Magical Items


Last week we talked about how no two writers will come up with the exact same story, even given the identical prompt.  I was thrilled at everyone’s ideas, and even more tickled that with all the great ideas, not one person copied another, nor did any of you go in the direction I had in mind myself.  When you worry that some other writer has already written your wonderful idea, remember what we did last week, and keep charging ahead with your story.  Today we’re going to talk about the magic of objects.

Not long ago I posted about boxes, and the fascination I have for them.  But it’s not just boxes that end up catching my eye.  All sorts of objects have a strange way of getting my attention, almost as if they have a magic of their own.  Many years ago, there was a store here in town that sold remaindered retail stuff.  Discontinued wallpaper border, chipped china plates, wine glasses with no matches, garden statues and candlesticks and craft supplies…honestly, you never knew what you’d find in there.  I could hardly stay away, and ended up visiting once every other weekend, just to search the shelves for some treasure.  I bought a resin statue of a beer-drinking monk, a brass thurible, a fake Russian icon of the Holy Mother, an unpainted ceramic dragon, and who knows what all else.  It reminded me of Ali Baba’s cave.

The store is long since out of business, but my love of wandering remains.  And I find myself coming up with ideas for magical items when I stroll the aisles of places like Big Lots (a closeout/overstock department store).  There are tools so specialized I couldn’t begin to figure out what they’re really meant for, kitchen and dining implements that I’ve never seen in all my days.  The three-headed pipe…maybe you’re supposed to hold it grasped in your fingers, recite an incantation and magical energy will pour out of one (or all three) of the openings.  The crystal ball that might be for candles…surely it’s an urn that dispenses wine forever.

So here’s today’s writing exercise.  I’m going to post a photograph of some random objects.  Pick one, and tell us what kind of magical item it is.  Name it, tell us what it’s made of, and what it does.  Even the dangers of using it, if there are any.  You don’t have to limit yourself to one – you can go for all four if you like.  And if you come up with something that will work in your story, so be it.  Ready?



17 comments to Magical Items

  • The one on the far right — the hilt of a sword. The blade was broken off in the body of a dragon, and the dragon flew away. According to legend, if the hero can find the dragon’s cave, find the blade in among the dragon’s gathered treasure, the blade (magically transformed by dragon blood) will allow him to kill anything, win any fight, conquor any enemy, win any war. But he has to find the cave first. And lure the dragon away. And find the blade. And … what if it’s still stuck in the dragon?

  • The item on the left is magic in its darkest form. It is used to drill into the skull and extract the natural magical energy stored within. A skilled mage can use the energy in various ways, including the visualization of memories and secrets. The subject of the extraction is, unfortunately, not particularly functional afterwards.

  • Way to raise the bar, Faith! I’m afraid to follow that…

    …so I’ll build on it, with the one on the far left — the magical bell. Only dragons can hear it, and they are unable to resist its call. If you can hang it on a chain around a dragon’s neck you can control the dragon completely — at least so goes the story, because thus far no one has ever survived the attempt.

  • Mikaela

    I’ll pick the white cylinder shaped container.

    No one knew the orgins of the carved ivory cylinder. Some claimed the elves carved it from dragon bone. Others scoffed at it, dismissing it as fairy tales. What everyone agreed on was that it gave you wealth. For a price- your sanity.

  • I’m pretty certain that fellow in the tricorn hat is out of pre-Revolutionary Boston — a sort of Colonial Era voodoo doll used by a sorcerer — someone new in town — to bend certain British officials to his will. Sounds like a new case for Ethan Kaille, Thieftaker!

  • The one on the right.
    Crafted in 1882 by the alchemist Sir Walter Abbot, the Auric Condenser contains the souls of the entire village of New Shillington, near Cornwall, England. It serves as the power source for the ectoplasmic tranductance aperture, a gateway to the Second World, a realm of demons and the soulless. It was crafted under the behest of Admiral Samuel Guinness, as a means to raise an infernal army. Why? To return the Americas to their rightful Sovereign, Queen Victoria.
    NOTE: It is unwise to touch it without sufficient protection.

