The Fifth Object looks like an ivory chess piece, and was, for a time, used as one. The Order recovered it from the home of a minor noble of the House of Giovanni in Venice during the Autumn of 1242. His mother, being carefully interviewed by agents of the Order, recalls finding the Object in a street market in Padua in 1225.  The Hermetic symbolism of the piece, however, and its height of seven inches,  make it likely that this is a statue of the Founder Tytalus rather than a gaming piece.  Note that the Verditius runes on the base of the object, which control animals, are original to the object, despite their incoherence.

The mortals who owned the piece for decades discovered its mystical property, and used it to great effect in their financial dealings.  The Academy no longer permits its use against outsiders, but some members have found the Object’s ability to detect and communicate flaws in character to be useful as a personal training aid. This power is triggered simply by touching the head of the piece, although there is a delay of at least a day before the figurine births the representation of the flaw. Mortal noblemen tricking their enemies into touching the piece simply wore gloves, or had assistants standing by with mallets.

That the personality flaws appear as tiny, twisted, and in some cases animate, statues which are immune to Hermetic magic is a concern. Such creatures have, in the distant past, escaped and survived for some time as independent creatures, driven to taunt or harm their parents. The legend that one of these statues was able to train apprentices, like a mandrake or homunculus, seems unlikely given the antipathy of the Objects for Hermetic magic, and the lack of confirmatory evidence. The rumor that the Order discovered the piece after one of these homunculi reported its existence to a redcap, and that in exchange this creature has been permitted to live on at a Mercer House is not, officially, true.

The playwright Cattalus suggests that a group of these creatures has been kept by House Tremere to use as assassins. It is difficult to believe that his so-called Puppet Legion  truly exist, although they cannot, of course, be disproven, and there is something a little charming in the idea that tiny companions and gorgs live in a miniscule little settlement, hidden in the Transylvanian mountains.

The collection of the Fifth Object, for a time, made members of the Academy hopeful that similar Objects, representing each of the Founders, might be recovered. This has, of course, not been the case.


One thought on “The Fifth Object

  1. This is really great stuff. I plan on using it as soon as I have read it entirely. (My saga is set in the Theban Tribunal and involves a lot of interactions with Venice, Verditius, Tremere & Jerbiton…)
    Thank you for this !


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