Thursday, 16 January 2014

Treasures of the Civilopede 21 to 30

I'm just going to post these as and when I finish them. Can't be bothered waiting.

21# Olm Funeral Cloak.
Long strip of blank, grey, apparently low-quality silk.
No image unless carefully stroked. High dexterity and wisdom can, with time, reveal some of the tactile information in the cloth, but most will remain opaque to even thoughtful investigators. From top to bottom; Abstract modernist landscape, actually tactile facial arrangement of high-status female Olm. Greasy intertwined serpents or birds thrusting against each other, actually direct-sense impression of particular underwater system. Drifting field of interlocked feathers with precise particular curls at the tips, actually sense impression of airshape in particular Olm sacred space. Beyond this, remaining two thirds of sheet indecipherable though clearly highly detailed. Suggestions of fire and depth.

22# Fast Hound
Obsidian sculpture and lamp.
Carved black stone Spotlight Dog, features left empty and cavity mirrored for placement of a burning wick. Dog shown twisting, leaping, front claws reaching forward. One rear limb touches the base. Base is in the shape or shadow of a grey moth in flight. Dog seems to be leaping upon the flying moth, symbolic of speed, life and death.

23# Whale Breaching Souls
Fresco on a limestone box.
Shows sea composed entirely of humanoid souls, deftly and rapidly sketched onto the plaster as it dried. Ocean roils as a pale cetacean breaches and curls in the black air. Souls spume in the aftershock. Box empty, if used to store bones, can be phylactery for that soul, enables possession from box.

24# Winding from a Tucensar tomb
Bands of brittle yellow cloth wrapping an empty human-shaped space.
Held in position by invisible magic. Mirrors may reveal the cloth is covered, on the inside, with long lines of writing in the language of the lost Tucensars. This is the only example that survives and has never been translated. Though scholars believe it may be poetry which gives the location or nature of an unknown high-level spell.

25# Two Sisters
Paint, radium and unknown chemicals over wood.
Painting folds out to reveal two female portraits, one on each side. Women of an unknown race. Similar featured, idealised or related. Both beautiful, though not unusually so, unknown symbol on arm of left figure. Painting is negative image radium and phosphorescent ink over a background of ebony. Suggested Archean make, though no other reported humanoid paintings by this race.

26# Prophetic Vessel, Duregar
Stone jar shaped like the head of a beardless dwarf. Life-sized.
Dwarf seems angry or sorrowful. To drink, tip the jar so the dwarf looks down at the ground. Finish a strong drink in one gulp and the dwarf will speak a true prophecy.
The prophecy will always be about something that happens when you are drunk some time in the future. The dwarf itself will be drunk and its prophecies are usually incoherent. The dwarf also hates anyone who drinks from it.

27# Thief of Bronze
In a steel cage with narrow bars is  a compressed pile of mangled bronze.
On inspection, the shapes of hands, limbs and a face can be seen in the squashed metal. Looks like a stolen statue, compressed for transport and hidden.
In fact the statue is itself a thief, animate and timeless, hiding itself in secret places, waiting to be discovered and exhibited, then running off in the night with any transportable goods.No-one knows what it does with the stolen stuff, where it came from, how it was made, or why it executes such a very long con.

28# Cambriman Boundary Stone
Helix of white sedimentary stone, origin non-local to discovery.
The Cambrimen only rarely produce art of any kind and this is the only art they produce at all. Surface covered with surprisingly delicate engravings, none are comprehensible though several may show living forms and suggestions of body parts have been noted. ‘Engravings’ have actually been etched into the rock by an unknown process and it has been claimed the Cambrimen create these by passing them through their bodies. When asked, the Cambrimen call these ‘boundary stones’ and claim they mark the edges of territory of various kinds.
No logic to their placement has ever been found and their removal has never been noted by the Cambrimen.

29# Carved Bone Sled.
A small sled or sledge built from what seem to be the bones of warped and extended lions. Carvings on the bone are labyrinthine and may indicate a spiritual challenge before the afterlife or and actual labyrinth. Sleds are not used by any known Underdark culture, they are insanely impractical. Yet this item was almost certainly created underground and is reported never to have seen the sun. There is a bounty for any rubbings from the carvings on the sled, the payments increase with each continuous square inch recovered.

#30 Painted Cowrie Shell, from the Bone Beach Sea
A white shell, covered with thousands of interlocking images of predator and prey in bioluminescent paint. The paint does not dull with time. It is known that the images are a language and an unknown spell. The spell can be deciphered and learnt with time. Learning the spell also involved learning the story on the shell, the meanings interlocked. Several magic-users have successfully learnt the spell. Each one has then departed unexpectedly for unknown destinations, never being seen again. Including, in the most recent case, a Lich who cleverly evaded safeguards they themselves designed in order to prevent them leaving their own home.

1 comment:

  1. I like the cowrie shell and the hound, but these are all a painful flavor of excellent.