Artifacts of Oerth: The Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty
Date: Wed, March 12, 2003
Topic: Arcana of Oerth

Following is the study of the Rhennee Tzeliobas on the most valuable and lovely Jewel on Oerth. It was submitted before he was kicked out of the Grey College, due to a serious dispute with Iquander on the nine imprisoned demi-gods beneath Castle Greyhawk. Tzeliobas was forced to continue his degree in the University of Flanaess, partly wasting Tenser´s funds for the support of Rhennee's education. Together with the groundbreaking "The Magical Properties of Gemstones" by Tenser, he presented references never seen before and of unknown origin.

Author: Tzelios

Artifacts of Oerth: The Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty
By: Tzelios (Email Private, Click here to send a private message to Tzelios)
Used with permission, Reposting or redistributing this article without the express consent of the author is strictly forbidden by Canonfire's Privacy and Copyright Policy

Most research on the history of Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty is based on Tzeliobas´ interpretations on the standard scholarly text “Lively Greyhawk: A Gazetteer” by the joint effort of four sages, including Pluffet Smedger and Iquander, and edited by Rorge Nilag.

In the present article, it is viewed that the founder of the Sultanate, Ozef the Warrior, had no descent from ancient Baklunish Empire royalty and/or he was in the possession of a mythical jewel, the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty. If the above statement is not true then, given the fact that the ruler is hereditary in Zeif, the administration of the government wouldn’t have been assumed by the Diwan and the Grand Vizier for as long as three generations after the Sultan was devoured by a dragon turtle in the Dramij. Ozef with his Paynim army came to the region to overthrow the old Satrapy of Ghayar, which makes him a mixed ancestry warlike nomad of the Plains, belonging to some tribe. Whether or not he was aided by the fabled Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty in this accomplishment is a thing that must be examined thoroughly; if true, the congregation of sufficiently large army to beat the Satraps, and the complete support and guidance provided by the clergy of Al´Akbar from the Caliphate of Ekbir to organize his new state are better explained.

Some decades later, most sages would agree that it was possessed by the Sultan Jehef Peh´reen, a.k.a. Jehef the Splendid, for a time. Jehef appeared with the Jacinth claiming he was Ozef´s great-grandson. Aided by the jewel he managed to gain the support of both the military and the merchants, to diminish the authority of the semi-hereditary advisory bureaucracy of the Diwan and the Viziers, and to allege with the Paynims. Jehef´s reign marks the cultural highest point of the sultanate in terms of tremendous wealth and administrative sophistication. It also marks the last time that the Paynims are fully alleged with Zeif. What happened to cause the following decline of the state? The Jacinth was in the possession of Jehef for a time, and then passed into Ket, and from there into Keoland. Zeif, for its mythical treasures of finest quality gems, attracted the attention of states as far as Keoland and beyond.

The above story must be related with tales from the Paynims involving a legendary jacinth. The Paynim legend refers to some merchants returning from Tovag Baragu, at the shores of lake Udrukandar. They were given by the Shah of the Waters, an ancient Marid hearing to the name Cham´ Ponee, an indescribably beautiful jewel that would identify the Sultan as the new Baklunish Emperor. Had the Sultan returned with it to Udrukandar, he would have become the Emperor of the 12th Baklunish Dynasty. If the tale is true, either Ozef was meant to be the new Emperor, identified by the artifact, or he stole the jewel from the merchants while they were crossing the constantly plundered area of the Plains of the Paynims. His unpredictable untimely death, forbidding him to return to Udrukandar with the Jacinth, signifies lack of fate to become Emperor. Hence, Ozef was a thief. The jewel rested in the dragon turtle’s belly until Jehef, during his most marvelous adventure, defeated the wyrm and got the jewel to acquire the nickname “The Splendid”. Recent rumors account for an undead dragon turtle roaming the Dramij Ocean, and bringing the horror to traveling vessels (communication with Aeolius at the Demonweb Pits confirms the rumor).

The tale is a little different from the Zeif side, but in no contradiction with the Paynim tale: the merchants appeared at the palace, bringing the blessings of the Shah of the Waters to the great sultan. The merchants appeared with almost no material wealth. They were really plundered, obviously desperate, believing they would come up with fewer loses by bringing blessings and seeking the favor of the sultan.

We are bound to accept the Paynim tale. The other way around, true is the Zeif tale, is stagnant. Moreover, the acceptance of the Paynim tale agrees with Pluffet Smedger´s principle, i.e., “the assertion of the primacy of canon and the exhortation of its practitioners to find the most consistent and ingenious method to satisfy all sources.”

