Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Belugnir on July 6th, 2018, 8:51 pm

Ya boy Ugnir rolled a 6 just a wee bit ago, but seeing as Caiyha and Cheva already got occupied, I believe I slide right down into bagging me a Dira. Fun stuff.

(8) Dira – Ring of Before and After: This ring allows the wearer to call upon the mystical jackals who serve Dira, Before (black) and After (white) will aid the wearer in hunting down the living and the undead and make them pay for trying to escape the cycle of life and death.
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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Adeliz on July 6th, 2018, 8:55 pm

I 47ed.
(47) Xyna - Ring of the Deal: This ring will allow the wearer to know the best course of action in relation to a business deal. It will provide them with the insight needed to get the most profit from a transaction and in a pinch, will actually create a handful of coins if needed to complete a particular deal.
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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Too Slow 4 Me on July 7th, 2018, 10:09 pm

Ineligible post apparently
Last edited by Too Slow 4 Me on July 9th, 2018, 6:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Naali on July 8th, 2018, 2:53 am


OkayI didn't think I could do it. With working two jobs and with four kids to take care of. This is the first time I have written something like this. So, feel free to give me feedback.

Ivak - Ring of Fiery Upheaval

It was a dark and rainy evening. The summer storms had blown in from the sea drenching the land for the last three days. The rain had come down in torrents of water washing the filth and grime of the city out to sea. The river that created and fed the waterfall of Riverfall was near its flood stage. Making the falls ran hard and fast. The sound thundered as it crashed down on the rocks, slowly reshaping them. Naali had made her way to work at the library with the help of a carriage driver that took pity on her. The soaking wet white dress may have aided to the persuasion, but Naali was fairly oblivious to this line of thinking. She did change into a different dress when she arrived at the library since books and water do not mix well. Since things were slow, she was sent down to a section of the library where unsorted old tombs were stored.

The vault had crates and crates of tomes that needed to be sorted and categorized. Duplicates would need to be compared, and the best tomes kept. Some of the tomes would need to be repaired. Some would be beyond repair and would need to be disposed of. The head librarian called this the treasure vault. As Naali blew the dust off a box, she doubted she would find treasures beyond mice and spiders. As she sorted a crate of unsorted books she came across a little book that caught her attention. It had a leather cover that had cracked and the strap had broken. Something told her to pick it up and read it. So, she picked it up and tucked it into the pocket of her dress. After working through a couple crates, she took the book to her desk. The book was written in a beautiful script from the hand of a young woman. You could tell by the loops and the way the letters were dotted. It was a diary where the owner wrote about her life and her history. These books rarely held information that was of value. As she read she came across a story that she found interesting.

The entry started.
This is the story that my Great Grandmother, the jeweler told me about the most beautiful ring she ever created. The ring changed color green in the daylight and red in the moonlight.

“Is this a dream?” the woman asked.
“No, my child keep on working,” the voice in her head spoke.
A hammer pounding metal forged in the heat of the earth.
It was an alloy not known to those that walk, secret to all but the one who made it.
Gold, silver, mercury, copper, lead, iron, tin and many other exotic metals, diamond, sapphires, rubies, all pooled and mixed in the fire of the earth. The ring was formed in layers. Each layer was formed with divine writing then the next layer was added
Trapped and compressed until they were fused as one.

“Will this work?” the woman asked again.
“Mariah, hush and work,” the voice in her head spoke again.

For three hundred years, the fires that worked their magic on the metals,
The fire of revenge, igniting the burning deep within, longing, seeking, and patient like lava flowing in the depths of the earth trying to find a weakness.
The fire of betrayal, poking glowing coals steely like a dagger stuck in the back by a close friend.
The fire of rage of entrapment bellowed like the movement of a restless animal in a cage. The fire of passion stolen, fueled by the memories of love that which once was.
The fire of crushed dreams, flamed by the dreams of what could have been, of children that could have been.

Mariah said, “I am getting tired.” Sweat poured from her in the heat of the forge as she struck the metal over and over on an anvil that she poured snow on to cool. Mariah knew the pain and rage that the voice in her head knew; they were kind of soul mates in a way. Her’s was a story that tore her life and her family apart. His story tore up the face of the land and most of humankind.

“Put the ring back in the lava then rest, child. You have done well,” the voice said calm and passionate, caressing her. She drank water from the snow melt that pooled in the cave entrance.

“Who are you?” she asked the voice.
“Who I am?” the voice responds then pauses. “I am the fire. I am lust and love. I am anger and confusion. I am the protector and destroyer,” the voice said. “I am one that if you speak my name, people will fear and other gods will turn their heads in fear.”

The fumes from the lava bubble up. A projection of Ivak appears in the glow and the midst. He owed her that much.

“Why me?” she asked.
There was the sound of laughter in her head. It was rich and ripe. Then Ivak said to her, “Always questions. Let us just say, you understand.”

After this Mariah fell asleep, Ivak used her dreams pulling their power, mixing it with his own in the ring, working his divine magic to enchant the ring. A warm feeling came over Mariah, passionate sensations filled her, the longing to be touched by her beloved, the need and desires deep inside, and to belong. He feeds them till her body and mind ached.

Ivak whispered to her like a lover, “Come on now, we are almost done.”
With a blurp the ring came back out of the lava, Alexandrite now coated the metals. With the handle of the hammer, she picked up the ring and placed it on the anvil which glowed from its heat. Look into the midst, again.”
Ivak caused the lava to bubble and boil and the mist filled the air. A vision of her little sister and her betrothed appeared in the glow. The sound of her sister’s moaning and gasping for breath in the heat of forbidden passion. He betrothed calling out her sister's name as he arched and flexed. The vision changed to her sister giving birth to twins, a son and a daughter. It was a beautiful vision, except that Mariah looking in through the doorway, alone. It should have been her she thought. Tears filled her eyes and she threw her betrothed’s hammer into the vision and into the lava.

“Let your tears fall on the ring,” Ivan told her gently “Let your pain out.” He said. She cried and her tears tempered the ring. Her tears hit the ring and erupted in steam.
When she finally stopped crying, she said, “Why did you show me that? Are you mean?” she asked.
Ivak knowing that she would not understand and said nothing.
In a little while, he spoke to her again, “Let me show you more.” he said. Again the steam rose from the lava. This time the vision was of her as a bride. “There is another that only has eyes for you. His passion burns for you steady like the lava.” Ivak said to her.
The vision changed, again with her in a jewelry shop with children playing. “You will get your heart's desire,” Ivak spoke to her.

Mariah collapsed and Ivak placed her mark upon her. She said that a young man was out in the wilderness and lost his way. He found Mariah clutching the ring. She had a fever and was talking in her sleep. They spent the night in the cave. In the morning, the snowstorm broke and the man took Mariah back to the city he came from. She said it was love at first site.

Later in the diary, Naali finds another entry about the ring.

Upon her Great Grandmother’s death, the ring was given to her Grandmother. The entry states:

This is a story that I was told by my grandmother.

“The last gift your Great-grandmother gave me was the ring. My Grandmother never took this ring off. She had been offered money for the ring, but she never sold it.

“Now the ring was special it changed colors in the light, almost as if it was changing its mood. When people would fight the ring would start to glow red, when it calmed down it was greenish. As a young wife, your Grandmother married a merchant. It was expected as your Great-grandmother was a renowned jeweler. She had a gift for working with metals. It was like they flowed to where they were supposed to go.

“Your Grandmother traveled with her husband’s caravan. She had given birth to your Great-uncle Antony the season before the power of the ring was discovered. And they had gone through the high mountain pass. It was there that the caravan was ambushed by soldiers, brigands by all accounts. Your Grandmother hid with the baby. Caravans sometimes smuggle things and people, so you have to be careful. Archers, spears, and swords slaughtered the caravan. When it was quiet, hours after the battle she came out from her hiding spot with the baby. It was his cries that tipped off the guards to their presence. It did not take long for them to be captured. The soldiers tried to decide what to do to them. One of the female slaves was bound and had been used for their entertainment. Your grandmother thought that she would be next. Drinking the ale from the caravan, parading around in the wealth, like wild men. They stripped her bare. They decided that they were going to sell her as a slave when they got her back home. As she was holding the baby, the soldiers decided that they would. Off the child. Your grandmother held on to the baby. Being beaten with whips, struck with a rod repeatedly, and cut with a knife. When they finally struck the baby, her temper flared.

“Now your Grandmother had a fiery temper to go along with her red hair and blue eyes. The strange thing not only did the ring glow, but she glowed. All the anger and hatred that had been stored in the ring came out as she cried out “God’s save me.” A blast of flame and fire came out from the ring, men screamed from the burning flames and wagons turned over. Your Grandmother did the only thing she could. She picked a sword and killed. It must have been a sight. Flaming red hair, fire all around in the dark and naked woman intended to kill anyone who dared to cross her path or harm her child. A few of the brigands ran, this is why the high peak is called “the Gallery of the Widow’s Revenge.” The ring changed her though. The power that it invoked made her easily angered. She became a wild woman. Sword in hand, armor from the dead commander, she came down the mountain on the last remaining wagon that had a team. She had stripped the dead soldiers and tied their hands to stakes pounded into the cracks of the mountain pass. Your Grandmother was confused and angry at herself. She had killed and desecrated the dead bodies.

“Word of events like this travels fast, though not always truthfully. The brigands had said that she was a powerful warrior who wielded a power beyond what they knew. The voice started to speak to her. The voice sent her from town to town, sometimes as a redeemer and sometimes as a defiler. Where she went, people feared her or rejoiced. A gentle carpenter finally one her heart, through patience and acceptance. Your grandfather was poor, mind you. They said that he did not even have enough to build his own coffin until he met your Grandmother. She took her bounty from the battles. He managed to get her to take the ring off to ease the madness and voices she heard in her head. He built a plain simple slide box that the ring was kept in. When I was just a teenager, fire struck the house my father made. My mother ran into the house and grabbed the box. She was burned from the heat. She said that it was a punishment for not answering the call of her master, the voice in her head. She told me about what the ring did, but she did not tell me how to release the power.

