Thirty Objects of Desire of Desire was my response to the NaGaDeMon challenge for 2011. It was originally 31 posts, but I’ve collated it here.
The First Object
The First Object is called such merely by tradition, and because this assemblage is clearly a discrete object that has been broken into parts, much like the Fifteenth Object. Such was this Object’s lack of grandeur that for many years, this Academy did not accept its place in the Sequence, and considered it a secondary product of the manifestation of the Eighth Object (then, of course, referred to as the Seventh).
The thirty pieces in this assemblage, as reconstructed by Pergamum of Criamon, form an incomplete, hollow, cylinder of glass The cylinder is five inches high and three inches wide. As reconstructed, it is slightly wider at the open end than at the closed, although some who have studied the reconstruction believe this to be an effect of the method used to bind the pieces together. The closed end has an uncoloured intaglio of the Caerulea, and this led to the earlier, and now presumed mistaken, assumption that these fragments could not have predated the manifestation of the Fourth Object. It is believed that when gathered, the Object was in five pieces, but that it was broken up to create a makeshift weapon by pressing pieces between two boards, to create a sharp edge.
The glass of the First Object is thinner, stronger, clearer and smoother than can be created by mundane means.
Thirteen added fragments of glass have traditionally been associated with this Object, but following the reconstruction, their provenance is in dispute. They are made of thicker glass, which shares many of the properties of that found in the First Object, but these pieces do not have the pronounced curve caused by its cylindrical shape. They may come from a single object made of flat glass, but if this is the case, it must also have been a magically created object, as the widths of the extra pieces all correspond to within a hair.
Some claim these pieces are residue from a later manifestation. Others that these form the true First Object, or that they are an unrecognized Second Object. Few other theories seem possible, as, like all of the objects and residues, these additional pieces are unaffected by Hermetic magic.
The history of the First Object is difficult to trace. It may have been present for thousands of years before it enters the historical record, hidden in an Egyptian tomb (see Lucius), or it may, as Tenacious contends, have appeared with a loud, shattering sound mere instants before it was first retrieved by Adamo the Barber on the Second of April, 1220. Adamo was a man of Venice, and particularly shrewd. He presented this odd glass to an acquaintance in the trade, called Simon in the later play by Vilnius but having no recorded name. Recognising its quality the man known for convenience as Simon, in turn, took it to his guildmasters.
The mistaken belief that the Object was Egyptian or Damascene, and a fear that their monopoly on the finest glass was to come to an end had many unpleasant repercussions for the Order. It led to a craftsman’s revolt in Venice, and further militarization. It caused what can now, all diplomatic talk aside, be called a war between the Order and the Serene Republic. The servant of a Verditius magus claimed publicly that such glass was easy to make with a suitable magic item. This prompted a raid on Samos, covertly supported by Western, traditional elements of House Verditius who sold magical items to the aggressors under the Roman Treaty, sometimes through Redcap proxies.
When this came to light, the two halves of House Verditius coalesced around the two putative Primi. House Jerbiton and Tremere supported the eastern half, while House Tytalus supported the western. An emergency Tribunal was called, the matter investigated and the glass recovered. By this time other Objects had manifested, and so it was not clear that the pieces of glass were, themselves, the earliest known Object.
At least six other artefacts have, at some time, had strong claims to the position of First Object. Some are forgeries. Some lack physical evidence of their existence, being reported but uncollected. Two were residues of later manifestations, misidentified. One was an Object, now universally accepted as after the Third in the Sequence.
The Second Object
The Second Object is a golden ring, set with a large diamond, of unusual clarity and cut. It is presumed to be of magical manufacture. The ring has a small, smooth split in its back, if the setting be considered the front, but this is not, apparently, damage. Some Verditus magi have suggested it is to allow the ring to be resized.
The Second Object enters the historical record on the left hand of Guillaime of Palermo, a retired pirate captain in the Adriatic, who was hiring himself to noblemen as an assassin of wizards. A skilled fighter, and made immune to Hermetic magic by the Second Object, he was a formidable foe, and is believed to have killed eighteen redcaps and three magi before being slain. He was, it is recorded, described by the ghosts of his victims, and the redcaps offered a bounty sufficient to found a covenant in exchange for his death. He was killed by a group of mundane, but skilled, companions, who instead used the money to found the Alabaster House.
There is a play by Catallus that suggests that his ghost was forced to give the names of his employers, and these were crushed in a single night of vindictiveness, thereby curtailing Hermetic hostilities with Venice. The historicity of this account cannot be confirmed, particularly given the carnal powers the playwright grants to the character who is, himself a playwright.
The ring, despite its obvious utility, was considered an accursed thing by House Mercere, and they were only persuaded from destroying it by the leader of the Trianoman faction, who exchanged it for the memorial monument built in what is now the grounds of the Commemorative Orphanage of St Severin.
The Third Object
The Third Object seems to be a mortarium, a dish-like vessel used for grinding in the Roman Imperial period. In function it is much like a mortal and pestle, or a ball mill, and indeed, this object was retrofitted as a ball mill by the magus who owed it: a small sphere of steel which can be commanded to roll or stop by a flick with the finger being added to the object sometime after its discovery in 1223.
It is not entirely clear how it came into Hermetic possession, although it is attested from at least 1251. A magus working on the Isle of Miracles (see glossary*) reports using its ability to neutralise Hermetic magic to make his laboratory work safer. Reagents, if they seemed beyond his control, would be poured into the moritarium, which destroyed them.
This Object is the first known to have been touched with normal vis activated by mystical work, so it was presumably the first to create succursus. Indeed, when first assessed by a competent scholars, there was a residue of succursus within the Object. It is almost certain that the owner did not recognize the use, or value, of this substance, as the formal discoverer was, of course, the famous Clement of House Criamon.
(*The initial Venetian estates granted to proxies of the Order, informally, to end the shadowy war between the Serene Republic and the more militant houses of the East. Now the headquarters of the Knights of the Ibis.)
The Fourth Object
The Fourth Object enters the historical record when an Arabic traveller gives it to a serving girl in the palace of the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, in 1224. It was, then, a single sprig of blue flowers. How little did he understand the significance of these tiny blossoms!
The cerulea plants first propagated from this sprig were not hardy, and would not have survived without the constant care of the Emperor’s gardeners. That the plants could not be harmed by magic first became known to the order when a faerie (see glossary) pretending to the role of Queen demanded that the magi destroy these trees, and all things made from their wood. Her followers could not see such objects and feared injury from them. The cerulea is not a sovereign ward against such beings, but they cannot, of course, glamour its wood.
When speaking of the Objects, the original sprig is, properly, the Fourth. There has been an increasing laxity, however, particularly on the part of Academicians, to use the epithet to refer to all living cerulea. I know I court the ire of some of my colleagues when I suggest this is harmless and, perhaps, acceptable, given that all of the descendants share the foundational property of the Fourth Object: absolute resistance to Hermetic magic. I also share with many of my younger colleagues the, perhaps mistaken, desire to distinguish the living symbol of our Academy with the higher title, emphasizing its historical link to our mission.
