The Eye of Seenu
'As he said this he blessed them with his amulet that held the Firestone, which is called also Seenu's Eye. Immediately the priestesses began to praise Tinay, and the people were greatly amazed.'
- The Gospel of Dorcas, 7:20-21
This gemstone is fairly large and fills an open palm. It seems to have been cut by a master craftsman, with refraction so perfect it seems to glow and twinkle of its own accord. At first its color seems a deep sea blue, but a later glance shows turquoise, and later emerald, and again beryl. Its shape, too, seems inconstant: although always round, the facets shift imperceptibly, and it looks different with each glance, though it never seems to change while looking at it.
In Sekkita, they call it the Eye of Seenu, and as Sekkita's gems are known worldwide, this name is the most popular. Others call it Korzen's Bane, the Star of Sekkita, the Firestone, or the King's Commanding Crystal. By any name, it is sought after by those who know its story and don't dismiss it as fairy-tale.
The Eye of Seenu was first found by those famous gem miners, the Sekkitans, in the ancient age when rather than a tiny island tribe Sekkita was known as a growing island kingdom. Deep in their island mines, Sekkitan excavators found a brilliant gemstone that appeared to be already perfectly cut rather than raw. They presented it to their chieftain, Tok-Cassatru, as tribute and to honor the tenth year of his reign. The priests and shamans suggested the chief offer the gem to their god Seenu, as is tradition, and cast it into the sea on the high holy day. Tok-Cassatru advised against it, telling the holy men that the gem must be a gift from Seenu rather than for him, to bless the chief's mighty rule and his plans for uniting the surrounding islands. The priests agreed and gave their blessing to Tok-Cassatru, who doubled his efforts to build up his raider bands and war canoes. Before his great expedition to conquer the neighboring chiefdoms, Tok-Cassatru honored the traditional parley and met with the fierce warrior chiefs, offering peace if they would submit to his blessed reign. As a sign he brought with him the Eye, claiming that the chief's conquest was Seenu's will. The neighboring chiefs assented to Tok-Cassatru's rule, and the chief made himself king of the whole archipelago. He shifted his focus almost exclusively to mining, ordering more and more men to delve deeper and open new mines on the coasts. The people at times grumbled and the chiefs' councils talked of vetoes, but when the king met at the assemblies his wise words changed their hearts and minds, putting them harder to the task then Tok-Cassatru might have dreamed. Many years into his reign, a disaster struck: from the deep mines came a flow of lava and fire, and a great eruption destroyed most of the archipelago. The chiefdoms were scattered and the kingdom fell, the descendants of the modern Sekkitans resettling the island decades later. The Eye of Seenu, Tok-Cassatru's legendary gemstone, was not recovered by his people.
The gem did, however, appear at other times in history, in the hands of pirate kings and mighty emperors and great prophets. There was Osramkirost, the great dwarven city, the City Under the Mountain:
'In the eighth year of Urist's reign as Jarl, a stone of great worth was presented him by an elvish merchant caravan. The Jarl enacted new policies to mine deeper than the previous contract and to war with the clans of the Hills. The Althing, which had found the Jarl's policies disagreeable, came into agreement with him and gave their full support....
In the tenth year of Urist's reign as Jarl, the city collapsed into fire and magma. The Hillclans took the advantage and sacked Osramkirost, taking with them the treasures of the city'
- ÂŒdthÂœkut, or The Book of Years, Korad Hardrathen
A century later in the gospels of Josias the prophet of Tinay the Red:
'The priestesses of Weskae came to challenge Tinay's disciples. They asked them many questions about the Law of the Flame and the Prophecy of the Sea. The disciples of Tinay became dismayed and confused at their questioning, and many left that day. When Josias heard of their boasting, he came to the priestesses and said to them, 'Why do you come to accuse falsely the blessed? I tell you, even now the Fire Lord weaves the threads of his holy ones together, and even the sea goddess will bind to his loom. And so I say to you: leave your water temples and worship now the god of flame.' As he said this he blessed them with his amulet that held the Firestone, which is called also Seenu's Eye. Immediately the priestesses began to praise Tinay, and the people were greatly amazed.'