“I never put the ring on, I was afraid to. With all that my mother did, I wanted no part of the blood. That is why I became a healer, a rebellion against what my mother was. Someone stole the ring and the beautiful box and it makes my heart sad. I’ve prayed and prayed that it would return to me. But Ivak knows where it is and where it needs to be. My dear, never forget that the fire burns in each of us. That is why I dedicated you to Ivak. Always remember you have a choice on how the fire burns if you are careful it is a tool that can be harnessed and controlled. If you let it burn wild like Ivak did, it has the power to consume and kill all around it.”

The last entry in the book was written with different ink and reads,

“May the holy fires be kindled again. May the fires bring destruction and rebirth to the land. May every knee bow in awe to the power of Ivak The destroyer and the protector of all.

“It is with great joy that I write this. Word has come through a caravan that a ring matching the description was seen in the port city. I have joined on with a caravan that will be heading through the Gallery of the Widow’s Revenge and to the sea. I am hoping to find the ring and reclaim it for Ivak. It is with mixed emotions that I write this. This has been my home, now I head to someplace new. Like those who have done this before me, I know that the fires of Ivak will drive me on to my destiny. May passion burn in your hearts and minds. - Allison”


After a few days, she got curious to find if the ring had ever been found. So she continued to research reading histories and digging back in the boxes that held the old tomes and manuscripts. She was reading to find strange happening with fire and destruction. Across the sea, there was a report of a sailor who was convicted of murder. He had come back from the sea and got into a heated argument with his lover. Witnesses said that a fire enveloped him and exploded outward, killing his lover and burning down the inn they were arguing in along with many patrons.

Another report about the same time and then put it in her bag to take home and read later. at sea where there was an explosion that tore through the skip killing most of the crew. According to the ship’s manifest, the cargo was casks of wine being shipped across the sea for sale. There was speculation was that the crew had smuggled explosives on board and mutinied against their captain. The explosion was caused by the crew trying to take control of the ship. Only one man survived in a lifeboat.

More reports like this appeared as she researched around the ports till they stopped appearing. The history speculates that the ring was dropped in the sea, thrown back into a volcano, or simply lost. No mortal being knows for sure, or they are not talking about it.

In another book from antiquity, written about the god Ivak and the, the author speculated about the uses of the ring. One use is a ring of protection, allowing the anger to fill the ring and let it loose to protect the wearer. The author speculated that the downside is anyone who is not in the conflict would be hurt as well. The second effect is that of calming the wearer. As the negative energy would flow to the wearer of the ring, like magic in the ether, the ring would allow the user to remain calmer and think about what was going on without having the emotional response first. Such a ring would be helpful in tough negotiations or dealing with an overly emotional lover. The author surmised that this was the big thing that Ivak learned, to think through things before he let his emotions and magic loose. The author, a woman, suggested that Ivak was no better than a man, thinking with his lower member and full of drama. She insinuated that he was really not worth to be considered a major god at all. Apart from the power, he displayed to nearly destroy the land and peoples.

When Naali asked the other librarians about this ring, there were a few stories that they had run across about the gods making rings to focus their power or as gifts for their followers. An older librarian said that she read that Ivak had placed a part of himself in the ring, the part that was hurting from the loss of his lover and if the ring was destroyed that the Valterrian could happen again just from the power trapped in the ring.

As Naali sat and thought about this, she wondered what it would be like to find a ring like that. She wondered what it would be like to have a god speaking in your head, directing you do its bidding. She speculated that when Ivak was imprisoned, this is how he was still able to manifest some of his power in the world.

Naali figured that the best chance to find the ring was to talk to the priests at the temple of Akajia.

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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Asterope on July 8th, 2018, 12:09 pm

Ring of Reduced Distance

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The Ring of Reduced Distance, while certainly a nice piece of jewelry, is not overly flashy; in fact, it is very simple. The band is made out of steel, which despite seeing many years of wear is still clean, and the bottom edge is slightly raised. The center of the ring consists of a separately made band of hammered gold, also remaining untarnished; it is said the band of gold is meant to represent Aquiras' lover, Priskil.

The band of gold, attached separately, can be turned and spun on the band of the silver ring. In fact, that is how one activates the ring; a small and very faint engraving of an archway is etched onto the ring, spanning across both the steel and gold bands. One must actively and purposefully spin the golden band so that the engraving is connected properly to use the ring's powers.

Creation & Original Bearer :
The Ring of Reduced Distance was created by Aquiras himself, hundreds of years before the Valterrian. Long before the Valterrian and having his heart ripped out by Sagallius, in the early days of human history when he was still worshiped actively among the humans, Aquiras had many followers bearing his gnosis mark.

Between his mark and the active and, at that point, still safe and well-used Watchtowers, travel was easier in the early years of human history. To Aquiras, there was little that brought him more joy than watching humans use his power to travel the lands, particularly when it involved traveling to see their loved ones.

At this point in time, Aquiras had a Champion; a young Alahean man named Arryn Osrid. Arryn bore four of Aquiras' marks, and was an expert traveler, with a deep love for exploring and mapping unfrequented parts of the land in a bid to help his fellow humans. Thanks to the power granted to him by Aquiras, he never had to worry about losing his way or direction.

Despite his love for travel, Arryn's heart rested with his wife; a woman by the name of Lieva, the two of them had a home together in a town not far from Treval. Despite his love for her, and despite the fact that Lieva was heavily pregnant, Arryn could not be kept from travelling. Having prepared himself for one last venture before the birth of his child, Arryn bid Lieva farewell, and set out.

He used the nearest Watchtower to travel a great distance, and from where he arrived, set out into the wilderness, away from any towns; it was his hope to more clearly map out the wilderness, to allow for safer travel between towns when the Watchtowers could not be used for whatever reason.

Unknown to Arryn, a mere day after his departure, his wife fell into labour. A messenger was sent by horse to try and reach him before he arrived at the Watchtower, but they were too slow; and so, blissfully unaware, Arryn traveled on.

Aquiras, always keeping a watchful eye over his Champion, was aware of the situation; things became grave when Lieva's labour began to go awry, and the risk of death for both her and her child began to rise. While this saddened Aquiras greatly, he felt this particular circumstance was beyond him to interfere with.

Priskil, who simply by virtue of being Aquiras' lover had also become aware of the situation, could not stand to let it go on without helping. It broke her heart to know that Arryn may lose both his wife and child without realizing it until it was too late. She knew better than to try and interfere with whatever fates lay ahead for Lieva and her child, but she begged Aquiras to help so that Arryn may at least see his wife one last time, if indeed she did pass during childbirth.

Swayed by Priskil, Aquiras agreed to help Arryn; there was still hope for him to reach Lieva in time with the power of the Watchtowers; but he had to travel back to where he had arrived, and then travel to his town once he passed through the Watchtower again. It was precious time that would make all the difference.

Many Gods and Goddesses scoffed at Aquiras and Priskil both over the years, seeing their gentle and peaceful ways and their love for humanity as weak and foolish; and indeed, this situation was no different. Aquiras crafted a powerful ring infused with a small piece of his own divinity; he did not do it for power, or to further his own agenda, but because at the behest of his lover, he simply wished to help ease the inevitable heartbreak that was to befall his Champion.

With the ring made, Aquiras appeared to Arryn. He did not tell his Champion the details of what was happening, but the God told him that it was deeply important he return to his town at once. Aquiras then gifted Arryn the Ring of Reduced Distance, as it would come to be known; Aquiras told Arryn to use the ring to increase the speed at which he covered ground, so that he could more quickly return, and then left the man to his own devices.

Arryn did as Aquiras had told him, and thanks to the God's help, just barely made it back to his home in time to hold Lieva's hand as she took her final breath; miraculously, their child did survive. Heartbroken, Arryn realized the true gift that Aquiras had given him, and thanked the God; if Aquiras had not had his Champion's life and devotion before, he certainly did then.

Arryn kept the ring close for the rest of his life; it was his absolute prized possession, and he was never seen without it, though rarely did he use its power. Only in extreme circumstances did he ever activate the ring again.

He raised his son to be a worshiper of Aquiras as well, but his son never really took a particularly deep or devoted interest in Aquiras. He never understood why his father didn't use the ring more, and a part of him resented Aquiras for not doing more to help Arryn reach Lieva more quickly.

When Arryn passed away from old age, he left the Ring of Reduced Distance to his son; eventually, hard times befell him, however, and he fell into a large amount of debt with a particularly unsavoury crowd, and ended up selling the ring for the money he needed.


Into the Hands of Sagallius & His Followers :
After being sold, the ring passed from hand to hand for many, many years. Some sold the simple metal band before they could discover its true powers; others discovered and coveted the power, handing the ring down through several generations of family before it was passed on again, and other still used the ring frequently and openly.

The ring almost always found its way back into the hands of those devoted to Aquiras, and it was not difficult to tell it had been Aquiras who was at least somehow, in some way, responsible for its powers, for what other God would create an item that worked in such a way?

Eventually, word of the ring reached the ears of Sagallius Hrinn; by this point, he had long fallen into the madness of overgiving, and desire for the ring took hold of him. It is unsure if the mad mage ever did get his hands on it, but stories of the ring suddenly dwindled out, and indeed it seemed to vanish. Then came the Valterrian, and Sagallius' theft of Aquiras' heart.

If Sagallius had managed to get his hands on the Ring of Reduced Distance before the Valterrian, he lost it during the power struggle and cataclysm that followed. When the dust settled and he found himself a God in his own right, Sagallius waited until he had amassed a decent following before directing his worshipers to find the ring; he already had Aquiras' heart, so why should he not have any and perhaps all of his artifacts as well?

Eventually, one of his followers managed to find the ring; it was almost by pure chance. A powerhungry woman by the name of Selta found the ring hidden in the wreckage of one of the destroyed Watchtowers, obscured by rubble and overgrown foliage. Pleased, Sagallius allowed her to keep it as a prize for recovering it, and bestowed upon her a third mark, making Selta one of his Priestesses; in doing so, he tasked Selta with influencing his ex-apprentice, Zarik Mashaen.