The Imperial trees were poisoned by a group whose identity was kept so secret we thus far have uncovered no record of it. The destruction was complete, officially, although several cerulean artefacts were known to exist, as subjects of study by House Bonisagus and as personal possessions of noblemen. Some sort of secret society, folklore claims, was convened to steal these items, replacing them with mundane duplicates. The cerluean objects seem to have been destroyed in some instances and given to various researchers in others, so it is possible many groups were retrieving them. Our own folklore suggests this was so: at least one set of stories suggests the Academy’s founders competed with other Hermetic groups to locate and collect ceruleana.
Several magi kept and grew their own cuttings: the ancestor of the Academy’s current plantations was grown just outside Valnastium. The Jerbitons and Merinita claimed, afterward, that they had kept it because it was beautiful. The Tytalusians and Tremere bluntly stated that they wanted samples to make weapons which could kill magi. This would have caused them greater trouble, had not cerulean wood proven so useful in the Mongolian Wars.
Two further discoveries have been of particular interest to Academicians.
The First Object is decorated with a cerulean flower, a pattern we have copied as the intagilo of our Academy. This implied, to many researchers, that the First Object must have been made after the Fourth was first seen. This does not now appear to be the case, for the historical records of the sighting of the First Object, and its effects on the history of Venice, are difficult to dispute.
The Nineteenth Object has a frame of interlaced wood, part of which is winter oak, the other part cerulean.
The Twenty-Seventh Object lies in a case made of cerulean wood. Some researchers report that it, uniquely, can be affected by some minor Hermetic spells. Research continues.
The Fifth Object
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 grogs 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.
The Sixth Object
The Sixth Object is a rug of Asiatic design, predominantly red in colour, with a stylised floral pattern upon its upper surface. It appears to be woven from a plant fibre, knotted to a design traced to the Kurdish people. It contains dyes not native to, or known to be traded in, areas of Kurdish occupation. The rug seems to share the immunity that all Objects have to magic selectively, so that any person, Gifted or not, may stand upon it and see through all manner of illusions, regardless of the Realm from which they emerge.
It initially appeared in Naples, probably in 1226, where it was mistaken for an Arabic magical item by a church scholar. He presented it to his bishop, who sold it to fund participation in a crusade. It was purchased by a nobleman who was proxy for Cassia of Jerbiton. Her attempts to determine the powers and activation rituals of the object failing entirely, she sought counsel from her Verditus and then Bonisagus sodales. An object of unknown origin which was immune to Hermetic magic, and thus could cross the Parma Magica, terrified contemporary magi. As a security measure, and perhaps as a measure of their loathing, they refered to the rug as “that object”, from which phrase our modern nomenclature descends.
The Sixth and Seventh Objects, together with a table of cerulea wood, were the first to generate an Eos Aura
The Seventh Object
The Seventh Object is a portrait, of remarkable clarity, drawn magically on paper with colours as from life. It shows a young woman with dark hair and eyes. She has undergone skullbinding, and so her head is markedly elongated. The depicted woman has the Mark of the Inevitable on a visible wrist, and so many assume she is a Criamon magus. On the upper left side of her head, near the temple, is a mystical mark in blue dye. This mark is now used by the Followers of the Path of Dawn in their initiation rituals, although they themselves say that the picture motivated their research, not the other way around.
The woman is accompanied by a man often refered to as her shield grog, since he stands before her, dominating the foreground of the picture, and is wearing some sort of uniform, complete with gorget and sword. There is, however, nothing in particular to indicate that this is his role. Some suggest that this is an interpretation placed on the figure by Clement of Criamon in his first study. Critics note that the uniform seems to be made of a luxurious cloth, well-tailored and richly dyed, which does not seem suitable for a person who deals in violence for his living. Some Knights of the Ibis see the Shield Grog as a sort of luck charm, or kindred spirit, and refer to him as Adrian. The Knights of the Ibis have recently begun investing their Grand Master with a uniform similar to that of the depicted figure, although their armor is more complete and sumptuous.
The picture is framed in silver, and is wedged between a layer of thin pine, and a layer of particularly clear and even glass, presumably to protect it. These subordinate parts are sometimes referred to as 7b, 7c and 7d, respectively.
This object was the first to manifest an Eos Aura, due to the presence of other Objects. Scholars, particularly Clement, have noted that the picture seems to be a far more potent Object than the others. It seems to have an additional quantity of whatever metaphysical condition creates the objects. It is, he notes, only the picture itself that has this property: the backing board, glass and frame are immune to magic, but cannot create an Eos Aura except when together with the picture.
The picture however, is many times more powerful than other objects for manifesting the Aura of Eos, and so it is unsuprising that Eos was first detected in 1227, shortly after the recovery of the portrait from the collected art of a bishop. The initial Aura was not larger than the surface of a desk. The ability to create spaces in which Hermetic magi were powerless was kept secret by House Bonisagus for many years, although House Criamon discovered it rapidly, as Spirit Travellers could detect an absence in the world, and see that shape of the vacancy.
The similarities to the Thirtieth Object are so obvious as not to require comment.
The Eighth Object
The Eighth Object is of a type familiar to any Hermetic magus: it is a mirrored bowl made of pure silver, three feet across. Many magi use a similar container to study vis in a laboratory.
Inscribed on the bottom of the outside of the dish are a series of simple pictures, using a mixture of doodles, Criamon symbolism, and Verditus runes, to suggest that a magus should attempt to study vis in this bowl, and that when this fails, the user should save the residium. These instructions were considered a simple, utilitarian guide until the discovery of the Twenty-Eighth Object. The residium is succursus. The discovery of succursus fascinated and terrified magi.
The original researcher who attempted the use of the bowl, Gregorius of Bonisagus, died in 1228 when his laboratory was destroyed. Later researchers have suggested that he was surprised by the properties of the substance: either it ignored his ward, or slowly moved under its own power toward the vis stored in his lab, or embodied in his magic items. It must be assumed he thought the effects would be negligible, and so used a large amount of vis, to make whatever effect he was meant to see more obvious. This, of course, produced several pawns of succursus, which in later experiments, have completely destroyed buildings, when they neutralised, and were neutralised by, vis.
This Object was the main one used to make succursus for the Mongol Wars. House Tremere made great use of arrows coated in succursus, fired by their Cuman allies, when skirmishing with Mongol sorcerers.
Succursus was not used medicinally until the Twilight of Primus Sirocco of Jerbiton in 1312. So much succursus was used that she was, afterward, unable to cast spells, although she had, fortunately created magical items which allowed her to retain, at one remove, many of her most prized magical abilities. A Grand Tribunal did find such use of succursus a Hermetic Crime deserving death, which led, it is probably unnecessary to say, to the flight of her lover to Soqotra, and the well-known story of romance and tragedy which followed, possibly best detailed by Justinia of Merinita in Tale in Silver and Gray. The Object remained in Soqotra briefly, but was gifted to the Academy on the centenary of its foudnation.
