallic yellow in color and luster. It is the only metal that never tarnishes in water or air. The sun metal is the heaviest of all the metals, with only lead coming close. Gold is a good conductor of heat. Gold can be found naturally in its pure form as well as in gold compounds. Gold is a soft metal that is highly ductile and malleable. Sheets of gold can be beaten into gold leaf so thin that they hardly have any solidity left and the gold becomes semi-transparent.
Gold is non-reactive. It does not form compounds easily, keeping itself pure and aloof from other matter. Gold is valued as the ultimate metal and perfection in the cosmos. Its elements are in perfect balance. Gold can be used for healing, as its perfection can affect living creatures. Gold reduces swelling and inflammation, as well as regulates the heart. Gold is the metal of the heart, the most vital organ in the human body. To purify your heart is to become like gold and reach perfection.
Gold bears the signature of Sol. Gold represents perfection and purity and is often used for ceremonial purposes and for beautification. Gold is a symbol of wealth, prosperity, authority, and charisma. It promotes healing, protection, growth, and knowledge.« Return to the Almanac Index