Truly magical items in Adel, the kind that perform strange and irreplicable feats of spellcraft, are few and far between. Adelians have adapted the sciences of the Lost World, as much as they can understand them, to make things like voice boxes that communicate to each other, autowagons that can exert movement sans horses, and firearms with alchemical charges. But these are not magic items as fantastic legends know them. They consume fuel, and they have obvious limitations imposed on them by the rules governing Adelian reality. Adelian folklore speaks of truly magical items, forged by Spirits, with strange origins and powerful enchantments, waiting for new lords and ladies to serve.
The lands of the Western Sea were an exotic mystery to the Adelians for very long. Though their cultures are similar, the Adelians and the Vikerur are separate peoples, with ocean between them.
However, both share the legend of the Hierophant of Ether, a person who, clad in sacred garbs, could quell storms, raise the sea or split the earth open for geysers of magma. The first Hierophant earned the garb by climbing the Mountain At The World’s End, a place far to the northwest of Vikerur territory and verging on the end of the known world, where endless raging storms kept the Hierophant’s people trapped between icy sea, harsh mountains and infertile valleys. The Hierophant climbed to the dominion of the Sky Spirits and succeeded in calming their primordial fury and freeing the people of the wastelands below, as well as securing a compact with the Spirit Monarch in the Sky Palaces.
The Spirits granted the Hieorophant five items that he or she would use to represent them to the people below. In exchange for reverence, they would grant the Hierophant the power to save his or her people from destruction, and they would leave the artifacts to mortal hands as a symbol of their cooperation. Alone, each of the Hierophant’s treasures were weak, but together, they could create a Miracle that can alter monuments, change a landscape or climate, or alter the physical state of any person or people. However, if the Hierophant invokes the Miracle, the items are scattered from his or her control, and must be sought out again. When the Hierophant descended from the Mountain, he or she immediately dispersed the storms, and allowed the Vikerur to spread out from the End of the World through the Western Sea.
Then the Hierophant’s Artifacts were lost to the four winds.
Since then, many adventurous people have gathered the garb in fragments, but they have never managed to put all of the items together again to become the Hierophant of Ether, for the brief period in which that power can be used. It is said that ownership of even a few of the items ends in tragedy, and the items are routinely lost and rediscovered through terrible circumstances.
Coatl’s Wings: Coatl’s Wings are long cape, casting a brilliant glow in every conceivable color. Two clasps like the talons of a bird of prey fasten the cape to the shoulders. When worn alone, the cape allows the user to move more easily, fall lightly, jump more quickly and levitate a few feet off the ground, carried by the wind.
Vucub’s Talons: Vucub’s Talons are feathered, light gray gauntlets that cover up to the elbow, with flexible wrists and fingers. When worn alone, the gauntlets allow the user to effortlessly move or rend earth, but only in quantities at a time up to what the gauntlets can grasp. So you can scratch through stone easily, but you can’t simply will a whole stone wall to collapse, or raise a platform. You’d have to chip at a wall bit by palm-sized bit, or raise the platform as though molding clay with your hands.
Garuda’s Tail: Garuda’s Tail is a long wooden staff with a metal core, covered in large green and brown feathers that can turn razor sharp in an instant to deliver an attack. Garuda’s tail can float in place, immovably, and in this state it becomes wholly indestructible, and it can be climbed on as a platform from which it is impossible for one to drop, or be knocked out of. The Tail can be rendered movable again by a command, and instantly transported to its owner’s hand. Any item or creature skewered by the tail when it is rendered immovable will also become incapable of moving.
Phoenix’s Pelt: Phoenix’s Pelt is a red and gold robe, modest and overflowing, covering the whole body save for the shoulders and neck of the wearer, which must be guarded with the Coatl’s Wings in the full set. The Phoenix Pelt alone grants the user protection against flames of any intensity, including the ability to swim through even magma, as well as a measure of control over those flames, granting a means to perform magical fire attacks.
Alkonost’s Eye: Alkonost’s Eye is a beautiful ring, with a fish-eye gemstone the size of a Iomadi’s eye, set on a shimmering blue band. Alkonost’s Eye, worn alone, allows the user to breathe underwater, immunity to even the most freezing cold or horrifying depth and pressure, along with some measure of control over water. While it cannot generate water, it can control existing water, causing small shifts in volume, or allowing one to direct it as an attack.
The person who wears the five artifacts at once should be chosen carefully. It is unknown what kind of physical or mental effects the brief transformation into the Hierophant of Ether could cause. Little is known about the legendary hero or heroine who was the first Hierophant, except that he or she lived through the Miracle.
An upheaval in the palaces of the Sky Spirits has seen a prominent Spirit Monarch overthrown and replaced with a cruel and petty successor who uses his or her power to cause torrential rains and terrible conditions for the mortals below, to spite them for worshiping its rival for so very long. Mortals cannot normally access the Sky Palaces, even if they use an Airship to fly up. These are sacred grounds, visible and penetrable only to spirits. In order to confront the Spirit Monarch, a Hierophant of Ether must be garbed, and must open the way to the Second Sky using the artifact’s miracle.
However, the pieces of the Hierophant’s garb have not simply been scattered – the Monarch has actively gifted them to monstrous subjects, to protect them from intrusion, going back on the Sky Spirit’s word to leave the items available to mortals. Vucub’s Talons were given to a massive mole-like beast; Garuda’s tail was bequeathed on a massive serpent as its own tail; the Coatl’s wings given to a raging Drake, allowing it to take its predation to the sky; and the Pheonix Pelt granted to a powerful and over-large tiger, whose flaming coat now wards off all natural means of attack. These creatures will have to be defeated and the items extracted from them, before the journey to the Sky Palaces can begin.
The only gift still in mortal hands is Alkonost’s Eye – and its owner is unknowingly in grave danger.