The Ninth Object
The Ninth Object is sometimes called the Maghribi Pen. There is no evidence that the Object comes from North Africa, but the only pen of similar structure found by early Academicans belonged to a noble from that region. It is unusual in that it has a reservoir for ink within the stem of the pen.
The pen uses a small lever to work a pump to fill the reservoir. Some Verditius magi believe, philosophically, that this technique should not work. The pen is marked with the runes for moving liquid and changing colour, and so the lever was perhaps a redundant system for a magical effect. This effect has failed, perhaps due to whatever causes the Objects to be resistant to Hermetic magic.
The pen can still be used to write, and the words written by it cannot be recovered by Hermetic magic, either by direct scrying, or from the minds of the readers. The pen was recovered in 1229 from a minor French warlord, who claimed he was given it by a shadowy figure whose name he could not recall. This was possibly a demon, but others blame a trickster from House Tytalus. He had little opportunity to use it for ill, so far as well can tell. There are stories of a band of magi or redcaps chasing his missives across Europe, snatching them away before they can be read and substituting innocuous forgeries. These are likely exaggerated.
The pen has also, at least once, been used to stab a magus to death. This accounts for the damage to the nib of the pen, which is no harder than any other gilt iron would be. The unfortunate victim was Cattalus the Playwright, although the culprit has never been discovered.
The Tenth Object
The Tenth Object is a small drawing of a serpent with the feet of a chicken. It is, presumably an illumination from a book, although the backing material, whatever it was, has been completely destroyed by the mystical properties of the object. This left only a thin layer of metallic paint or leaf, which was mounted on a cerulean board by Clement of Criamon to make the Object more robust. The Object destroys most containers, but it can be kept safely in containers made of cerulean wood, and handled safely with tools of the same substance.
The Tenth Object was recovered by the Order in 1230 by Magdelena of The Knights of the Ibis, and members of her sect, uniquely seem unaffected by its baleful properties. This is so noticeable that its members, in our own time, have adopted this creature, which they call ”the basilisk”, as a symbol for their officer cadets.
The Tenth Object poisons whatever it touches. Its poison is mystical, insofar as it corrupts things based on their points of weakness, rather than, like a conventional poison, harming every victim in the same way. Some people who touch the Object suffer hallucinations, metal illness, or loss of prized attributes of personal character. Other suffer from the exacerbation of physical maladies, or are poisoned. The poisonings suffered vary in symptom from snake venom to foxglove essence. Although Hermetic magic cannot assist those so poisoned (as the Object seems to target weaknesses in the Essential Nature) the sap from the cerulea is sometimes useful, if only as a palliative.
The Tenth Object was claimed from a cult called “Infernalists” in the Order’s records. Further research into the meeting place of this cult finds no trace of an Infernal Aura. The cult was said to worship a “feminine Lucifer” or a “golden Angel not of the Lord” which of course ties this object to the Pieta (see the Twenty-First Object) and perhaps to the Thirteenth.
The Eleventh Object
The Eleventh Object is an ancient Greek theatrical mask, or a facsimile thereof. The character portrayed is Miles Gloriosus, the braggart soldier. The inside of the Mask contains the Verditius runes for transforming minds, but these are, of course, not functional. When a magus wears the Mask, the usual suspicion mortals feel toward Gifted people is entirely suppressed. This is less useful than it appears in print, because, of course, the magus still looks like a man in a clay mask, which is difficult to explain in most circumstances.
The Mask first appears in the Order’s history as the original Object of study of Clement of Criamon, the first Curator of the Objects. Clement said he had found the Mask in a graveyard for magical traditions, on the Floating Isle of Horus. Clement was of course, barkingly insane at this point in his career, or at least so vested in the strange spiritualisms of House Criamon as to be unintelligible to any save his fellow cultists. He only became lucid after wearing the Mask constantly for many years, leading to the insights contained in his tractatus, the famed, if now little read, Xenognosis.
The Mask is the only Object which Clement regularly names by its form, rather than an ordinal number representing the Object’s place in a sequence which he claims was not based on its date of discovery. Clement’s Proximity Sequence is no longer used, as he was aware of only twelve of the Objects, although he predicted that thirty would eventually be found. Indeed, it is his prediction of the time and place of the manifestation of the Thirtieth Object, and his conjecture as to its possible nature, that makes this expedition, and these reports, necessary.
The Mask was stolen from the Order by a demon, according to popular tradition, but recent researchers have suggested that this may have been some other thing, for which we lack a classificatory schema. The Mask’s features had, however, convinced some Hermetic magi to study the concept embodied in the ineffective runes on its underside. It took over a century for magi from various houses to create the first of the Mask Mysteries, but once it was established, other breakthroughs and discoveries rapidly followed. Mask magic, in various forms, flourished in an unlikely combination of Houses.
The Eleventh Object was collected by the Academy in 1423. It had laid in the private collection of a nobleman in the Eos Lands, untraceable to Hermetic magic. A group of House Tremere’s psilos, suddenly unable to communicate with their commander due to the first use of succursus cloud weapons against a covenant by mortals, guessed correctly what had occurred, and decided it was vital to kill any mortal who might have sufficient knowledge to create another such device. One of their victims, an advisor to the Duke of Brabant, had the Mask in a private laboratory, in which he was studying “whatever passes for Natural Magic in the Insipid Places.” The series of assassinations which followed probably shortened the period of mundane chaos following the War of the Trees, and prevented it from spreading beyond the Rhineland.
In my own studies, I have been permitted much use of the Xenognostic Mask. It is initially disorienting as it is possible to see the connections that underlie material things in a novel way. I concur with Clement that this is similar to, but distinct from, the understanding granted by some of the more sensual and similistic schools of Enigmatic Wisdom. It differs, however, in ways which cannot be expressed clearly save with a specialised vocabulary. At its simplest, Enigmatic Wisdom seeks the hidden connections between things. Strange Wisdom seeks to see the potential in things.
It is difficult to hold both the Enigmatic and Strange Wisdoms in the mind simultaneously: it is, in my case, too much for my humble mind to grasp. It is, however, very beautiful to try, regardless of how dangerous my sodales say it is to attempt. I must note, given the quote above, that seen through the eyes of the Mask, the Insipid lands are lovely, and that it may be time to lay our older, perjorative, terminologies to rest.
The Twelfth Object
The Twelfth and Thirteenth Objects were recovered together. Their enumeration is not entirely random: it is a historic artefact. The Twelfth Object, under our present enumeration, caused a sensation when first described, while its companion has relatively subtle powers and was, initially, considered to be a part of the Twelfth. One was wrapped within the other.
