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A world that is generally cooler and wetter than Earth but peopled by humans requires heat in the domiciles everywhere but along the islands on the belt of the world called the Fereledria.

There is no petroleum mining, and coal mining is limited, usually close to steel forges, which are overseen by stringent magical controls.

Wood fires are common where there is woodfall to be gathered. Otherwise, Firesticks are the most available form of heating in the southern lands. These are sticks of a hardwood laid on with spells by mage students. Most Firesticks are spelled for a winter's use, though some--extremely expensive--are bespelled for longer periods. The control of Firesticks has been the most visible action of the Mage Council for centuries. There is a generous counting for every land, though that can be limited if a kingdom is reported to be hoarding them, or charging extra fees, or otherwise interfering with the spread of them. No one is denied a Firestick by the Council--except if they are attempting to use it for evil purpose. Governments will exact a penalty for that, as they do not want the price raised on them--or Firesticks denied. There are safeguards laid on some Firesticks, which are given out in areas where this might be a problem, like a belligerent kingdom.

This struggle between governments that prefer total autonomy and the Mage Council is nothing new--it's been going on since recorded history.

There are some areas where Firesticks are not necessary, generally dwellings (even cities, mostly in Venn land) that are built over hot springs. Heat is trapped by magical means, into vandraska ("Venn") stoves, which are kept under living and sleeping platforms, or under the flooring in more humble homes. Sun heat is also stored in stones instead of sticks, especially in the north. These are distributed much like Firesticks are in the south.

In southern dwellings, central stoves have vents leading off to rooms above. Few buildings (discounting spires and towers) are over three storeys. Some large buildings require on-site heating magic, which is quite expensive, and must be renewed yearly.

The cost of Firestones and Firesticks is partly to support the mage force, which is dedicated to preservation and quality of life. But it also places a limit on the demands for magic, which keeps white magic use well within balance. Kingdoms pay the Mage Council from their taxes; thus the poor are enabled to take theirs for free.

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Page last modified on October 29, 2007, at 11:18 PM