Alvyurin Ekkatran - Back on our feet

We've made an incredible amount of progress in the past few days. Taking energy from the sun, it was so obvious we couldn't see it. One of the elder [pyromancers?] has recalled [techniques] for doing such in the past, and he's been helping the younger ones train into [solar mages?]. The few [weather mages?] we have are useful as well.

It's really kind of amazing what we've been able to accomplish. One of the [mages?] has come up with a [technique] of [dark/forbidden?] [magic] that works wonders. It concentrates all the sunlight from a wide area into one specific point. That makes it easier to harness the energy, and it also takes a bit of the burden off of the rest of camp, as if they were sitting under a wide shadow. It's strange, like an invisible canopy stretched over us. Still, we put up with it. Every bit we do to improve our situation allows more time and energy to more research and improvement. I think that's the big lesson Vidsudent has given us.

The winds continue to blow, of course. They always do. There is very little variance, for which we have to be grateful. I don't relish the prospect of sandstorms, no matter how well-prepared the hunters say they are!

We appear to have, well, appeared on a gently sloping plain of sand lightly sculpted with dunes. There are mountains, or perhaps hills, ringing us in every direction. Some appear farther than others, though it's very difficult to estimate distances in this featureless land. Nobody has even thought about trying to trek to one of the distant ranges.

Below us the sand is quite shallow, less than [a meter]. It is mostly a deep yellow color, although we can spy areas around us which show different colors. Off to the northeast is a large patch of reddish sand, a rose or pink color. And a little east of south, and farther away, is a long stretch of greenish grains. Unfortunately, I don't think we have many texts on [geology], or I haven't been able to find them in our archives.

Digging down we find bedrock that follows the slope we can observe. However, we also find ourselves near a plateau that seems to push up from the slope of the plain a little, making it more level. I think this is our best chance for a permanent settlement.

I'm sure in our seed archives we could find some plants to grow here...water is a perennial problem, but we just might be able to invest some in seedlings. The real problem is the soil--It's just sand! The [farm mages] tell me it would help tremendously if there were some clay. Of course, even I know that the whole point of clay is retention of water...another problem to work on...If only we could talk to [errnoreffound:phonetic:an Achlean] about these things.

What else? Oh, there is one sun, a little bluer than we are used to. Fortunately it seems to put out the same amount of energy. The [astronomer] tells me we're very close to the equator of this world, so therefore the sun is "normal". He also tells me that the signs point to a great change coming to this world soon, as in, within the next few days. Just what I needed to hear.

Jedditor just showed up and told me this post has a lot of linguistic best-fits. I don't know what to say except, sorry, I hope you all can understand it. (There's a question...what should I call all you contributors of ideas in your strange idea-web dimension?)

search for soil

- by chippy at Thu, 25 Oct 07 08:05:52 -0400

You might like to have a look at the areas of sand where it's green and brown - these may be indications of higher organic content (soil) in the sand, or possibly plant forms. Also have a look under, as it could be an indication of different types of rock....rock that may contain minerals and metals. Good luck!

Clothing and rain

- by onceuponanever at Thu, 25 Oct 07 11:32:30 -0400

What sort of clothing do you have, Alvyurin? In the desert, it's best to have clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Seems counter-intuitive, but you need to protect yourself from the sun. Heat exhaustion can put people out of commision for a while, and heat stroke can be fatal. Also, I'm a geology student, and I was reading about the geology of deserts. I'll give you more information once I put it all together, but one thing jumped out at me. When there is rain in the desert, it occurs very suddenly, and the ground can't absord all of it. Combined with the lack of vegetation, flash floods very common. So, keep an eye out for any signs of rain, and look into moving towards that plateau. This may be your sudden change, though I'm by no means sure of it. -Alex


- by The Mirror at Thu, 25 Oct 07 12:14:10 -0400

Hello Alvyurin You don't need to plant in the soil itself if you can create a different substrate. Perhaps you could construct a greenhouse that would provide humidity (harvestable for moisture), controlled sun (so as not to scorch your seedlings), and a growth medium that you create from substances you already have. You could create this medium by combining a small amount of sand with whatever broken down organic matter you might have (have you got any livestock? Their manure would be a good start).


- by Toxic at Thu, 25 Oct 07 15:45:58 -0400

You may want to send a scouting party to the green area you mentioned. If it happens to be that there are plants there you should look for water in that area. When you are in the desert and you find plants that means there is water nearby. Also it could help with the whole soil issue. If some plants could grown there then maybe more plants could grow there.


- by Alvyurin Ekkatran at Thu, 25 Oct 07 16:49:29 -0400

No, there doesn't seem to be any organic material around. The green area is green sand. The pink area is pink sand.

A greenhouse is a good idea. Fortunately, as you might have guessed, we have a lot of glass.

