Description of “Eriskigal’s Gage” from “Firedancer”

It required research into three different types of jewelry but I was finally able to come up with a description for a pivotal magical item from “Firedancer” that I like:

“…Beyond the wagon train was a scattering of other travelers. Most, however, easily overtook and passed the the slow caravan. The only exceptions were those on foot who gradually disappeared from view.  Nusiki found himself thankful for that: watching the people shrink and vanish was the only real indication that he was moving away from the city. The massive structure still loomed menacing over the northern horizon and with nothing to do but stare blankly at the source of his fear, Nusiki’s mind shifted to thoughts of the treasure that sent him on his flight. The money was gone, given to those rats in exchange for their help, and all he had left was the odd jeweled glove.

His right hand found its way into the satchel that had not left his side since that night. When he came in contact with the cold metal he felt a curious tingle in his fingertips and the hairs on his arm stood on end. In the wind he thought he heard a whispering; the words he could not quite catch but somehow he knew them to be both an invitation and a warning. His eyes broke from the trail to look down into the open satchel. The light of the sun sparkled on the bronze bracelets, the gold chains, and the red jewels.

Nusiki turned to look over his shoulder and saw that Haram was completely focused on the road. He risked removing the gauntlet or glove or whatever it was and displayed it on his lap. Part of him wanted to put it on, it was almost a compulsion, but at the same time the thought of wearing it tied a knot in his stomach. As a child of the streets, Nusiki had learned early on in his life to trust that feeling within his gut. Though it pained him to do so, he ignored the compulsion to wear the item and instead examined it closely.

The base of the glove consisted of two wide bronze bracelets joined together by a delicate mail mesh of golden links. Each of the twin bronze bracelets were decorated with an intricate carving of what appeared to be a serpent’s body, entwining itself into a knot, and circumnavigating the entire band. Where the head and tail of the snake should have been, at the top of the bracelets, was instead the horns of a bull curving towards a milky red stone set between them. The two stones appeared to have no value as far as Nusiki’s thief eyes were concerned. Common, albeit pretty, red agates with stripes of white and yellow.

It looked to Nusiki as if the twin bands of bronze went around the wrist and the forearm. Coming out of the bracelet meant to adorn the wrist were three gold chains that connected to another, larger, version of the same red stones in a simple bronze setting that would rest upon the back of the hand. From this stone five more chains emerged and joined rings that went around the base of the fingers and thumb. These rings were attached to copper caps that covered the end of each finger. Another set of chains ran along the underside of the fingers, and the underside of the wrist, to a palm-sized mesh of gold mail. Set in that mail was the literal jewel of the piece: an octagonally cut ruby that shone from within. Etched into the top facet of the ruby was a script of golden filament. Nusiki did not know how to read, but he knew enough to recognize that this elegant symbol was not one of the blocky letters he had, on occasion, seen before.

The light of the ruby caught his eye. At first he had thought it was the way the jewel was cut, the perfection of the facets, that captured the light of the sun and made it seem to glow. But as he stared at the light he noticed that it seemed to come from the very center of the stone. He felt drawn in by it; as if there was a mystery within. The whispering grew louder the more he stared at it. He could tell that the voice was a woman’s, or at least he thought it was a woman’s, but it was not a loving or maternal voice. His instincts told him to look away and with a sense of impending loss he did…”

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