The Twelfth and Thirteenth Objects were found in the grave of Xenophilia of Criamon when it was opened in 1350. Xenophilia, fillia Clement, was one of the patronesses of Path of the Dawn, a sept which continues to have a handful of members in the Order to this very day, centred around a covenant in Isfahan. The Criamon magi claimed they were led to her tomb, and asked to open in, by visions, which gave them the keys to some, but not all, of the intellectual exercises which disabled the wards. The Prima returned with them to the Cave of Twisting Shadows, in ghostly form, but that she has not since been seen. Those who spoke with Xenophilia said she claimed that the Twelfth Object proved that her master’s study was at best incomplete.
Physically, the object is chain bracelet of white gold, with a thin layer of some unknown, brightly silver, metal coating it. Its links show no signs of solder, and so it was either created by magic or crafted with exceptional skill. The Object, like all its kind, is immune to Hermetic investigation.
Up to three times per day, if the wearer says the word “veritas”, the Object shines with an intense silvery glow that radiates like candlelight, but does not flicker. Any demon that touches or sees this light is harmed greviously by it, regardless of that demon’s rank in the infernal hierarchy. This effect was discovered by accident, and was originally thought to simply be a source of illumination. Investigation rapidly indicated that this is a Magic-aligned spell-like effect, similar to a high magnitude casting of Demon’s Eternal Oblivion.
The Twelfth Object bought the rest of the Objects to the forefront of Hermetic research for a time, and is the proximate cause of the Foundation of the Academy. It garnered such strong reactions because, unlike the other Objects, this one clearly had been crafted as a magical item. It was not simply an Object that had been exposed to strange environmental conditions, because it has a triggering word. It was not pulled from the land of dreams, as such objects would not need to trade off between area of effect and frequency of use, as this one appears to. It is not a Criamon adulteration, as it lacks any taint of spiritual imperfection.
Xenophilia led an adventurous life, so where she found the Objects is not recorded. Stories indicate that a major demon attempted to prevent their recovery, lacking any method of destroying the bracelet. This being then switched strategies and allowed his minions to use the bracelet against the servants of other demons, during various nocturnal battles. After Xenophilia and her companions began to hunt the demon’s followers, he hid the bracelet in an Infernal regio in Scotland, which Xenophilia collapsed with succursus powder, after recovering the Object.
The Thirteenth Object
The Thirteenth Object is the lower half of a robe, cut diagonally from just below the right elbow of the wearer, to the left hip. The Object is primarily made of cotton, and is dyed with something the colour of saffron. Minute analysis shows the Thriteenth Object to have been hand-woven, using a technique now known in Italy, and used primarily for sail-making. It has facings, which are woven with threads of gold into a scalloped design, reminiscent of, perhaps, the pinioned tips of thousands of quills.
The Thirteenth Object has a fastener, perhaps the first functional button in the world. It is small, cylindrical, and carved of ash. It is held to the garment, on the wearer’s left side of the join, by loops which fit snugly into a groove around the middle of button. The buttonhole is encircled by a design, but this appears to be abstract.
The Thirteenth Object is immune to Hermetic magic, as is usual for all of these artefacts, but it lacks any more obvious magical powers. The followers of the Path of the Dawn were able to examine this Object and, using the powers of Natural Magic, replicate its physical structures almost exactly. The robes they created are worn during their initiation into the Path’s Mysteries, and have become the most widely recognised symbol of their sect. These robes lack resistance to Hermetic magic, but do have the useful property that, while wearing their garment a magus may cast spells with Personal range in the Eos Lands.
Stories that the robes are sought in the mountains of the Alps, or on islands in the far West, are not absolutely untrue. The cotton they are made from does not seem to originate in Europe. The dye used does not appear to be the true crocus, but is said to come from a fallen temple of Apollo at some hidden place. Even the buttons are said to be made from the branches of a particular, and sacred, sapling, hidden in a regio that is surrounded on all sides by the Eos Lands. The buttons are attached with something that looks like gold thread. Supplicants to this Mystery, even if they do not quest for the other materials for the construction of the robe, always vanish for a few months, head east, and return with these golden filaments.
The Object appears to be stained with blood. This cannot be confirmed, but may be inferred, given the Thirtieth Object’s nature.
The Fourteenth Object
The Fourteenth Object is a small brass box, six inches long, four wide, and two deep. It has a lock on its front surface, but fortunately is not locked. It may be opened by lifting an ornamental latch which covers the keyhole. As the lid is lifted, a cunning mechanical device is activated, and music is played by small pins which strike against a rotating wheel. The wheel gains its propulsion by an operator taking the key for the box, which was found inside, and turning it in a keyhole hidden by a false panel on the box’s underside. While the tune plays, a sphere of Eos twelve yards wide is created around the Object. To make Eos of a predictable size and shape allowed original research into the Natural Magics that can shape and control Eos.
The Object had been rumoured to exist for many years: a music box that prevented Hermetic scrying. It was used by the leaders of Butterfly group to mask their plans. As the War of the Trees spilled southwards, unknown Hermetic supporters provided this Object, and enormous amounts of succursus created with it, to the leaders of the Worshipful Company of the Butterfly. The release of this succursus into the air about Milan, then Genoa, then Trento, created the kernel of the Eos Lands we know today. The Object was recovered by a team of Tremere psiloes, sent to execute the leaders of the plot.
The psiloses were able to prevent the release of succursus in other cities. Variations in the records make the target unclear: they indicate Bologna, Pisa, Florence, or Ravenna, or combinations thereof, varying by document. The servants of House Tremere did not publicly identify which House or Covenant had aided the Worshipful Company. It has now become traditional to blame House Jerbiton, which declines to accept responsibility.
The tune was unknown at the time of the Object’s recovery, but variants of it are now popular, particularly with the Followers of the Path of the Dawn in House Criamon. It is said that if one trains for many years, one can perfectly replicate the song. This has very painful effects on faeries. It was, initially, believed that faeries hearing this tune were destroyed or banished, like the spirits, demons and angels in the Eos Lands at the moment of their creation. The strange creatures drawn to the Twentieth Object, however, make this deduction appear less sound.
The Fifteenth Object
The Fifteenth Object appears to be a wooden sphere, but this is deceptive. Careful pressure allows a small segment of the sphere to fall away, and then another, and so on, until the entire Object is disassembled. The sphere is constructed of three hundred and sixty-five pieces. Other Criamon magi have noted that the signs on the pieces make the process of disassembly easier, but do not aid the reconstruction of the Sphere.
It took several researchers many years to open the Object. They had hoped it contained a small treasure at its core, but the locket within, although a Hermetic device, is disappointingly indecipherable. That is, no researcher has managed to discover its method of activation. Similarly, no method of opening the locket has proven successful, although, as a Hermetic device, it can be investigated magically.
