From Dust to Glory
Prior to the discovery of Vladrance, the only way to enchant a physical item was to use crystalized motes of mana that could be found or 'raised' around ley lines and key points of magical resonance, which were rare and at times, unreliable. Even the items that were enchanted this way often times lost their enchantments the way that a knife loses its honed edge. The only other form of imbuing an item with magical properties in exixtence at this time was the ancient form of magical crafting. Only mastered by an elite group of artisan crafters, this form of crafting is still used today and is almost as highly in demand as it was then.
Then, in 651 AC a group of Mage's Guild Surveyors stumbled across the largest natural resource for enchanting physical items; Vladrance. After the discovery and initial testing, the Mage's Guild, Merchants, and even fortune seekers began flooding the desolate region of the Aride much to the outrage of the territorial locals, the Heirn Dool. Initially the viscious Heirn Dool butchered many of the Vladrance collectors, and even members of the Mage's Guild were no match for the Heirn Dool in their territory. Eventualy after an appeal to high places, the Mage's Guild was joined by the Accord in securing territory and therefore the precious Dust.
Many years later, after the Accord had completely pulled out their forces, the Heirn Dool and the outsiders came to an agreement. The Vladrance Fair Trade Agreement was put into place allowing the Heirn Dool complete control over their territory, while they traded large amounts of the Dust the previously invading forces so coveted.
After a few yeas and more testing, experts agreed that Vladrance was an excellent resource for allowing magical enchantment to be placed on items and with the stready flow, items imbued with higher quality and higher strength enchantments required higher amounts of Vladrance. After a few years, those who had the means to purchase the more powerful enchantments noticed that their enchanted items began to degrade at an alarming rate. Mage's Guild researchers soon attributed the physical degradation to the previously unknown corrosive ability of the Vladrance itself. It was determined that certain materials would literally disintegrate while others would degrade over several decades. The amount and purity of the Vladrance used also determined the rate and extent of the corrosion. Only Adamantine and Dark Iron in their purest forms were found to actualy resist the natural corrosive properties of the Dust.
Vladrance itself ranges in purity and there is no known process to refine or purify Dust as it is found naturally. The levels of purity are easily discernable to a knowing eye. Lower levels of purity have a yellowish tint and are generally grainy, almost like gritty flour. Mid-grade purity samples have a bleach white coloring and are slightly less grainy in texture. The most pure grade of Vladrance is a light blue coloring and has the texture and feel of the finest lightest powder. As with most resources, the rarest is also the most pure and valuable, so it is with Vladrance. While entire ship loads of the low-grade dust may be shipped from Damsport anually, the entire years supply of high-grade vladrance could fit inside a single travelers trunk and a single vial of blue dust could purchase a fleet of vessels or a small castle.
Vladrance's uses are widespread in the enchanting community, but in recent years after much research, a new use for the dust has been found. Constructing wards has been an occupational and marketed service of the Mage's Guild whether for the private individual, the wholesale merchant, or even governments and city councils. Previously, the construction of a ward on a door or protecting a city from magical barrage would take days or even weeks to prepare and install. Using motes of crystallized mana, such as those collected by ley lines, an enchantment or spell was projected over a certain area or stationary item (like a city or doorway). Then the mage or team of mages would enact a ritual of creation and channel immense amounts of mana into the mote. Depending on the scope of the protection area, the more mana would be needed to create a lasting effect on the desired area. This was the time consuming part as most mages set to this task were not powerhouses of mana flow and would soon become toxic and unable to continue casting.
After much testing however, with the addition of Vladrance to the mana crystals, even apprentice mages could construct servicable wards on doors and items in a few minutes. City wards could be constructed and installed by a team of mages in a matter of hours. Also, the strength and scope of the wards were almost two-fold as the Vladrance multiplied the magic protections. The only drawback to this use of Dust was, like most other materials, mana crystals begin to degrade onlyr a few years after contact with the additive enhancement of Vladrance.