- The Gospel of Dorcas, 7:15-21
Josias's sect grew until the prophet gave his amulet to the King of Tyrun, after which the followers slowly dwindled and the sect fell into the greater Church of the Fire Lord. Tyrun meanwhile expanded its trade network with the surrounding city-states until the king gave his amulet to the Hegemon of Corath and Tyrun's favorable trade contracts were not renewed. The Corath Hegemony grew in power and conquered its neighboring cities.
And so goes the pattern: whosoever holds the Eye of Seenu can unite her rivals and persuade her enemies. Because the stone goes by many names it was not until much later scholars at great libraries with international texts were able to piece together a common story of a stone that could grant its holder influence over all who could hear her pronouncements. Some scholars thought it a common story, as so many societies have a lord of thunder or hero myth. But a few thought that the stone was more than mere myth but a real magical item, a tool that could end wars and unite empires. Korzen Bowerlade, the infamous wizard-adventurer, sought the Eye where the oldest legends started on the island of Sekkita. His original purpose there was to uncover the whereabouts of the Eye; only later, after failing to find any such clues, did he become enamored with the isle's potential for wealth.
Though Bowerblade failed to find the Eye of Seenu, others who believe in the legends continue to look for it, following the trail of power and destruction the gem has left on history.
While man has forever sought knowledge of the world's past, the wisest sages know that even they know nothing. Hidden deep in the most ancient of ages are things uncomprehended and incomprehensible to mortals. More ancient than the most ancient kingdoms and elder than the eldest races was a great empire of an entirely different sort of being. In eras incomprehensibly old there were great kingdoms under the earth ruled by beings of living stone. Most modern races forget their names, but the dwarves - close connected to deep things - have them by the legendary name Okiristrath.
The Okiristrath would hardly be considered living by most standard, and yet they existed as powerful beings. Appearing like gemstones, their civilization's stories are a mystery, but they did seem to do two things: build up territories between their sects and go to war with powerful weapons. Exactly what their divisions were and how their weapons worked is unknown, but the effects were destructive, and while they fought the world was engulfed in flame and volcanoes. Their wars were so destructive the entire race was all but wiped out, and in the ages that followed the world cooled and settled and organic life came onto it.
But of the Okiristrath, not all were gone. The Eye of Seenu is one of the rare survivors of its race, embedded deep in the bedrock for countless millenia until Tok-Cassatru's men dug it out of the earth. Although as a sole individual its powers have waned, the Eye still has a great tool. Through subtle and unknown means, the Eye can draw sentient beings to itself, convincing them to come to where it is. It was by this way that the Sekkitan miners were able to find it, though it was beyond the veins they would normally mine. The influence is powerful, but subtle and all but undetectable; to the Sekkitans they merely thought they should dig here instead of there and the stone was found.
As the legends say, once the Eye is in a person's possession, all commands given by the holder are obeyed as like magic. However, the stone continues to wield an influence on the holder as well, though without her knowledge. The commands the holder gives are in truth the will of the Eye which has a single-minded goal: find more survivors of its race and begin anew its ancient war. For this reason did Tok-Cassatru expand his empire and put his men to digging, and so did Josias give his amulet to a monarch of power and means. The Eye seeks to find its enemies and its ancient weapons and uses mortal beings as its tools. The effect is so subtle that the holder never truly realizes it, instead thinking her will is her own. And thus has the Eye of Seenu moved from holder to holder, place to place, seeking ancient vengeance.
As an Okiristrath, the Eye of Seenu is sentient though immobile on its own. Its only method of transport is to convince others to pick it up. Its influence can be felt up to two miles away, growing stronger as beings move closer to it. They will feel a natural compulsion to go to where the stone is and retrieve it, though again this call is discreet and not apparently external.
