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Ryshassa's Custom Artifacts
Star-Kissed Ring of Love's Return
This is a specialized item created by Alexsei for his beloved. The ring is actually one half of a pair; its counterpart, the Sun-Kissed Ring of Love's Return, is one of his most treasured possessions. Both rings are possessed of a rare and unique construction, as they are crafted of both orichalcum and starmetal welded together into a seamless whole. The Star-Kissed Ring is composed of an bright orichalcum band inlaid with a stylized floral pattern of starmetal; the Sun-Kissed Ring is a band of darker starmetal inlaid with orichalcum in the pattern of stylized birds in flight. The rings have been attuned to each other so that, as long as both commit 2 motes of Essence to keep their rings activated, Ryshassa need only concentrate briefly on her ring in order to determine the direction of Alexsei's position relative to hers, as well as his physical health and emotional state, even from a distance (4 additional dice to Social or Perception rolls when dealing with each other). The rings also grant them the ability to communicate telepathically with one another, though they must touch and remain focused upon their respective rings in order to send and receive thoughts.
Silverwillow Lyre of Somnolent Songweaving
Ryshassa's signature instrument is a seven-stringed lyre with a body carved of willow wood and strings of shimmering orichalcum so supple and responsive they seem to be made of liquid gold. Its elegantly arched surface is lacquered a pristine shade of silvery white, contrasted with the intricately inlaid belladonna vines twining up either side of the instrument in brilliant shades of amethyst and malachite. When playing the instrument in front of an audience for a general performance, it increases Ryshassa's dice pool for any rolls involving Performance by three. However, if she begins to play music of a gentle, soothing, even lullaby-like nature, those three additional dice become three automatic successes.
At any time during such a performance, Ryshassa may expend 5 motes of temporary Essence to achieve one of two effects:
Drowsiness - Ryshassa uses her Manipulation + Performance skill to potentially put her listeners to sleep, or hinder their actions for a time. Targets within hearing range may choose to resist by rolling their Willpower with additional autosuccesses equal to their Essence. If Ryshassa achieves more successes than a target, that target suffers a penalty to all non-reflexive actions equal to her Essence as long as she continues playing. If she succeeds by the target's Willpower or greater, he falls instantly asleep and cannot be roused until she ceases her performance, after which he will sleep as normal unless roused.
Pain Easer - As long as Ryshassa continues to play, all targets within hearing range have their wound penalties eliminated. This is not a purely physical effect; those affected still have normal nerve sensitivity, but are simply liberated of their pain and the negative effects attached to it.
Caduceus Curatoris - The Healer's Guardian
Spd +4 / Acc +3 / Dam +4L / Def +5 / Rate 4 (includes orichalcum bonus -- ADoA rules)
1 Hearthstone slot
The Caduceus Curatoris is a circular shaft of orichalcum six feet in length. Two golden snakes, their every scale and sinuous curve etched and sculpted into the metal in lifelike detail, spiral up the shaft until their heads meet face to face at the top. Two outstretched wings sprout from the crown of the staff, between which is embedded a single socket in which a Hearthstone can be placed. In combat, it can be wielded by its owner as a quarterstaff weapon, but it is constructed to favor speed and defense over offense.
The Caduceus is a relic of the First Age, created and put to great use by Sophia Anthegenia, Ryshassa's incarnation of the age. How Ryshassa came upon it is a story I will have to save for later -- suffice it to say that she came to possess it only in the recent year, during an extended visit to Sijan with her husband. There, the tomb of her predecessor lay dormant, and within it the Caduceus, projecting to Ryshassa the visions and dreams of an Age long past and ruined, of a sorrow-lined healer who lamented the increasing corruption of the Solars' rule, and the bitter, bloody end that would befall them -- and her, now little more than dusty bones and a memory kept alive by the only remotely sentient entity she left behind. Ryshassa had accompanied Alexsei to Sijan many a time in recent years, for Alexsei's fate is strongly tied to the region, as well as his interests as a funeral priest and a speaker for the dead. Each time, the images from the Caduceus became clearer and more insistent, leading her to inquire of their accuracy, bringing her ever closer to the location in which the artifact -- and the traps and trials that guarded its long-deceased creator's sanctity -- awaited.
Again, this is a story to be told in much greater detail at another time. But during her most recent visit to Sijan, it came to Ryshassa's realization that no more waiting would be abided. The visions, the mysteries, the first real taste of a past her soul had been an integral but ultimately tragic part of -- they called to her, appealed to the very core of her being, and brought her to the doors of what had once been her tomb. And when she emerged from the trials within, bruised and battered and weeping, she held aloft the golden staff of medicine and knowledge, the Healer's Guardian, the Caduceus Curatoris whose joy brought to her mind's eye fields of blazingly jewel-toned, rapidly unfurling blossoms, a riotous celebration of beauty and vitality that resonated with her soul.
Since then, Ryshassa has come to understand many of the Caduceus's functions. It is a semi-sentient artifact with the ability to communicate through images, and has retained some disjointed, but nonetheless informative memories of the centuries it had spent at the side of her predecessor (effectively granting the Past Lives merit, as she inherits the memories of Sophia). Access to this body of knowledge is further represented by a +4 bonus to Medicine and Lore (First Age), and a +4 to Linguistics for the purpose of deciphering Old Realm language. The images Ryshassa receives from the Caduceus sometimes seem to hint at the possibility that it contains still further potential she has yet to unlock -- if only she could discover the means and the opportunity to do so.
The Caduceus also possesses a means to supplement Ryshassa's defensive capabilities. As long as she commits Essence to the Caduceus, it will float obediently within an arm's distance from her and move as if a part of her body, sweeping out of the way whenever its position may hinder her movements or actions. It will independently intercept and parry attacks made upon her person, leaving both of her hands free for healing, performance and other skills. Ryshassa can also direct the staff to protect someone besides herself during a turn, so long as the target is in range and line of sight, but once committed to that it will not be able to defend her until the next turn she can call it back to her. Also, the Caduceus will never attack at her command -- it must be held and manipulated in her hands to be used for any non-defensive, non-healing related purpose (and may very well protest, in its own limited way, such a use).
In more technical terms, the Caduceus shares Ryshassa's initiative, movement rate and parry skill (in this case, her Dexterity + Melee + its Defense statistic), but acts with its own independent dice pool, so that any actions it makes on her behalf do not penalize any other actions she may take during her turn. The rules and penalties for splitting actions still apply to the Caduceus itself, however, and it is limited by its own Rate in how many times it can parry in a turn. On the other hand, the Caduceus also works in conjunction with Charms that allow its owner to reflexively parry with her full dice pool, which would effectively bypass these limitations.
The Caduceus cannot be disarmed, nor can anyone besides its creator and her subsequent incarnations wield it effectively or benefit from its powers.