Art and Music
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ID: 481


August 1, 2007, 2:25 pm

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Ephemeral Cage


Within the fragile bounds of this cage of crystalline metal, your will and talent may work wonders…

Eilenne-Elspeath spent her whole life honing her artistic skills, and created many works of art, be they sculptures, illusions or songs that could make a demon shed tears, yet one thing marred the inner joy and balance she derived from creating and playing with the muses: few, very few could really appreciate her poems, music or visionary thoughts in their full beauty and even fewer comprehend the true feelings behind them. Long has she travelled the world, seeing wonders and adding those of her own making, yet failed to find a way to reach out to others with her art.
Wizards and sages, priests and demons she consulted, asked the spirits of the four winds and braved the riddles of a sphinx to find a way, any way, yet to her despair, her art was still too sophisticated and ethereal to be grasped by but a few chosen minds.
Plunged deep into her despair, forming the words of her own requiem as she strode along a lonely road, she was more than surprised by a voice trembling yet powerful, like a moutain shattered and thundering into the sea. She turned around and saw him, an old dragon, lying at the end of a long swathe he had cut into the surrounding forest during his descent, the gold-red scales dotted with crimson stains and the glistening hide perforated by many ugly wounds, several ballist bolts protruding from his side…
"I surely seem bad off, elfling, but say, what is plaguing you, lying heavily upon your soul? For you seem closer to death than me…"
She approached the great beast, almost tangibly feeling its pain.
"I am but an artist .... misunderstood, doubting her talent, but do not let that bother you, ancient one."
"If you an artist be, then sing to me, so that battle-cries and the breaking of bones be not the last thing I hear…"
And sing she did. The broken trees around them blossomed again, and birds fell out of the skies for having forgotten to fly, such was the beauty of the song. The army that slew the dragon and was closing on its landing site to plunder the corpse for trophies paused, and the men dropped their weapons. And sing she did.
"For you…"
And the dragon spoke, a single crystalline tear in its eye: "I understand now. Sing for me more, my angel of music, sing!"
And sing she did.
The dragon’s chest heaved less, more slowly, and with its last will, it forced the metal of the broken blades, arrows and lances out of its wounds, the embedded gold from its scales and the mithril from its jewelry, and it flowed, mixed with the dragon’s blood, to form something like a thin metal net strapped onto a cage of wire, open on one side.
"You can use this to create, but it can also make others understand what it is like to be a ... dragon ..." the wyrm smiled "for you are a dragon amongst your kind, a creature of fantasy and dreams" and then, he exhaled for a last time, his will focused on the space in the heart of the cage, and out of thin air, something appeared in the construction’s midst - a frozen flame made of glass, with barely discernible figures and faces inside. Eilenne knew what it was.
Trembling, she took the fragile creation out, and approached the standing army. All men were still like petrified, their general riding a great armored warhorse at their front, a huge figure clad in dark steel and gold, a grim and fierce man, battle-hardened and battle-scarred, with a frown that petrified over the years.
Still Eilenne-Elspeath walked straight up to the warlord, dignified and self-confident, and said: "Stretch out your hand" And he obeyed.
She placed the flame in his armored hand, and it looked frail and tiny against the steel gauntled, and then ... it melt.
The warlord’s stare went blank, as if he was seeing a place far, far away, and tears crept into his eyes, for he was overwhelmed with the beauty and majesty of a dragon’s life, a light of eternity he dared to snuff out, a depth of being a mere human cannot attain, a dream of ascension and a longing after a long-lost home…
With a gesture of his hand, he ordered the army away, and they marched from whence they came, but the warlord put away his arms shortly after that, and is said to have become the founder of schools and a keeper of peace.

Meanwhile, Eilenne knew what was her task, and she learned to work with her new tool, making her art accessible to many, and rejoicing at this, creating many more works previously undreamt of…

Magical Properties:

The Ephemeral Cage has many purposes, of those the foremost is to make sound, light and thought into something ... else.
*If music is played by an artist concentrating at the cage, a crystal will form. This can release the music later, but combined with the artist’s emotions and inspiration that lead him to create.
*Likewise, with song and poetry, not only is the wording captured, sounding into minds nearby when released, but also what the artist felt and what had sparked the particular piece will be carried along - thus a poem about a beautiful sunset will be coupled with the vision of the sunset, how the artist himself experienced it.
*A dancer can bind the essence of his dance, the joy and elegance of movement, the wetness of grass beneath his feet and the gliding of the wind along his skin into a solid form, to be preserved and understood, while a sculptor can create a crystal that makes the wiever of one of his works to be filled with the artist’s emotion.