Selta used the ring for many, many years; she traveled to Sahova, using the ring to constantly skulk around the island, where she kept tabs on Zarik Mashaen, as she had been tasked to do. Despite the Grand Oath he had made, Sagallius wanted his former apprentice completely and utterly under his control, and so Selta lived on Sahova, using her Cordas on Zarik and other high-ranking wizards on the island; she and Drainira, not yet Sagallius' Champion then, conspired together regularly. In this manner, she coaxed and manipulated, keeping herself as undercover as possible while following Sagallius' direct orders, influencing heavily the research done by those whose strings she held.

Selta herself willingly volunteered to become a Nuit so that she may continue to serve Sagallius indefinitely on Sahova; however, eventually, she began to come under suspicion. Knowing she would soon be found out, Selta attempted to flee, but was caught and killed. However, the ring was no longer in Selta's possession. Before her escape attempt, she had spoken with Drainira, and hidden the ring as directed.

With Selta dead, the ring lay hidden in Sahova for many years. The original plan was for Drainira to take it with her upon her eventual escape, however Sagallius came to realize its potential was being wasted while it sat and gathered dust in Sahova. With the intent of gifting it to Drainira when she finally fled, Sagallius took the ring, and gifted it for the moment to one of his followers who he felt had earned their third mark; unbeknownst to him, by the time Drainira left Sahova, he would no longer be in possession of the ring.

From then on, the ring was circulated only within the ranks of Sagallius' followers; the mage turned God found a deep, amusing irony in the fact that his followers were using one of Aquiras' gifts to his followers to now spread his bidding throughout the land, all while Aquiras' heart beat within his chest.

The ring came in handy for keeping within range of those that his followers marked with Cordas; with the Ring of Reduced Distance, the marked of Sagallius could easily stay within range of their affected targets, almost never having to worry about losing them or being caught.


Retrieved By the Order of Radiance :
Priskil was aware that Sagallius had taken Aquiras' precious ring and gifted it to his followers, but for a long time it simply was not her priority, as she cared for the body of her lover, keeping him safe, and began to establish herself as the Goddess of hope throughout the land.

It filled her with a deep sadness to know that the ring that had been crafted by her lover so selflessly, for such a lovely cause, was being used by his murderer and his followers in their manipulation. So when finally Priskil felt she had established a foothold and that she could allow herself time to deal with other things aside from keeping Aquiras safe, the ring was high on her list to be dealt with.

Priskil let her followers know of the ring, and tasked the Order of Radiance with its recovery. It became the top priority of those marked by the Goddess, and her followers all over the land searched valiantly for the ring.

A young man, only once marked by Priskil, was the one to find it. He had heard rumours of one, if not more, of Sagallius' followers gathering in Sunberth; it had been seen as an easy target to control and weaken from within, to be able to spread the influence of Sagallius.

The man, named Vertil, spent several seasons in Sunberth, keeping his status as a follower of Priskil hidden, and waiting for one of Sagallius' followers to reveal themselves in some way or another.

Finally, Vertil's patience paid off; while they didn't reveal themselves directly, Vertil managed to witness one of Sagallius' followers using the Ring of Reduced Distance; now knowing who to look for, it was only a matter of continuing to bide his time until he could corner them and retrieve the ring.

However, Vertil was losing his patience from already spending seasons simply waiting and observing; he was foolish, and moved in against what was a small group of three of Sagallius' marked on his own. He put up a valiant fight, managing to defeat all three of his opponents and reclaim the ring, but was mortally wounded in the process.

Priskil appeared to him then as he lay bleeding out on the dirt floor; she thanked him deeply for his service to her, promising it would not be in vain. She took the ring, and sat with Vertil until he finally breathed his last before taking her leave.

With Aquiras' ring back within her possession, Priskil was tempted to keep it safe with the body of her lover, not wanting the power to be abused, or worse, for it to fall back into the hands of Sagallius; but she knew it could be useful, and so instead she gifted it to her Champion at the time, a woman named Haerta.

Haerta treasured the gift of the ring, using it only when she felt it was necessary, and only telling the most trusted of Priskil's marked that she was in possession of it. Haerta resided in Alvadas for many years with the ring, until somehow, one of Sagallius' Priests caught wind of its presence in the city of illusions.

What followed was several years of cat and mouse. Indeed, Sagallius' Priest never revealed himself, and Haerta took enormous care in protecting the ring; with Haerta unable to be affected by Cordas, all that Sagallius' Priest could do was manipulate those around her in hopes that he could get to her by doing so.

The game tipped in the balance of Haerta when one day, she met an Ethaefal marked by Syna. The two became friends, and with the Ethaefal's help and her gnosis, Haerta was able to know who was being strung along by the use of Cordas. With the game of wits essentially over, Sagallius' Priest resorted to a more physical, last resort plan.

He cornered Haerta alone, and the two fought. Neither of them were warriors in their own right; it was messy and brutal. Priskil's light was searing against Sagallius' Priest, but he was stubborn; eventually, Haerta won, though not without her own fair share of wounds.

Knowing that she was no longer safe in Alvadas, for surely the Priest had dragged others into his schemes, perhaps even others also marked by Sagallius, Haerta fled the city. She crossed the Suvan Sea to Riverfall, and from there traveled to Ahnatep, where she lay low for many years, keeping the ring secure and safe, and not daring to use it.

Gradually, Haerta grew older, and approached her deathbed from age. One fateful night, Priskil visited her. The two talked the night away, simply enjoying each other's company for a time, and when the sun rose Priskil took the Ring of Reduced Distance and vanished.

She kept the ring safe and locked away for several more years, wanting to ensure that the knowledge of its last whereabouts were beginning to fade not only from Sagallius' followers, but from her own as well. Finally, when she deemed it safe enough, Priskil gifted the ring once more to one of her Priests, making him promise to keep it safe and to tell nobody about it unless necessary.

Since then, the ring has only been worn and used by those who have received three marks from Priskil; while the Goddess only marks those she trusts, the ring is such a closely guarded secret, and important enough, that Priskil will only trust her Priests or Priestesses to wear and use it. Even then, the ring is used sparingly, only when deemed necessary, and its presence among the Order of Radiance is a carefully guarded secret.

Currently the ring is held by one of Priskil's Priests; few people know of this, for the man has had to use it but rarely. Despite this, he is always on the look-out for followers of Sagallius, for if nothing, the past has proven that even keeping the ring a carefully guarded secret is not guaranteed to keep it hidden from Sagallius.


The Ring of Reduced Distance allows the wearer to create mystical doorways that allow for travel up to 100 yards in line of sight, thus reducing travel time significantly.

To activate the ring, one must purposefully rotate the smaller golden band so that the engraving of an arch that spans both the silver and gold bands of the ring is fully and properly connected; one that is done, the wearer simply needs to concentrate on where they wish the other doorway to appear, and both doorways will materialize. This allows for the bearer to step directly through the door that appeared near them, and out of the one that appeared where they willed it.

The ring is currently held by the Order of Radiance; specifically, as of now, it belongs to one of Priskil's Priests, a man by the name of Evard who currently resides in Nyka. Only a select few and Priskil herself are aware that he is in possession of the ring.

Word Count: 3,032
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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Nieve Glass on July 8th, 2018, 1:16 pm

Rolled a 15 in chat; '(15) Izurdin - Ring of Measured Strength: This ring allows the wearer to increase their physical strength through patience. When the wearer keeps their calm and maintains their reasoning despite especially adverse conditions, their strength increases in turn up to 10x their normal capacity.'

I don't know if I'll have the time/energy to do this one, but I'll try! This challenge is super fun. :)
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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Crylon Stonecraft on July 8th, 2018, 6:40 pm


Ring of Luck (Ovek)


The Ring of Luck's story begins around the fifty ninth century before the Valterrian (around 5900 BV) in Alahea. Before the Suvan War broke out, and long before the Valterrian, Ovek decided to infuse a ring with a portion of his power. It is unclear if he decided this on his own or after learning of another God or Goddess doing so, but it is known that around this time is when he went about creating such an item. Ovek of course being the God of several things, one of which includes gambling, did not make the ring himself. In the custom of his domain, Ovek went about it by making a wager.

Creation :
Long having taken an interest in a Jewelcrafter by the name of Juac (pronounced Jock), Ovek had been considering giving the human his mark. Along with being a master of crafting fine jewelry the man was also a compulsive gambler, having won and lost fortunes greater than most people earned in their life numerous times over. He frequented gambling establishments ranging from seedier ones in the back rooms of bars where one was as likely to get knifed as to walk away with a few coins, to finer places of gambling with much higher standards and stakes.

Ovek approached the man openly with a wager after a night of drinking and gambling with him. One roll of the dice, winner takes all. If Juac won Ovek would give him a boon to be named later. If Ovek won, Juac would craft an item for him using all of his skills to their fullest. Juac agreed on the condition that Ovek was not allowed to cheat, alter the odds, the dice, or interfere in any other way. Ovek accepted this condition and called the odd numbers having noticed from playing all night that the dice was aged and worn from use in such a way that it, with no interference on his part, rolled odd numbers twice as often as even.

And so on a gamble tilted somewhat in his favor by his own wit they wagered, and Ovek won. Juac not one to welsh on a bet, at least not one made with a God, kept true to his word and the very next day with Ovek watching crafted the finest ring he had ever made. Using an alloy of gold and silver called Electrum he made a ring and engraved it with minute detail. On the outer side was a detailed representation of the faces of a six faced die, cut so that it almost looks like they are projecting out of the ring when looked at from the right angle and in the right light. On the inside was a simple stylized depiction of a six fingered hand, added by request of Ovek.

Once the ring was finished Ovek took it back to his domain within the Ukalas and laid his blessing upon it, infusing it with a bit of his power and changing it from the finely made but mundane ring it was before into much more.

After spending all of the time he did with Juac, Ovek also decoded to come back a few years later and bless him with his Gnosis. This event was a turning point in Juac's gambling, perhaps in the grander scheme of things to his detriment. Unfortunately while it gifted him with additional abilities in gambling it did not enhance his common sense. After winning seventeen hands in a row in one of the seedier establishments he sometimes frequented Juac was knifed in the side by a disgruntled loser of a particularly contested hand. Juac bled out on the floor of the bar while the rest of the game continued on without him.

