The Twentieth Object is a curious device placed within a locket. The locket itself is golden, and has the Hermetic symbol for Vim on its upper side. It is circular in cross-section, as it would appear to the viewer if the assumption that it is to be worn on a chain about the neck is correct, although some scholars dispute this. The Object is not a sphere, but rather a fat disc, which has a small stem the comes from what we may for the sake of discussion agree is the top, and this stem ends in a small knob with grooves in its surface. Through this stem is a small ring, which is though by many to be the securing point of a neck chain, although a substantial group believe that the Twenty-Fifth Object disproves this thesis.
The stem of the device also acts to control its mechanical aspects. If pressed, a thin shell of metal on the forward surface is released from a tiny catch, and folds downward on an equally minute hinge. On the underside of this shell is a design of the marks for the fifteen Arts, placed in a circle about the mark of the infinite.
The body of the device is a remarkably thin and clear layer of glass, over a circular white disc, on which are marked twelve positions. Three pointers sweep across this disc, measuring the passage of minutes, hours and seconds, provided a hidden spring, which powers the gears hidden behind the disc, is powered by occasional rotation of the upper know of the stem. If the stem is pulled upward slightly, the position of the pointers may be wound forward, to correct the displayed time. One oddity is that the number four is represented with four vertical lines, rather than in the usual way. Another is that the maker has marked the front of the disc: “Haversham of London”.
A similar casing from the rear of the object can also be unhinged. It contains Verditius marks which indicate it once was usede for creating illusions and controlling earth in some way. It also contained a short lock of black hair, tied with a small bow of blue velvet ribbon.
The most unusual power of the device is its capacity, when in the Eos lands, and sometimes outside them, to attract Muses. Indeed, the discovery of this device, and its dependable ability to call these odd creatures, was fundamental to Hermetic recognition of their existence. The reports of the time do not use our, modern and shorter, term: they prefer “spirits of strange artifice”. The term “muse” took decades to develop, but was given the creatures by House Verditius, after some of its members began to use magic to mimic the impossible machines and prosthetics which these creatures employ. Even more recently, Natural Magicians have also found ways of copying these devices, although Strangers, operating in the Eos Lands, have had the greatest success in this.
The appearance of the Twentieth Object co-incided, it is said, with the first Muse raid on Faerie territories. Muses and faeries seem to naturally loathe each other. The Muses claim that they are faeries, or at least were, before an event they call “The Inevitable Dawn” is, according to House Merinita, a lie.
This researcher, who has heard this claim herself from the very mouth of a Muse, wishes to indicate that the earlier Merinita position, still held by many members of that House, is offensive. Suggesting that House Criamon, or its members, would encourage spirits to give this response is preposterous, and I, for one, will not share research with colleagues who think so little of my ethical standards.
It is unclear how the incursion was halted and the Object taken. Some Muses claim they wished it to be taken, but this seem unlikely. The Object’s ability to reduce the Duration of any magical or faerie power which it enters the area of effect to Diameter is clearly to valuable to deliberately lose. No experiment with Infernal or Divine powers has been attempted.