The locket (you will pardon me if I do not refer to it reverentially as The Locket, or more heterodoxically as the Unnumbered Object) is almost certainly a talisman. Experiments concerning it show it has at least sixty pawns of vis invested in it, and there is no other method whereby such a powerful device can be constructed. It appears to be a simple gold teardrop, three inches long by an inch at its widest, on a chain of similar metal, but its tremendous investment of vis have led some to suggest that inside the locket is substantial gemstone.
The pieces of the sphere were, initially, considered an interesting triviality. A recent researcher, whom modesty forbids me from naming, has demonstrated that, in a certain configuration, the runes form the Sigil of Herbam. A magus touching this sign can cast spells normally on Herbam objects in the Eos Lands. It saddens me that this researcher, who remains unnamed, has been forced to cede the Object to Academicians from House Bonisagus for further study, under Parliamentary decree. As a further note, while configured to the Sigil of Herbam, the researcher was able to affect items made of ceruelea, although not any of the Objects.
There are legends about the sphere, which suggest that it manifested as divided pieces, and that each piece was englamoured by a potent faerie, seeking to keep their influence away from the mundanes. There is no firm evidence for this, but the records from the late Thirteenth Century are far from complete. Many were destroyed in the turmoil created by the manifestation of the Twenty-Ninth Object.
The Sixteenth Object
The Sixteenth Object is the only one to regularly be named in discussion with something other than its place in the Revised Clementine Sequence, so for the convenience of the reader, I will call it by its imprecise but popular name: the Toscaria Codex.
The Toscaria Codex is famous, of course, for the shadowy intrigues eventually won by a maga of that name in 1491, when she recollected all of the pages, after a series of duels, wars and adventures which are the stuff of fiction devoured by apprentices. Toscaria herself retains ownership of the Codex, and reserves the right to use it at her discretion, but has allowed it to be stored in the New Academy since her victory.
Physically the Toscaria Codex is a book of linen paper, with boards made of cerulean wood. The boards are covered in cloth, which appears to be golden spider silk from Africa, and a design of an angel is pressed into the cover, possibly using xylographic printing.
The pages are collected in gathers, and were originally bound to the cover with the ankle sinews of a dragon. This contained vis, and was removed by Haralda (upon whom the character of The Desecrator is loosely based) before he scattered the pages throughout the Order. Toscaria has replaced these twice : once when she gathered the pages together, and again after a series of experiments on the Object. Some researchers wished to know if the new binding, which seemed to be immune to magic, had gained the properties of an Object, or was merely being shielded by its enclosure in the Codex. Neither is true: the sinews containing vis had transformed into succursus, and were gradually being dissolved by the spells cast, ineffectually, against them.
The Toscaria Codex, or each of its separated pages, extends immunity to magical effects, as most of the Objects do, but in a way considered highly useful by the owners of the various portions. Many magi have flaws in their Gifts, or training, which causes supernatural obstructions in their ability to cast the minor magics required in a laboratory to learn spells. Many Bjornaer magi, for example, are cursed with great difficulty when learning fire magic. The Toscaria Codex removes these obstructions for those learning spells written on its pages. Each page contains a single Formulaic working, and there are 216 pages. This discounts rumours that eight pages, claimed burned by Toscaria’s final rival, still exist.
The similarity of this object to the Twenty-Ninth is so marked it is clear they were bound for the same library.
The Seventeenth Object
The Seventeenth Object has the form of a granite ball, exactly nine inches across, with a single word chiseled about the surface. It was discovered in the hands of a priest in Normandy, who claimed it had been given to the keepers of his Church by an angel in 1237. The angel, which did not give its name, commanded that the ball be given to a redcap at a particular inn on a certain day. This priest, Giles de Corbier, is now the Patron of the Servants of the Ibis, sharing this distinction with Saint George in his Egyptian form.
The redcap’s son sold the ball to my master, Burdainus of Criamon, who was fascinated by its sublime magical properties. The word on the Object is ”Philiponus”, the name of a heretic from the time of the Romans, whose works are still circulated in Arabic lands. The Object’s power, such as it is, is simply this: when it moves, its motion is not caused by pressure exerted by the air which follows it. When the Object is pushed, the Object gains a contagious property from the hand of him who pushes, and then continues to travel until this contagious property is overcome by counter-pressure from the air, or water, or soil.
This contagious property, like but not the Art of Rego, fascinated my master. He used the Eleventh Object to find areas in the Eos Lands where this property is held by every object. These sites, which for lack of better name are called Eos Regiones, are of particular importance to the Followers of the Path of the Dawn, are the places where Strange Magicians are most likely to be born, and are where their powers are strongest. My master was able to meet with, and examine the arts of, these new hedge magicians, although much of the credit for his breakthroughs is due to earlier researchers, like Clement, who made his discoveries possible.
The Eighteenth Object
The Eighteenth Object is unique, in that it manifested in a covenant. This allowed Hermetic magic to observe the process by which the Object appeared in the world. It appeared on the Eighteenth day of November, in 1238, in the covenant of Magvillus. The Object seemed to fade into reality, appearing initially in a ghostly, golden form, travelling at the speed of a walking man. It tore through the Aegis of the Hearth, leaving a hole through which spells could be cast without resistance. It then passed through several walls, eventually developing complete solidity in time to strike the library’s presentation copy of Ars Magica by the Founder Bonisagus with sufficient force to knock it from the display stand on which it rested.
Researchers since have argued whether this was random, planned by an intelligent being, or the result of the metaphysical opposition of the Objects to Hermetic Magic. At the time, as the War of the Trees was still raging in the Rhineland. House Guernicus assumed it was under attack, and pulled it hoplites out of many key installations, to investigate in force, and protect the House’s resources. This made the War of the Trees far bloodier, as observers and enforcers were called away from minor trouble spots, and House Guernicus almost became an added faction in the War, raiding sites it believed might hide the, thankfully fictional, New Weapon.
The Object takes the shape of a simple beam balance, just under two feet high, with dishes a few inches across. Similar balances can be found in many Hermetic laboratories. It has been discovered that this Object, like so many others, resists all Hermetic magic, but actively dispels only one variant of it. If a portion of vis is placed on one pan, and an item with even the slightest amount of Warping is placed on the other, then the vis transfers to the new item. The most interesting point is, however, that although no pawns of vis are lost in the exchange, the flavor of the vis is altered to correspond with the mystical significance of the object into which the vis travels.
This interesting effect has been studied by magi for centuries since, but it was only the development of Strange Wisdom as a discipline that allowed a breakthrough to occur. It is widely know that one of the Mysteries of the Path of the Dawn is that they can use any form of vis as if it were any other form of vis. Our belief is that Vim vis is not the generic form: the generic form of vis lacks a material component. By granting that component, to allow it to be handled, targeted, and used by Hermetic magi, the vis is being limited. It is being forced to act through a filter that weakens it, or obscures its full potential. House Bonisagus is attempting to incorporate this learning into the core of Hermetic Magic, but even they estimate that this may take centuries.