Original Owner :
Ovek on the other hand kept the ring for himself initially, wagering it as a common trinket in an attempt to pass it on to the right person, until several years later he lost the ring in a bet to another human by the name of Elaine.

Elaine was a human woman in Alahea, and the first to hold and use the ring. Not usually overly lucky, she came from a small family which ran a paper shop and eventually became a merchant herself who plied her wares of sheepskins and parchment. She made a living but little else, not being overly skilled at seemed at negotiating deals and only passable in such areas.. Not particularly prosperous, she liked to unwind at the end of a long day with some drinking and a bit of gambling on occasion. More often than not she lost, but did not wager enough in general for it to overly affect her. On a night like any other Elaine was in a bar and playing cards when a streak of luck hit her. Five hands in a row she simply pulled the perfect cards and won easily. One of her opponents was an elderly woman who had quietly been winning all night until Elaine's streak.

Out of money the old woman wagered what she said was all she had left on her, a small trinket she had acquired of little value, a ring. Elaine, enjoying the engraving and how it twisted in the light when looked at as if the dice were truly lying upon it decided to accept it as a wager. Elaine was of course surprised when she won a sixth hand, after which the old woman quietly left without another word. Elaine never knew she had met Ovek, where the ring came from, or that there was anything odd about it. She simply placed the ring in her bag and went on with her night.

After that sixth hand her luck returned to normal, and Elaine ended up losing back most of her winnings besides the ring she had won in the middle of the night. As far as she knew it was just a simple if well made ring, and she quickly forgot about it until the next time she went gambling.

Going through her bag looking for loose coin after losing several rounds, Elaine chanced upon the ring and put it on as a memory of her last streak. When it was her turn to roll she overshot and the dice fell off the table to roll across the room. While she was going to retrieve them a large support beam in the ceiling just above the table gave out and collapsed, crushing the table and killing or injuring its inhabitants. Having gone to fetch the dice Elaine was unharmed. Some who know of her story say that this was the rings doing, that it rolled off the table to signify her leaving the table was the best move to make, while others have simply said it was chance luck and bad craftsmanship and lack of maintenance on the part of the bar owner.

Regardless after that nights events Elaine began to think of the ring as a good luck charm and a tie to her prior streaks of luck. She also kept the dice that had in her mind saved her life, and formed the habit of absentmindedly rolling it during business dealings and conversations.

In her next business dealing she was trying to purchase a large lot of supplies for making paper, when she began to roll the dice in front of her on the table without thinking. The man she bargained with believed it was simply a personal quirk and thought nothing else of it. Elaine however noticed after the man stated his opening offer for selling that she was repeatedly rolling low numbers. Ones, twos, ones. She rolled a few more times with the dice before responding on impulse with a low bid offer to the man, which she was surprised to find he accepted.

The next day she found out the man had left town by ship and would have had to leave all of his goods behind. She was the only person in town interested in his wares, and so he had been prepared to sell at a low cost rather than to outright make a loss over what he had spent on acquiring it to begin with. He of course started high, wanting to make a profit, but had been willing to negotiate and take a much lesser deal.

Wondering about her good fortune and considering that the dice itself might be enchanted in some fashion, she continued on using it without realizing it was the ring as the source of the newfound power. She used it again on her next dealing to sell the acquired parchment and materials, and found when she rolled she continually got high numbers, fives, sixes, fives, no matter that she rolled dozens of times. Following another impulse and the lead of the dice Elaine started out her offer with a high bid, which the man blanched at. He responded with a much lower bid, and Elaine continued to roll her dice. This time she got straight five's for a dozen rolls in a row, a bit lower but still high. She made a counteroffer which lowered her sale price only a bit, and she was once more surprised to find the man accept.

It turned out the man had a deal with an important landowner to buy the needed supplies, and his usual source for said materials had been destroyed in a fire. In order to keep on the good side of the landowner he had needed to find a quick replacement supply even if it meant losing money on the current dealing as it could impact future much greater income. Elaine of course did not find this out till several days later, from an overheard conversation at a bar.

Her fortunes greatly increasing of late, Elaine decided to make a foray into the new area of rare or expensive inks. Finding a local source of a particular type of purple ink made from a rare mineral, she began work on an exclusive and long term contract with the owner of the resource. During the contract negotiation she continued to roll high numbers, fives and sixes to the exclusion of all else, as they were negotiating the deal. Elaine decided upon a six year agreement, and signed and began working on moving the mineral and turning it into the ink.

It was a few days later when she learned that the only other current source of the mineral, a mine in Suva, had run dry. This left her source as the only place to get it to make the ink and therefore jacking up the price drastically. However as she was locked into a contract for purchasing the materials she was able to continue to buy them at the same fixed cost until the contract ran out and make a hefty profit.

Over time Elaine began to trust the dice more and more, becoming reliant on them and increasingly convinced that they were in some way magical and leading her down some path to greatness and wealth. In truth they did work, though through the ring, and her position as an unimportant and poor merchant woman was slowly shifting into that of an increasingly wealthy merchant. Alas it was not meant to last, and Elaine unaware of the power of the ring until it was gone and convinced that it was the dice with the ability, was robbed one day by an unnamed mugger and had the ring stolen. It was after this when she went to use the dice that found they acted just as any other dice at random. It was then that Elaine realized that it had been the ring all along with the power and not the dice. While she did not continue to increase her wealth without the ring and its powers, she had made enough money by then to live comfortably and to use her acquired wealth to continue on with some degree of success. She married and lived a quiet life, and died after giving birth to three children and having eight grandchildren.

Second Owner :
The Ring of Luck did not next pop up until after the Suvan War had begun, appearing on the hand of a officer in the army of Alahea around the thirty first century Before the Valterrian (around 3100 BV). Jon Lon, a low level officer in the army was given the ring as a gift by his wife. Amele was a gambler earlier in her life and aware of the symbology related to Ovek, and thought it might give her husband some of that luck on the field of battle.

He also carried a simple wooden coin carved and crafted by his son, Ron, with a sixer on one side and a blank face on the other. He had long since taken a habit of flipping the coin for luck or when pressed with an important decision, and if unable to decide would follow the random direction he had mentally placed upon each face. It was fortunate therefore that he had this habit, as when he began to make these same random choices with the coin while wearing the ring, he began to make much better choices and ones that were not seemingly random. Unlike Elaine he had long been using the coin, and so noticed when his luck and the coin suddenly began to change its behavior. He unlike Elaine realized it was when he had begun to wear the ring, and that the ring was therefore the catalyst of his newfound luck.

Aware of the ability but not fully trusting it, he only used the ring and the coin through it when he had no other choice and was not sure what to do. But he found that when he did so he always chose the best solution for himself. When to retreat or to fight on. When to go around the enemy or charge right at them. When to do one choice or another, or in some cases neither such as when he dropped or lost the coin instead of catching it in his hand on one face or the other.

Examination, Storage, and Sunberth :
While he was only a smaller and lesser officer, Jon did have an unusual amount of luck due to the ring, and so his success came to the awareness of his higher ups. It was then that Jon told his tale to a well learned battle mage, who recognized the ring for more than just a simple enchanted or cursed object. Taking the ring he had it passed up to his commander, who wanting to duplicate the ring or if nothing else find out how it worked had it sent be examined by the greater mages higher up in Alahea. Alas it was for naught, as while they spent years examining the ring they could not understand how it worked, let alone make copies with the same effect. Unable to understand it the ring was shuffled from one storage room to another, and eventually was sent to Sahova just before the Valterrian to be stored and possibly further examined by the nuit.

This however was forgotten as the Valterrian occurred, and the ring and its powers were set aside for something more important to the nuit, survival. Once the worst of the Valterrian had passed it was taken back out by a Nuit who planned to examine it. However it was stolen by the nuit's apprentice who escaped to Sunberth with the help of the ring and its powers. The apprentice planned to move on to other places once he had arrived safely, but even with the help of a magic ring though Sunberth is no place for an apprentice mage, and he was found dead in an alley with a crossbow in his throat and all of his valuables including the ring gone.

It is not known who had the ring next, though it is thought to have been passed from one person to another numerous times. The ring was used by some, ending up stolen in the night from their person or belongings. Robbed in the open and taken. Used, stolen, and robbed, the ring was owned by some who knew of its story and past, and others who did not. Those who knew how it worked, and those that did not believe in its abilities. It is believed to still currently be in Sunberth, though it has not had a confirmed sighting there in over a century.

Regardless of the truth of its storied past, particularly in recent years, it is believed by many to exist and to work as described, ascertained in the ancient past prior to the Valterrian by the Alahean's before they were destroyed. How it works is anyone's guess, though due to its markings and the story of its making many believe it is tied intricately to Ovek. It is regarded though as an amazing object by many who know of it, and if nothing else amazing for the fact that the story or myth of its creation has lasted so many years after it was made and used, another factor in its favor that has left many to believe the ring is real and does as described, whatever that specifically is.

It is said that the Ring of Luck allows the wearer to rolls a pair of mundane dice, draw a mundane card from a deck or flip a mundane coin and more often than not, gain the knowledge of the most profitable path to take in a given situation.

Whether this is true or not is open for debate, along with whether or not it exists. It is also believed by some that the ring itself is inherently lucky, that it acts not to help its user but out of its own self interest and is aware, and has some odd need or desire to pass on to new users and to increase their luck before meaning their eventual downfall or death. Considering the considerable number of instances of death or bad luck involving the loss of the ring there does ring some truth to this rumor, however it also said to be equally likely that it is simply a coveted object and so has passed on so many times due to this more so than any negative luck effect related to the thing or its loss, and that the violent way it has been taken time and time again in Sunberth is directly related to this niore so than any ability of the ring real or imagined.

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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Anais Seawind on July 8th, 2018, 9:27 pm

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The Ring of
Disciplined
Endurance

Despite its power, the Ring of Disciplined Endurance is a visually unassuming piece of jewelry comprised of a simple hammered silver band inlaid with a thin ring of gold and a larger inset of deep blue sodalite. While it would be a serviceable accessory for a wearer of any race or religion, the ring’s full power can only be accessed by a marked follower of Wysar, the God of Integrity, Conviction and Discipline. For this reason, most known instances of the ring’s full and proper usage have occurred while the ring was in the possession of an Akalak warrior in times of great physical need, either in battle or in life-or-death situations where the safety of others rests solely on the shoulders of the ring’s owner, and where the enhanced endurance and discipline provided by the band would aid the wearer in performing a great service to mortals.

