By: Joanna Hart<firstname.lastname@example.org>
(NB. This is a rather mythic sort of relic I wrote up - I haven't added any plot hooks as of yet, but I thought it might be interesting; although it does imply that there was a period of a few years in the past during which The Game was almost completely unpoliced.)
Appearance: A plain gold band with no markings. It is sized to fit a man's hand.
Owner: Asmodeus (probably has the best claim although Solomon might dispute this - it is in neither of their possessions currently)
Cost: Ha ha. Err... no.
The ring is the most powerful of a number of relics created by King Solomon the Wise with the blessings of Uriel, Archangel of Purity, and Michael, Archangel of War. The king was gifted with divine wisdom at a young age, as is told in the bible, and with the aid of the ring he was able to extend that divine wisdom to the arts of rulership. By calling on advisors from amongst the many races of people around the world and from amongst the birds of the air and beasts of the field and by being able to walk amongst his people unseen or in disguise, the King was able to gain an understanding of how they lived and worked and died that has never been surpassed.
However, not satisfied with all these sources of earthly knowledge, the king was able also to enchant the ring with powers of dominion over all Djinn. Certainly he did so with the aid of his own divine wisdom and the best of all possible intentions. It is rumoured that he sought help in this endeavour from infernal entities or perhaps the Prince of Lies himself, who laughed as He invested the required power in the artefact.
After having learned a great deal of how these minor Djinn operated, and forcing them away from tormenting his people, the King planned a great thing. He summoned the most powerful of all Djinn -- with the aim of imprisoning that Prince for all eternity and thus spare the mortal world from his evil predations. As he walked in his gardens, the demon appeared to him in the guise of an old man with a mild face and spoke to him in riddles of the future and the past and of heaven and hell. Divining the meanings of these things effortlessly, the King was impressed by the demon's advice and decided that instead of imprisoning the great Djinn, he would press Asmodeus into service as a royal advisor and he commanded the demon to stay within the confines of his mortal realms.
The Demon Prince bowed his head and accepted the dominion of the ring, because to break such powers would have been against the very rules of The Game as it was played. He chafed silently and vowed a revenge that would last eternity, and that he would have Solomon's soul as a plaything when the king passed from the mortal realm. On at least one occasion he was able to assume the King's place for several months due to a badly worded command, but Solomon was able to reassert his authority and prove that the imposter was in fact the demon, as could be seen by his cloven hooves (for in seeking to overthrow the master of the ring, the Prince of The Game had fallen foul of his own rules).
Over time, the King fell prey to the curses of kings - hedonism and lassitude and hubris - and the demon who had become the most valued advisor in his realm saw the weakness within his soul and whispered in his ear that even Solomon, the King of Kings,would die and be forgotten and everything he had won would fall, and everything which he had learned would be forgotten. So, slowly and inexorably, the wisest man who ever lived was drawn into The Game.
After having heard from the prophets that he had lost divine favour, the king was more willing to give ear to Asmodeus and eventually sold his soul for immortality, and the chance to live forever as a mummy. The two left Jerusalem together and once away from his palace and his supporters and laid open to the realisation of what remained to him, it was a simple task for the Prince to finally retrieve the ring which had been his master for too long, or so he had thought. When the pair were waylaid by 'bandits' who searched the old king for the artefact, it was nowhere to be found. With the last of what remained of his freewill, Solomon informed the demon that the ring had been swallowed by an eel that had been landed at Jaffa the previous day, before it was thrown back into the Mediterranean and now it was lost forever.
Showing unusual interest in his revenge (for a Djinn) Asmodeus tortured the king in various creative ways for half a century before he tired of the sport and allowed the mummy to walk the earth again as his servant. He is sufficiently vicious on those occasions when he does still choose to crack the whip to show that he has still not forgotten the old slight, and speaks with Solomon personally on the same weekly basis as he speaks to his celestial servitors. In fact, the old bitterness seems largely kept up for show and on the weekly meetings the djinn and the mummy simply play chess. Perhaps if Solomon ever won a game the demon prince would release him, but this has never happened. Nor does it seem likely in the foreseeable future.
In all that time, the ring had remained hidden from both mortal and celestial seekers, of whom there have been several.
The ring is reputed to have had several powers, depending on which finger of the right hand it was worn upon. To activate a power, the user turned the ring once anti-clockwise, and once clockwise to deactivate it.
Despite these incredible powers, this was not the main value of the ring. If worn on the forefinger of the left hand and twisted once anti-clockwise it gave the user the ability to summon any Djinn if he knew its name, and compel it to service (the djinn also becomes attuned to the wearer of the ring, for the duration (ie. until another djinn is summoned or the user removes the ring)). The sting in this aspect of the ring's power is that it may only be wielded by a mortal.
The ring has remained hidden, largely because several demon princes have a strong interest in it not being located. It is usually assumed to be in one of the world's oceans, but could equally be in the Marches. It has proven impossible for any cherub to attune to it, which implies that either God or Satan is taking an interest.
Asmodeus would give a great deal to recover the thing.
Since the ring's creation, the themes of the Symphony have changed enough that its use would be very noisy and would also be likely to attract the attention of any Djinn, who can perceive its use at twice the distance of any other celestial.
Despite having accepted his place as a slave to his superior, Solomon still holds out the forlorn hope that he might one day be able to retrieve his ring and make amends to God and to all of creation for the evil that he has done.
Meanwhile, he feels that trying to help remorseful demons to avoid his master's eye is the best he can do (unfortunately Asmodeus is well aware of this and usually sends a Shedite to secretly watch him and pick off quietly the demons with whom he interacts - it is another part of the game which the pair play).
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Elizabeth McCoy <email@example.com>
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