After Jehef, his grandniece Ismuyin was the next sultan. Several centuries later, during Malek II´s reign, the Brazen Horde was assembled to solve the marauding problems of the Paynims. The Brazen Horde was nomads from the neighboring area of Komal, long at odds with the Komali, seeking new lands to live. They relocated between Zeif and the Paynims, and from there, at 316CY, they pillaged Ekbir, eluding their pursuers with unexpected magical force (!), believed by some that it stemmed from the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty. Next, the Brazen Horde moves into Ket, and by use of the charming power of the Jacinth, they make the bey of Lopolla to consider them as allies. From their base at Lopolla, the Brazen Horde now plunders Ket and Veluna until around 350CY, when Keoland successfully invades Ket, and that’s how the Jacinth passed into the coffers of Niole Dra. Thus, we have the route of the Jacinth, Zeif-Ket-Keoland.

Present Location
It will stay in Niole Dra, until near 582CY, whence its liberation by the legendary “Passing Shadow” or "Shadow" for short, a female half-drow thief of at least 16th level, and a master of disguise. “Shadow” is rumored that she was one of the High Quarter's guild members, and to have also stolen from Dorakaa another greatly magical item, Iuz’s third ebon skull. There is some debate on whether “Passing Shadow” is the same with “Shadow”. Tzeliobas´ opinion is that it is unlikely that there are two different such thieves with legendary skills, operating in the same time period, with so similar names.

Some report to have seen her in the court of Queen Yolande of Celene. It is a well-kept tradition in Celene granted honorifics to the Queen to be accompanied with powerful magical items. After the successful pursuit of the Hateful Wars, Queen Yolande was honored as “Lady Rhalta of All Elvenkind” together with the Mantle of the Blue Moon. The last honorific of the elven queen, the “Perfect Flower of Celene,” was accompanied with the corresponding perfect flower artifact. In “Lively Greyhawk: A Gazetteer,” purposely, it is hidden that the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty is in Celene, in order to avoid tension with Keoland, though this could also well be the result of Rorge Nilag´s edits."

Powers of the Artifact
“The Book of Artifacts and Relics,” by Vidal “Biz” Keak, is a generic and vague to certain degree text, on a huge number of artifacts and relics, with no significant depth. Do not use the text for the history or the powers of the artifact, but for the well-conceived concept of the four scents/powers, and its suggested means of destruction related to the smell sense.

The artifact belongs to the Flowers of Life general category of magical items. As explained in “The Magical Properties of Gemstones” by Tenser, Flowers of Life have five invoked powers, each of them accompanied with a different scent. According to the degree that they are flawed, they have curses and side effects.

All who see it within 20´ are subject to charm person. Recorded invoked powers of the artifact are water breathing and haste (at will), teleport (2/day), dispel magic (4/day). A fifth power, power word stun (1/day), is speculated to exist.

There are two side effects reportedly connected to the artifact. Each time the Jacinth is used, user has a 25% chance of losing one hit point permanently, and he becomes slowly but permanently lawful.

Its curse is that the Jacinth causes greed and desire in any person viewing it (including the owner). Tied to the charm effect, there is a 10% cumulative chance that each time any person sees the Jacinth they will attack the owner, slay him, and take it for himself. The owners of the artifact gradually become greedy, possessive, and secretive.

The charming power and the curse do not seem to affect the elves. However, it is fearful that if the alignment change is side effective on the elves, this will corrupt their nature, thus proving that it is a great plot device.

Vidal “Biz” Keak suggested that the artifact could be destroyed if bathed with a mixture of pollen from every kind of blossom, or if consumed by someone with no smell sense.

A note on References
Together with the references mentioned above, they were used “City of Greyhawk, Folks Feuds and Factions,” “Dungeon Master’s Guide” (1st edition), “Eldritch Wizardry” (Supplement III), “A Guide to the World of Greyhawk,” and “Iuz the Evil”. The above texts are discernible with read languages.

Lastly, there exists Lashton´s investigative report from Keoland that could not be comprehended at all. The jewel was missing from the coffers of Niole Dra for some years, but no one suspected it. Other artifacts of the coffers where not stolen, instead in its place there were five dices with different number of sides (pyramid, standard dice, Norebo´s dice, twelve sided, and twenty sided dice).

Special Thanks
Go out to Adrian Frost who provided me with the contents of the EW reference. I hope I didn´t disappoint you Frostie, but anyway, do not forget that Tzeliobas was expelled from the Grey College.

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