It is told that shortly after the Valterrian, there arose a need amongst the Akalak followers of Wysar such that the God himself was moved to intervene on their behalf or see his children pass entirely from the land into memory. Thus, after much consideration and no small amount of effort on the God’s behalf, the Ring of Disciplined Endurance was forged.

The first legend of the Ring of Wysar is that of its creation:

Creation :
The cataclysm of the Valterrian left the landscape forever changed; gone was the great Akalak city of Valkalah, along with most of the warrior race who had called it home. Wysar knew that those followers remaining to him would have great need of aid in the coming days, a strengthening of faith and resolve such as none before. So the God crafted the ring, an object that would imbue its bearer with a portion of Wysar’s own power in times of need, to aid his followers when he could not.

Wysar himself spent untold years crafting the ring, purifying the silver that would be the base of the ring by heating it in the hottest remnants of Ivak’s own flames, which had so recently wrought the land asunder, until all hidden impurities had been cleansed away, leaving a nearly luminescent shining metal behind. The molten metal was carefully poured and molded around a smooth band of sodalite stone, chosen for its color, a blue so deep and dark as to remind Wysar of his children, the Akalak race that had so narrowly escaped extinction in the aftermath of Ivak’s rage. Finally, the God wrapped a single band of gold, thin but very evident, around the ring – the warm brightness of the metal provided a dividing line between the two halves of the ring, a point of focus that represented the thin line between the light and dark souls his sons were burdened and privileged to possess. Shaped and polished over the span of years by the God’s own hands, the Ring of Disciplined Endurance was not yet ready to meet the world.

After the initial crafting had been completed, Wysar spent generations, a mere blink of time for a God, in meditation with his creation, attuning it to himself and to the purpose he had designed it for. And then he turned his eyes outward to the scattered and dwindling Akalak still surviving, somehow, in the dangerous landscape of the new world. Patiently, Wysar searched for one among his warrior race who would best be steward to the power of the ring. Though so few were left, Wysar did not despair; strength and integrity were present aplenty in the remaining Akalak men, and long was the list of potential champions deserving of a boon.


So it was, even to the God, curious that his chosen bearer would be Velrasik and Kiirsa, newly awakened and unproven in discipline, and suffering greatly in the world as it was reformed. Theirs is the next story in the legend of the Ring of Disciplined Endurance:

Velrasik and Kiirsa :
The stories say that Kiirsa had come late to Velrasik, when the Akalak was nearly 18 years of age, and the two souls struggled mightily in coming to terms. Velrasik before Kiirsa had been a studious youth, happy more often than not, more than reasonably skilled in combat, and notably pious in his worship of both Wysar and Akajia. When Kiirsa surfaced, instead of developing a healthy balance with his second soul, Velrasik began a slow spiral into the darkness of it; the conflict within soon made itself apparent to those closest to him, and Velrasik and Kiirsa were exiled from their home, considered a danger to themselves and others, in a sentence that was akin to death.

For some, the shame at such a perceived weakness would have led them to accept death willingly rather than live with the knowledge that they were considered lesser, or weak. Velrasik, in truth, was so overcome with feelings of inadequacy that he attempted to keep them locked away belowground in prayer until such a time as Wysar appeared to offer aid or death took them. Kiirsa was not so complacent, nor so strong in his faith that he was willing to be subjected to such, and fought for the control to continue their fractured survival, turning his hand to hard physical labor when he could, while Velrasik wallowed in religious misery when control was his.

In the end, Velrasik and Kiirsa were saved by their shortcomings; it was there below the earth that Velrasik and Kiirsa managed an unlikely survival in the years following the Valterrian. When Ivak’s sorrow and rage split the world asunder, altering the very bedrock of the world, the twin souls were locked in a rocky prison of their own making, forced to form an uneasy alliance for survival or to accept a lingering and unpleasant death. In the face of long odds, Velrasik and Kiirsa found that their combined desire to live was strong enough to forge a bridge of commonality between the two souls, and together they began the near-impossible task of finding a path to the survival, to the dubious security of the surface. The erasure of the world as they’d known it shifted the dynamic of their relationship, and for the first time, Velrasik and Kiirsa began to work in harmony, discovering a balance that had previously seemed unattainable as they ventured out in search of others of their race in the unfamiliar environment that had been forced upon them.

It was these souls which called to Wysar as he cast his eyes over what remained of his beloved race of warriors. These two who had been too weak of spirit to coexist without danger to themselves or others, who had been so fractured of spirit to hold hope for redemption, who had endured hardship beyond measure in their exile even before the Valterrian. These souls would be the bearer of his blessing. It was such a determination to survive, and to thrive, that would be needed in the coming days and Wysar was confident that, having reconciled the two souls in one body, Velrasik and Kiirsa would be of immeasurable help to the remaining Akalak, once the world had begun to right itself again. Scattered and broken, the race would need both Velrasik’s perfect faith and Kiirsa’s tenacious will to survive against all odds.


And so it was that Wysar undertook to meet his children, unbeknownst to them, centuries after the world had been remade. The story of this meeting is next in the legend of the Ring of Disciplined Endurance:

Wyser Meets Velrasik and Kiirsa :
The tale as it is told has Velrasik and Kiirsa newly emerged, wearied and battered by the hardships they’d experienced, walking the coast of the newly formed Suvan Sea, which had erupted and submerged the old Akalak city of Valkalah. As the days stretched, they grew disheartened and disconsolate, finding no evidence that other pockets of survivors may be nearby, until spotting a lone set of footprints reaching out ahead of them. Kiirsa, who had been at the forefront of the search that day, stepped back in consideration, allowing Velrasik a moment to offer a prayer both hopeful plea and thanksgiving that at least their search had met with some success. It was an effortless action on the part of both Kiirsa and Velrasik, and Wysar was watching from a distance, well-pleased with the tandem efforts of this formerly troubled Akalak.

When, proceeding with great caution, the warrior crested the next ridge, Wysar himself sat near a small fire directly in their path. Taking a form the large Akalak would be comfortable with, Wysar appeared as an elder of their race, skin a dark ebon stretched over muscles just beginning to soften with time. The balance Velrasik and Kiirsa had obtained allowed the dark brother to withdraw easily, as Velrasik was the better choice for welcome and conversation and if the two souls did not recognize just how much that simple act signified their growth, Wysar did and noted the change with pride.

Greetings were exchanged, the specifics of which have been lost to time, as tends to happen when the humdrum of the ordinary presumes to intrude on the fantastic. But the men travelled together for a time as equals, Velrasik and Kiirsa believing that their search continued with the elder, Wyliris and Sarvit. It is said that Velrasik and Wyliris would sit long by the evening’s fire speaking of religion and the place of the old Gods in this new world, and in the daylight hours Kiirsa and Sarvit would travel in companionable silence, as they attempted to piece together the lost and farflung survivors of the Akalak race.

It was in this way that a tenday passed with little incident. Wysar used the time to know the heart of the Akalak he traveled with, each day growing in his confidence that his choice had been correct. One morning, with no ceremony whatsoever, Wysar took his leave of Velrasik and Kiirsa, leaving the pack he had carried as the Akalak elder, devoid of contents save for the Ring, glimmering dimly at the bottom. As Velrasik reached in to pluck it out, a voice resounded in his head for both souls to hear:

”My sons, it has been a pleasure spending these days with you,” the voice of Wysar rumbled softly, very different from the quavering tenor of Wyliris and Sarvit, a measured baritone that was not only pleasant to listen to but that commanded respect from its audience. ”The progress you have made, both together and as individuals, is worthy of great note. Your strengths will be needed by your people in the days to come, though you will not live to see the full promise of your influence.” Sadness tinged the voice, but Wysar knew that Velrasik and Kiirsa were aging, and the landscape they would traverse would steal quickly from them what years they had remaining. ”I ask of you a difficult task: take the ring from this pack and, using it, aid your fellows in whatever way you are able. I will be watching,” the pride in the voice was unmistakable, and accompanied by a tingling sensation at the base of Velrasik’s and Kiirsa’s neck which signified a furthering of their connection to the God. With it came the knowledge of how to use the Ring of Disciplined Endurance and a directional heading that they followed without question.


Much of the remainder of Velrasik’s and Kiirsa’s journey has been lost to time, but legend tells us that they did, in fact, find the community of Akalak they searched for. Small and sad, and under constant attack from birds known as Glassbeaks. The legend of Velrasik and Kiirsa continues here:

Velrasik and Kiirsa vs the Glassbeaks :
Prior to the Valterrian, Glassbeaks, predator birds that plagued the land where the Akalak had settled, had been considerably smaller and less threatening. But the djed that freely flowed during the cataclysm had morphed them into something both more fearsome and more aggressive. It was not safe to be alone outside the small community of Akalaks, and Velrasik and Kiirsa saw immediately a need that they could fill for their people. In an effort to guarantee the safety of the small community as they struggled to carve out a life in the post-Valterrian world, Wysar’s chosen waged a personal war on the Glassbeaks that plagued them, using the powers of the ring to aid them in their battles.

For a scant few years, it seemed as though progress was being made, on all fronts. While Velrasik and Kiirsa led patrol after successful patrol in aggressive attacks against the foul grassland fowl, the determined community of Akalaks (and, by this time Kelvics) began to build and breed and impose their will on the harsh environment around them. Velrasik and Kiirsa talked daily to their God, and though Wysar appeared only once more to the twin souls, both knew they did the deity’s work and were happy in that knowledge.

But the day came when even the power of the Ring could not sustain them through battle. A raid led on a nest of Glassbeak began to fall apart as the adult birds rallied; Velrasik and Kiirsa had thought to eliminate future generations of the beasts through one deadly attack on the nesting females and the eggs, and led a group of Akalak warriors against the terrors. Unexpectedly, a strange group of winged, two-legged creatures joined the fray. While the Akalak were taken by surprise, the newcomers killed with abandon, not discriminating between the monstrous Glassbeaks and the jewel-colored bodies of the Akalak warriors. The raiding party suffered losses, and was forced to retreat, still under attack from the remaining Glassbeaks and the new foes, of which they knew nothing. Velrasik and Kiirsa knew that, even with the power of the ring, they were unlikely to see the next sunrise, but this had been their task since Wysar had gifted them with the Ring of Disciplined Endurance years ago.

