Bloodstone is a very peculiar mineral which is known throughout the whole of southwestern Nybelmar. Found in the cursed lands of the Venlaken Enclave, it is famous for its rarity and its unusual properties, especially regarding its strange reaction with the substance of blood. The Zhunites, in particular the Marmarrans, use Bloodstone to augment their rarest weapons with deadly capabilities and, as such, Bloodstone is notorious for leaving death in its wake.
It is uncommon to find a Bloodstone that hasn’t already been bound to a blade,
and even when you do you might dismiss it as a mere pebble (which is strange as
they aren’t found near the sea). However, on closer inspection you realize this
isn’t a worthless stone. In their natural form Bloodstones look quite ordinary.
Although they vary in size, most which are intact, are the size of a man’s palm,
and normally only a few nailsbreadths in
thickness. They are a deep, dark purple (which is commonly mistaken for a black)
and, like the pebbles they resemble, are smooth to the touch. Before they are
treated Bloodstones are incredibly malleable. They are so malleable actually
that simply pressing one in your thumb hard enough can make a relatively deep
indentation. Untreated Bloodstones are almost like clay, although anyone with
any common sense will know that this stone is a lot more valuable.
After Bloodstones have been soaked in blood they begin to change. They begin to harden to an incredible degree, so much that a strike with the hardest hammer wouldn’t even dent it. After this process Bloodstones are a lot more rigid and sharp, but this is normally because they are cut this way. They also lose their deep purple hue in favour for a chilling dark red. There is common saying from the Zhun that says “See a purple stone, it’s your delight, See red stone, it’s your plight”.
Territory. One of the main reasons why Bloodstones are so rare is their territory. The most abundant sources of Bloodstone are found in some the most cursed lands in the whole of Caelereth, the Venlaken Enclave. There are only a handful of miners, human and dwarf alike, that would dare venture into the Daedhirian realm, and those that return are never unscarred.
There are however small deposits of Bloodstone to the west of the enclave. These deposits, however, reside on Marmarran territory, which is almost as bad as the Venlaken Enclave. Marmarrans, being the clever and pragmatic people that they are, guard these with ruthless efficiency. It is because of the combination of these two reasons that somebody who owns an untreated Bloodstone is undoubtedly brave, as they have either witnessed the horrors of the Enclave or stolen from the Marmarran witches.
Usages. Bloodstones are traditionally used to line blades and tip arrowheads, which, thanks to the Bloodstone’s properties, is a relatively easy process. The process begins with an untreated bloodstone.
The Bloodstone is heated up, causing it to weaken even more. The Bloodstone becomes like dough. The craftsmen then, using his hands, moulds the stone into a rough spherical shape. One might ask how is it possible for the craftsmen to touch such burning hot rock but the answer is simple: Bloodstones, unless directly exposed to heat, do not warm up. It is so that a few seconds after the Bloodstone is taken from the flame it cools down to its original temperature.
The second stage however requires much more skill. A blade is taken and an unbelievably thin layer of the rock is sliced off, just like cutting through butter. At this stage mistakes cannot be tolerated as - unlike the clay it is similar to - once a piece of Bloodstone is severed it doesn’t fit back into the original piece. The layer is slowly placed around the side of the blade, the craftsmen being especially careful not to cut it. After it has been placed onto the blade the excess is scraped off of the sides, which is either used to tip an arrowhead or is simply thrown away.
The blade is then submerged in blood. Although cattle or goat blood is more commonly used it is said that only the blood taken from a man can harden the Bloodstone to its fullest extent. Nobody is sure what substance is actually in the blood that hardens the Bloodstone, but many people are content knowing that it works, not caring how or why. After about four hours the hardening will be finished, and the blade can be removed to reveal a demonic red rim of near unbreakable rock. One might suggest to make a complete blade out of Bloodstone. The idea would make sense, but in practicality it doesn’t work. Hardened Bloodstone is far too brittle to have a blade made from it, and would snap incredibly easily.
During the Dark Plague wars the Anpagans discovered that leaving Bloodstone in oil made it break up and eventually dissolved it. As such the Anpagans created a special form of arrow, whose head would shatter after contact, releasing the oil into the Bloodstone joints. This design was continued to create the Anpagan "Shatterhead" arrow, substituting the oil for various acids and poisons.
Myth/Lore. It is rumoured
that Bloodstone is in fact a product of
magic. Although through
magic one can continue to live after the body
has died, the body continues to decay. Sooner or later the body breaks down so
much that it literally falls apart. The
created Bloodstone as a means to hold together the broken bodies, although this
strictly restricted movement.
During the Dark Plague wars between the Daedhirian and their former bretheren, the Anpagans, the Anpagans noticed the means which held the abhuman warriors together. An Anpagan delegation was sent to destroy the Daedhirian supplies of Bloodstone, so they could not support their fallen.
As the Daedhirians learnt of this they buried Bloodstones in secret locations, creating these so called 'deposits'. The locations of these deposits are said to be known only to Daedhirian Lords, but some brave treasure hunters have had the luck to find a deposit by chance.
Over the years there have also been many different explanations about why Bloodstone has such a strange reaction to blood. It was suggested by a Zhunite philosopher that, even after death, an essence of the subject's lifeforce remains flowing in the blood. He said that the blood contained the same essence that the Daedhirians manipulate to turn themselves into the undead monstrosities that they are.
He believed that the Daedhirian mage who created it must have used a similar form of magic when creating Bloodstone, so that once it absorbs the lifeforce (i.e the blood) its properties change. Although his ideas were never confirmed, and to this day the Daedhirians still do not claim it was their creation, this idea is what has been adopted among the more educated groups.