  • The white carved cylinder is that rarest of treasures known as Ki-yin’s Lantern. Carved from milk white jade by the hand of the goddess herself and given as a gift to the eunuch Po’n in the 4th dynasty it was lost after the great cataclysm of the 7th dynasty. It has many uses, some known only to the wise. Among them is this, that when held overhead so that the moon’s rays spill through the intricate carvings, the truth which the holder most needs to know will be revealed in characters of light and shadow. What this truth will be no one may know until they try it for themselves. Legend says that it was Ki-yin’s Lantern that allowed Po’n to learn the secret cure for the Emperor’s illness. Years later, when the Emperor himself held up the Lantern, against the advice of all but Po’n, he gave a loud scream and fell into a faint. When he recovered three days later he renounced all worldly possessions and became a hermit. To the end of his days he refused to speak of what he had seen.

  • I used two items! 🙂


    Kali curled and uncurled her fingers over the ivory cuff. She felt the burn of power racing through the henna lines on the back of her, calling to her Bracer of Destruction. The Bracer throbbed in response. The resonating call sent a thrill through her heart as she debated. The world was so close to destruction, she only needed to tip the scales the tiniest bit… but destruction also meant the pain of rebirth and the labor or raising yet another race. The cycle would continue again and again in its infinite tedium.

    The goddess sighed and withdrew her hand. Turning, she slammed the lid closed on her box and went to her golden bell to summon a hero to tip the scales away from destruction and help to postpone the cycle’s next turn. Let this world have one more chance. she thought as she listened to the tintinnabulation fade into the darkness.

  • Magic has many purposes, of course. We all know this. We know there is good magic and bad magic. But what few know, even among the most learned mages, is that there is torture magic of the most horrid fashion. Take, for example, the object on the far right — the Oxoline Truth. Force this in the subject’s mouth like a horse’s bit and watch as the coils heat up from the subject’s own natural spiritual energy. When the Oxoline is glowing white and the subject screaming to the point of rupturing his throat, blast the Oxoline with the proper spell — one that is known only to a select few — and watch the Truth literally emerge from the subject, written in his organs and entrails. One word of caution — as the use of this magic tends to kill the subject, make sure you ask your question carefully.

  • Razziecat

    Some said he was a cradle tale, some said he was a lie. The priests said it was sin to believe in him, but those who lived in low-town, the beggars, the lame, the blind, the unwanted, they knew the truth of him. He was shadows and river-mist, a dagger in the night, a garrot in the alley. And he was theirs. Gold would not buy him, nor colony law dissuade him. He was their justice. A candle in the window and the little carved figure–only a trinket, a child’s toy–would summon him at need. A starved boy whipped for stealing, a maid-servant taken against her will, a man crippled by a lord’s carriage wheels–what recourse had they? Only the one, the Little Man. A whispered word at dusk, and by dawn the church bells would ring for the sudden demise of a high-town lord. The story would go round the markets and taverns, up the cobbled streets all the way to Town Hall, and back again to docksides and tenements. “It was the Little Man.” Eyes would meet, heads would nod, and somewhere, someone would smile in grim satisfaction, and silently blow out a candle.

  • CLAP WOO-HOO Razziecat. That was rivetting

  • Gray Talon’s Bochio of Vigilance

    “They say he sleeps not, but who knows for certain for a man who should be long dead.”
    -Ranno Deadeye-

    Salodar “Gray Talon” Kul, a freebooter so vile the Council used all the magicks at their disposal to wipe the very memory of him from the world after they finally took him down and spread his ashes to the four winds. Allied with dark forces, his fell power was legendary and his name was invoked everywhere as a boogey man to keep children in line. Alas, his mark on the world was so great that not even the Council could destroy every vestige of Gray Talon from the world, and the Bochio of Vigilance is said to be one such vestige.

    The mildest of all the cursed items created by Gray Talon, the Bochio, shaped like a wide-eyed pirate, seems always the first to find its way into the hands of mortals. The Bochio of Vigilance grants the user the uncanny ability to sense danger and the owner does not require sleep, allowing them to stay awake indefinitely, ever vigilant. However, any danger avoided by the owner will happen instead to someone near them, even at a later time if no one is close enough to suffer the consequences. Since the Bochio was a close possession of Gray Talon and the dark forces used to create it still linger, it slowly bends the owner to a dark path and causes them to search for the remaining items still in the world for some unknown purpose. Perhaps the splinters of Gray Talon’s essence in them call out to each other, wishing to be joined once more.

    The last of its abilities may be only legend. It was said that Gray Talon even passed beyond death, remaining vigilant as the Bochio made him one of the undead. Of course, the only place to find out for sure would be in the High History Tomes of the Council and they were hidden away long ago.