A hurried prayer to the God activated the ring’s power, and Velrasik and Kiirsa felt their pain numbing, freeing their collective thoughts for strategy and battle. The Akalak who made it back to the safety of the community swear that they saw the deep purple warrior grow in stature, to be joined by an unknown warrior whose skin, though dark ebon in color, was strangely translucent. The two giants fought bravely to hold off the enemies, bodies and weapons whirling in perfect tandem, as though they’d always fought as one unit, allowing time for the rest of their party to escape, before falling to a true warrior’s death.

No bodies were recovered that day, and the ring was lost to the plains, or the bellies of the enemy, depending on who tells the tale. Likewise, some say that the translucent Akalak who had materialized on the battlefield that day was the God Wysar, come to aid his favored son, Velrasik, whose life had long been devoted to the deity. Some would say it was nothing more than the manifestation of the dark brother, Kiirsa, whose battle prowess far exceeded any among them. But all agreed that but for the actions of Velrasik and Kiirsa that day, the small encampment of Akalak would have been doomed to disappear, destined to fall prey to the monsters born of Ivak’s rage.

Later generations would come to know the winged creatures who had turned the tide of battle that day as the “Zith”, a race created when the Valterrian fractured the world, and Akalak and Zith would remain mortal enemies as time went on, and tales of the bravery of Velrasik and Kiirsa would find their way into Akalak history, to be passed on to future generations. The tale of the two brothers who nearly perished for want of balance, but who ultimately gained the favor of a God and saved their people from certain death is one that cautions, inspires, and educates youthful Akalak during their adolescence, and the legend grows with each generations’ telling. Often as individuals prepare for their own Rites of Trial and Passage, there is an underlying hope that they might be the one to find and return the Ring of Disciplined Endurance back to the hands of the Akalak, and many prayers speed to Wysar in the hope that the God will lend a hand in the recovery.


As with any tale that sets its roots so far back in time, the truth cannot be fully known. However, the core of the tale of Velrasik and Kiirsa has remained constant, suffering only in the details – how many years they remained in solitary exile, how many Glassbeaks or Zith the brave warriors defeated. And there is some debate on how favored they were by Wysar; how many marks had the God gifted the twin souls as they sought to do his bidding? This number ranges from a less impressive 2 marks to crediting the warrior with the full 4 marks of a Champion of Wysar. But any amount of exaggeration or speculation on the legends can be forgiven due to the age of the story and a lack of any written accountancy. After all, one can’t exactly pull the God in to question him for details, and he would be the only reliable source to consult, as no one else yet living knows the truth of the tale.

What is known to be fact it that the rings exists and, with a prayer to Wysar in a time of great need, the wearer of the ring will feel a profound aura of discipline surrounding him or her, a grim numbness spreading out where pain should be. Though the pain exists, the warrior will note it only in a most detached way, allowing them to continue in their efforts until either the need has been resolved or the wearer has exhausted all bodily resources and collapses, unconscious. At that point, as with Velrasik and Kiirsa, no further protection is given from the ring; should the wearer fall mid-battle, it is likely he or she will be killed. Wysar offered no protection of life of limb along with the ring, just a duty that the bearer of it should use it to provide great benefit and aid to those in need.

Word count 3043What a challenge! Lore-diving, keyboard pounding... Fun!
Last edited by Anais Seawind on July 8th, 2018, 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.
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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Anibesa on July 8th, 2018, 9:37 pm

Cheva - The Ring of Love’s Embrace

The Ring of Love’s Embrace first came into existence around fifty to sixty years before the Valterrian, created out of love by an elderly man for his wife though blessed by Cheva when the rings was not received as expected by the man.

It is a delicate ring, though obviously not made by a professional. It is shaped as a simple pink tinted gold band that splits into two interlinking heart at the front of the finger and each heart is made of a gem and outlined with the gold. The heart on the left is a milky pink colour and completely opaque, while the heart on the right is a cloudy white stone who’s colours shift in the light, and in some lights it appears to glow.
On the outside of the band are the words “Even When You Forget” while the inside of the band is engraved with the words “I Love You”.

Creation and First Owner :
Over fifty years before the Valterrian an elderly man named Aydon, twice marked by Cheva, lived with his wife of forty years, Kala. Unknown to him, Kala had been cursed somehow, leaving her memory rapidly deteriorating to the point where she still believed she was a young woman who had just married a young man named Aydon, who she had loved since childhood.
Watching his wife’s memory deteriorating and seeing her beginning to mistake him for a much older stranger broke Aydon’s heart, though deep inside he knew that Kala still loved him and was just incapable of recognizing her husband.

Determined to try and help her recover her lost memories, Aydon set himself a challenge. He wanted to make Kala a gift that she could keep with her and remind herself of him every time she forgot.
For days he sat at his desk, drawing out design after design until he was happy with one. A ring that featured two interlinked hearts, with an engraving on the band that read ‘Even When You Forget’ on the outside, while the inside would be engraved with ‘I Love You’. He retired to his room for the evening, and the next day he arranged with his neighbor to watch over Kala while he went to a metal smith that agreed to teach him how to cast such a ring, for a fee.

The next morning Aydon impatiently awaited his neighbor, growing more distressed at how little his wife remember, before he was finally able to go on his way. Once at the workshop he retrieved the design from his pocket and presented it to the metal smith who seemed happy that such a design could be done, though informed Aydon that he would have to see someone else about the engraving and the gemstones.
At first Aydon was confused, not believing that he had put gemstones into the design, though on inspection he saw that the interlinked hearts were now designed to hold a gemstone each, rather than just being a simple outlining in metal. Though Aydon now assumed that he must have forgot that part due to his tiredness and from the sheer amount of designs he had made.

Then he and the metal smith got to work. Carefully Aydon carved a wax model under the metal smiths watchful eye and once he had finished the model the metal smith checked it over, nodding his approval before he set the ring into a wax stand, then placed it into a wooden box that had been lined with grease.
“This is where we make the mold in order to cast the ring. We create a hard casing around the wax and once that has dried we melt the wax out. After that we are ready to fill the cast with gold, or silver if you prefer?” the smith told Aydon and Aydon nodded, watching as the man poured a liquid into the greased wooden box until the wax model and stand were completely submerged, then the metal smith told Aydon he would have to come back tomorrow.
Nodding Aydon had handed over the money he owed the man and retired to his home for the night.
The next day he returned at the same time and the metal smith nodded a greeting to him, retrieving the wooden box from a shelf and knocking on the now solidified liquid.
Together they removed the solid from the mold and then the metal smith stoked the furnace, heating it up and then looking at Aydon for a moment or two, before he grabbed a pair of metal rings with insulated handles. The smith used the tongs to carefully pick up the mold, then held it upside down over the furnace, the heat from it flowing into the solid object and melting the wax, causing it to slowly drip out and gradually free up the mold ready for the gold.
“How long will this take?” Aydon asked and the smith remained quiet, before pointing to what looked like a stone cup in the heat too, this one filled with what looked like molten gold, completely liquified.
“How is that looking?” he asked and Aydon looked a bit closer.
“It’s a liquid. What are you hoping for?” Aydon asked and the metal smith nodded, seemingly happy as he gently shook the tongs, causing the last few drips of wax to spill out.

The metal smith remained silent as he maneuvered the tongs to place the mold down with the hole pointed upwards ready to cast the ring, before he looked at Aydon.
“Do you want to pour?” he asked and Aydon suddenly nodded. “Right then, take these tongs and carefully pick up the gold. Then you need to pour it into this hole slowly. Give it chance for the air bubbles to escape!” the smith said calmly as Aydon took the tongs and followed his instructions carefully.
Once the mold was filled with the molten gold, Aydon put the stone vessel back down and the smith used a separate pair of tongs to pick up the mold and place it out the way.
“You’ll need to come back again tomorrow once it’s set. I’ll give you a few files so you can refine it before taking it to the jeweler.” the smith said and Aydon nodded, returning to his home.

The final day at the metal smiths was uneventful. Aydon help the smith to break apart the mold and retrieve the ring. The smith managed to separate the shape of the stand away from the ring itself, and then he presented the rough and messy looking ring to Aydon, along with a metal file, a paper file, and what looked like polish.
“Spend the night filing this and polishing it to refine it. Then tomorrow go here. This jeweler has agreed to add the stones and the engraving for the cost of the gems.” the man said and Aydon thanked him, taking the tools and the address back home with him.
He filed the ring and got it to a point where it was presentable though still obviously handmade, before he retired to his bedroom to sleep.
The next morning he returned to the ring, finding it in much better shape than he remembered, though he put that down to the low lighting while he had worked. Instead of worrying about whether the ring was at a good enough state he instead placed the ring into his pocket along with the design and the money he’d need and he made his way to the jewelers.

Once there he spent most of his time just watching after he’d shown the jeweler the design. The engravings took a short amount of time, and within a bell the jeweler was passing him the ring back so he could inspect the engraving and see that it was how he wanted it.
Next the jeweler recovered a few gems that were about the right size for the hearts and held them out to Aydon, telling him to pick two.
One of the gems was a delicate pink colour that was opaque and cloudy, while the one of others was a white cloudy stone that was slightly iridescent, seemingly glowing whenever the light hit it. None of the other gems drew his eyes and in the back of his head a soft and feminine voice seemed to whisper to him, telling him to choose those gems and he pointed at the two, the jeweler nodding as he took the two gems and the ring and began to work.
This part took about two bells and once the man had cut and fitted the stones he handed the ring back to Aydon and Aydon looked over the ring, admiring the work that had gone into the gemstones and the engraving, and Aydon handed the money over to the man before returning to his home, stopping just before the entrance.

