Thursday, January 13, 2011
Five uses for salt in fantasy
Inspired by Felicity Savage’s novel Humility Garden, which is set on a world called Salt where there were literal fields of the stuff. People rarely ventured out into those because if the wind blew crystals of salt into their eyes, the crystals would grow there and blindness would result.
1. Salt circles
Magic circles can be drawn in salt, to either provide protection for whoever is within or to keep power contained within the circle.
To make it a bit more complex, different colors of salt could hold different kinds of magic within the circle. Aluminum chloride can be pale yellow, while copper (II) chloride is blue-green.
2. Salt armor
Not as practical as chain mail or plate, but slabs of salt might be an effective defense against creatures composed of snow or ice. I’d also love to see armor covered with long needles of salt, especially if these were wont to break off and fly at opponents.
3. Salt used to attract water
Useful in the desert – sprinkle salt in a hollow dug in the ground and wait for water to well up from below. Of course, that would also attract predators who can detect salt or water a mile away.
4. Salt lenses
I read somewhere that salt lenses are used with infrared lasers, but I just like the idea of looking through such lenses and seeing things invisible to the normal eye – things which might not want to be detected.
5. Salt sown into earth
Historically, convicted traitors in Spain and Portugal could expect to have their houses demolished and salt plowed into the ruins and the land, to ensure that nothing would grow there again.
But what if this was done as a cleansing measure to remove the taint from the earth, and what if it was believed to have worked, such that other people were encouraged to live there? What effect would the salt have on them?
I’d love to see the crystals becoming semi-sentient somehow – perhaps because the traitor was wrongfully convicted, and therefore there is no taint to destroy. And so the crystals try to show the new occupants the truth.
Image from : http://www.jupiterimages.com/Image/royaltyFree/85203934