The Squidy Symbol

by mshrm

This past session, the party threw me a curve that I wasn’t expecting, and caught me somewhat flat-footed. They ended up making off with all the gear formerly owned by the guy with the octopus fingers. In particular, they took the thing he had hanging on a chain around his neck. It was clearly some kind of holy symbol, but unfamiliar to the members of the party. I hadn’t finished fleshing out all the details that I wanted to, so I promised them a more full description later. Here it is:

The first thing you notice is the shape of the thing. It’s as if a squid and a starfish were somehow combined, then rapidly sketched, and the sketch used as inspiration for an almost-abstract sculpture. There are five stubby points radiating from a central mass, not quite symmetrically. Two of the points are noticeably larger than the other three. It’s small enough to fit in a human palm, but chunky, like a paperweight. It’s somewhat concave, as if the thing that modeled for it were reaching forward at the time.

The object is made of ivory, though what sort is difficult to say. (Without consulting a sage or the like. –The Invisible Hand Of The GM) The whole thing appears to have been carved from the crown of a single molar of some unknown beast. It is mostly a sort of flat, fish-belly white, but there are veins of a darker yellow throughout.

Upon close examination, fine detail becomes apparent. A line of carved symbols makes its way around the entire inside face, in a lop-sided spiral. At first glance, the center of the spiral gives the impression of a single, lidless eye. The symbols are beautifully carved, with great detail. They are clearly some kind of calligraphy. One can see certain symbols repeated through the sequence, just like letters or runes in a sentence. However, the script is entirely unfamiliar, and the meaning, if any, undecipherable. (Again, without consulting some source of knowledge. –GM)

It does not appear to be enchanted.

The market price for the thing would be $350, selling it as a piece of weird, primitive art from the New World. However, anyone with the Merchant skill can see that it’s worth a lot more than that, to the right buyer. It’s got that look of “collector’s item” about it.