He caught his appearance in the mirror and used a hand to brush the wiry grey hair back out of his face, slicking it back neatly before adjusting his clothes to look more presentable and finally he was ready.
He stepped into the house he called home and saw the love of his life, though she didn’t recognize him.
Cautiously he stepped towards her, holding the ring out to her as he explained who he was and what had happened, and offered the ring to her as a way to promise that he would always love her and be there for her whether she remembered their lives together or just the beginning of their story.
Kala, confused, apologized to him, saying that she was married and could not take the ring as her husband had already sworn himself to her and her to him. He could feel his heart being slowly crushed as the realization hit him. He knew that Kala could never love him if she thought he was someone other than the Aydon she remembered but he knew that he would still devote his life to her, even if that meant just remaining a friend and source of comfort to the elderly woman.

In that moment Aydon felt as though time had stopped around him, and he could only watch as Kala walked away and left the room, before a soft feminine voice echoed throughout the room.
“She loves you, she just doesn’t recognize you like this. And you love her no matter what.” the voice said and he turned to see a beautiful dark haired woman that he recognised as the goddess that had marked him twice.
“She is my life. Without her I am a broken man.” he said, his voice empty as he choked back tears.
The woman stepped closer to him and held her hand out for the ring, and willingly he gave the ring to her.
“You have been loyal to me and spread my message throughout. And in return I may be able to offer you a small token.” the goddess handed him the ring back and smiled slightly. “May the rest of your days together be filled with love.” she whispered and Aydon looked closely at the ring, it’s metal now paler and possessing a slightly more pink toned hue to it. Then when he looked up the goddess had vanished, now doubt having had to go mark a young couple exchanging their vows, though one sentence remained in his head.
“Put the ring on.”

He slipped it on and then went to see Kala again, though now she instantly moved to hug him.
The rest of their days together were spent filled with love between the two, even if Kala couldn’t recall most of their life together. And they were together for a further three years before illness took the pair in their sleep.
Until his death, Aydon was sure that Cheva had guided him in making the ring, secretly pointing him in the right direction to make a ring to hold such a power as she knew that Kala would not be able to return Aydon’s feelings whilst her memory was so broken. He believed that Cheva would not have wanted someone she had marked twice to have suffered with their loved ones not returning their feelings, or having to leave someone to make them happier, though nobody can be sure of the goddesses true reason for making an artifact that forced love and passion upon someone.


Second and Third Owners :
After their deaths, the ring was passed to their grandson, Tamlin, a spoilt and self righteous young man who wanted nothing more than to be adored. At first he viewed the ring as a sentimental gift that held no true value, though one day his curiosity got the best of him, enticing him to place it onto his finger, and instantly the girl he had been pining for over the years was behaving strangely towards him, seemingly going out of hey way to impress him, to dress how he preferred and even going as far as to completely change her views of the world to match with ones he found more appealing.
He took her into his home, and in less than a season she carried his child, even having exchanged vows with him but neither had gained a Cheva’s mark. Tamlin thought that she was lying to him in order to gain his favour, thinking that she had seen him as an easy target to manipulate and extort and angrily he cast the distraught woman out onto the streets, leaving her homeless and still pregnant with his child.

In her desire for revenge, the woman broke into his home at night and chopped off his finger to steal the ring and quickly she realised that she did not love him or care for him at all, and instead she resented him.
She fled the city and made her way to the nearest city where she sold the ring, claiming it could control someone’s emotions towards you.
It was bought for a hefty price by an aspiring mage who wished to analyze the ring and try to recreate it, though all he good determine was that someone with greater power than he could imagine had enchanted the ring and his thoughts could not comprehend that a god would enchant such an item.

Soon the ring was stolen from him by an urchin girl that saw the ring as something beautiful and attracted that she wanted for herself, and upon putting on the ring she was made aware of a man that seemed to be following her closely.
Everywhere she went the man followed her, and gradually she saw him changing his appearance until he was someone she found attractive. He invited her into his home, though shortly after the world as they knew it was destroyed along with them by the Valterrian.


Last Known Owner :
Over a hundred years after the Valterrian, the ring resurfaced on a beach where it was found by a group of children, all of whom agreed to give it to the oldest child’s mother on her birthday, as it was the first year since her husband died and she had been struggling to deal with the loss.
The woman found herself with a new lover not long after receiving the ring, and the two lived in happiness for many years, both building their lives together until the woman died during childbirth. Devastated the man stayed with her body until he determined it time to say goodbye, and as a keepsake he took her ring, and kept it on a chain around his neck as he raised her children as his own, loving and caring for them like he would have done his own child had the baby survived the birth that killed both her and her mother.

The man never found himself falling in love again, though after choosing to wear his late lovers ring he found himself with a young woman more than willing to help him with his late lovers children and to offer him comfort. Gradually he began to care about the woman though found himself never able to return the love that she gave to him despite the excessive amounts of effort she put into making herself appealing to him.
This lack of reciprocation on his end drove the woman to madness and in order to protect their adoptive father from her obsessive, the children drove her away, and now feeling as lonely as he had done before the man took to wearing the ring on a necklace again and spent more and more time with his adoptive children, using them to fill the void he felt in his heart.
Eventually the children that the man had raised in stead of his late lover grew up and started their own young families, and he found himself unable to return the love and devotion that the younger woman gave him. He packed his bags without speaking and made his way to a group of Svefra who took him on bored claiming of a place he could go to to escape his troubles and ease his mind.
The man was never heard from again and he was assumed dead at sea, likely killed in a storm. The ring has never definitely been seen since, though there are rumors of such a ring being kept by a Svefra pod. It is possible that the ring fell into the Suvan Sea, stolen by Svefra, or even taken back by Cheva to prevent the ring causing any more heartache or falsified love or possibly even it ease other couples troubles.


The rings existence was not well documented and even less survived the Valterrian, with only a few rumors of an artifact that allowed someone to be loved and adored by others having survived among select groups such as those that worship Cheva or those that took a great interest in life before the Valterrian.
The ring is assumed to have been a myth by some who know the rumors, and some suspect that if such occurrences had happened it would have been down to hypnotism or similar magics as most stories of the ring only involve one person falling for the rings wearer, and some even involved people still loving the person after the removal of their ring or the death of the wearer.
Those who know it’s stories have noted that the ring only seemed to work when worn around a finger rather than on a chain, and that the type of love it makes the target feel borders on obsessive, making the target want nothing more than the wearer to return their feelings and depending on the targets initial personalities they could react in varying different ways to their feelings not being reciprocated, including both violent and self destructive natures. This means that those unaware of the rings power often found themselves in difficult situations involving their new stalkers.
Whether the ring still exists on Mizahar is not something known by many people, though some hope to try and find it to give proof to the legends that they heard.

Word Count: 3181
Lethaefal-Svefra
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Anibesa
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Rings of Power Challenge Weekend (6, 7, 8)

Postby Ambrosia Alar on July 9th, 2018, 12:19 am

Sorry the ending was a bit rushed but I was running out of time. I was hoping to keep it a little more coherent and add some more interactions to make it all a bit more believable. But here's what I have, and I hope you enjoy. I 47ed (Xyna)



Emris the Beggar. That’s what they called him, though the begging did not define him. He was much more than that. He had been a cobbler at one time, a time long before this one. But to say that the shoes he had made defined him would also be a lie. Still, people needed something to call him, so he became Emris the Beggar, living off the few meager coins passersby felt they had no need for.

If someone had cared to ask Emris what he wanted to be called, he would have told them he wanted to simply be known as Emris. It was the name that had been given to him at birth, and he felt it had done him quite well. If someone was to ask him what defined him though, his answer would be that he watched things, observed the world, strived to understand it and the people within it. Emris liked to watch the world pass him by. He had kind eyes. That was why he had quit cobbling. Though he was still plenty capable of continuing on in his profession, the job had been too confining. The tedious work of peering at soles every day had worn him down. The cramped quarters of his workspace had been to constricting. He longed for the sunshine. He longed to watch the people. And so he did.

When he first began watching, his kind eyes missed many little things. Most of the world passed him by without him noticing, and at first, that was fine. Since he didn’t know, Emris had nothing to miss, but as he watched more, more secrets, previously unknown, surfaced. Over time, he watched so much that nothing escaped his attention any longer. Emris watched. And Emris saw.

That’s where he was on this particular day. The marketplace bustled around him, and the generosity of others had already sated his appetite for the day. So Emris watched. There were the usual people in the market buying or selling the usual things.

There was Jenna, a seamstress Emris had worked with back in his days of employment, though she was hardly ever in the market for business. Instead, she came for the birds. Every day, after a stop at the bakery, she brought a loaf down, found a place to sit, and began to scatter bits of bread about for the birds, talking idly to them for bells while they chittered and cooed back. Her free time had not always been spent this way, but several years back, she had become a widow when her husband, a guardsman for the city, had fallen prey to something that lurked beyond the city walls. For their part, the birds had very little, if anything, to offer. No comfort, no solace, no understanding of her plight. But all Jenna wanted was company, and they sufficed.

There was Mr. Marucks, a recent immigrant from a city that had failed to get its feet under it. Twice a week, he was down amidst the stalls, searching every single one for something in particular. No one ever knew what, but it was obvious that he had something in mind. Twice a week though, for as long as he had been in town, Mr. Marucks left the vendors disappointed in their inability to sell him anything.

Another familiar figure was walking about, lending any shopkeeper that needed it assistance with heavy lifting. Bartholomew was a towering man, easily two heads taller than the second tallest around, and knew his way around heavy labor. For anyone who knew how to look and watched closely, he had a very slight limp. Having been a cobbler, Emris knew what to watch for. Only every so often, there was the slightest bob of Bartholomew’s head, indicating a twinge of pain somewhere in his left leg. Emris saw and also saw the state of the man’s shoes. They were falling apart, the sole peeling away from the rest, but most people had more to be concerned about than the state of their foot apparel. On every few steps, Emris could see one of the man’s toes.

Autumn had just stepped in to the market and made a straight line for a farmer’s stand. That farmer in particular sold the best eggs in the city, and everyone knew it. Even other farmers grudgingly admitted the fact. It was Autumn’s tradition to come and buy a single egg every day. Most may have thought this was simply it, but to those who watched, those who truly watched, they would see that it was always the third egg from the left. Of the many people that showed Emris kindness, she had the kindest smile. When she had nothing to offer him, she still stopped and talked with him a while, and her company was more than enough.