  • Razziecat

    Thank you Axisor!! Stuart’s gave me the chills…and Daniel’s too…

  • Alan Kellogg

    The left most item? A simple device, really. It is the domicile and abode—not to mention habitation—of an unseen, not to say invisible, servant who’s job it is to tidy up after you when you leave the room and go out on a walk. With your dog preferably.

    But it comes with the curse, for the servant is paranoid, and takes compliments as deadly insults. (I bet you thought it was brownies who were that way.) No indeed, never tell an unseen servant, “Thank you.” else you will lose his services and have to tidy up yourself. Not even the fact the item can now be sold for a few million dollars will not repay you for the loss of such a servant.

  • Alan Kellogg

    The one second from the left? That would be the ragamuffin man; a small statuette of a colonial American first made to be the night guardian for a small child in New York City.

    It was constructed by a now unknown heka forger and watch maker who constructed the night guardian from scraps of cloth and bits of corn cob and splinters. He made it to keep watch, or so the story goes, over an old Dutch family’s small children during the hazardous times of the American Revolution, which duty it performed excellently.

    How it got in the possession of the original poster is not known, but she should be aware the statuette is ever on the guard against the intrusion of a marauding American Continental (the original owner was a loyalist), so she’d best be on the look out during any Halloween or American Revolution re-enactment, in case some unsuspecting soul in an American continental costume show up at her door.

  • Mikaela

    My item did start something. I finished it, and decided to post the scene. Enjoy! 🙂 This is a scene set sometime after Sherezade returns.

    Khalid traced the leaves carved into the ivory. The merchant had claimed it was made of Dragon bone. Khalid scoffed. That was something the Serian Merchant had claimed, to raise the price. The innocent looking quill holder had cost him a pouch filled with gold coins. But it was worth it. After all, it was a gift for the Sultan. And you didn’t give the sultan fripperies. It was a suitable gift for the Sultan. A smile tugged at his lips. I wonder how long it will take, before He can take his rightful place on the throne?
    A female laugh drifted through the open window. His curiousity spiked, Khalid looked out through the window.
    Shah-Riar and a woman was strolling through the garden, laughing and joking. The woman adjusted her veil, giving him a glimpse of her face.
    The world started spinning, and his hands clenched around the window sill, when he saw it was Sherezade.
    Sherezade, who was supposed to be far away from Sind. He exhaled, forcing himself to calm down. Sherezade’s presence at court doesn’t change anything.
    His eyes widened when a loud chirping echoed through the garden. Sherezade laughed, and stretched out her arm. A couple of seconds later, a sapphire blue…dragon landed. It chittered something, and Sherezade nodded.

    He stumbled over to the chair, and sank down. A Dragon. There is a dragon at court. He glanced at the penholder, suddenly unsure if he would give it to the Sultan. Just because Dragons are real, the Merchant’s tales doesn’t have to be, he told himself.

  • The floor creaked and the shelves rattled as Landon made his way down the aisles. The plump, rosy cheeked shopkeeper, perched on her stool behind the counter, blinked over the edge of her book. Old glasses, signs, and knickknacks blanketed the walls and shelves from ceiling to floor. The only thing that wasn’t caked in dust was a sign hung on the wall that read “One Must Step Carefully.” It was a truth in this shop, to be sure. Landon inspected each item looking for something suitable. The best thing about this shop was that the prices were right. Mother would expect a gift when he arrived on her doorstep unannounced and if he wanted a warm reception he’d have it in hand. Holding up a tiny, ornately carved candle holder he asked, “What is your best price on this?”
    “Oh, that’s a fine bit of craftsmanship there. It’s made of the bone of a long dead beast. It’s said that if a candle be lit inside and a prayer said over it the prayer will be heard and always answered in some manner. Priceless, that is. But for you I think we can make a bargain. I kin see you’ll be in need of it soon enough.” The shopkeeper smiled a sweet and inviting smile that Landon found repulsive.
    “Will you take a copper?” Landon asked in a voice as smooth as silk as he sidled up to the counter. He didn’t want to spend anymore than he had to. A wink or a brush of the cheek and maybe she’d just give it to him.
    As quick as a blink the shopkeeper’s eyes narrowed and her lips thinned into a sharp line. Her voice took on a harder edge. “Thee coppers is my bottom line, boy. I suggest you take that and run along. Your mother will be in need shortly.”
    Landon, wide eyed, fished out his 3 coppers and placed the on the counter. The shopkeeper handed him a neatly wrapped parcel, winked, and sat back down to read her book.