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Jewelry
Cursed
4.39
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Comments: 10
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Rating: 4.3889
Condition: Normal
ID: 2807

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Updated:
June 29, 2006, 7:34 pm

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Scrasamax
Dragon Lord
axlerowes

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Sekkitan blood diamonds

By:

“In the Black, dead souls creep
Seeking vengence without sleep.
Sacrificed for precious stones,
Rend they now flesh and bones.
Bloody staind and drenched in tears,
Stones cry out to one who hears,
‘Treachery has sown the seeds!
Now you’ll be the one who bleeds!
Wear us well, you who brave,
Next you’ll be in the grave!’”
- Tas-Vessina’s curse

Full Item Description

Sekkitan blood diamonds come in a variety of cuts and settings, but they are all flawless in appearance.  The stones are completely colorless, without inclusions or flaws, and reflect light to a perfect sparkle.  They are of varying sizes, though their perfection often puts them at the centerpiece of rings, necklaces, crowns, etc.

History

The inhabitants of the tiny island of Sekkita were known for two things: the incredible diamonds mined from the island, and the fanatical zeal with which they worshipped their god Seenu.  The two were inextricably linked, as the Sekkitans worshipped Seenu with their diamonds.  Each year, on Seenu’s feast, the Sekkitans present the most glorious diamond of the year before Seenu’s shrine, which is taken up in the night by the god himself.  Though Sekkitan diamonds were prized throughout the world, the Sekkitan people traded only a handful of their diamonds each year, guarding closely the gems they considered sacred to their god.  They were able to do so because of the island’s abundant agriculture and fishing that kept Sekkita self-sufficient and isolated.

All this changed 200 years ago, when a massive typhoon struck Sekkita.  The crops were destroyed, the fish killed, and foodstuffs ruined.  The devastation was massive, wiping out the very soils and reefs the Sekkitans reaped their harvests from.  The island elders realized quickly that they needed to import food and supplies or the nation would not last.  Trade with other nations seemed the only option.  Unfortunately, the isolation and xenophobism of the Sekkitans left them vulnerable: they were completely unfamiliar with trade strategies and economic systems.

By a stroke of luck, the famous gem merchant and sorcerer Korzen Bowerblade came to the island to offer his commercial expertise to the Sekkitans.  Bowerblade trained the island elders in modern trade agreements and economic strategies.  The businessman even went as far as to trade with the Sekkitans himself, writing up a contract that would supply Sekkita with enough food and supplies for years until it recovered from the typhoon disaster.  Bowerblade was hailed as a savior, until the elders read the contract: Bowerblade Holdings would provide Sekkita with an influx of vital foodstuffs, in exchange for 65% of Sekkita’s annual diamond yield.  The concerned elders consulted Bowerblade, who explained to them that the diamond trade had fell recently and even the perfect Sekkitan diamonds were in poor demand.  In fact, Bowerblade explained, he was doing them a favor for offering supplies at such a bargain rate.  Though this was a blatant lie, the isolationist Sekkitans had no reason to disbelieve the silver-tongued merchant.  They agreed to sign the contract on one condition: though Bowerblade would select which 65% of their yield, the Sekkitans would select one diamond a year to offer to Seenu on his feast.  Bowerblade, seeing no harm in allowing one select diamond a year, agreed.

For three years, the contract went splendidly.  The Sekkitans lived healthily off of Bowerblade’s food and were well on their way to fulling rebuilding.  Korzen Bowerblade meanwhile became a even more immensely wealthy, dominating the gem trade with Sekkita’s perfect diamonds.  The island elders annually chose a pick stone from the yield, usually the largest and most perfect.  Bowerblade was unfazed, as he was still making hand over fist even if the natives did take the best diamond.  The Sekkitans meanwhile were blissfully unaware of Bowerblade’s highway robbery, perfectly happy with their business arrangement.