The stall owners were, of course, all present, trying to make a decent enough living to go home and make a meal before sleeping and coming back to do it all again. There were several stalls that sold various knickknacks and trinkets, but a majority of them sold food. It was the necessity, and most could find some way of getting by by offering others food. The way to make a niche for one’s self in the market was to offer some food that no one else did or to do it better than everyone else, as the farmer with the best egg-laying chickens had done. There were other businesses within the marketplace. An herbalist by the name of Karee kept minor infirmities at bay while an artist named Jon attempted to brighten people’s days eking out a less than enviable living.

The list went on, but Emris had seen them all. Another familiar face was headed his way at the moment, a guardsman whose eyes had the heavy, dark circles that spoke of a life of insomnia driven by fear. Emris flagged the man down, a warm smile in his kind eyes. “Good morning, Jordie. Another sleepless night?”

“Always,” the man nodded. As a member of watch on the wall, Jordie had seen the beasts bent and reformed by djed, the ones that made living in a city a necessity.

“A beer might help that,” Emris offered and held out a few coins to the guard.

Jordie froze and stared at the mizas in his hand. “I thought you were the beggar?”

Patting his stomach, Emris smiled. “I’ve had my fill for the day. What you have there is just excess. You’ll make better use of it than me, especially if you use it for a drink.”

Jordie smiled, held up the coins appreciatively, and headed for the tavern. As Emris watched him go, Autumn walked by and stopped at his side.

“Are you handing out money, Emris?” She shook her head like a disapproving mother might do to her slow child. “You obviously don’t understand how begging works.”

He laughed. “That was the last of it. He looked like he could use it more than me.”

She nodded, watching Jordie’s step lighten as he approached the door of the tavern. “I can only imagine, with all the things he’s seen. Do you have enough to get by?”

“Always.”

Autumn smiled her kind smile at that, not quite sure what to make of it. “If you find yourself in need of something, just ask.”

Emris shrugged. “That’s kind of what I do.”

She laughed at him, at the truth of it all, and nodded. “Always.”

Emris nodded. “Always.”

She left him to his watching and made off toward her home with her single egg in hand. Emris watched them all, an idea forming in his mind, and he waited for the right time.

***


It was several seasons down the road when Emris started his plan into motion. The cold bite in the air reminded everyone that Morwen and her winter had not been long gone. He had been well fed that day and still had a fresh, warm loaf of bread that he hadn’t touched. Jenna had come to market bells earlier, and now that she was out of bread, the birds were losing interest in her and beginning to wander farther and farther away from the constantly mumbling woman. Emris could see the disappointment in her eyes when they began to return to pestering the farmers at their stalls.

Loaf in hand, Emris wandered her way and took a seat next to her. “Don’t worry about them. They don’t mean anything by it.”

Jenna laughed. “I don’t hold it against them. I was never the best conversationalist.”

“I don’t know about that. I always found working with you to be a breath of fresh air. I needed someone who understood all my stupid needle jokes.”

“Stupid? Those were the best jokes ever. It’s not our fault the rest of the world was too dimwitted to comprehend.”

“Right? We’re the best company ever.” He handed the loaf over. “But we can invite them back.”

As soon as the birds saw the loaf in Jenna’s hands, they came flocking back over. She laughed at their antics as they waited for her to start distributing morsels. “Are you sure you’re alright with me handing over your hard-earned bread to these sponges?”

“Always.” He watched intently as the birds livened up with the first piece of bread that fell. “Besides, I can’t really say I’ve earned it.”

“Well, let me know if you need anything. I’ll do my best to help where I can.”

“Actually, I may need to borrow some of your sewing supplies sometime.”

“Any time you want that, you swing in to my shop and do your work there. I could use the company to liven the place up a bit.”

“It was never dull when Henry was around. Do you remember that time he ruined an entire bolt of cloth?”

She smiled and nodded. “He was a good husband, but damn, was he an idiot.”

Emris smiled at two birds as they began pecking at each other rather than the piece of bread between them. “That was an impressive slash of the sword.”

“Yes, it was. It’s a shame he wasn’t as good against monsters as he was against textiles.”

The two old friends kept each other company until Syna sank, and each returned to their beds, Jenna’s in her apartment above her shop and Emris’ on the side of the street in a secluded, sheltered alleyway.

***


Bartholomew’s shoes were on their last legs. To be truthful, Bartholomew’s legs were the only legs they had ever been on, because his feet were the only ones big enough to fill them. But the poor, old things were dying and were in desperate need of revival.

Emris saw this, and though he had seen it some time ago, nothing needed to be done about it until now. The big man was having trouble hefting his loads through the marketplace and about the city. Every time he tried to take a step, the sole peeled away and tripped him up.

Stopping the big man with an offer of water for refreshment, Emris commented on the man’s shoes. “I’ve seen a lot of beat up shoes, but never any as bad as that. Hai, I’m a beggar, and mine are in better shape than yours.”

Bartholomew swigged down a cup full of water to clear the dirt from his mouth. Summer so far had been hot and dry, and the constant walking he did kicked up plenty of dust. He nodded to Emris’ comment. “Well, I ain’t a cobbler. It makes sense that yours would be well taken care of. But I ain’t got the talents you do, Emris. Or the talents you did.”

Emris refilled the big man’s cup and realized Bartholomew could probably drain the whole bucket they were filling it from. “I still have those talents. Do you want me to show you?”

“On what?”

“On your shoes.”

“I ain’t got the money for that.”

“Consider it a favor owed.” Emris gestured for the laborer to follow him. “We’ll use the tools at Jenna’s shop to patch them up good as new. Well, as close to that as two poor men can manage.”

Bartholomew drained the second cup, shrugged, and followed Emris down the street, tripping over his sole again and again on their way. When they arrived, Jenna was happy to show Emris to her work table and even offered him materials to use, some of them scraps from his old jobs he had done years earlier. The work was natural to his hands, as if his hands were entities in and of themselves that had minds of their own, minds that only remembered one thing: this. Measuring Bartholomew’s feet, Emris cut pieces of leather and heavier fabric and, over the day, replaced the old sole that had finally met its end.

Bartholomew left with a smile of thanks and no more limp in his step, and Emris stayed late in to the evening, keeping Jenna company again, reminiscing about the years long past.

***


Much of the following two years proceeded in such a manner, but every event, every trade, came quicker than the one previous. Slowly, he accumulated wealth, whether it was favors or trinkets, only to trade it away for something else seemingly insignificant. There was one piece he did hold on to, simple silver ring he had been given by Jordie after Emris had sent him to Karee for something to aid him in falling to sleep. The circles under Jordie’s eyes were gone when the guard gave him the ring in thanks. Despite needing the money the ring would bring for several near deals he had orchestrated, Emris held on to the little band.

And he watched.

That was the one thing he had never stopped doing. He continued to watch people, watch their actions and interactions, not just for the potential profit they could bring but for the pure enjoyment of watching and discovering. Despite the potential he had to strike it rich, he let several deals pass him by and, on several occasions, gave the majority of his wealth away, holding back only the silver band. The meager life of the beggar was one he knew well and secretly did not wish to abandon.

But in all his watching, he noticed one thing, one new thing that could not be ignored. He was being watched. Since the first time he had passed up a deal to hold on to the silver ring, someone had been watching him. She was a dark-haired woman with large eyes and large bracelets around her wrists. And the longer he held on to his ring, the more curious she became.

***


The world was easily explained by simple math. People’s actions were all based on probability. Xyna saw this and knew it. She could see the simple mathematics in everything, and that allowed her to manipulate entire economies to obtain anything she wanted. But in a seeming eternity of accumulation of wealth, she had never held on to something the way this man held on to his little ring. Never had she given anything this much value, and she envied this man his pride in his little trinket. Xyna had the wealth of a world, thousands upon thousands of items and tokens that far outmatched this ring in value, and yet she would never feel as rich as this man felt with his ring. For that reason, she watched him until one day she noticed him watching back. The Goddess of Wealth approached the man, and his kind eyes shone a bit more brightly at her approach.

His voice was soft when he spoke as he arranged a row of eggs at his feet. “Can I help you?”

Xyna had never found that pleasantries and small talk had got her far in business. She was blunt and direct. “What is so special about that ring of yours?”

Emris shrugged. “Nothing. Except that I’m hoping after today, it won’t be mine anymore.”

“How so?”

Emris’ eyes lit up as he saw a young woman enter the market place and head for a farmer’s stand. Xyna turned and watched her through the milling crowds. The place was busier than usual, but Xyna had that effect wherever she went. Vendors were selling more than they ever had before, and yet people seemed to be getting good deals on whatever it was they were after. The young woman in question though paused at the stand and stared down at it in confusion. She had not found what she was looking for. When the farmer saw her confusion, he pointed across the market to Emris’ usual begging spot. As the woman moved through the crowds, Xyna watched as Emris placed the ring on top of the third egg from his right and waited for the woman to arrive.

There was laughter in the woman’s eyes when she saw the eggs lined up in front of him. “I was wondering where all the eggs had gone. There were only two over there.”

“There’s something special about the third, isn’t there?” the beggar asked.

“Always.”

Emris gestured to his row of eggs. “Well, would you like your egg then?”

Autumn smiled and reached for the egg but froze when she spotted the ring. “You sly bastard.”

Xyna was confused by the two and their brief interaction. Emris, for his part, seemed to enjoy what he assumed was a compliment from the woman as the smile in his eyes brightened with her own brightening smile. “Is that a yes?”

“Always.”

Xyna stepped back from the two and watched. There was value to this ring beyond what most would put in a simple trinket. It was not to be hers yet, but she had time to bide. A lifetime of theirs was manageable to her. She had waited longer for economies to rise or fall, and she could wait much longer if needed. When the couple passed a few decades down the road, Xyna claimed the ring and has kept it close since then, imbuing it with her own knowledge in a nod of respect to Emris’ own cunning with his business. A few of her most respected have been allowed to use the ring on occasion, and from time to time, she will lend it to another mortal for a brief lifetime of use.
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Ambrosia Alar
"The kid's got smiles for days."
 
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