Dancing 'Twixt Dusk & Dawn
A City in Darkness
Plasm is the liquid distillate of specific energetic reactions that occur throughout the Ether. The substance draws essence from a number of potential sources, each with its own properties cataloged by experiment. You may consider the diversity of these byproducts of life energy, from the glowing cerulean Electroplasm commonly seen coursing in an aetheric battery, to the opaque and viscous residue which accretes to the hulls of Leviathan Hunter ships.
Plasm is compressed life energy. Where there is energy, it may be put to work. The energy of Plasm is like any other—harnessed fully by the wit and Science of humankind with the proper application of aetheric frequency modulation techniques and trigonometric mathematics.
Plasm is highly prized throughout the Imperium—to power the convenience of our electrick lights, the trains which connect our cities, and, of course, the great Lightning Towers.
The sun was shattered in the cataclysm, plunging the world into darkness. Its remnant shards burn weakly in the sky at dawn and twilight, yielding only a dull glow, like the last embers in a dying fire.
The moon looms huge and bright, swelling with each passing year, as if drawn ever closer by some terrible power. During certain phases of its transit, the moon appears to multiply across the sky, in pairs and trios of sibling lights, as if reflected on the facets of a vast crystalline dome. It is not known what causes these pale, dimmer sisters to appear, but occultists and natural philosophers have no shortage of arcane explanations and scientific hypotheses.
The ancient stars still hang in the black sky, though their arrangements sometimes swirl and change according to unknown principles of celestial motion. When the oceans turned to black ink during the cataclysm, a new realm of constellations appeared in the depths of the seas—millions of tiny pinpoints of light, somehow clearly visible far below the waves. To sail upon the waters of the Shattered Isles is to be flung into the void—the crushing dark of black sky upon black water, stars far above and stars far below. Not every sailor is able to keep their sanity.
Doskvol, like all the great cities of the Imperium, operates massive generators around the clock, to produce the power needed for lightning barriers as well as the thousands of electroplasmic lights that illuminate the public thoroughfares. Wealthy citizens operate their own generators and electric lights, but most people make do with simple candles and lanterns in their homes and shops. The smoke from generators, lanterns, torches, chimneys, and cook-fires chokes the air and covers the city in ash and soot.
Because of the perpetual darkness, a small hand lantern is practically a required tool for daily life in the city. Common people use simple oil lanterns, while the more well-to-do employ the most advanced miniature electroplasmic lamps, clipped to a belt to keep their hands free, mounted on the head of a walking stick, or carried by a servant lamp-bearer.
Areas of illicit dealings or ill-repute sometimes enforce a “no lamps” policy, so business may be conducted in the anonymous darkness.