All this would change a few months before Seenu’s feast on the fourth year.  The yield had been lower that year, and the Sekkitans were concerned they would have to offer Seenu a lesser stone than usual.  The island’s shamaness, Tas-Vessina, led the Sekkitans in prayer, begging Seenu to provide them with a worthy gem.  The god answered them: six weeks before the feast, the miners extracted an enormous, perfectly clear and colorless diamond.  Bowerblade’s appraiser estimated the raw gem to be at least 5000 carats, easily the largest diamond in the world.  Bowerblade was overjoyed, and immediately made plans to cut and mount the gem for his own personal collection.  He went as far as to come to Sekkita himself to acquire the prize.  On his arrival, however, the Sekkitans presented him distressing news: they wished to keep the stone and offer it to Seenu on his upcoming feast.  Bowerblade struggled to keep his composure, infuriated that these primitive savages would not provide the stone.  Legally, he knew there was nothing he could do.  But the stone took possession of him, plaguing his dreams, becoming his ever-waking thought.  Bowerblade requested that the men of the village come to a meeting at midnight three weeks before Seenu’s feast in order to present a gift from Bowerblade for Seenu.  The meeting was to take place in the primary mine caves of the island.

The night of the meeting, the island’s men gathered deep in the mines as had been requested.  There they found Bowerblade, dressed in his best robes and carrying his sorcerer’s stave.  As Bowerblade began to address the crowd, he suddenly vanished.  Using his magic abilities, Bowerblade teleported above the cave and launched a great fireball downward.  The force of the blast collapsed the mine, crushing all the island’s men beneath.  Meanwhile, Bowerblade’s cronies, who had been waiting in ships on the leeward side of the island, raided the capitol, kidnapping the island’s women and children, now widows and orphans.  Bowerblade took possession of the massive diamond and returned triumphantly to the mainland.  He fabricated a story to authorities, saying the savages turned on him and attempted to cannibalize him.  His brave crew came to his rescue, and the remaining Sekkitans fled the island.  Bowerblade took possession of the island to guard his investments.  The women and children were secretly traded in the underground slave market, and a few he kept for his own.

Bowerblade rebuild the mine, but the yields were terrible.  Bowerblade’s geologists declared the mine spent, and he abandoned the island.  As he left the island in his yacht, he brought forth one of his Sekkitan slaves, the old shamaness Tas-Vessina.  He had heard she told spectacular stories, and he wished for some entertainment for the boring journey to mainland.  Insulted and enraged, Tas-Vessina chanted forth a curse:

“In the Black, dead souls creep
Seeking vengeance without sleep.
Sacrificed for precious stones,
Rend they now flesh and bones.
Bloody stained and drenched in tears,
Stones cry out to one who hears,
‘Treachery has sown the seeds!
Now you’ll be the one who bleeds!
Wear us well, you who brave,
Next you’ll be in the grave!’”

Unamused, Bowerblade dismissed her and had her punished.  To pass the time, he instead gazed upon the enormous diamond, which he began to call the Bowerblade Diamond and carried with him whenever he travelled.  As the night went on, he noted with amused irony that it was the feast of Seenu.  “No gift for you this year, Seenu,” he chuckled.  As he continued to admire his gem, he distressingly noticed a clear red inclusion deep within the stone.  Before his eyes, the inclusion grew and the entire stone turned blood red.  Horrified yet fascinated, Bowerblade continued to watch.  The stone then turned from red to jet black.  As the last bit of the stone turned black, Bowerblade felt a sudden jolt.  With a shudder, he fell dead onto the diamond, his heart having exploded.

During the dividing of Bowerblade Holdings to its various successors, the Bowerblade Diamond was cut into several smaller diamonds for the shareholders.  When it was found, the gem was still in its natural colorless form.  A year later, the successors to the Bowerblade fortune died suddenly under mysterious circumstances.  These stones were also recut, then dispersed throughout the world.  A number of the Sekkitans that were taken as slaves either escaped or were released from bondage, and returned to their ruined homeland.  They did not reenter the mine for fear of vengeful spirits, but did rebuild a shrine to Seenu outside of the caves.  These few Sekkitans, now scattered, return to their ancestral homeland each year on the Seenu’s feast, praying that justice be done for their slaughtered fathers.

Some say that Seenu has listened.

Magic/Cursed Properties

The gems made from the Bowerblade Diamond are even more perfect than other Sekkitan diamonds.  One who gazes upon a Sekkitan blood diamond will be transfixed by it; only those with very strong wills can resist its charm.  When set into jewelry and worn, the wearer will seem more charming and beautiful.  Once a year, however, at midnight on the feast of Seenu, the stone will change color from clear to red, and then to black.  The wearer, and any onlookers, will be unable to turn away.  When the stone turns completely black, the stone’s owner’s heart will burst, causing instant death.

There is only one place that the jewels will not curse their wearer: on the now-abandoned island of Sekkita.  Seenu protects his patron island and allows his sacred gems to remain pure while in Sekkita.  Ancestors of the Sekkitans, no matter where they dwell, can also carry the gems without being cursed.