Once the Object’s actual nature was discovered, it was kept secret by the magi of Magvillus, only emerging once the Academy formed, and the Grand Tribunal ordered all Objects to be surrendered to us for research. House Guernicus claimed they used the item to smooth out disparities in the market for vis within Europe, and artificially reduce the cost of Corpus vis. Others claim they created vast amounts of vis matching that of the combatants in the War of the Trees, so that they were unable to find buyers for their own surpluses.
A subterranean supply depot was discovered during 1376 in Bohemia. It included wards, and the sigil of these wards was that of a master geomancer known from the 1230s. THese wards protected a truly staggering quantity of Corpus vis, and some magic items which aided transport. How this cache came to be lost is unclear: a scouting party of Guernican magi may have been murdered and disposed of during The War of the Trees.
The cache was only discovered with the aid of demons. The foolish magus responsible went on a spree, taking revenge on all whom he felt had slighted him. He was captured by hoplites, and was killed by immersion in boiling lead. This is the origin of the preference for this form of disposal for diabolists, although it is, of course, made far from universal due to a lack of battlefield suitability.
The Nineteenth Object
The Nineteenth Object is a mirror, made using a process unknown in Europe. It appears to include a plate of glass, over a perfect film of silver, surrounded by a frame of interlaced wood, part of winter oak, the other part cerulea. The mirrored surface of the Object is three and one-third feet high, and just over one foot wide. The frame is just a sliver under two inches wide.
This Object was collected by the Order in 1239, after it drove Archmaga Gunhildia mad. Her attempts to destroy the Object by magic did not avail, but did destroy a large section of the Covenant of the White Rose in Stonehenge. The investigation which followed highlighted the mirror as the cause of her actions. During a course of healing meditation, she described the Object’s effects. The story that her instructor in this process was Clement of Criamon, who went on to study the Objects, is untrue, but emotionally satisfying.
Those who stare at the Mirror for prolonged periods gain the rudiments of Strange Wisdom concerning themselves. Such a person, if she casts any personal Mentem effect, suffers a terrible shock. A figure appears in the Object, which the viewer immediately and comprehensively understands. It is the maga, as she would have been, if she had not been Gifted. Those who feel revulsion or terror feel a tugging on their Gift, as if it is to be pulled from them, in some ways similar to the presence of powerful Dominion auras. Such magi often enter Twilight, and this seems to preserve their Giftedness. Those who do not fear or hate their alternate feel their Gift pulled away, for a moment, before the Object returns it, subtly changed.
This Object, or spells which mimic its effects, are used in the initiation ritual for the first Station in the Path of the Dawn, which allows magi to terminate, reduce, delay or pause the effects of their spells. Such initiatory Rituals have been used to ambush foes: for example Clement of Criamon really did lure a group of Hedge Witches to a dinner, and then end the delay on this Ritual. Many of the details of the story have been embroidered since: there were only three witches, all were Gifted before the Ritual, all joined House Criamon afterward. One did later leave to join House Bonisagus as a Trianoman. Clement did not offer to marry any of them.
Gunhildia claimed to have stolen the mirror from the lands of Faerie. How it came to be there is entirely unclear, but one possibility is that Gunhildia accessed areas of Faerie which had already been overrun by Muses. If this is the case, then she was the first member of the Order, in so far as can be determined from records, to have encountered these creatures.
The Twentieth Object
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.
The Twenty-First Object
The Twenty-First Object is a flat dish of a metal that is presumed to be bronze. It is slightly over six and a half feet in diameter, and is painted in a deep red colour. On what, for convenience, we may call the outer side, there is a further design. It was discovered in Naples in 1241, in the Shrine of Saint Catherine at Rouen. It was thought to show a gilded image of the Angel Gabriel cradling the fallen Jesus, but since the angel is clearly female, this interpretation was rejected by a bishop, who asked for further interpretations. A Jerbiton magus, through intermediaries, suggested it was a depiction of the death of Memnon, and that the winged figure was the Goddess of Dawn, Eos. It is from this object that the Eos Aura and Eos lands take their name: for want, primarily, of a better. The Jerbiton magus was, again through intermediaries, able to acquire the piece, and for some time it rested in his laboratory. He gifted the Object to the Academy, but it was lost during an ill-understood incident while being moved from ther Old Academy to Greenwich, following the Honeycomb Plague. The Object reaminsw lost.
The Object does not appear to do…well, anything. Many scholars have suggested that this is because it arrived late in the collection, and then was lost before sufficient research could be done. Many others counter that, no, all sorts of uses, practical, silly and anywhere in between, had been tried, and hat it demonstrates a bias to expect all of the Objects to perform wonders. All have failed to find anything, save that Clement of Criamon, who had a vision of the Object although he never saw it himself, claimed that if one slept within (or perhaps under) the Object, one could not have nightmares. His writings may indicate the Object as a curative for spiritual possession. Clement was, sadly, so disturbed at the time of writing about this vision that his notes are barely decipherable, and even if they have been read correctly, are almost incomprehensible.
The Twenty-Second Object
The Twenty Second Object is a shallow bowl, eight inches wide, and just over two inches high. It is made from ceramic, but covered in a white glaze. Scratches into this glaze do not seem to affect the Objects resistance to Hermetic magic.
The Object first came to the Order’s attention after a member of House Tytalus attempted to poison a nobleman, and found it was impossible. His further investigations deduced the protection came from the Object, with which the nobleman washed his hands before and after eating with his fingers. The Object’s power is that anything placed within it, or having a part placed within it, as in the case of its first documented owner, has all its unusual properties taken away. This includes the catastrophic imbalances of the humors caused by poison, but the bowl also breaks curses, and dispels the mystical effects of the sacraments. It can be used to deconsecrate relics, nullify sordid vis, and disenchant magical items.
The Tytalus magus substituted a visually identical bowl for the Object, and used it for many years to destroy the material forms of demons by placing it on their heads. This is the source of legends concerning the Crown of Georgius, which was effectively as a protective pad placed about the bowl, disguised as headgear. Following this it was lost for a time, then used by a Church to cure pilgrims of sickness. A magus of House Jerbiton, made suspicious by the perfect regularity of these miracles, rediscovered the Object, and used a similar ruse to remove it.
The Twenty-Third Object
The Twenty Third Object is a dagger. It is just under 19 inches long, from the tip to the end of the pommel. The guard is conventional on one side, but has a rigid ring on the other, leading some to suggest that it is carried via this ring. Other scholars point out this would make it useless for combat, and its incredible degree of sharpness seems to indicate it is not a ritual object, but a practical one. The grip of the Object is made of two pieces of wood, cerulea by appearance, and are held in place with three rivets of brass. The largest rivet is closest the blade, while two smaller rivets lie adjacent each other, across the handle, closer to the pommel. Slightly toward the blade from these rivets, but not as far as the large rivet, is a small hole that is drilled through the entire handle, meeting a groove on the underside. The pommel has a wedge-shaped cross-section, and appears unwieldy due to its small size. On the ricasso (that part of the blade near the hilt) are some engravings, which are not in very good condition. They seem to show a bird or angel, under which are, arguably, the letters VR, and then under these a further two squiggles.