The, ah, manure is under tight control of the [???].


- by Alvyurin Ekkatran at Thu, 25 Oct 07 16:50:50 -0400

I'm sorry, apparently your language doesn't have anything like that term. Hang on.

After consulting with Jedditor and the [System], I think the best we can come up with is [recycling mages].

Green Sand

- by phonon81 at Thu, 25 Oct 07 18:25:26 -0400

Avvyurin, On our world, green sand is rich in a mineral called olevine. The green sand is created by the erosion of volcanic lava flows. Could the area in which you are located possibly be volcanically active and could this be related to the upcoming changes your astronomer predicts? As for the pink sand, I'm not sure, pink sand usually results from high amounts of coral sediment. Perhaps you could somehow extract the minerals giving these sands color and put them to use?


- by The Mirror at Thu, 25 Oct 07 19:18:40 -0400

Toxic mentioned sending scouts. I'd like to second this motion, if I may. Knowing what your surroundings are will be very helpful. Could you send out 8 scouts? One to the north, one to the north east, one to the east, one to the south east, one to the south, one to the south west, one to the west, and one to the north west? Could you send them out with enough supplies for 6 days, instruct them to walk for three days and then return?


- by Alvyurin Ekkatran at Fri, 26 Oct 07 01:05:56 -0400

The [alchemists] tell me that the yellow sand is common quartz; the green and pink sands are also basically silicates; and the green sand has a large amount of alkali salts in it, in interesting layers.

The scouts have already been going on shorter trips. I suspect there would be some who are ready to leap off on a six-day journey through emptiness, but I'm not sure we have this desert survival thing completely worked out yet. They tell me that climbing hills and scouting with telescopes has yielded no other landmarks. Well, there is a field of rocks to the east that appear to have been carved into interesting shapes by the wind, but no more than that. We'll see.

Suddenly I feel like I know how Keridwen felt...


- by phonon81 at Fri, 26 Oct 07 02:35:32 -0400

Alvyurin, I notice that you mentioned Keridwen in your last comment. Could you tell us more about her and how she relates to you and your current situation?


- by Toxic at Fri, 26 Oct 07 15:36:59 -0400

I agree with phonon81, if the green sand is olivine you could use it to heat your camp. Also if you could find a way to thermally isolate the olivine you could use it as another way to create electricity. Then if the pink mineral is Mica you could use it if you can press it to make the glass for a greenhouse. That is if you can find some soil. And get access to the manure. Also have you seen any wildlife there? Is there anything you can tell us about the rocks you mentioned?


- by The Mirror at Fri, 26 Oct 07 20:31:27 -0400

In our world, Keridwen is the name of a celtic nature goddess. Who is she in yours? It's interesting to me that that name would exist in both our cultures. Perhaps there is a time issue going on here (like in planet of the apes! hee hee) Can you tell me about the constellations you see in the night sky? Are there any celestial bodies that stand out? A bright star (planet) low on the horizon at dawn, for example? Do you have a moon and, if so, does it wane and wax? How long is its cycle?


- by Alvyurin Ekkatran at Sat, 27 Oct 07 04:31:59 -0400

Jedditor told me he got the first three books uploaded and he thought everyone had read them!

Okay, he also tells me that you can search for "Keridwen" in the main query box and get your answer. Sigh.

Anyway, she was a researcher nominally in charge of an expedition containing a lot of non-researchers, just as I am. Of course I'm not truly the leader here, but I do have a lot of responsibility.

We've managed to start excavating rocks and put them up as walls. One of the [artificers] explained the concept of thermal mass to me. It's interesting. And very useful, especially at night. And since we have more than enough heat during the day, and lots of quartz, we've been able to make some glass.

I have not seen any moon. The stars seem quite faint. Nights are very dark.

Jedditor and I have been discussing this "electricity" thing. I think it's a branch of knowledge we never really explored.


- by The Mirror at Sat, 27 Oct 07 11:12:49 -0400

Sorry to be unclear, Alvyurin, I have read the three books. I know who Keridwen the researcher was, but I was curious to see if she was named after a mythological or historical person. For example, I have a friend named Juno, who is named after an ancient Greek goddess. I ask because I find it strange that both our cultures share such a phonetically complicated name. It leads me to believe that we might share a common history. What is the etymological source of the name Keridwen?


- by The Mirror at Sat, 27 Oct 07 11:41:23 -0400

Well, Hera was the Greek goddess, and Juno was her Roman name.


- by Alvyurin Ekkatran at Sat, 27 Oct 07 22:40:51 -0400

I don't know, I mean, that's not really my field. For us Keridwen is a historical figure, I even once met someone named after her! (Some people think she's actually mythological, but let's not get into denominational squabbles here...)


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