Plot Hooks

Fit for a King - The local prince’s sixtieth birthday—diamond anniversary, as it is known—is coming up, and the royal court has found a perfect diamond to affix to his diadem for the occasion.  The court’s resident mage has warned the nobles repeatedly that the jewel is cursed, but it is dismissed as envy and the wizard is eventually locked in the tower for spoiling the prince’s surprise.  The party believes the wizard and, being the loyal patriots they are, wish to save the prince.  A travelling merchant is willing to sell a nearly identical (and non-cursed) stone for a hefty price.  Perhaps the party could buy the stone, sneak into the heavily-guarded palace treasury, and switch the diamonds before the prince’s birthday.  Did I mention that the prince’s birthday happens to be Seenu’s feast day?

Last Wish - While travelling through an impoverished port city, an old woman approaches the party.  She explains that she is a Sekkitan and wishes to offer Seenu a diamond for his upcoming feast.  She produces the gem, and asks the party to travel to Sekkita and present the gem before Seenu’s shrine on her behalf, for she is too old to travel.  Even if the party politely refuses, she insists and thrusts the gem in one of the player’s hands.  She then prompty suffers a stroke, dying in the streets.  Seenu’s feast is in four weeks, and Sekkita is a three week sail in good weather.  There’s also a rumor pirates are trying to reopen the Sekkitan mines and are guarding the island fiercely.  They’re surely using the isolated island as a treasure storage as well.  Can the party get to Sekkita and fight off the pirates before Seenu’s feast?  And can the players, some mystically obsessed with the diamond, stop bickering with each other for long enough to hatch a plan?



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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Ria Hawk
June 29, 2006, 18:07
1xp
Nifty idea. I like the description of the history of the diamonds. I also like the curse. These diamonds could make a nifty tool for assassination, assuming someone knew the secret. And sooner or later, everyone is going to forget Seenu, so no one will have a clue what's going on.
Voted Cheka Man
June 29, 2006, 19:12
0xp
One of these could be a dungeon or tomb trap in it's own right.
Voted Murometz
June 29, 2006, 19:23
0xp
suggestion: format the opening poem and the later one inside "centered blocks". Get rid of the slashes.

I liked this a lot. A weird island, a weird people, and some weird gems. What more do you want? A good tale! I like Seenu.
I get a feel for him, yet he remains vague...I like that.

I also like Last Wish plothook. Its not an original one, but I have a soft spot in my heart for it. If I were a PC I would develop a strange attachment to that Old Woman, persevering through all to get the diamond to Sekkita! "Despite all my sins, in this I shall not fail! I will not let a dying woman down!" Then again, I would grow obsessed with the gem too, so umm...
Dozus
June 29, 2006, 20:05
0xp
Thanks for the format advice, Muro. It has been implemented.

Glad you like the Last Wish hook. If you or anyone else can think of more hooks, feel free to share. ;)
Voted Scrasamax
June 29, 2006, 22:23
0xp
I really like this little jewel here, and hope to use it somehow...

:heart explodes and dies:
Voted Iain
June 30, 2006, 2:04
0xp
Very nice.
Voted manfred
June 30, 2006, 3:42
1xp
Surely there will be legends of curses connected to precious stones - but there are always some.

I definitively like the deity, and the curse that it sent on enemies of ist people (note that the curse is not even terribly powerful, it may be more of a minor spirit, than a true deity). Those that wish to remove the curse have to destroy, or sacrifice all the diamonds (it is not easy to part with them though), or perhaps help the Sekkitans to reclaim their island and continue their life. An alternative would be to find through research the night when the curse strikes, and simply avoid looking at it (that may be hard too - human curiosity and love for the diamond are hard to overcome).

A blood diamond could even bring luck to a Sekkitan, if it is held for the purpose of later sacrifice.


Good work!
Voted Dragon Lord
June 30, 2006, 8:17
0xp
All of the above

I would comment further but it’s all been said

Great stuff Dozus – keep up the good work

5/5 + today’s HoH vote
Voted MoonHunter
June 30, 2006, 8:44
0xp
Let me join the cavalcade of praise here. Nicely executed, good explanation, good hooks, and something for the unwary. Really a great piece.
Voted axlerowes
March 9, 2014, 21:34
0xp
Great for engagement rings if you're not into that whole commitment thing

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