More than this, the cage can soldify the essence of someone’s existence, so that his motivations, view of the world and character a merged into a whole, a resonant testimony to him, able to overwhelm someone with the intensity of existence.
One can use to forge light, sound and feeling into solid matter, thus, given a truly strong-willed individual with an artistic streak, it would be possible to forge armor out of pure defiance, or warm someone in a cold night with naught but the strength of his passion, or sing threads into existence that could be woven into garments of naught but sound.
If a sleeper with a wild and beautiful mind sleeps close to the cage, at waking he might find his dreams solidified into sculptures - a nightmare might become something black and spiky, while a beatiful dream a vortex of rainbows, and an erotic dream a sculpture of fluid luscious red.

Many more uses can be found for this item - one must just think ... eh ... dream of one.

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

May 26, 2004, 19:58
Very nice - extremely powerful in the imaginative hands, but obviously this wasnt meant to be carried around by just anyone.

I can imagine an item coming from it - Made by a dark lord who was skilled in the art of poetry. A transparent crystal, tinged with a black essence swirling within - this is a poem of dispair caught within. Since the poet has already seen it, he would be immune to its effects, but if this is used on an enemy, the enemy may drop their weapons and wail in distress of the dispair on which they hear, leaving them entirely at the users mercy.

This item is both detailed and yet vague, as we know what it is capable of, but yet there are so many capabilities yet to imagine. 5/5 for a good story :)
May 26, 2004, 22:57
Eh. Good story. Extremely vague idea. How many times have I told you about vagueness, Echo? Oh well.

May 27, 2004, 2:20
I thought you were a fan of stories, Captain :D but...look, I strongly dislike the dogmatic DnD approach to the rules "it is so and no way else, 51% to hit and not more, on this level I cannot force it to make anything but a squeky noise"
You are all intelligent people, and this is an artistic item - it is not meant to have strict rules...the imagination is the limit, and what the GM will permit. Uses like 'I imagine sumfink to have a lot of cash you know, think of the details dear GM' should fail, while emotionally fuelled uses backed up by oscar-worthy roleplaying should have wondrous results.

Shadoweagle: yeah, Gothy poetry can be dangerous :D
May 27, 2004, 9:19
I am a big fan of stories, and I don't like too many rules, but in this case, a few ground rules would be nice. The way the Cage's workings are worded at the moment, my players could probably find some way to forge the ultimate weapon out of sound from this cage and then proceed to lay waste to the terrified countryside, and due to the vague-ness of the restrictions placed on it, I wouldn't be able to say "Doesn't work that way" without having to be the Heavy-Handed Bad GM. You see my problem?
May 27, 2004, 9:47
Well, yea, but I cannot offer rules everyone could use, as I play GURPS and know many people don't. Therefore, my rules would hardly work for them.
Yet one rule is there, written in the text: it requires an artistic spirit, and know that many of the players who would want to create an ultimate weapon of everything killing will not have even a spark of it. It is not sufficient for the player to say: my character sings a song to kill all his enemies! (rather the opposite), but he should do a song, or write a poem, or at least write an essay about the oppression he has suffered at the hands of the horrid creature he wants to slay, the terror that haunts him, his rage and helplessness when facing the foe, as well as his defiance and determination. Then, the result could be something more than 'a green-blue blob of junk' and yea, you are the final arbitrator, and while you don't have to say "doesn't work that way" you surely can say "your perfomance was worth a lump of green-blue junk"
Then, singing a piece of something into existence is hardly less exhausting than forging it, but ... yes, the one struck with a sung blade will certainly feel the pride and hard work the singer put into it. Remember the oscar-worthy role-playing ... even if the campaign should take another course due to this, you will have experienced some serious roleplay, and that's the point, right?
Heh, I don't claim to be perfect...
May 27, 2004, 22:24
I don't require systemary rules. I don't require GURPS, D&D, or whatever.
Arr! It's a debate I'll never win! Forget it.
May 28, 2004, 3:45
Look, I know what you are talking about - you grant the party one item with a certain intent and they pervert it beyond recognition. And I admit this is especially prone to it, and must be used wit care...but if you want unpervertable items, use swords+1.
I will try to think of hard-n-fast rules, and then add them to this post, k?
January 30, 2005, 7:42
Very nice, good backstory, and lot of possibilities.
The vagueness makes it more powerful, if the user is imaginitive. There are lots of +5 vorpal blades around, an item like this rewards clever thinking of my players in stead of just smashing anything. It is very un-munchkin-proof. Maybe if the artifact has a mind of its own, with its own agenda, it might be a little more limited in its use. I would give it a more poetic name however. 'The Loom of the Dreamer', 'the Somnamancer's Crystal', 'the Heirloom of the Dreamtime', whatever.
January 30, 2005, 8:37
'Loom of the Dreamer' is certainly a good name.
April 2, 2006, 15:04
Updated: re-cathegorized

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