Months ago, Michael Prescott issued a challenge to make the most evocative setting possible using a 13-item inventory.
I am nothing if not exceedingly timely and on the ball.
The Possessions of Sen Mazzaroth, Wanderer
1. Acupuncture Needles and Thread
The golden needles and silver thread favored by the chirurgeons of Iln is hard to come by, especially by foreigners, and all the more desired for their potency in cleaning the spirit and drawing out corruptions.
2. Bottled Demon
Steeped in its own liquor, the putrescent bruise-blue embryo still glares through the murk with burning gold eyes and serrated smile. It offers a boon if released.
3. Hand-Woven Scarf
Long nights of work by one beloved went into this long strip of scarlet and gold. The family histories going back eight generations are embroidered in careful calligraphy, ending in the twined circles of rings.
4. Horned Pilgrimage Mask
A plain mask, lacquered white. Such masks serve three purposes: The first is to maintain the Law of Humility whilst traveling abroad. The second is to denote the profession of the wearer, by shape. The last is to state their purpose, by color.
5. Patched Traveling Clothes
Insulated against cold, repaired against damage, over and over again. With enough time, all kin of the road wear the same garments.
6. Obsidian Sword
Certain smithing enchantments will draw the shattered fragments of such a weapon back into a whole piece. This one was clearly performed by a master, for it draws upon all seven humours of the soul.
7. Red Ocarina
Certain melodies, when played on instruments made of clay from the sacred river Gyensol, allows for the calling up and binding of misborn and miscarried spirits. They flock to it as if to the distant call of a mother.
8. Road Cakes
A small loaf of this dense black bread can be rationed out over days. It tastes faintly of honey from the high hidden valleys
9. Icon of Safety
The terrible appearance of this leering visage is more than enough to scare away most nightly ambushers. The ancestral memory of the monsters that once worse such faces is still strong.
10. Rosary of Fire-Pearls
A mantra to collect the mind, a mantra for the emptying of vessels, a mantra for seeking of secrets.
11. Golden Bell
The clerics of the gods in the Oubliette are known to carry these ritual tools while making their rounds. How did it arrive here on the surface?
12. Iron Rod Rifle
The gunpowder societies of the Delta keep their secrets, leading other armies to unorthodox alternatives. The weapons of the Edhaspar Regulars launch white-hot iron spikes at speeds below sound, spawning dozens of widespread cliches about porcupines and pincusions.
13. Sturdy Boots
Tradition has it that every cobbler who repairs a wanderer's boots will apply their brand to the leather, making a permanent mark of the roads they have traveled.