Once in possession, the holder of the Eye is able to give any verbal command to anyone and it will be obeyed. The commands must be heard audibly, written decrees will not do. Spells which convey a person's voice from far away will work, however. The holder does not lose their will entirely, but the Eye will give gentle nudges towards its purposes. Since it seeks to delve deep where its kind once lived, it will try to find a means to do so. This may mean passing itself off to more powerful individuals, as the elvish merchants passed the stone onto Jarl Urist. In the hands of a leader, the stone will exert a stronger influence, encouraging the person to either gain more power or to dig deep.
Resisting the Eye of Seenu
The effect of the Eye is so subtle that few would know to try and resist it. A person extremely attuned to their psyche may be able to tell they're being manipulated, but even then resisting the call of the Eye is very difficult, and all but impossible when the gem is held. Since the holder's voice is the medium of control, blocking one's ears or causing the holder to be mute can be effective. If a person has a divided mind (e.g., possessed by a spirit or psychically controlled), it's possible only one of the minds in the body is affected, leaving the other to control the body.
The August Twinkler
While at a dockside tavern, the party overhears a fantastic tale told by one Captain August. While scavenging flotsam at a nearby atoll, the captain and his crew saw a rare sight: a mermaid, sitting in plain sight on a rock, singing an enchanting song. As the ship approached, the mermaid - typically a reclusive race - swam up and handed the captain a brilliant gemstone before disappearing under the waves. August thinks there may be more such gems in or around the atoll and plans to present the stone - which he calls his 'twinkler' on account of its natural glow - to the local duke to negotiate an exploration contract. The captain suggests the party escort him and his crew to ensure the stone's safety - to which the party readily assents without much negotiation. In the next town over, they find that news of August's find has traveled quickly. What's more, the party is waylaid by armed bands periodically: here brigands from a famous cartel, there professional soldiers from another kingdom, again revolutionary agents. Can the party escort Captain August and his stone safely to the ducal palace? Can they keep it out of the wrong hands? Whose are the right hands?
Rumors abound of two distant kingdoms locked in a terrible war, led by rulers with incredible charisma that their nobles and agents, who once squabbled with one another, now march lockstep with the monarch's commands. While their armies clash, they both engage in new mining endeavors, opening new shafts and delving deeper than ever before. Each ruler is also said to bear a brilliant stone of great worth. A dwarven sage remarks that the Okiristrath are again at war and a new ragnarok is at hand. If he's right - each monarch bears a newly-discovered Okiristrath stone - can anyone stop them before they bring annihilation to the world?
Major credits given to Michael Flynn, whose works (particularly The January Dancer) inspired this submission.
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? Responses (5)-4
I think this is a really cool item, though I personally tend to avoid such things as 'impossible to resist, though that is a trivial modification.
It certainly would make a good catalyst to make things happen in your world.
Nicely done and welcome back!
Update: General cleaning up, typo editing, and the like.
I love items that get the historical treatment as they switch hands from era to era.
And besides that....a gem that searches out other gems, or rather a gem-like race of ancient beyond ancient beings, unbeknownst to the owner. That's awesome! Some great detail and story-smithing here.
This really well done, reads like an encyclopedia entry, if an all knowing god wrote the encyclopedia....ah the citadel.
The idea that Gem has a personality and a goal is really interesting. I obviously didn't want to stay in the earth though, other wise why not just tell the miners to put it back? Did you imagine that it knows where it is going? What if it finds others of its kind? Could this type of mind control be how the ancient wars were once fought? How can it be destroyed? But I admire your choice to be purposefully vague and unclear about the nature of thing.
Also you jus sold a copy of Flynn's book. He should send you a commission.
I like the idea, but I would like to hear how it once fought. Was that also through other races? And wat are those acient weapons?