This is one of the most hotly contested of the Objects, because it has such a useful power: it cuts the arcane connections between corpses and their spirits. This makes it particularly useful for the destruction of corporeal undead. It does not do nearly so much damage as, for example, a Pilum of Fire, but it is certain that if it cuts an undead being, that being will be put to rest. For a very lengthy time this Object was a trophy in the hands of corporeal necromancers of House Tytalus, passed one to another as part of a complicated game. Eventually it was won for the Academy, in a wager against a Tytalus Archmagus, by a member of the Criamon Path of Strife.
This Object also seems to separate many faeries from their physical matter, to divest demons of the vapours from which they construct their bodies, and to rob spirits of their material forms. It has never been used to attack an angel, although several Tytalus magi claimed to wish to.
The Twenty-Fourth Object
The Twenty Fourth Object is insofar as we can tell, a large shipping crate made of cerulea wood, bound with iron. The bands have small rings on them, which are presumably used to attach ropes when lifting or securing the Object. The Object was discovered by Clement of Criamon. His records are such that either he was delirious when they were written, or it was offered to him during a journey to deepest Africa by a talking camelopard, in exchange for a tisane made of daisies. The Object’s unusual power, such as it is, is invisibility, so it is generally kept dusted with a light powder of ashes, or, more recently, chalk.
The Twenty Fourth Object has managed to avoid the many tribulations suffered by the other Objects simply because its power, such as it is, in easily duplicated with Hermetic magic. True, anything placed inside the Object cannot be detected Hermetically, and thus the famous story of Tricoholous, Primus of Merinita. It is true he hid from his lover’s husband for a month inside the Object, fed with soup through a straw. Such picaresque stories, however, do not disguise the fact that, really, the box offers little that Hermetic magic cannot provide.
The Twenty-Fifth Object
This is Object takes the form of a gold chain fourteen inches in length. It has a ring at one end of the chain, just over two-thirds of an inch in diameter. The ring contains a clever little catch loaded on a tiny spring, which holds it closed except when a small knob is pushed. The other end of the chain has a small ring, rather like a link of split-ring chain mail. Partway along the chain a smaller chain leads off for a few links, terminating in a piece of amber, into which an intaglio of an ibis is inscribed.
This Object appears to have been active since 1245. It was originally in the possession of a mortal duchess, from the Eos lands of Northern Italy, who became a sort of informal ambassador to the Order. The Object’s power doubtless assisted her in her duties. It nullifies magic that affects the mind, but in an unusual way. The person who wears the Object can feel the mental probing, and can choose to give whatever answer he or she wishes to the interrogation.
The Object’s ability to allow magi to circumvent Hermetic law, by reducing the effectiveness of spells such as Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie, has made many magi nervous concerning research into its properties. The Parliamentary Ruling concerning this Object restricts research upon it to Quaesitores in good standing, who agree to allow their research to be vetted before it is widely publicised. The Object cannot be left unattended, but must be with a Quaesitor at all times. Such Quaestiors must be willing to have a Watching Ward placed upon them, which sounds an alarm if their heartbeat stops.
At this time I wish to thank House Guernicus for inviting me to become a Quaesitor, which allows a dignified response to the Parliament’s worries concerning research into this Object. Some concern was expressed over their choice, many years ago, but I believe that my usefulness to this Inquiry demonstrates the soundness of their deliberations.
The Twenty-Sixth Object
The Twenty-Sixth Object is a candelabra of silver, which holds five slim tapers. Each of the branches, which form a circle seen from above, is marked with the Hermetic symbol for a Magical Technique. The Object was, when first discovered, mistaken for a relic, as demons cannot manifest physical forms, or use their powers, within slightly over three miles of it. It is said to have been recovered by a group of Hermetic magi, as it was guarded by powerful, non-sentient, elemental spirits. These were presumably placed in defence of the Object by infernal forces.
The magi were assisted by a Muse called, in later works, the Clockwork Knight. The Knight was not, regardless of later stories for children, an automaton. He merely had an arm made of living metal. He is still sometimes encountered in the town of Montmajour, particularly by craftsmen suffering oppression. Several inns are named for him. Their signs copy the statue in Montmajour’s main square, which is said to be a good likeness of him.
The Magi, for reasons unclear, gave the Object into the keeping of the Abbot of Montmajour Abbey in what was then the Provencal Tribunal. Perhaps because they believed it was a relic? The Abbey, which was a close ally of the Order after this, rapidly gained prominence in this strife-torn region, perhaps with surreptitious Hermetic aid. The modern town has thrived, [perhaps because of Hermetic patronage, but certainly due to the effects of the Object.
The Twenty Sixth Object’s power had a far-reaching effect on the Church. As demons were unable to enter the city in which it was found, many odd doctrines of religion emerged there. The most obvious is the Thomist heresy, which has spread through many of the Eos lands. It is dependent on the views of a priest named Thomas of Aquino, who is reviled by the Church as a heretic. In essence, Thomists believe that reason and logic are useful tools, and that lacking any particular indication of the Will of God, they suffice in matters of faith. The Church, by way of comparison, claims that the logic of Aristotle is false, pagan and basically wrong. It is, perhaps, clear why so many Hermetic magi secretly support the Thomists. They are also popular with the mundane populations of the Eos Lands, as their theology is a little kinder on common people than traditional doctrine.
The Twenty-Seventh Object
The Twenty-Seventh Object is a globe in a wooden case. It is made of marble, and is covered in painted illustration. It shows an Earth of correct size, but with many additional features which cannot possibly be verified with Hermetic magic. These include at least four, arguably more, additional continents.
The Object has a disturbing property: it has lost the desire to fall toward the centre of the Universe. This is not to say it flies, in the Hermetic sense, as there is no medium pushing it skyward and there is no magical effect giving it lift. It simply refuses to fall, and imparts this property to anything, smaller than a house, it is touching. Generally this is not obvious: even with no desire to fall, something the size of a house will not be moved by a light breeze. The globe itself weighs no more than a few pounds, if measured by its resistance when being moved. For example, if a magus wishes to push the ball through the air, it requires very little strength. That it requires any strength at all may indicate that the Globe is not weightless, merely that it is not affected by the tendency to fall.
The Globe lies in a case made of cerulea wood, which is technically a part of the Object, and is generally enumerated as 27B. The case is not affected by the power of the Globe, and does not exhibit the powers of the Globe. Some researchers report that it, uniquely of objects made from that tree, can be affected by some minor Hermetic spells. Research continues.
