Hematite, aka, the dispelling stone, is a naturally occurring ore most commonly found in Stonehaven Province, in the country of Aredia. It is highly valued for its ability to prevent mages from performing magic upon it. Sentinels add it to their gear, (armor and weapons), and ingest it in order to withstand any magic.
Mages in the presence of hematite describe its effect as a "muting" or "dampening" of their senses; they cannot feel it, exactly, but rather feel the void where their magic should be. Often they are bound with collars or wrist cuffs, particularly when traveling, to prevent them from performing magic.
For sentinels, the metal is ingested either as a powder mixed with liquid, or as small, easily swallowed pellets. (The latter are used when traveling.) Immediate effects can include: a feverish feeling all through the body, a rush of energy, tunnel vision, increased heart rate, and/or slightly distorted hearing. A wave of nausea immediately follows as the body attempts to reject the poison. Once the nausea passes, the user feels remarkable, with some reports of elation, euphoria, or general happiness and sense of well-being. The initial increase in adrenaline can make users exceedingly talkative or restless, with some users reporting feelings of invincibility.
Hematite use is mostly confined to sentinels. However, since it is a powerful substance with numerous benefits, (in some folks' eyes), it can be found as a street drug known as “ruthless.” Ruthless is generally sold as a powder, and often cut with other substances in order to increase yield. Ruthless users are prone to fights and brawls – giving the drug its name. Despite this, death rates are not very high, due to the fact that ruthless is rarely pure hematite. The danger of addiction, however, still looms large.
Hematite ingestion often makes male sentinels sterile, and generally prevents female sentinels from menstruating and conceiving children.
Begins as a chill that does not go away. Later feelings can include: headaches, general “all over” aches, nausea, depression/feelings of hopelessness, sweating, shaking, inability to hold down food/water, severe anxiety, physical weakness. These symptoms can begin gradually or suddenly, depending on many factors. (Stress often aggrandizes them, as does illness or injury.) The symptoms get worse as time progresses, often very quickly. Hematite ingestion will instantly make these symptoms vanish. Ironically, those who stop ingesting hematite immediately, without easing out of it, might perish from the intensity of the symptoms, (ie: be unable to eat/drink, retain water from sweating, retain food from throwing up, or will take their own lives to end the mental & physical pain.) To successfully come out of hematite addiction, one must gradually lower the dosage over the course of at least three to six months. However, the urge for a “burn” will never completely go away. Those who have been taking hematite for more than about fifteen years will never be able to live without it; the withdrawal will be unbearable.