Friday, February 3, 2012

Brazen Scales of Ylantru (Back Alley Magic)

Pitted, scored and corroded from untold centuries of neglect and being buried within the dusty confines of various antiquarian shops, curiosity peddlers and similar such venues, the Brazen Scales of Ylantru have become something of a lost treasure, an urban myth and a mildly trivial item of magical contraband that crops up from time to time in the less discriminating quarters of dangerous cities and dubious markets. Most finders catalogues list these scales as being pieces of ancient armor even though there are no holes cut into them and they are usually quite flat. There are allegedly a pair of glyph-like markings in each of the upper corners, but no credible or definitive identification of these markings has ever been made. At least not publicly.

Moriarty & Mortitia's Compendium of Artifacts Both Arcane and Exceptional, The definitive reference of all reputable dealers in archaic and obsolescent oddities, has only a token listing for the Brazen Scales, which states that these 'scales' as they are called are not in fact scales, but rather coins from a transplanar domain dominated by oneirically-inclined abhuman sorcerers who no longer maintain any holdings outside their primary domain ever since a disastrous war with a sub-lunary species known only by a completely unpronounceable name signified by three interwoven light-blue squiggles. There is no mention of the valuation of these coins, nor their worth in terms of any sort of exchange rate, which is a bit of an oversight for such a prestigious reference work as the M&M Compendium.

A decent specimen, unmarred, with the corners intact and un-holed will fetch between 3-12 GP in most markets, though an exceptional one that is in pristine condition might bring as much as 200-300 GP, should a suitably interested buyer be contacted.

But it is rare to find such a thing these days. Very rare indeed.

The Brazen Scales of Ylantru have lain dormant and ignored for many, many long years only to have become something of an overnight marvel and a must-have item among those who delve deeply into the old, buried places of the lost past, be they sanctioned archaeological savants or unlettered tomb looters.

When a hole is drilled through a Brazen Scale and it is suspended upon a length of virgin spider silk (some accounts specify the braided cord made from three hairs from a virgin, others claim a waxed bit of twine works just fine), and passed through the purifying smoke of various resinous incenses, the Brazen Scale will perform as a pendulum capable of directing its user to lost, forgotten or buried treasures, but only if these things are close to dark, brackish waters, usually of the subterranean variety. Most pundits and gossips agree convincingly that the Brazen Scale so used will only properly function in moonlight...but there is no consensus as to whether the light of a full moon, waning moon, new crescent or some other phase is more efficacious or desirable.

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