The Object was kept for many years as a curio by Sir John Mandeville, according to the plays of Catallus. He is said to have brought it from India, but his descriptions of he place are so aberrant from life as to suspect deception. An alternative explanation, suggested by a researcher of House Merinita, is that there is a Realm beyond the Eos lands, similar to those of Faerie or Magic, and that this Object is a map of that Realm, created within the Realm itself. As such, it could be of great interest to Hermetic researchers seeking to establish a discipline of Eos magic, based on the natural magics of the Strangers or Muses, to parallel Faerie Magic.
The Twenty-Eighth Object
The Twenty Eighth Object is a book with pages made of linen paper, bound in a saffron-coloured fabric over cerulean boards. On the front cover is the image of an angel, presumably stamped in place with a xylographic matrix. This Object does not, insofar as we are aware, have any powers beyond those found in all Objects. It nonetheless is of great interest to researchers.
The Twenty-Eighth Object is a grimoire of spells which cannot possibly work, because the universe’s fundamental laws do not agree with its assumptions. For example, the Moon does not fall from the sky because it is imbedded in the innermost Crystal Sphere. One of the spells allows magi to place objects so high in the sky that they would violate the Sphere. Similarly these objects are placed so high that, although they fall, the Earth has moved out of their way by the time they arrive where it once was. This continued process of falling and being avoided makes the objects trace circles about he Earth. The book contains many other impossibilities, and was, for some time, kept by House Bonisagus as a sort of amusing jest: a book of sly humor created by people unknown, to while away the winter hours. This particular view was first challenged when a magus discovered he could not use The Unseen Porter to lift the book.
It is vain to record one’s own glories, but it is I presume known to the reader that my role in this Inquiry is, in part, due to my success in researching the Objects. This Object is one with which I, working on from the discoveries of others, particularly my master, have found most useful. As reported in the most recent Journal I have been able to successfully cast one of the spells. The process of integrating it into Hermetic magic will, of course, take many years. At its fundament, the spell, which only works in the Eos Lands, suggest that the elements are divisible into many more categories of things. The spell confusing also calls these things “elements”.
On the inside cover is an inscription in Latin. It says “Good luck, but don’t touch the honeycomb.”
Following the tragedy surrounding the investigation of the Twenty-Ninth Object, this inscription became very significant to the students of the Objects. My own master, and those who followed him, assumed that the message had been placed by a Muse. It indicated that some of the Muses had hostile intentions, others beneficent, and so he refused to be anywhere near the Twenty-Ninth Object, after it was discovered. That he took the opportunity to visit colleagues in Stonehenge Tribunal saved his, and my, life, for which I cannot help but be thankful.
The Twenty-Ninth Object
The Twenty-Ninth Object is a metal sculpture, made up of hexagonal cells. It is just over three feet tall, and just over two feet wide. It contains 45 cells. When placed in the Eos Lands, the Object’s cells fill with clear crystals over the course of a year. Each of these hexagonal prisms contains one pawn of vis, for a total of three pawns per Art per year. The crystals of the Arts are colour coded, and these precise shades, it has been discovered, can be used much like Verditius Runes. The area affected by the Eos Aura shrinks markedly while harevested in this way.
After five years of operation and study, the plinth on which the Object once stood (then called 29B) broke apart, at the instigation of a tiny clockwork device. It contained, within it, a series of glass vials. These, in turn, contained plagues which were, in so far as can be seen, only effective in the Eos Lands. Most of the magi researching this device were infected, but could neither detect, nor cure, their illnesses with Hermetic magic. Waves of plague washed through the Eos lands, mitigated where possible with the other Objects. Most of the Academicians were infected, and the skills of the Order could not help them: indeed most attempts to treat the magi filled them with succursus, killing them or crippling their Gifts.
After the Plague had burned out, the Objects were recovered for the Order by tangible ghosts in service to House Tremere. The Parliament demanded answers, and such Academicians as survived gathered as far from the site of the disaster as was practicable to discuss its nature. The consensus is that the Twenty-Ninth Object was a weapon designed to destroy the Academy. The Object’s power is so seductive to the greed of magi, and the warning on the Twenty-Eighth Object so clear, that the Academicians began developing methods to defeat Muses, particularly with cerulean weapons. The Path of the Dawn, which had been a separate, if allied, organisation, now officially sponsored the Academy, and assisted its recovery. The New Academy, at Greewich, now houses most of the Objects.
Despite this Object’s obvious usefulness, further research into its functions has been declared anathema by the Parliament, and it has been sealed in a non-magical cavern complex under Rome.
The Thirtieth Object
The Thirtieth Object was found as originally reported by Nestor of Merinita. For members of the Inquiry who are not familiar with the initial report, I will summarize. Nestor was led by faerie allies to a cavern where vis could be found. He harvested it for several years. On his most recent expedition, he discovered that the source was destroyed, that the Faerie Aura of the cavern had vanished, and that part of a human corpse was lying in the centre of the main chamber. Cursory inspection indicated that the corpse belonged to a female Criamon magus of middle age. My sodales’s investigations could find no Criamon maga missing who matches the description of the deceased. The ghosts of the Cave of Twisting Shadows similarly cannot provide an identification.
The body is cut off at a diagonal angle along the midriff, severing the hips and legs, and one arm. The head and face are well-preserved, such that the tattoo patterns on the neck and spine of the victim are clear. The body is wearing the upper portion of a saffron covered robe, which corresponds exactly to the Thirteenth Object. The face of the deceased is covered with a thin, flexible mask of an unknown, clear substance. This mask has similar properties to those used to view connections of Strange Wisdom by Followers of the Path of the Dawn.
It is difficult to construct a legal case here. Scrying on the body is impossible. No Hermetic maga is known to be missing. I venture to suggest this is some sort of Muse, killed by faeries, but cannot conclusively prove that thesis without the aid of House Merinitia. The Object does not display unusual powers, but further examination in a laboratory setting may allow more penetrating observations.
Brothers and Sisters of the Path of the Dawn, the day and hour are come, as predicted by Clement. Our decades of preparation are complete!
Using the watch chain I have kept my thoughts hidden from our sodales. Using the pen I write to you. Using the hidden box I have moved the body of our sister to the secret place, in which the Pieta of Eos has been hidden.
As was predicted, our sister has completed the Path of Dawn, becoming a Great Muse. She waits only for our aid to be released, and to open communication between the higher spirits.
She lies trapped within her mortal form, necessary to bring her to us, but she can be released simply, with the aura of the music box, and the properties of the bayonet, into the cradle of the pieta.
I have communicated with her, using the mask. Her coming to us was an accident, and yet foretold. In the distant age where she was raised, there is an Order that tells stories of our actions. There are many who have completed the Path, led by a Veiled Sorceress who she felt slighted by. The Veiled One would never communicate with her, as it did the other apprentices.
She remembers us: not as we are now, but as beings of artifice and light and knowledge. She named each of us to me, and recalled her childhood memories of us as we will be, vast and knowing and yet kind.
Hurry my sisters and brothers, a new world awaits, and a new Dawn.